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Seven reasons not to trust Facebook to play cupid

This week Facebook has launched a major new product play , slotting an algorithmic dating service inside its walled garden as if that’s perfectly normal behavior for an ageing social network. Insert your dad dancing GIF of choice right here. Facebook getting into dating looks very much like a mid-life crisis — as a veteran social network desperately seeks a new strategy to stay relevant in an age when app users have largely moved on from social network ‘lifecasting’ to more bounded forms of sharing, via private messaging and/or friend groups inside dedicated messaging and sharing apps. The erstwhile Facebook status update has long been usurped by the Snapchat (and now Instagram) Story as the social currency of choice for younger app users. Of course Facebook owns the latter product too, and has mercilessly cloned Stories. But it hardly wants its flagship service to just fade away into the background like the old fart it actually is in Internet age terms. Not if it can reinvigorate the product with a new purpose — and so we arrive at online dating. Facebook — or should that be ‘Datebook’ now?! — is starting its dating experiment in Colombia, as its beta market. But the company clearly has ambitious designs on becoming a major global force in the increasingly popular online dating arena — to challenge dedicated longtime players like eHarmony and OkCupid, as well as the newer breed of more specialized dating startups, such as  female-led app, Bumble . Zuckerberg is not trying to compete with online dating behemoth Tinder, though. Which Facebook dismisses as a mere ‘hook up’ app — a sub category it claims it wants nothing to do with. Rather it’s hoping to build something more along the lines of ‘get together with friends of your friends who’re also into soap carving/competitive dog grooming/extreme ironing’ than, for e.g., the raw spank in the face shock of ‘ Bang with Friends ‘. (The latter being the experimental startup which tried, some six years ago, to combine Facebook and sex — before eventually exiting to a Singapore-based dating app player, Paktor , never to be heard of again. Or, well, not until Facebook decided to get into the dating game and reminded us all how we lol’d about it.) Mark Zuckerberg’s company doesn’t want to get into anything smutty, though. Oh no, no, NO! No sex please, we’re Facebook! Facebook Dating has been carefully positioned to avoid sounding like a sex app

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Understanding Renaud Laplanche’s next Upgraded act

Renaud Laplanche spent ten years building LendingClub. In the process, he created an industry from scratch. Circumventing conventional banking channels for consumer credit began in 1996 when Chris Larsen started E-LOAN , which ultimately led to Prosper Marketplace . But LendingClub, which Laplanche founded in 2007, was and remains the poster child for the business of marketplace lending. The industry’s short history has been volatile, characterized by both triumphant hype and utter lack of confidence . History of the Marketplace Lending Industry, CB Insights While LendingClub has struggled in the public markets since their late 2014 IPO , they have managed to propel their industry into significance, while rapidly expanding their share of the personal loan market to 10% . After his well-publicized departure in May 2016, Laplanche got started on his next venture in a hurry. Just a few months later he started Credify , ultimately renamed to Upgrade , a company that bears a striking resemblance to LendingClub. In just two years Upgrade has raised $142 million in funding, while originating more than $1 billion in loans since August 2017. With Upgrade, Laplanche has the opportunity to start fresh with the benefit of hindsight. The initial promise of LendingClub and their competitors was unbundling the banks. Now, to persist and grow, marketplace lenders have realized they need to rebundle, providing an array of bank-like services to better serve their end customers. This post explores what Laplanche is doing differently this time with Upgrade.

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Q&A: Amazon Prime Video India head Vijay Subramaniam on Indian content for worldwide audiences, sparking conversation, and passing on film production…

Nyay Bhushan / Hollywood Reporter : Q&A: Amazon Prime Video India head Vijay Subramaniam on Indian content for worldwide audiences, sparking conversation, and passing on film production for now   —  Led by Vijay Subramaniam, the service has been aggressively ramping up its slate with a mix of fiction and unscripted shows …

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A Lime scooter rider died in Washington, D.C., marking the second fatality this month

Lime , the 18-month-old, San Francisco-based company whose bright green bicycles and scooters now dot cities throughout the U.S., launched a pilot program in Tacoma, Washington, today, but that tiny victory might have felt short-lived. The reason: on the opposite side of the country, a Lime rider was killed  today by an SUV while tooling around Washington D.C.’s DuPont neighborhood. The local fire department shared video of the rescue, which shows that the victim, an adult male, had to be pulled from the undercarriage of the vehicle. It’s the second known fatality for the company following a death earlier this month in Dallas, when a 24-year-old Texas man fell off the scooter he was riding and died from blunt force injuries to his head. On the one hand, the developments, while unfortunate, can hardly come as a surprise to anyone given how vulnerable riders or e-scooters are. E-scooter use is on the rise, with both Lime and its L.A.-based rival Bird , announcing this week that their customers have now taken north of  10 million rides . At the same time,  city after city has deemed their use on sidewalks illegal out of fear that fast-moving riders will collide with and injure pedestrians. That leaves riders sharing city streets with the same types of giant, exhaust-spewing machines that they hope to increasingly displace. In fact, sales of traditional SUVs has continued to surge , thanks in part to low unemployment, high consumer confidence, and Americans’ enduring love with gigantic vehicles. One solution to the issue, and one for which the e-scooter companies and their investors have been advocating, are protected lanes that would allow e-scooters to be operated more safely.

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