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Main article: Economy

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Reset Button is approaching student debt from a new angle

18:05 | 12 February

Student loan debt in the U.S. totals $1.5 trillion, and more than 44 million Americans have outstanding student loan debt.

According to research by Jason Iuliano, Villanova law professor, a million student loan debtors have filed for bankruptcy in the past five years. However, 99.9 percent of them did not include their student loan debt in their bankruptcy filing.

This research was the seed of what would become Reset Button, a new startup founded by Iuliano and Rob Hunter looking to help student loan debtors who have gone through bankruptcy find a new way to include those debts in their filing.

The only way you can include student loan debt in a bankruptcy filing is through litigation. Those cases have been historically less likely to settle out of court than other types of civil cases.

This means that the cost of including student loan debt in bankruptcy filings is, at the very least, around $10K. Now, if there was some guarantee that you could trade hundreds of thousands of dollars of student loan debt for $10K-$15K, you’d obviously do it. But most folks who are already in the process of filing for bankruptcy don’t have a spare $10K minimum to spend on a litigator. And even if they did, there is no guarantee they’d win in court, resulting in even more debt and no relief.

This is what Reset Button is trying to change.

To be clear, Reset Button is targeted directly at folks who have already filed for bankruptcy but were told they couldn’t include their student loan debt in those filings, and so they didn’t.

Here’s how it works:

Reset Button has built a network of litigation lawyers who have experience in seeking student loan discharges. When a new user fires up Reset Button, the startup sends them through an evaluation process that collects financial information, etc. to assess whether or not one of those lawyers could litigate the discharge of that user’s student loan debt. That evaluation factors in a number of signals, including past legal cases that are comparable to the user’s situation.

That process also does a lot of the heavy lifting that makes hiring a litigator so expensive. These lawyers often have to do tons of research, tracking down statements and bills and other paperwork, before they can truly get started with the litigation.

Reset Button, as the connective tissue between debtor and lawyer, is able to automate a lot of that process for the lawyers, delivering a package of information on the case and connecting the user with the right lawyer for them.

Reset is also looking to bring the cost down for debtors. The company charges either 12 percent of the total debt discharged, or $10,000 (whichever is lowest). Reset also allows users to pay that sum over time, in $300 monthly installments. This is in stark contrast to people who hire their own lawyer, who would be responsible for the costs up front.

Reset Button is able to do this through a payment process called factoring. In short, Reset buys the receivables from the attorney’s fees, and charges the debtor with their own payment plan. Reset makes money from lawyers who pay for the lead generation, the technology services, and the marketing apparatus.

Factoring has come under fire from some who say that service providers sometimes raise prices to account for their fee, but Reset Button cofounders Rob Hunter and Iuliano say that their lawyers are actually charging less because of the workflow optimization provided by Reset Button.

The company also provides a Knowledge Base for debtors seeking financial guidance and resources, but the only revenue stream comes from the actual litigation of student loan debt in bankruptcy filings. Other services like refinancing, debt consolidation, or income-based payments are not provided by Reset Button, and the company has no official partnerships with those types of service providers.

However, Hunter said that it may be an avenue the company explores as it grows.

Perhaps most importantly, Reset Button offers a Fresh Start guarantee. In short, if the lawyer doesn’t manage to get your debt wiped, Reset will pay your legal bills.

There has been movement in the landscape of student loan discharges with bankruptcy.

Essentially, debtors must prove in court that they pass the test of “undue hardship,” which is a notably vague framework. Though there is a bit of variability among the various court circuits, the general idea is that a debtor must prove that they can’t currently pay back the loan, that there will not be a change down the line that will allow them to pay the loan in the future, and that they have made every effort to pay the loans in the past.

Historically, that’s been a difficult threshold to cross for the fraction of people who take steps to litigate their student loan debt. However, in small ways, courts seem to be opening up the interpretation of undue hardship.

“There’s a phrase that gets used in these cases that I think perpetuates this myth, and that is to call it a ‘certainty of hopelessness’,” said John Rao, attorney with the National Consumer Law Center. “And it’s almost like, as long as you’re still alive and breathing, something could improve for you. That’s just an impossible burden. It’s basically saying you could win the lottery or something. That’s just not the standard I think Congress had in mind.”

