Wall Street ekes out gains as investors shrug off Fed minutes

Technology stocks led Wall Street slightly higher on Wednesday, as U.S. inflation data proved to be benign and the minutes from the Federal Reserve’s March meeting were unsurprising.

Yahoo tries to settle 3-billion-account data breach with $118 million payout

A Yahoo logo on a smartphone.

Yahoo and plaintiffs, in a case over a data breach affecting three billion user accounts, have agreed to a settlement that would require Yahoo to pay $117.5 million.

The sides previously agreed to a settlement of $50 million plus attorneys’ fees and other expenses, but it was rejected by US District Judge Lucy Koh in January.

Yahoo and the plaintiffs filed their new proposed settlement yesterday in US District Court for the Northern District of California. This one will also face a judge’s review.

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Minnesota arrests 58 in child sex sting during NCAA Final Four weekend

Nearly five dozen people were arrested in a Minnesota undercover sting operation for attempting to meet up with children for sex or for sex-trafficking of minors during last weekend’s NCAA Final Four basketball tournament, authorities said on Wednesday.

Streetwear marketplace Bump raises $7.5M

Bump, the Y Combinator-backed marketplace for streetwear, is announcing that it has raised $7.5 million in Series A funding.

Bump’s Jack Ryder told me that even before starting the company, he and his co-founder Sam Howarth were active in buying and selling streetwear and sneakers — but he admitted that it took several tries before the startup found the right model. (He described a previous iteration, involving a reverse marketplace where people post the items they’re interested in buying, as “the world’s worst idea.”)

Now, however, Ryder said Bump has nearly 2 million registered users. It allows them to buy and sell jackets, T-shirt, sneakers and more among themselves. They can sort through the marketplace based on brand, color and size, and can chat one-on-one or in groups.

The startup it relies on moderators and crowdsourcing to determine when a listing looks fake — apparently there have been issues with less than 2 percent of listings in the app, and Ryder said most of the time it’s just young, inexperienced sellers “who didn’t understand how to ship the item.”

Ryder sees Bump’s social side as the real opportunity for growth. While he said the startup still has “tons of room in streetwear to keep going,” he suggested that the “bigger and more important mission” is to turns online shopping into “a multi-player experience.”

Bump screenshot

“There’s tons of places where you can buy streetwear online … but the real unique thing about Bump was the social side,” he said. “The average age of our users is 15 years old — that’s actually way younger than the demographic of people interested in sneakers and streetwear. The problem we’re solving isn’t making it easier to buy streetwear; it’s how teenagers, how Gen Z shops with their friends online.”

Ryder said that when he was at YC, he was told to shy away from the idea of social shopping, because there’s “almost like a graveyard” of failed startups. In his view, however, those startups were just “adding a like button or adding a follow button,” rather than really bringing the social and shopping experiences together.

Meanwhile, Instagram and other social networks have been adding shopping capabilities, but he said they face the need to juggle different kinds of content and users.

“We think people are getting a way better shopping experience [on Bump], just because it’s a marketplace first,” Ryder said.

With the new round, Bump plans to relocate from New York to London, where it already employs some contractors, and where Ryder and Howarth were initially based.

The funding was led by e.ventures, with the firm’s Brendan Wales joining the Bump board. Kleiner Perkins, Y Combinator and undisclosed angel investors also participated.

“Having been early investors in both Farfetch and TheRealReal, we have seen firsthand how luxury and streetwear have converged over the past five years,” said Wales said in a statement. “Bump is at the intersection of both, with a social product that enables Gen Z buyers and sellers of high-end streetwear to transact globally in a peer-to-peer fashion. Jack and Sam of Bump, exemplify founder authenticity for this category, and we are grateful to be partnering with the entire team going forward.”

Online used car startup Shift adds another $40M, snags COO in road to IPO

Online used car startup Shift Technologies has tacked on another $40 million in equity funding, hired a new COO with Amazon and Enjoy roots and scaled up its engineering staff — all in the past several months — as the company aims to double its revenue this year.

The recent activity, along with what executives have told TechCrunch is a diligent focus on unit economics, is all directed toward a larger objective to take the company public sometime in 2021.

Shift, which is based in San Francisco, serves car buyers and sellers. The company, founded in 2013, has built a software platform that lets customers shop for cars, get financing and schedule test drives. Car owners can use the platform to sell their vehicle, as well. Shift says any car it buys must pass a “rigorous” 150+ point inspection.

Shift generated $135 million in revenues in 2018. The company is projecting revenues between $220 million and $240 million in 2019, Shift co-CEO Toby Russell told TechCrunch.

An IPO is an aspirational goal, but one both Russell and founder George Arison believe is achievable. They both pointed to Carvana, an online used car company that went public in 2017.

“Given Carvana’s trailing revenue of $350 million when they went public as a benchmark, we’d be well-positioned for IPO if we can hit $300 million to $400 million,” Russell said. “There’s nothing in stone yet, and IPOs depend on a lot of factors like market conditions, but that benchmark is where we’ll be positioning ourselves in the next two years.”

Carvana is often regarded as Shift’s closest competitor — although the two companies have distinct differences. Shift’s inventory is broader, allowing cars as old as 10 years on the platform and with up to 120,000 miles. Carvana focuses on newer cars between 0 and four years in age. Shift also emphasizes its test drives as a differentiator.

Shift’s biggest competitor is the traditional used car business, Russell contends. There are 35,000 new and used car dealers in the U.S., most of which are mom-and-pop shops, responsible for about 15 million transactions each year. Then there are private-party sales between individuals, Russell notes.

“This super-fragmented environment creates a lot of opportunity for growth for Carvana, Shift, Lithia, CarMax, etcetera, much like Walmart, Target and Amazon all grew over the last two decades,” Russell told TechCrunch.

