Archive for April, 2019

Zoom pops 81% in Nasdaq debut

Shares of Zoom (Nasdaq: ZM) began trading at $65 a pop Thursday morning after the video conferencing unicorn priced its shares at $36 apiece Wednesday, above its anticipated range. The company initially planned to price its shares at between $28 and $32 per share, but following big demand for a piece of a profitable tech business, Zoom increased expectations, announcing plans to sell shares at between $33 and $35 apiece. The initial public offering gives Zoom a fully diluted market cap of roughly $10 billion, or 10 times larger than the $1 billion valuation it garnered with its last round of private funding in 2017.

USDA launches pilot program allowing SNAP recipients to shop for groceries online

The USDA this morning announced the launch of a pilot program that will open up online grocery shopping to those on public assistance. During a two-year pilot program, those receiving SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) benefits — often referred to as “food stamps” — will be able to shop for groceries from online retailers, including Walmart, Amazon, and soon, ShopRite and others. The pilot is live in New York state at launch, with availability that varies by retailer. Amazon’s program will encompass the grocery and household selections available on both AmazonFresh and Prime Pantry, the retailer says, without the requirement of a membership fee. This program will operate only in the New York City area, as will ShopRite, when it joins the pilot next week. Meanwhile, Walmart’s pilot will cover grocery pickup and delivery in upstate New York locations. The USDA says other retailers are expected to join the pilot in the months ahead. Eventually, the program will also expand to other areas in New York and beyond, including Alabama, Iowa, Maryland, Nebraska, New Jersey, Oregon and Washington. Plans for the program have been in the works for years. The 2014 Farm Bill authorized the USDA to conduct and evaluate a pilot for online purchasing using SNAP, before rolling out support nationwide. During this pilot, the goal is to test that SNAP benefits are processed safely and securely, and to better understand the challenges involving online acceptance of SNAP. This is also the first time that SNAP participants will be able to order grocery delivery online  — something that the USDA believes should no longer be considered a luxury. At times, online retailers can offer lower prices on items, which can benefit budget shoppers. Plus, not all online grocery items are marked up, versus what you can buy in store. That tends to be more true for fast delivery services like Instacart or Shipt. Walmart, for example, charges the same prices for its online groceries as it does in stores. And when free delivery is offered, SNAP recipients can save both time and gas. (SNAP will only cover food items, not delivery or other fees.) These are all the same perks that any e-commerce shopper enjoys, but can be even better appreciated by those who don’t have a car, can’t afford gas, or work multiple jobs trying to make ends meet and don’t have time to shop. “People who receive SNAP benefits should have the opportunity to shop for food the same way more and more Americans shop for food – by ordering and paying for groceries online. As technology advances, it is important for SNAP to advance too, so we can ensure the same shopping options are available for both non-SNAP and SNAP recipients,” said Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue, in a statement. “We look forward to monitoring how these pilots increase food access and customer service to those we serve, specifically those who may experience challenges in visiting brick and mortar stores,” he added. The pilot program will […]