In 2015, in a case between Robert E. Murphy and the DOE/ECMC, Rao wrote to the courts arguing that they should reassess the test for undue hardship.

Rather than adopt one existing test over another, we urge this Court to provide a formulation of the undue hardship standard in simple terms, that restricts consideration of extraneous and inappropriate factors not consistent with the statutory language. A finding about whether a debtor’s hardship is likely to persist should be based on hard facts, not conjecture and unsubstantiated optimism.

More recently, a judge in the Southern District of New York ruled in favor of a debtor, wiping more than $200,000 in Kevin Rosenberg’s student debt. Of course, the lenders will be appealing the case.

However, Judge Morris, who presided over the case, wrote in her decision that “most people (bankruptcy professionals as well as lay individuals) believe it impossible to discharge student loans,” and that her “Court will not participate in perpetuating these myths.”

Reset Button has raised money from investors Craft Ventures, Slow Ventures, and Jeff Morris Jr. of Lambda School, among others. The company declined to share its total amount of investment.

“Society has been led to believe something for decades that is not true, which is probably the biggest initial challenge,” said founder and CEO Rob Hunter. “One of the unfortunate things is the reason that many consumers believe incorrect information is because a lawyer told them that. So, that is a bit of an uphill battle to swim against.”

 


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Show off your startup at TC Sessions: Mobility 2020

00:00 | 12 February

Remember when “mobility” meant laptops and cell phones? Those were quaint times. Now the category encompasses the future of transportation — everything from flying cars and autonomous vehicles to delivery bots and beyond. There’s no better place to explore this rapidly moving industry than TC Sessions: Mobility 2020, our day-long conference in San Jose on May 14.

And there’s no better place to showcase your early-stage mobility startup. Consider this: more than 1,000 of mobility’s brightest technologists, engineers, founders and investors will be on hand to explore the future of this rapidly evolving technology. So why not buy an Early-Stage Startup Exhibitor Package and plant your business squarely in the path of this group of enthusiastic influencers?

Your exhibitor package includes a 30-inch high-boy table, power, linen, signage — and four tickets to the event. You and your team can strut your startup stuff, take advantage of hyper-focused networking and still enjoy the event’s presentations and workshops.

We’re building our agenda, and we just started announcing speakers on a rolling basis. If you know someone who should be onstage at this event? Hit us up and nominate a speaker here.

We already told you that Waymo’s Boris Sofman and Ike Robotics’ Nancy Sun will join us. And we’re thrilled that Reilly Brennan, founding general partner of Trucks VC, a seed-stage venture capital fund for entrepreneurs, will also grace our stage. Brennan’s many investments include May Mobility, Nauto, nuTonomy, Joby Aviation, Skip and Roadster.

Will your startup be his next investment? Stranger things have happened.

TC Sessions: Mobility 2020 takes place on May 14 in San Jose, Calif. Spend a full day of exploring the art and science of mobility, and don’t miss your chance to introduce your startup to influential movers and shakers. These are heady times in the mobility industry, and it’s moving faster than the race to market a viable flying car. Buy an Early-Stage Startup Exhibitor Package, and you might just transport your business to a whole new level.

Is your company interested in sponsoring or exhibiting at TC Sessions: Mobility 2020? Contact our sponsorship sales team by filling out this form.

 


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Judge rejects Uber and Postmates’ request for an injunction against California’s gig worker law

10:50 | 11 February

A U.S District court judge has rejected Uber and Postmates’ request for a preliminary injunction against a California bill mandating how independent contractors are classified. The request was made as part of lawsuit filed by the companies, along with two ride-sharing drivers, at the end of December. The lawsuit is still in progress.

Assembly Bill 5 (known as AB5) went into effect at the beginning of the year and limits how companies can label workers as independent contractors. While meant to protect contractors, the legislation has been criticized by some freelancers who say it restricts their work opportunities and ability to earn money, as well as tech companies whose business models rely on gig workers.