New COO

To get there, Shift has hired a new COO, Sean Foy. The company also raised additional equity as it tries to hire more engineers and other employees and scale up its technology platform.

Foy comes to Shift from Enjoy Technologies, where he was head of operations. He was previously director of operations for Kindle, Fire, Echo and Amazon Devices working out of Amazon’s Lab 126 in Sunnyvale.

Shift is counting on Foy’s expertise to grow the business and leverage the technology platform, all while maintaining or improving the customer experience. In short, using technology to make it easier for the customer to buy or sell a car without making the process overly cumbersome or intimidating because of the technology.

“One of the things that Bezos (Jeff Bezos, Amazon CEO) used to say all the time when we were building Kindle was the technology should disappear, you should not get in the way of the experience of reading a book,” Foy said. “And it feels the like the same here; we don’t want this to be a technology-heavy process for the buyer, we want to stay as frictionless as possible so that we can attract more and more people onto the the site rather than going to traditional dealerships and giving them a much better experience. So it’s really about removing friction from the product.”

New funds

Shift announced in September that it had raised more than $140 million in equity and debt in a Series D round. The round, which consisted of about $70 million in debt and $71 million in equity, was led by automotive retailer Lithia Motors. Bryan DeBoer, CEO and president of Lithia, joined Shift’s board of directors.

An additional $40 million in equity has since come in, bringing the total raise of the Series D round to $180 million. This new capital brings Shift’s total financing of equity and debt to more than $300 million.

All of the new capital came from new investors, primarily large institutional investors, according to Shift.

Shift has already put some of that capital to work. The company said back in September it planned to invest in its technology platform and scale its engineering staff from 35 to more than 80 people by the end of 2019. As of early April, Shift employed 54 engineers. Another nine (all new graduate hires) will start over the summer.The company employs 450 people.

Mac Shipments Down in Q1 2019 Amid Worldwide PC Decline

Amid a decline of 4.6 percent in worldwide PC sales, Apple’s Mac sales were also down 2.5 percent in the first quarter of 2019, according to new PC shipment estimates shared this afternoon by Gartner.

Apple shipped an estimated 3.98 million Macs during the quarter, down from 4.08 million in the year-ago quarter. Apple’s market share grew year-over-year though, coming in at 6.8 percent, up from 6.6 percent in Q1 2018.

Gartner’s Preliminary Worldwide PC Vendor Unit Shipment Estimates for 1Q19 (Thousands of Units)



Apple continues to be ranked as the number four PC vendor worldwide, coming in after Lenovo, HP, and Dell, but ahead of Asus and Acer. Apple also held the number four spot in the year-ago quarter.

Lenovo, HP, and Dell all saw shipments grow or remain steady, while Asus and Acer, like Apple, experienced declines. Lenovo, the number one worldwide PC vendor during the quarter, shipped 13.2 million PCs for 22.5 percent market share, while HP, a close second, shipped 12.8 million PCs for 21.9 percent market share.

Dell came in third with close to 10 million PCs shipped and 17.6 percent market share, while Asus and Acer brought up the rear with 3.6 and 3.2 million PC shipments, respectively.

Overall, there were an estimated 58.5 million PCs shipped in Q1 2019, down from 61.4 million in the year-ago quarter.

Apple’s U.S. Mac shipments also declined, with Apple shipping an estimated 1.44 million Macs during the quarter, a 3.5 percent decline from the 1.5 million Macs it shipped in Q1 2018. Apple is ranked as the number four vendor in the United States, trailing behind HP, Dell, and Lenovo, but beating out Microsoft.

Gartner’s Preliminary U.S. Vendor Unit Shipment Estimates for 1Q19 (Thousands of Units)


HP was the top U.S. PC vendor with 3.24 million PC shipments, followed by Dell with 3.16 million and Lenovo with 1.5 million. The overall PC market in the United States saw a 6.3 percent decline compared to Q1 2018, with a total of 11 million PCs shipped.

Apple’s Market Share Trend: 1Q06–1Q19 (Gartner)


IDC also released its shipment estimates this afternoon, and is often the case, IDC’s shipping estimates are different than Gartner’s due to the variations in the way each firm makes shipment calculations.

IDC also suggests that overall worldwide PC shipments declined, but by just 3 percent with a total of 58.48 million PCs shipped during the quarter.

Apple is also the number four worldwide PC vendor in IDC’s estimates, with IDC suggesting Apple shipped an estimated 4.058 million Macs during the quarter, a mere 0.5 percent drop from the 4.078 million Macs shipped in the year-ago quarter.

Data from Gartner and IDC is based on estimates, and while Apple used to provide specific breakdowns of Mac sales, the company is no longer doing so and there will be no way to confirm shipment estimates going forward.

These new numbers follow refreshes of both the MacBook Pro and the MacBook Air lineups, both of which were overhauled in October 2018, but come prior to the launch of updated iMacs. Apple this year has several additional Mac updates on the horizon, including a new high-end high-throughput modular Mac Pro.

Apple’s Mac sales could potentially be suffering due to the negative publicity surrounding the butterfly keyboard issues in the MacBook, MacBook Air, and MacBook Pro, a problem that has become increasingly visible due to its impact on even the newest Mac notebooks.

Tags: IDC, Gartner

This article, "Mac Shipments Down in Q1 2019 Amid Worldwide PC Decline" first appeared on MacRumors.com

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Shaw own goal gives Barcelona advantage over spirited Man Utd

Barcelona hold a narrow advantage in their Champions League quarter-final with Manchester United after Luke Shaw turned a Luis Suarez header into his own net.