Business is shutting down – what next?

Facebook owner announced last month that it’s shutting down, and a thousands of app developers were left wondering what to do next.

Parse is an example of an MBaaS or “Mobile Backend as a Service” which can be a cost-effective way to deliver backend for apps. Typically these solutions offer a free entry-level service, and can scale up as users demand it. This makes them perfect for startup app development.

Of course, “cloud” solutions come with their own risks — one being policy changes or, in this case, a complete shutdown announcement, both of which can leave you with a massive challenge.

Luckily, in this case, it’s not as bad as it first seemed. 

Firstly, it’s going to be a year before Parse shuts down. That’s a whole year to plan what to do no next.

Secondly, parse is based on open technology such as JavaScript, Node.js and MongoDB and more importantly, Parse have released their technology as open-source. Many developers have already contributed and provided “one click” installs of the Parse Server technology onto other platforms hosting by Amazon, Google, Microsoft, Heroku and Appcelerator. 

As I write this, developers are adding push support with many more features in development — and it’s only been a month since the announcement. With other MBaaS solutions to explore, and plenty of innovation from developers, things are still looking good for anyone using Parse, or looking to use an MBaaS solution for their app.

By Jason Kneen, Bouncing Fish 

Find out more amazing posts on Disrupts.

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CAN Capital hits milestone

BII Small Business

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Alternative small business lender CAN Capital announced that it has provided small business owners $6 billion in working capital since its founding in 1998. The firm has facilitated over 170,000 loans to over 70,000 individual merchants, meaning that CAN has generated more working capital than any other company in the space, according to a company press release. And CAN continues to grow quickly — the firm hit $5 billion in originations last May, which means it’s originated over $1 billion in less than a year. 

In the past year, CAN launched two new products to better serve its consumers. One is a monthly installment program for longer-term loans and higher transaction sizes. The other, called TrakLoan, allows daily repayments to fluctuate based on the merchant’s card sales. This could help keep CAN competitive and maintain an early mover advantage as the alternative small business lending industry grows increasingly crowded. 

CAN’s success indicates that there’s still pent-up demand for loans among small business owners. Half of small businesses that applied for loans were rejected in the first half of 2014, according to a report from the New York Fed. Alternative lenders like CAN, which cater to firms that lack access to traditional lending mechanisms but need capital to thrive, can fill that gap.

CAN is not the only player in this space. A handful of payments companies including Square and PayPal are moving beyond their core market in payments to take advantage of an opportunity to help small businesses grow.

Following the 2008 financial crisis, banks severely restricted access to capital, disproportionately affecting fledgling and medium-sized businesses. Annual loan originations to businesses with $1 million or less in revenue fell dramatically between 2007 and 2013.

For payments companies like Square and PayPal this created an opportunity. They are now offering loans and advances to their small-business clients and charging a fixed fee for the capital advance. It’s a way to develop a new revenue stream and help their merchants grow (which in turn, means more money from credit card transaction fees).

John Heggestuen, managing research analyst for BI Intelligence, Business Insider’s premium research service, has compiled a detailed report on small business loans that explains how these digital-lending programs work, how they stack up to alternatives, and why banks should be worried about these programs taking off.

Small Business Lending Report CoverBI Intelligence

In full, the report:

  • Analyzes the market for small business lending and which business are most likely to use digital lending programs.
  • Explains how these new lending programs work using Square and PayPal as case studies.
  • Details the advantages that payments companies and other businesses see in small-business lending.
  • Investigates why banks should be worried about these new lending initiatives and how they might push back.

To get your copy of this invaluable guide, choose one of these options:

  1. Subscribe to an ALL-ACCESS Membership with BI Intelligence and gain immediate access to this report AND over 100 other expertly researched deep-dive reports, subscriptions to all of our daily newsletters, and much more. >> START A MEMBERSHIP
  2. Purchase the report and download it immediately from our research store. >> BUY THE REPORT

The choice is yours. But however you decide to acquire this report, you’ve given yourself a powerful advantage in your understanding of small business lending.


We were just surprised with a new trailer for the next ‘Harry Potter’ movie and it looks great

eddie redmayne fantastic beastsWarner Bros.

Not only did the MTV Movie Awards just give us a new trailer for this summer’s “Suicide Squad” movie, but the awards’ show also gave us a brand new trailer for the first “Harry Potter” spinoff movie, “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them.”

Starring Oscar Winner Eddie Redmayne as magizoologist Newt Scamander (the author behind one of Harry’s textbooks), the film will be set in New York City in 1926. He comes to NYC from London with a briefcase full of magical creatures.

Some of the creatures wind up getting loose and its up to Scamander to get them back.

“Fantastic Beasts” will be in theaters November.

RAW Embed


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Kate Middleton Can Play Sports In Heels

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge started off their seven-day India and Bhutan tour yesterday and it was a pretty fun start, we must say. Prince William and Kate Middleton was spotted kicking off the tour by playing cricket—they actually played with the world’s best cricketer Sachin Tendulkar. And she did it all while wearing […]

The post Kate Middleton Can Play Sports In Heels appeared first on Preen.