In a decision issued on Monday, Judge Dolly Gee of the Central Court of California wrote that that the court “cannot second guess the Legislature’s choice to enact a law that seeks to uplift the conditions of the majority of non-exempt low-income workers rather than preserve the status quo for the smaller subset of workers who enjoy independent contractor status,” adding that “the balance of equities and the public interest weight in favor of permitting the State to enforce this legislation.”

Uber and Postmates’ lawsuit argue that AB5 violates several clauses in the U.S. and California constitutions, including equal protection because of how it classifies ride-sharing and on-demand delivery workers compared on exemptions granted to workers in more than twenty other industries.

Uber, Postmates and the lawsuit’s two other plaintiffs, Lydia Olson and Miguel Perez, have the option of appealing Gee’s decision.

In press statement, a Postmates’ spokesperson said “As witnessed by truckers, freelance journalists, and countless other occupations, AB5 is undercutting workers across the economy, and Postmates remains committed to the modernization of worker classification and worker protections and sees our ballot conversation with voters, our legal conversation with drivers, and our continued outreach to all stakeholders as critical pieces  to an enduring pro-worker, pro-innovation solution that preserves the flexibility and autonomy of California workers while adding meaningful benefits.”

An Uber spokesperson said “We are joining a growing group of companies and individuals suing to ensure that all workers are equally protected under the law and can freely choose the way they want to work.”

 


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Co-op helps Uber, Lyft drivers use data to maximize earnings

17:25 | 6 February

As we have previously reported, an increasing number of startups are exploring cooperative business models where workers (and sometimes users) are owners in the company. Driver’s Seat, which participated in the first batch of the Start.coop accelerator, is one such example. 

Driver’s Seat is designed to help gig workers own and use their data so they can maximize their income. It works by first requiring ride-hail drivers to install an app that educates them about how the co-op collects and uses their data. In exchange, the app gives them insights about their real hourly wages after expenses and how those wages relate to different driving strategies.

For example, Driver’s Seat helps drivers determine when and where they should drive when it’s slow and can calculate the odds of making driver bonuses via Uber, Lyft and other ride-hail platforms. Driver’s Seat then aggregates all of the data to market it to cities, municipalities and state governments that require this information for planning purposes. 

“These folks are hungry to support ride-hail drivers and make ride-hailing work better in their cities,” Driver’s Seat founder and CEO Hays Witt tells TechCrunch.

City agencies can use this data to make better decisions about transportation planning as it relates to congestion, pollution, curb allocation and affordable transit. The proceeds from those contracts then go back to the drivers via dividends.

 


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TLcom Capital closes $71M Africa fund with plans to back 12 startups

12:00 | 5 February

VC firm TLcom Capital has closed its Tide Africa Fund at $71 million with plans to make up to 12 startup investments over the next 18 months.

The group —  with offices in London, Lagos, and Nairobi — is looking for tech enabled, revenue driven ventures in Africa from seed-stage to Series B, according to TLcom Managing Partner Maurizio Caio.

“We’re rather sector agnostic, but right now we are looking at companies that are more infrastructure type tech rather than super commoditized things like consumer lending,” he told TechCrunch on a call.

On geographic scope, TLcom Capital will focus primarily on startups in Africa’s big-three tech hubs — Nigeria, Kenya, South Africa — but is also eyeing rising markets, such as Ethiopia.

Part of the fund’s investment approach, according to Caio, is backing viable companies with strong founders and then staying out of the way.

“We are venture capitalists that believe in looking at Africa as an investment opportunity that empowers local entrepreneurs without…coming in and explaining what to do,” said Caio.

TLcom’s team includes Caio (who’s Italian), partners Ido Sum and Andreata Muforo (from Zimbabwe) and senior partner Omobola Johnson, the former Minister of Communication Technology in Nigeria.

Speaking at TechCrunch Disrupt Berlin in 2018, Johnson offered perspective on next startups in Africa that could reach billion-dollar valuations. “When I look at the African market I suspect it’s going to be a company that’s very much focused on business to business and business to very small business — a company that can that can solve their challenges,” she said.

Omobola Johonson

Omobola Johnson

TLcom’s current Africa portfolio reflects startups similar to what Johnson described. The fund has invested in Nigerian trucking logistics venture Kobo360, which is working to reduce business delivery costs in Africa.

