A roundup of today’s big stories in hyperlocal content, commerce, and technology.
Square Goes Big: Raises $200M at $3.25B Valuation (GigaOm)
Square is making it official: it has raised $200 million as part of its Series D round including $25 million from Starbucks. The money will help the company to grow as it fends off more challenges from competitors and tries to expand internationally.
EBay’s RedLaser Takes On Shopkick, Adds Geofencing And Deals With Best Buy To Barcode Scanning App (TechCrunch)
EBay is entering the territory of mobile shopping app Shopkick with the latest update in the e-commerce giant’s barcode scanning app. The company has added geofencing to its RedLaser application, partnering with BestBuy to allow users to see special offers, browse open-stock items, and view items relevant to them right when they step into one of the electronics retailer’s 1,100 locations.
Amazon May Follow Apple, Give Google Maps the Boot (Wired)
The online retailor unveiled the Amazon Maps API, a means of building mapping tools into applications that runs on its Kindle Fire-branded Android tablets. Although the announcement doesn’t say that Amazon Maps will replace Google Maps (or even whether there will be a standalone Amazon Maps app), the API does give developers an alternative for building mapping and location-based applications.
Groupon Shares Slide On Worry About Merchant Demand (Chicago Tribune)
Groupon shares finished down nearly 10 percent on Monday on concern about merchant demand for the company’s daily deals. Raymond James analysts, led by Aaron Kessler, released a survey of more than 100 Groupon merchants on Monday showing these key partners have mixed feelings about working with the company.
Checking In Again With Foursquare (All Things D)
Lauren Goode: The app still has its quirks, and I still haven’t experienced a ton of deals or discounts or serendipitous run-ins with friends. But in many instances, I’ve found the app’s distilled, personalized approach to finding restaurants to be more helpful and less cluttered than Yelp’s mobile app or even Google search results on my smartphone.
For Retailers, Smartphones May Not Yet Mean Payments, But They Do Mean Purchases (TechCrunch)
A study from Deloitte notes that today in the UK only 1% of mobile consumers have ever used a handset to pay for something in a retail location. However, it also provides some convincing evidence that we are at least well on our way to linking mobiles — specifically smartphones — to retail purchases anyway.