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GV Loses Only Female General Partner to Kobalt

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GV, formerly known as Google Ventures, has lost its only female general partner to music technology startup Kobalt.

Named as one of the 50 most inspiring female influences for three years in a row from 2015 to 2017, Avid Larizadeh Duggan has taken up the role of Executive Vice President, Chief Strategy and Business Officer.

Established 17 years ago, the New York-based music tech firm acts as a publisher and provider of royalty tracking services across various digital platforms. Larizadeh Duggan previously led an investment in Kobalt for GV.

Before joining GV, Larizadeh Duggan co-founded Boticca, an online marketplace for independent brands of fashion accessories. After being featured in Vogue and endorsed by well-known celebrities it was acquired by Wolf & Badger in 2015.

In 2006, the Harvard Business School graduate also worked as an associate with Accel Partners.

Her move leaves GV only two other women on its 16-person team, Principal Terri Burns – a former associate product manager at Google – and Partner Laura Melahn.

Larizadeh Duggan plans to start at Kobalt next month, leaving remaining general partner Tom Hulme to oversee investments and grow GV’s presence in Europe.

GV led Kobalt’s $60m Series C round two years ago and has raised $205m from investors such as Hearst Entertainment and Section 32.

Operating independently from Google, GV provides funding to technology companies.

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Whatsapp Launches New Venture Aimed at Businesses

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whatsapp business

Whatsapp has launched a new app targeted at businesses, called the Whatsapp Business App, which they claim will enable companies to “communicate more efficiently” with present and potential customers.

This forms part of Whatsapp’s wider strategy to branch out into the corporate world. It plans to use the app to generate new revenue by charging businesses for using the extra communication tools that will enable them to better connect with their customers.

Although the app is set for worldwide release, at present it will only be available in Indonesia, Italy, Mexico, the UK and US. It includes a feature which indicates a business is authentic with a green tick badge next to their name.

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Amex: Troubled Credit Card Company Reports $1.2bn Net Loss

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Amex annual report

On Thursday, American Express, or Amex, reported a net loss of $1,197m in the fourth quarter, the first net loss the company has experienced for 26 years.

Although the company stated that revenue from interest expenses was up 10% to $8.8bn, Amex said recent reforms to the US tax code meant the company incurred extra costs, including a repatriation cost on its foreign assets as well as a devaluation of its deferred tax assets. It estimates total costs amounted to $2.6m.

For the full year, net income was $2.7bn compared with $5.4bn the company earned in 2017. However, even with the estimated $2.6m the company claims it incurred from the recent tax charge, net earnings were still $5.3bn, $100m lower compared to last year.

In New York, American Express shares (AXP) took a near 1% tumble at the beginning of trade with shares finishing the day on $99.90.  JPMorgan Chase and Goldman Sachs anticipate greater earnings for 2018.

“Overall, we believe the Tax Act will be a positive development for both the U.S. economy and American Express” said CEO and chairman Kenneth Chenault. Chenault also said he will be leaving Amex in “very strong hands” when his successor, Steve Squeri takes over next month.

American Express has suffered from an ever-reducing share in the credit card market and ended its 14-year relationship with American warehouse chain Costco who in 2016 made an agreement with the market leader, Visa.

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Tencent Extends Facebook Lead

Tencent Facebook

Tencent has shot past Facebook to become the world’s most valuable social network.

Editor’s Remarks: Although Tencent briefly overtook Facebook in terms of market cap in November, the recent selloff of Facebook shares prompted the Chinese tech titan to regain the lead. Facebook investors responded negatively to news that Mark Zuckerberg’s plans to highlight family and friend-based content on the newsfeed would reduce the amount of time people spent on the site. Shares in Facebook have fallen 5% since that announcement, enabling Tencent to gain a $19bn lead over the US company. Tencent’s growth has been spurred on by its diversification away from its flagship messaging app, WeChat, and into video games.

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