TLcom has also backed Kenya’s Twiga Foods, a B2B food distribution company aimed a improving supply-chain operations around agricultural products and fast-moving-consumer-goods for farmers and SMEs.

Both of these companies have gone on to expand in Africa and receive subsequent investment by U.S. investment bank, Goldman Sachs .

Other investments for TLcom include talent accelerator Andela  — which trains and places African software engineers — and Ulesson, the latest venture of serial founder Sim Shagaya.

The firm’s close of the $71 million Tide Africa Fund comes on the high-end of a several-year mobilization of capital for the continent’s startup scene. Investment shops specifically focused on Africa have been on the rise. A TechCrunch and Crunchbase study in 2018 tracked 51 viable Africa specific VC funds globally, TLcom included.

This trend has moved in tandem with a quadrupling of venture funding for the continent over the past six years. Accurately measuring VC for Africa is a work in progress, but one of the earlier reliable estimates placed it at just over $400 million in 2014. Recent stats released by Partech peg Africa focused VC funding at over $2 billion for 2019.

TLcom’s listed in a number of the larger rounds that made up Partech’s tally.

The fund’s latest $71 million raise, which included support from Sango Capital and IFC, reversed the roles a bit for TLcom founder Maurizio Caio.

The VC principal — who usually gets pitches from African startups — needed to sell the value of African tech to other investors.

“It’s been tough to raise the fund, there’s no doubt about it,” Caio said. TLcom highlighted its past exit record and the viability of the African market and founders to bring investors on board.

“We had the advantage of showing some good exits…The emphasis was also on the gigantic size of these markets that are underserved, the role that technology can play, and the fact that the entrepreneurs in Africa are just as good as anywhere else,” said Caio.

He also referenced African startups being constrained by the social impact factors often placed on them from outside investors.

“The equation is not just about ensuring employment and inclusion, but also about the fact that African entrepreneurs have to be in charge of their own destiny without instructions from the West,” he said.

For those startups who wish to pitch to TLcom Capital, Caio encouraged founders to contact one of the fund’s partners and share a value proposition. “If it’s something we find vaguely interesting, we’ll make a decision,” he said.

 


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After closing its $2.2 billion latest tech fund, KKR adds top Cisco exec to its leadership team

00:30 | 5 February

KKR, the multibillion dollar multistrategy investment firm, is beefing up its technology practice with the appointment of Rob Salvagno as a co-head of its technology growth equity business in the U.S. 

It’s a sign that KKR is taking the tech industry seriously as it looks for new acquisition and investment opportunities.

Salvagno, the former vice president of corporate development and head of Cisco Investments, was responsible for all mergers and acquisitions and venture capital investments at the company.

Over a twenty-year career Salvagno helped form and launch Decibel, the networking giant’s early stage, several hundred million dollar investment fund.

“Our business has evolved significantly since we first launched our technology growth equity strategy over five years ago with a small team of five. Since that time, the growth of our business and the number of compelling investments we’re seeing around the globe have allowed us to not only expand our team, but also our technology experience, network and geographic reach,” said Dave Welsh, KKR Partner and Head of Technology Growth Equity, in a statement. “With the addition of a tech industry veteran like Rob to our team, we’re excited to continue to build for the future and position ourselves well to capture the many investment opportunities we see ahead.” 

To date, KKR has invested $2.7 billion in tech companies since 2014 and established itself as a player in late stage tech investment with a team of nineteen investment professionals. Earlier this month, the firm closed its $2.2 billion fund dedicated to growth technology investment in North America, Europe and Israel.

“Rob has an extensive background in security, [infrastructure] software and app dev and dev ops, a background which we believe will complement the existing teams’ skillset very well,” said Welsh in an email. “[And] our focus areas for our second firm will be similar to the prior fund, namely a heavy focus on software with some additional focus on consumer internet, fintech/insurtech and tech enabled services.”

Application development software and security technologies will also remain a core focus for the firm, according to Welsh.