How In the World Did Kendall Jenner Get In and Out Of Her Thigh-Highs?

We all know it takes a village for a celebrity to get ready for a social event—and Kendall Jenner is no different. Admit it, the first time you saw her photo during the MTV Movie Awards, you had two things in mind. First is “How in the world did she get in those shoes?” and […]

The post How In the World Did Kendall Jenner Get In and Out Of Her Thigh-Highs? appeared first on Preen.


Ted Cruz locks up a clean sweep of Colorado delegates, Bernie Sanders takes Wyoming

Ted CruzREUTERS/Rick Wilking

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (AP) — Ted Cruz completed his sweep of Colorado’s 34 delegates on Saturday while rival Donald Trump angled for favor a half-continent away in New York’s all-important April 19 primary. On the Democratic side, Bernie Sanders picked up another win in Wyoming — but it did nothing to help him gain ground in the delegate chase.

Cruz netted 13 more delegates at Colorado’s state GOP convention. The Texas Senator already had locked up the support of 21 Colorado delegates and visited the state to try to pad his numbers there.

Keeping up his tussle with Trump over values, Cruz told the Colorado crowd earlier that it’s easy to talk about making America great again – “you can even print that on a baseball cap” – but that the more important question is which candidate understands “the principles and values that made America great in the first place.”

Trump left the Colorado convention to his organizers, and spent about a half-hour on Saturday touring the National Sept. 11 Memorial and Museum in lower Manhattan. His campaign issued a statement describing the site as “symbolic of the strength of our country, and in particular New Yorkers, who have done such an incredible job rebuilding that devastated section of our city.”

“This is what ‘New York values’ are really all about,” it added, a not-too-veiled poke at Cruz, who has taken heat for his earlier criticism of “New York values.”

Democratic presidential hopefuls, too, were focused on New York’s big trove of delegates even as Wyoming gave its nod to Sanders over Hillary Clinton.

Sanders got word of his Wyoming win from his wife, Jane, midway through a rally in Queens, part of a four-stop swing through New York City. A raucous cheer went up from the New Yorkers, but the Wyoming vote was a draw from a delegate perspective: Sanders and Clinton each picked up seven.

sanders clintonREUTERS/Rick Wilking

That means Clinton has 1,287 delegates based on primaries and caucuses to Sanders’ 1,037. When including superdelegates, or party officials who can back any candidate, Clinton has 1,756, or 74 percent of the number needed to clinch the nomination. Sanders has 1,068.

Sanders, who has now won seven of the last eight state contests, called Wyoming “a beautiful, beautiful state,” and told reporters the vote there was part of a shift in support in his direction since the campaign left the Deep South.

“Now that we are in the second half of this campaign, we are going to state after state which I think have a more progressive outlook,” Sanders said. “We are in this race to win.”

Clinton, at an evening rally before a Latino crowd in Brooklyn, found a rare point of agreement with Trump on the matter of New York values.

“I actually think New York values are really good for America,” she said, then launched into an argument for electing Democrats to protect the U.S. economy.

“It’s a fact that our economy does better when we have a Democrat in the White House,” she said.

Earlier in the day, she made a stop at Junior’s restaurant in Brooklyn, where she spoke admiringly of the cheesecake – but declined to partake.

She urged New Yorkers to help lock up the Democratic nomination so “we can go after the Republicans full time.”

On the Republican side, more than 3,000 people at Colorado’s Republican state convention picked the remaining 13 delegates. Cruz supporters sported bright orange T-shirts with his slate of delegates printed on the back.

Trump’s organizers distributed a slate that listed incorrect information for four of his candidates. His campaign contended the errors were due to changes to the ballot by the state GOP and did not rule out challenging the results.

The complex Colorado process inherently favored Cruz, the Trump campaign charged, and suspicions among supporters mounted after the results were announced Saturday night. The official Colorado Republican Party account tweeted: “We did it! #NeverTrump.” Colorado GOP spokesman Kyle Kohli said the tweet was unauthorized and it was swiftly deleted. The party was investigating who wrote the tweet.

Cruz supporters argued that their candidate didn’t just have an organizational edge but that the Texas senator was a better fit with the state’s socially conservative, libertarian-minded Republicans. “The Donald Trump caustic politics just doesn’t resonate in Colorado,” said Tom Peterson, an engineer and delegate from rural Elbert County.

donald trump rallyREUTERS/Rick Wilking

Trump supporters were frustrated by Colorado’s arcane process, which involved a series of caucuses at different locations before the convention. “It doesn’t seem like a real fair system,” said George Rosel, 60, an engineer and Trump supporter who came to the convention from the Denver suburb of Highlands Ranch. “It seems kind of rigged.”

Of the 34 delegates Cruz won, only 30 are technically pledged to his campaign; four are party officials who are unpledged but have promised to support Cruz, and the campaign placed them on its slate.

The results make it more challenging for Trump to accrue the 1,235 delegates needed to clinch the nomination by the end of the primaries on June 7.

Colorado also has three at-large delegates – the state party chairman and the two RNC committee members – who are not pledged to any candidate.

