Walmart launches a new ‘Text to Shop’ feature; Social commerce changes product discovery; What is happening with Stripe? Any ideas?;

Sam Boboev
13 min readFeb 1


In this edition:

1️⃣ Walmart launches a new ‘Text to Shop’ feature

2️⃣ Social Commerce Changes Product Discovery

3️⃣ What is a Super App?

4️⃣ The State of Shopify in 2023

5️⃣ What is happening with Stripe? Any ideas?

6️⃣ How integrated and embedded payments can help SaaS platforms

7️⃣ 2023: A Year for Fintech M&A?

And many more….


Walmart launches a new ‘Text to Shop’ feature

Another example of how conversational commerce and chatbots are becoming part of e-commerce and helping retailers to grow their sales. At we want to lead the adoption of these technologies, reach out to me if you want to learn more.

Walmart recently introduced a new way to shop: via text. Last month, the retail giant launched its “Text to Shop” experience which allows mobile consumers across both iOS and Android devices to text Walmart the items they want to purchase from either their local stores or, or easily reorder items for pickup, delivery, or shipping.

Conversational commerce, or shopping via text, is an area that’s been seeing increased investment over the past couple of years with numerous startups entering the market. Walmart, too, has connections with this space, as its former head of U.S. e-commerce Marc Lore backed a conversational commerce startup, Wizard. And Walmart itself acquired assets from a design tool called Botmock which had built technology that allowed companies to design, prototype, test and deploy conversational commerce applications.

The new “Text to Shop” feature, meanwhile, was built in-house using internal IP in partnership with Walmart’s Global Tech team and was tested with customers ahead of its launch. The beta version was available for around a year’s time before December’s public debut, but had only been accessible on an invite-only basis.

Customers more recently began receiving emails to alert them to the fact that “Text to Shop” was newly available, which prompted our tests. The feature was also highlighted in Apple’s announcement of its new Apple Business Connect dashboard, which allows businesses to manage and update their information on Apple Maps. Here, Walmart partnered with Apple so customers who visit the Walmart business listing card on Apple Maps could tap on a “message us” button to get started with a “Text to Shop” session.

Source Techcrunch


Social Commerce Changes Product Discovery

Let’s take a look at research by Citi on how social and conversational commerce can change eCommerce. At we want to be at the forefront of innovation in eCommerce and help retailers to increase their sales and conversation with conversation commerce solutions.

Currently, the majority of product searches occur either directly on Amazon — where about 60% of U.S. consumers begin their product searches — or on Google. Social commerce changes this paradigm, in our view, as the eCommerce experience evolves from primarily users searching for products on search and eCommerce sites to social platforms suggesting products based on users’ interests, actions, and followed influencers — who users increasingly view as a key part of their social networks as well as trusted brand ambassadors.

To be clear, Social Commerce is likely to take some time to change user habits and behavior and alter the broader eCommerce landscape, but we believe it could reach around 7.5% of U.S. eCommerce sales by the end of 2025, equating to $94 billion of total gross merchandise value (GMV) and growing at a 2021–2025 compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 25% (see Figure 47). This compares to eCommerce growth of 9% over the same period, altering the broader eCommerce landscape somewhat.

Social commerce is changing the front end of purchasing by increasing product awareness and creating a direct relationship with consumers that we believe fundamentally changes the shopping experience. That is, social platforms are embedding commerce functionality directly into the user experience via a more native approach while offering more tools to complete the transaction, creating a relatively friction-free product experience.

Product features drive social commerce efficacy. Facebook and Instagram have launched and integrated the largest commerce feature set, surpassing those of YouTube, TikTok, Snap, and Pinterest. The leading firms notably emphasize product discovery and, to a lesser extent, newer innovative features like AR Try-On and, increasingly, monetization. That said, Meta’s Instagram recently announced it plans to focus more on the discovery side, achieving monetization via its traditional advertising focus rather than through actual transactions.

Source Citi


What is a Super App?

In brief, a super app is an application that builds upon its core functionality to mix and mash a bunch of seemingly unrelated services — but ones the user would need or want to do anyway — into one place. Imagine a single app that allows you to shop for groceries, pay your rent, review work documents, refill prescriptions, book a trip, and chat with friends, interest groups, and businesses — that’s a super app. Sounds more like your entire iPhone than one app, right? That’s because it essentially is. True super apps are more akin to an operating system than any Western app, with the bonus ability to share fun selfies with your friends.

Super Apps in the U.S.?

Historically, Western companies have thought about growth horizontally: they want to launch a hit product and then grow the product’s number of users across the world. This is reflected in our obsessive focus on metrics like monthly subscriber growth and daily active users. Eastern companies, on the other hand, have long thought about growth vertically: after they launch a successful feature, they then focus on how else they can help their existing customers. Success is measured more in terms of visits per day (i.e., how many tasks they’ve helped their customer tick off a list), versus simply total active users.