“Additionally, we will be ramping up our time spent on infrastructure software (i.e. software used to run modern data center / cloud environments), application dev and development operations (i.e. app dev and dev ops solutions) as well as software solutions focused on certain vertical industries (such as real estate, legal, construction, hospitality),” the KKR co-head wrote in an email.

 


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Remitly launches Passbook, a neobank aimed at immigrants, to expand beyond money transfers

21:56 | 3 February

Last summer, the Seattle-based startup Remitly closed a $135 million round to go beyond money-transfer services into a wider range of financial products catering to its primarily-immigrant customer base.

Today, it’s taking the wraps off a new product that puts paid to that plan: it’s launching Passbook, a new bank aimed at immigrants that lets a person use any form of picture ID — whether it’s from the US or not — to sign up. The service is starting first in the US — Remitly’s biggest market today among its 15 “send from” countries and 40 “send to” countries. The long-term plan is to roll out Passbook anywhere that Remitly is active over time.

Aimed at the 44 million immigrants in the country that Remitly already targets with services to send money back to their home countries, the idea is to give them options to open and use bank accounts even if they are not in possession of Social Security numbers or other forms of US-originated identification, as long as they are living in the US, have another form of identification (for example a passport from another country), and in cases where the ID lacks an address, proof of where they live.

Passbook is tapping into a problem that extends into both developed and developing markets, where collectively some 1.7 billion people globally remain “unbanked,” with no access to bank accounts and therefore mostly off the financial grid, and therefore unlikely to have access to services like credit that can potentially help them improve their financial station in life.

Passbook is interesting not just because it’s addressing a gap in the market of financial services, but because of the timely subject matter.

The subjects of migrant workers, immigration, nationality — and how to best to handle the influx of new populations of people within a country’s borders coming for a variety of reasons — are all being hotly debated in the US and elsewhere. Large political shifts and platforms are being built and pivoting around how people view the movement of people.

But while those subjects get lots of attention in the media, in the halls of government, at the bar and around the proverbial dinner table, ironically the subject of those arguments — the people themselves — regularly get overlooked when it comes to building new services and calibrating tech to focus on them, two things that could clearly improve their individual lots and the economy as a whole. Immigrants globally represent some $1.3 trillion in wages and $900 billion in spending power annually.

“No-one should be excluded from banking and financial services,” said Matt Oppenheimer, the CEO and co-founder of Remitly, in an interview in London last week about Passbook.

Passbook is a logical expansion for Remitly because there is a strong overlap between the typical Remitly’s target customer, a country’s immigrant population, and those living in a country like the US who are underbanked.

Today many of the individuals who use money transfer services are immigrants, who use them to send money to family and friends in their “home” countries. Those immigrants, in turn, are the most likely US residents to lack social security numbers and other kinds of US-issued identification.

Up to now, that has made it harder for them to open bank accounts, since many banks in the US — in an effort to avoid risk, not because of a legal requirement — often require those US-originated identification documents to open the accounts in the first place.

But that opens an opportunity for a company like Remitly, which can use a banking service to expand its services funnel with its existing users — it has to date sent some $6 billion in funds on behalf of its users — and to open a new front in adding in other customers who may not already be using it for money transfer.

Since the main requirement is to satisfy “Know Your Customer” compliance, Remitly can do this using other documentation that a person is likely to have.

Remitly has set Passbook up like a typical challenger bank (these days often referred to as a “neobank”), in that it operates as a virtual, online-only bank with no physical office and has partnered with another banking partner called Sunrise that runs all the services under the hood and provides FDIC guarantees for deposits up to $250,000. On top of that, Remitly has worked in a number of features that it believes give customers not just a bank account, but one that has features specific to those that might appeal to its specific customer base.

That includes, in addition to basics like having an account into which money can be paid in and out, and having a Visa-based debit card to make cashless transactions, users getting the ability to “choose your flag” to personalise a card, no fees for transactions when the payment card is used abroad, no account maintenance fees, no overdraft fees, no ATM fees and no minimum balance.

As you would expect, Remitly will soon be adding in the ability to link the Passbook accounts to their money transfer feature to make the process more seamless, and presumably cheaper to entice more cross-service signups. No loans on the platform yet, but you can imagine credit, mortgages and other kinds of lending to make its way there over time as well.