Ohio Gov. John Kasich, far behind Trump and Cruz in the delegate race, also was campaigning in New York.

Associated Press writers Jill Colvin, Kathleen Ronayne and Rachelle Blidner in New York, and Stephen Ohlemacher and Hope Yen in Washington contributed to this report.

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Obama: Donald Trump and Ted Cruz are doing Democrats a ‘favor’

President ObamaREUTERS/Jim Young

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) – President Barack Obama on Friday told donors that Republican presidential candidates Donald Trump and Ted Cruz were doing Democrats a “favor” by exposing extreme views within their party on issues such as immigration and national security.

“I actually think that Donald Trump and Ted Cruz have done us a favor,” Obama said, referring to policy positions that would restrict Muslims and Mexicans from entering the country.

Obama said Trump and Cruz, the two front-runners in the Republican nomination contest ahead of the Nov. 8 presidential election, have upset mainstream “establishment” Republicans with their insurgent campaigns.

But he told about 100 people at the annual “signature” fundraising dinner for Nancy Pelosi, Democratic leader in the House of Representatives, that Trump had laid bare what some in the Republican party had been saying for years.

“He said, ‘You know what? I can deliver this message with more flair, with more panache,'” Obama said.

Speaking in an opulent two-storey atrium with marble pillars in the home of billionaire oil heirs Gordon and Ann Getty, where donors paid $33,400 per couple to benefit the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, Obama mocked Trump.

“In 10 months, I will no longer be president of the United States. But in 10 months, I will – contrary to Mr. Trump’s opinion – still be a citizen of the United States,” he said, drawing laughter and cheers from the crowd.

Trump had long raised questions about whether Obama, who was born in Hawaii, was actually born outside the United States.

President ObamaREUTERS/Jim Young

It was Obama’s fourth stop on a fundraising swing through San Francisco and Los Angeles. Earlier, in San Francisco, Obama held a private roundtable at the Potrero Hill home of Susan Sandler and Steve Philips for the Democratic National Committee with about 25 people who paid up to $33,400 to attend.

He started Friday in Los Angeles with a breakfast event at the Brentwood home of “Spiderman” actor Tobey Maguire, closed to the media, where an undisclosed number of $33,400-tickets raised money for the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee.

On Thursday, he spoke at a fundraising dinner for the DCCC in a tent with seating for about 80 people outside the Bel Air home of Alan Horn, chairman of Walt Disney Studios, and Cindy Horn, an environmental activist.

(Editing by Clarence Fernandez)

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Regions Bank to Offer Online Consumer Loan Experience Powered by Leading FinTech Firm Avant

Regions Bank and online lending platform Avant announced on 8 April an agreement to offer a streamlined online consumer loan application and underwriting experience for Regions Bank customers. The unique agreement will combine Regions’ established banking and online presence with Avant’s technology platform to provide a fast, convenient digital experience for customers seeking consumer loans.

“Working with Avant, we will be able to offer a better online experience, while maintaining our commitment to responsible lending — something that benefits customers, the community and our shareholders,” said Logan Pichel, head of Regions Consumer Lending. “Regions is pleased to pair our expertise in service and traditional bank lending with a trusted and proven FinTech leader like Avant.”

The Regions/Avant co-branded loan application process will be made available during the second half of 2016. Customers may apply for an unsecured personal loan through the AvantPlatform on the Regions website. Applicants are assessed and receive an immediate credit decision, followed by automated verification steps for final approval. Loans sizes range from $1,000-$35,000 and many applicants may have access to funds as soon as the next business day.

Avant is a marketplace lending platform dedicated to creating innovative and practical financial products for all consumers. Through its unique and highly customized approach to streamlined credit options, Avant has issued more than 500,000 loans worldwide through its online platform since 2012.

“Our agreement with Regions demonstrates how forward-thinking banks and marketplace lending platforms can collaborate to meet the needs of consumers,” said Al Goldstein, CEO of Avant. “Through this agreement we can bring responsible access to credit to a new demographic of borrowers. The technology offered by AvantPlatform has the power to be a game-changer in the banking industry.”


Read more Fintech articles on The Fintech Times.

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The World Bank has a multibillion-dollar plan to help poor countries fight global warming

Kiribati climate changeREUTERS/David Gray

WASHINGTON (AP) — The World Bank is boosting spending to help poorer countries battle global warming and power 150 million homes with renewable energy.

The bank released a 59-page climate action plan Thursday designed to help less developed nations meet global warming goals they set last December in Paris.

The private-sector arm of the international financial organization plans to increase its $2.3 billion-a-year spending on fighting climate change to $3.5 billion a year by 2020.

Officials hope to spur $13 billion a year in similar private investments.

The bank also plans to help developing countries add 30 gigawatts of electricity to power 150 million homes without emissions of heat-trapping gases.

“We’re making climate change a central part of everything we’re doing,” said John Roome, the bank’s senior director for climate change.

The World Bank Group said it spends about $10.3 billion a year on climate, which is slated to rise to $16 billion a year by 2020.

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