This is a daily newsletter that covers trending business, tech and finance stories. If you enjoyed the newsletter, please share it with a friend who’d find it useful.
Or… invite friends to the newsletter through our referral program for Amazon gift cards.
Disney Plus Added Around 8 Million New Subscribers in Q1 2022 🎊🎉
In the first three months of 2022, Disney added 7.9 million new subscribers to its Disney Plus streaming service, the company announced in its second-quarter earnings report.
Bob Chapek, Chief Executive Officer, The Walt Disney Company, said, “Our strong results in the second quarter, including a fantastic performance at our domestic parks and continued growth of our streaming services — with 7.9 million Disney+ subscribers added in the quarter and total subscriptions across all our DTC offerings exceeding 205 million — once again proved that we are in a league of our own.”
The surge in new subscribers brings the total to around 87.6 million worldwide, excluding the 50.1 million people subscribed to Disney Plus Hotstar internationally.
With 44.4 million subscribers, Disney Plus has 7.1 million more subscribers than a year ago in the U.S. and Canada alone.
The streaming giant also said subscriber numbers for all of its streaming offerings, including Hulu and ESPN Plus, have grown to over 205 million, up from the 196.4 million announced in January.
OpenSea to Add NFT Detector, Among Other Features
NFT marketplace OpenSea is implementing a new system to track fake non-fungible tokens (NFTs) and verify accounts to cut down on the industry’s growing fraud problem.
In a couple of blog posts, the largest NFT marketplace detailed what changes users can expect, including opening up verification to more users, spotting fake copies of authentic NFTs, and changes to how collection badges are doled out on the marketplace.
First off, the platform will use a two-part system to detect fakes that combine both image recognition tech and human reviewers.
OpenSea says its new system will continuously scan all NFT collections (including newly minted assets) to spot any potential fakes.
OpenSea will also implement an account verification and collection badging system that broadens the number of creators eligible for verification.
The platform will open up account verification to any creator who holds at least 100 ETH of collection volume.
Over the years, scammers have grown increasingly sophisticated techniques to create fake NFTs and steal money from users.
And with these new features, OpenSea is hopeful of creating obstacles to stop scammers from cheating NFT artists and customers.
Australian 🇦🇺 Crypto ETFs Surpass $1 Million Volume on Launch Day
On a difficult day for the crypto market, three crypto-focused exchange-traded funds (ETFs) have started trading in the Australian market, marking the first crypto ETF launch in the country.
Cboe Global Markets launched the crypto ETFs- 21Shares Bitcoin ETF, Ethereum ETF, and Cosmos Purpose Bitcoin Access ETF on its local exchange following a delayed launch.
On the launch day, the three ETFs have generated more than $1 million in between them, and it has been estimated that they could see around $1 billion worth of inflows moving forward.
The Cosmos Purpose Bitcoin Access ETF (CBTC) offered by Sydney-based crypto investment firm Cosmos Asset Management provides a relatively indirect route to bitcoin, as it roughly tracks the performance of the USD denominated ETF non-currency hedged units in the Purpose Bitcoin ETF.
The other two ETFs, called the Bitcoin ETF (EBTC) & Ethereum ETF (EETH), are offered by ETF Securities in partnership with major Switzerland-based exchange-traded products (ETP) firm 21 Shares. Both these funds track the Australian dollar (AUD) value of their respective assets.
Chat Commerce Platform Zeals Raises $38.8 Million in Series E 💰
ZEALS, a Japanese-based leading chat commerce provider, has raised $38.8 million in its Series E funding round. The startup secured $27.2 million (3.5 billion yen) in equity and $11.6 million (1.5 billion yen) in debt.
The equity round was led by JIC Venture Growth Investments along with participation from Z Venture Capital (a venture investment arm of Z Holdings), Japan Post Capital, and Salesforce Ventures. Zeals also established debt facilities from Mizuho Bank, Ltd. and MUFG Bank, Ltd.
Founded in 2014 by Shimizu Masahiro and Sou Shimada, ZEALS is a leading conversational commerce company in Japan, serving more than 400 large domestic and multi-national enterprises.
ZEALS wants to revolutionize commerce and the overall engagement experience by offering Chatbot Commerce, a fully automated conversational engagement on messaging applications that provide services to end customers like a human sales representative.
The company plans to use the latest proceeds to accelerate new product development, implement diversified go-to-market channels, rapidly evolving NLG technologies, and support expansion in the overseas markets.
Around the Web 🌐
Lordstown Motors and Foxconn Close Asset Purchase: Electric vehicle start-up Lordstown Motors has announced the closure of a $230 million deal to sell its Ohio factory to Taiwanese contract manufacturer Hon Hai Technology Group (Foxconn). The deal will give Foxconn its first automotive factory and a significant new presence in the United States, which the company will use to establish itself as a global electric vehicle manufacturer.
If you like the content in this newsletter, there’s a pretty good chance you’ll like my podcast, “Success Story”, where I unpack the playbooks of entrepreneurs, executives and other high performing individuals.
Latest Episode 👇
If you enjoyed the newsletter, please share it with a friend who’d find it useful.