Given the focus on immigrants as users, I asked Oppenheimer about the potential risk that they would be providing services to people who are in the US undocumented and potentially illegally, and wether that could pose problems for the company. He replied that the company is committed to protecting the privacy of its customers and since all that is needed is to satisfy KYC compliance, Remitly would never have information on a users’ immigration status one way or the other, leaving the question off the ledger altogether.

I also asked Oppenheimer where the company stands on funding. It has now raised just under $400 million, and for now is in no hurry to raise any more, he said. But when and if financing is added into the mix of services, you might imagine that will change again.

 


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Utah tech magnates create new Silicon Slopes Venture Fund to boost startups in the state

17:29 | 3 February

Those looking outside of Silicon Valley as a potential hub for their startup might want to take a gander at Utah — at least that’s the kind of trend the new Silicon Slopes Venture Fund hopes to create.

The newly formed fund, put together by Qualtrics co-founder Ryan Smith, Omniture and Domo founder Josh James and Stance co-founder turned Pelion Venture Partners’ Jeff Kearl, pledges to invest solely in Utah-based startups. The goal? To become every bit as notable as a16z or Sequoia Capital.

Qualtrics co-founder Ryan Smith and Domo and Omniture founder Josh James onstage at the Silicon Slopes Tech Summit.

“I grew up in the Bay Area,” Kearl told TechCrunch of the energy he feels in the state. “This feels like the 1990s in the Bay Area. You can find hundreds of open jobs up and down the Wasatch Front.”

Utah has a reputation as a mostly religious, conservative and sleepy mountain region for outdoors enthusiasts but tech has fast become the leading job sector in the state, with some salaries from companies like Adobe and Qualtrics rivaling those in Silicon Valley. The state recently pledged a push to include at least one computer science course in every high school in the state by 2022 and also just hosted a massive, 25,000 person startup festival called the Silicon Slopes Tech Summit, where it held a Utah state governor’s debate and both Steve Case and Mark Zuckerberg spoke on stage.

It’s unclear how much the fund has set aside for its mission to help Utah become a full-fledged tech ecosystem rivaling Silicon Valley but one would imagine it would have a sizable sum to invest, if, as Smith tells TechCrunch, it is to help Utah’s up-and-coming startups go all the way from seed stage to IPO.

“I want to see companies get even bigger than Qualtrics…and do it in this state,” Smith said. Qualtrics sold to SAP in 2019 for $8 billion, notably the largest private enterprise software deal in tech history.

Silicon Slopes Tech Summit 2020 Gubernatorial Debate

One of the many issues tech hubs around the world face is both the networking capabilities and the ability to invest after the seed stage or Series A. Most startups throughout the globe still find the need to travel and make connections in Silicon Valley to get them through the next step of growth. This has been true for every billion-dollar startup idea in Utah as well so far. Both Smith and James took in Silicon Valley venture for their companies, as did unicorn turned public ed tech startup Pluralsight and the recently rebranded sales platform Xant (formerly InsideSales), before making it big.

However, this new fund represents the kind of push needed to create a strong innovation ecosystem in the future, as Steve Case mentioned on stage at the summit event this last week. “Venture capitalists must look at ‘what’s happening in the Silicon Slopes’ and make sure it ‘is happening other places’,” Utah newspaper Deseret News paraphrased the AOL founder as saying.

Pelion Venture Partners, which operates in both Utah and Southern California, will act as a support to Silicon Slopes Venture Fund, providing organizational overhead. Each partner will still keep their day job and donate most fees to support the ongoing operation of the non-profit tech organization, Silicon Slopes, which runs the annual tech summit of the same moniker. However, the Silicon Slopes Venture Fund will be an independent fund from Pelion, with the sole purpose of investing in deal flow the three partners find through their respective networks within the state.

“I used to hate the term ‘a rising tide lifts all boats’ because I want to be the only boat,” James told TechCrunch. “But I really think it applies here for what we are trying to do [in Utah].”

 


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A Christian-friendly payments processor spilled 6 million transaction records online

00:00 | 29 January

A little-known payments processor, which bills itself as a Christian-friendly company that does “not process credit card transactions for morally objectionable businesses,” left a database containing years’ worth of customer payment transactions online.