Once you’re focused on solving as many customer problems as possible, you also open yourself up to new revenue streams. To illustrate this, imagine a typical Western dating app. This app might have a high number of daily active users and strong engagement, but a limited path to monetization outside of standard monthly subscription fees. If you were to apply the super app mindset to the dating app experience, this company could grow vertically by integrating additional services that are relevant to people going on dates, such as being able to book restaurant reservations, hairdresser or salon appointments, or shared taxis. The dating app wouldn’t have to build everything themselves, they would just need to focus on building a strong core product and the payrails, and third-party partners would plug in for the rest. The dating app benefits from transaction fee, more user data, and retained mindshare, while the partner network benefits from the added distribution and business.

We can see a meditation app taking a similar approach. Users come for the mindfulness, but they can then also explore and book yoga retreats, buy candles and cozy bedding, and communicate with their doctor or favorite wellness communities. A super app mindset can be applied to any product roadmap brainstorm.

Source a16z


The State of Shopify in 2023

Shopify is the dominant ecommerce platform with a large user base and very impressive growth. Only WooCommerce rivals the number of stores using Shopify, however the value of the average Shopify merchant is much higher than the average WooCommerce merchant.

Read Report


What is happening with Stripe? Any ideas?

I have come across multiple news about the company and it seems to me that the market turmoil of 2022 and worries over the recession in 2023 made the company go all in but they are a little lost.

The first news was about its exit in the next 12 months.

Stripe has set a 12-month deadline for itself to go public, either through a direct listing, or pursuing a transaction on the private market, such as a fundraising event and a tender offer, according to sources familiar with the matter. The news, as first reported by the Wall Street Journal, comes as a surprise considering the rather dry public market activity in the tech world.

According to the Journal, Stripe has hired Goldman Sachs and JP Morgan to help it evaluate which course of action makes the most sense for the company.

Late-stage tech companies have largely avoided debuting onto the public market over the past year due to general volatility hammering stocks. Has Stripe missed its window to have gone public, or is it kicking off a trend to be followed by other behemoths in the space? Guess that’s what it’s trying to figure out.

The next news was about the down round.

When payments giant Stripe raised $600 million at a $95 billion valuation in 2021, it made headlines for raising capital at the highest-ever valuation for a privately held startup.

Defending that valuation appears to be challenging. The fintech company has reportedly approached investors about raising more capital — at least $2 billion — at a valuation of $55 billion to $60 billion. According to The Wall Street Journal, Stripe would not use the money toward operating expenses but rather to cover a large annual tax bill associated with employee stock units. It is not clear if any discussions are ongoing.

TechCrunch reached out to Stripe, which responded with “no comment.”

Raising more capital at a $55 billion to $60 billion valuation would certainly be characterized as a down round — but Stripe would hardly be the first large fintech to do so.

What should Stipe do? Share your thoughts.

Source Techcrunch


Why Wealthy Americans Love AmEx

Armed with impressive rewards and a loyal customer base, Amex has achieved impressive growth over the years. The company’s revenue has increased over 32% since 2017 and shares of the company have shown resilience and growth in a tumultuous market. Yet Amex is far from dominating the credit card industry compared to the likes of Visa and Mastercard.

So what is the secret to Amex’s success and where is it headed next?


Declining interest in decentralized finance is calling into question whether it really is the next frontier of crypto

DeFi projects — such as peer-to-peer lending or decentralized autonomous organizations — were assumed to be the beneficiary of FTX’s collapse last year when investors pulled billions of dollars out of cryptocurrencies. But a closer look shows that hasn’t been the case, even though DeFi tokens have historically outperformed the sector.

DeFi trading volume has more than halved; the total value of crypto tokens locked in DeFi protocols has been mostly flat for months; and DeFi’s once lofty returns are nowhere to be found. Investors both at the retail and institutional level are less willing to look past security risks and regulatory uncertainty. And with solutions to those problems still years away, a number of DeFi projects may not survive the downturn.

Like Bitcoin, DeFi’s performance is down by more than half its 2021 peak, according to data tracker DeFi Llama. For a time, DeFi’s explosive growth promised to replace traditional finance, or tradfi, when it was offering double- or triple-digit returns in an era of ultra-low interest rates. But 2022’s decline in risk appetite and multiple crypto blowups show the downsides of both an automated- and incentive-based system. Demand has fallen and DeFi yields are mostly below 3% now on platforms such as Aave and Compound, data provided by blockchain data firm Kaiko shows.

The total value locked in DeFi protocols is down to less than $50 billion, mostly concentrated on 15 projects, which means most initiatives will struggle to gain traction. Top projects like Juliano’s dYdX or Lido Finance have enough cash for at least five years, according to recent announcements and interviews. But that may not be enough as big ideas require long runways. A decentralized exchange, for instance, will need at least five to 10 years to compete.

