Online Auto Retail Company Carvana Expands Into Minnesota

by Valerie Lockhart

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When I first saw a “Carvana” commercial, I thought it was satirical commentary on our online-obsessed culture. The very thought of ordering a vehicle from an online vending machine and having it dropped off in front of my home was laughable. Well, the joke’s on me, I guess, as Minnesota is the newest market in Carvana’s nationwide expansion.

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Digital River Appoints New CFO

by Alex Skjong

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Digital River has appointed Christopher Bernander as its new chief financial officer. The position marks a return to the Minneapolis-based eCommerce company for Bernander; he served in assorted financial roles for the company over nine years previous to his most recent position as vice president of finance for Renaissance Learning.

“I’m proud to be returning to Digital River during such an exciting time for the company, Bernander said in a statement. “Ecommerce is a strategic focus for brands worldwide. I look forward to working with the entire team as we execute on growing our customers’ online revenues while protecting them from business risk.”

Bernander’s appointment comes fairly soon after another big announcement for the company; a shift to a “headless” service approach late last summer.

BETA Startup Showcase: Plyo

by Valerie Lockhart

BETA Startup: Plyo LogoThe TECHdotMN team would like to introduce you to each of the startups featured in the upcoming BETA showcase. Over the next couple of weeks, we will highlight each company, so you can get a better idea of the talent, hardwork, and dedication held within each of these startups.

The next company in our BETA Startup Showcase series is: Plyo

Plyo is a technology platform that rewards college students for exercising on campus with virtual points that can be redeemed for exclusive offers at popular restaurants, retailers, and brands.
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Digital River Moves to API-first and Microservices-based Architecture

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Image result for Digital River logo“MINNEAPOLIS – August 13, 2019 – Digital River, the most experienced global ecommerce enabler for established and fast-growing brands, announced today that it has transitioned to a “headless” approach, building out its suite of APIs and microservices. This move enables brands to combine best-of-breed solutions from multiple providers to create a flexible ecommerce offering designed to meet increasingly complex shopper demands globally.”

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Amazon Factory Workers Plan Prime Day Strike in Shakopee

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Via The Verge

“Amazon workers at a Shakopee, Minnesota warehouse plan to strike for six hours during Prime Day to demand safer working conditions and secure jobs. According to Bloomberg, workers across two shifts will leave the warehouse and protest outside the facility; they’ll also be joined by some engineers from the Amazon Employees For Climate Justice group who plan to fly in to support the strike.”

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Minneapolis Fintech Startup Sezzle Raises $5.6m In ‘Pre IPO’ Round

Minneapolis fintech startup Sezzle has raised a new round of investment with $5.6m closed on per SEC filing.

Like PayPal, but with micro-installments, consumers can ‘checkout with Sezzle’ and receive a small denomination interest free loan at the time of purchase, on demand.

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Target Launches A 3rd Party Curated Marketplace Called ‘Target Plus’

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Via News Release

“We know guests count on Target to find products they’ll love without wading through endless options, so here’s some exciting news. Meet Target +™ (Target Plus), a curated assortment of products from third-party sellers on Target.com. It’s an initiative in its earliest stages, designed to complement Target’s current assortment with thoughtfully selected additions in popular areas like home, toys, electronics and sporting goods.”

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Duluth Tech Firm Runway Manhattan Brings AI To The Oscars With FashionBrain

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Via Twin Cities Business

“At the 91st Academy Awards on Sunday, media outlets will be able to download photos of Lady Gaga on the red carpet even before she’s told Ryan Seacrest who she’s wearing. That real-time photo identification technology will come from a small start-up far away from the Hollywood limelight—in Duluth.

For years, Duluth-based Runway Manhattan has supplied fashion photos, videos, and copy to publishers worldwide. At the Oscars, the company will premier its new artificial intelligence-based technology called FashionBrain, designed to make it easier for publishers to quickly track down specific red-carpet images.”

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