The database contained 6.7 million records since 2013, and was updating by the day. But the database was not protected with a password, allowing anyone to look inside.

Security researcher Anurag Sen found the database. TechCrunch identified its owner as Cornerstone Payment Systems, which provides payment processing to ministries, non-profits, and other morally aligned businesses across the U.S., including churches, religious radio personalities, and pro-life groups.

Payment processors handle credit and debit card transactions on behalf of a business.

A review of a portion of the database showed each record contained payee names, email addresses, and in many but not all cases postal addresses. Each record also had the name of the merchant who is being paid, the card type, the last four-digits of the card number, and its expiry date.

The data also contained specific dates and times of the transaction. Each record also indicated if a payment was successful or if it was declined. Some of the records also contained notes from the customer, often describing what the payment was for — such as a donation or a commemoration.

Although there was some evidence of tokenization — a way of replacing sensitive information with a unique string of letters and numbers — the database itself was not encrypted.

We used some of the email addresses to contact a number of affected customers. Two people whose names and transactions were found in the database confirmed their information was accurate.

After TechCrunch contacted Cornerstone, the company pulled the database offline.

“Cornerstone Payment Systems has secured all server access,” said spokesperson Tony Adamo.

“It is vital to note that Cornerstone Payment Systems does not store complete credit card data or check data. We have put in place enhanced security measures locking down all URLs. We are currently reviewing all logs for any potential access,” he added.

Cornerstone did not say if it will inform state regulators of the security lapse, which it’s required to do under California state’s data breach notification laws.

Read more:

 


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A founder’s guide to recession planning for startups

22:37 | 24 January

Schwark Satyavolu Contributor
Schwark Satyavolu is a general partner at Trinity Ventures where he makes early-stage investments in fintech, security and AI. A serial entrepreneur, he co-founded Yodlee (YDLE) and Truaxis, both of which were acquired. Previously, he held senior executive positions at LifeLock and Mastercard. He is an inventor on 15 patents.

We are living through one of the nation’s longest periods of economic growth. Unfortunately, the good times can’t last forever. A recession is likely on the horizon, even if we can’t pinpoint exactly when. Founders can’t afford to wait until the midst of a downturn to figure out their game plans; that would be like initiating swim lessons only after getting dumped in the open ocean.

When recession inevitably strikes, it will be many founders’ — and even many VCs’ — first experiences navigating a downturn. Every startup executive needs a recession playbook. The time to start building it is now.

While recessions make running any business tough, they don’t necessitate doom. I co-founded two separate startups just before downturns struck, yet I successfully navigated one through the 2000 dot-com bust and the second through the 2008 financial crisis. Both companies not only survived but thrived. One went public and the second was acquired by Mastercard.

I hope my lessons learned prove helpful to building your own recession game plan.

 


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It need to be taxed also any organic substance ie food than is used as a calorie transfer needs tax…
Peter Short

Twitter Is Testing A Dedicated GIF Button On Mobile
Peter Short
Sounds great Facebook got a button a few years ago
Then it disappeared Twitter needs a bottom maybe…
Peter Short

Apple’s Next iPhone Rumored To Debut On September 9th
Peter Short
Looks like a nice cycle of a round year;)
Peter Short

AncestryDNA And Google’s Calico Team Up To Study Genetic Longevity
Peter Short
I'm still fascinated by DNA though I favour pure chemistry what could be
Offered is for future gen…
Peter Short

U.K. Push For Better Broadband For Startups
Verg Matthews
There has to an email option icon to send to the clowns in MTNL ... the govt of India's service pro…
Verg Matthews

CrunchWeek: Apple Makes Music, Oculus Aims For Mainstream, Twitter CEO Shakeup
Peter Short
Noted Google maybe grooming Twitter as a partner in Social Media but with whistle blowing coming to…
Peter Short

CrunchWeek: Apple Makes Music, Oculus Aims For Mainstream, Twitter CEO Shakeup
Peter Short
Noted Google maybe grooming Twitter as a partner in Social Media but with whistle blowing coming to…
Peter Short