Investors were rattled by last year’s bout of crypto meltdowns — including the collapse of Terra’s so-called stablecoin — heightening concerns about security and legislation. At the same time, DeFi hackers grossed over $3 billion in more than 125 attacks last year, according to Blockchain intelligence firm Chainalysis. But the longer investors remain on the sidelines, the longer those concerns will persist.

Source Bloomberg News


What’s going to happen to Big Tech’s laid off workers?

Technology is part of our everyday lives and necessary for most societies to function. This increasing dependency has led to massive growth in the tech sector and, with it, a proliferation of high paying jobs.

Following the industry’s recent struggles, those exorbitant salaries are now being scrutinized like never before.

“What has happened in the last three to four years is the pay for the other non-Big Tech companies have gone up, and many of the startups are really upset because they can’t burn cash at those rates,” Ben Leong, a professor of computer science at the National University of Singapore, told CNBC.

“The Big Tech companies will continue to pay what they used to pay — they always pay a lot,” he added.

“I suspect the growth in the median pay will either stagnate or may even drop a little bit.”

So, is the bubble bursting for tech workers? Watch the video above to find out more.


2023: A Year for Fintech M&A?

We’re only one month into 2023, and fintech mergers and acquisitions of all shapes and sizes are practically being announced daily. We’ve got public companies buying startups, and startups buying other startups (Deel acquiring Capbase).

As the macro environment continues to tighten and investors focus more on efficiency and less on growth (at least relative to recent years), startups will continue to face challenging fundraising conditions (particularly those that raised at high prices relative to their traction). Unprofitable companies without sufficient runway or an extremely compelling growth story will soon find themselves evaluating their options, and we expect M&A will surely be top of mind for them.

in the prolific bull market that spanned from the end of the global financial crisis (late 2009) to the onset of the pandemic (early 2020), we enjoyed record-low interest rates, vast amounts of liquidity, strong economic growth, and an S&P 500 that returned on average 16% a year. As Oaktree Capital Management Cofounder Howard Marks describes it, “the paltry yields on safe investments drove investors to buy riskier assets,” which led to a heightened interest in venture capital and startups. In that environment, startups were well-positioned to chase distribution: they had free-flowing venture dollars subsidizing expensive customer acquisition through any number of paid channels.

That was then, however, and this is now. Due to the tightening budget situation described above, today’s startups may be harder-pressed to manufacture explosive growth in a short period of time. Yet that is exactly what they will need to do in order to compete with the larger firms, who enjoy massive economies of scale, allowing them to see high returns on capital.

We believe now is a ripe time for both sides of the equation to consider partnerships and M&A for the following reasons:

- Incumbents can accelerate their path to innovation. A 2023 Financial Brand survey of financial institutions found that respondents ranked improving the digital experience for consumers, enhancing data and analytics capabilities, and reducing operating costs as their top three strategic priorities. Fintech startups, full of strong technical talent and lean operations, can provide extremely viable solutions to all of these issues.

- Startups can accelerate distribution. Founders committed to high-impact missions on a national or global scale can quickly get their products in front of millions of customers due to the huge captive audience incumbents enjoy.

- Both sides are more eager than ever to work together. The same Financial Brand survey identifies that more and more traditional financial services firms have tested the waters with fintech partnerships. While procurement and compliance will continue to be obstacles in velocity, the stage is set for further collaboration.

Source a16z


How integrated and embedded payments can help SaaS platforms

Whether you have integrated or embedded payments into your platform, the following are the top advantages of using these models:

Improved customer experience

Embedding or integrating payments into your platform will have a noticeable and positive impact on your customer’s payment experience. That’s because the process will be more seamless.

However, as mentioned earlier, an embedded solution takes it one step further and enhances the customer experience even more by also including merchant management features. This is important as great customer experiences reduce churn rates and improve retention.

The ability to monetize payments

New revenue opportunities were likely what prompted you to accept payments in the first place. Considering that over 37% of businesses have already switched to cloud-based solutions and 73% of companies plan to rely solely on SaaS-based systems — it’s clear that there is a large market for SaaS products.

The products that provide more value to their customers through features like embedded payments will provide more value and win against the competition, further increasing their revenue growth.

To get an idea of just how lucrative payments can be for platforms, just look at companies like Shopify and Toast. Shopify saw a 42% increase in its gross payments volume (GPV) in 2020, which brought its payments revenue to $53.9 billion. Toast experienced similar results, with its GPV jumping 124% in 2021.

Save time and money

Both integrated and embedded payments also save you time and money as they significantly cut down your development time vs building your own payments infrastructure. This is because you’re using your provider’s technology and don’t have to build everything from scratch. How much you save depends on what your provider offers and how much of the experience you want to control.

Source Finix