Upstart banking company Dave is now worth $1 billion, as Norwest puts in $50 million – TechCrunch


Two years after the Los Angeles-based fintech startup Dave launched with a suite of money management tools to save consumers from overdraft fees, the company is now worth $1 billion thanks to a nascent banking practice that had investors lining up.

The company used its overdraft protection service and money management display to shift customers’ focus away from the total balance that their account would show by giving them a sense of how much was actually left in their accounts once debits were included in their statements.

“What was cool about our financial management product was that we were trying to use Dave as a replacement for their current bank,” says Jason Wilk, Dave’s co-founder and chief executive.

Dave now counts over 4 million users for its financial management app and has roughly 800,000 people on the waiting list to use its banking services, Wilk says.

The company has taken a methodical approach to opening its doors as a digital bank, in part because it wants to have the necessary support infrastructure in place to service the demand that Wilk expects to see for its service.

“It’s one thing to help people with budgeting. It’s another to actually manage their money,” says Wilk.

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Dave will use the $50 million raised from Norwest to significantly expand its product and engineering team within the next 12 months, in order to double down on the core business and ensure the success of the banking product.

“We can prove that Dave can be helpful by showing how we can help you manage your current account, and then Dave banking is the marketing lever from there,” says Wilk.

For now, customers need to have the financial management app installed to be able to access the company’s banking service.  

Dave charges $1 per month for access to its financial management tools and that also gives customers the ability to use a cushion of between $50 to $75 to avoid being hit with overdraft fees from their current bank account. Dave asks for a tip every time a customer uses that cushion to cover expenses — something that Wilk says is still cheaper than having to worry about overdraft fees.

And, to add a bit of environmental spin, for every tip that Dave receives, the company plants a tree. “We plant millions and millions of trees,” says Wilk.

The company is FDIC insured through a partner bank, the Memphis-based Evolve Bank and Trust, which acts as a backstop for the company’s financial management activities.

“We already had a relationship with them for some payment processing stuff,” says Wilk. “We liked the team and liked the terms and went with them.”

Terms between financial services firms can vary, and, Wilk says, Evolve Bank was willing to give the company a good deal on splitting the interchange fee, which is a big source of revenue for upstart banks.

It’s possible that Dave could have received a bigger check at a potentially higher valuation, but Wilk says the startup is trying to stay lean.

“The company is growing so quickly, we didn’t want to get too diluted on this round,” he says. “We think the company is quite a bit more valuable than [$1 billion]. You don’t want to raise too much money too quickly if you really think the valuation is going to climb… Since we signed the term sheet the company has already grown another 40%.”

It was only four months ago that Dave was announcing a $110 million credit financing with Victory Park Capital and the launch of its banking product.

Dave’s products and services have a few advantages for customers that are just getting started on the path to financial security. The company monitors everyday monthly payments and reports them to credit agencies to improve customers’ credit ratings. The company also provides up to $100, interest-free, overdraft protection.

“Banks have failed their customers by building products that put their own interests ahead of the humans who use them. People don’t need predatory fees, they need tools that actually solve their challenges around credit building, finding work and getting access to their own money to cover immediate expenses. Dave is the banking product that works with its customers, not against them,” said Wilk, in a June statement announcing the funding and banking product launch.

While Dave is getting some hefty firepower and a generous valuation from Norwest, it’s also operating in a market where its core services that were a point of differentiation are quickly becoming table stakes.

Earlier in September, the new startup banking company Chime announced that it had hit 5 million banking customers and was offering its own overdraft protection service.

The San Francisco-based bank has also raised a lot more capital for a potential piggy bank to raid if it needs to acquire or spend on engineering talent to build out new products and services. Earlier this year, the company announced a $200 million round and said it had hit roughly 3 million customers. Clearly Chime is adding new banking customers at a torrid pace.

And they’re facing global competition as well. N26, the European startup bank with a $3.6 billion valuation and hundreds of millions in financing launched in the U.S. a few months ago as well.

The company sees a global opportunity to create new digital banking services in a world where large amounts of capital and an elite set of consumers move easily between international markets.

“We have an opportunity that we build a bank that has more than 50 million users around the globe. Today, we only have 3.5 million users but we’re accelerating,” said N26 chief executive, Valentin Self, in an interview with TechCrunch. “From a country perspective, we have agreed already that we go to Brazil. There’s no plan after Brazil yet. Now let’s focus on the U.S., then on Brazil, then next year we’ll find out what’s the feedback from these two markets.”



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Microsoft OneDrive Personal Vault rolls out worldwide, launches expandable storage – TechCrunch


Earlier this summer, Microsoft introduced an extra layer of security to its Dropbox competitor, OneDrive. The security features, called OneDrive Personal Vault, allow users to protect their files with two-step verification, like a fingerprint or facial recognition, PIN code or a one-time code sent through email, SMS or Microsoft Authenticator. At the time of launch, however, the feature was only available to select markets. Today, it’s rolling out worldwide and introducing new features, including expandable storage.

The company said OneDrive Personal Vault would initially be available to Australia, New Zealand and Canada, but would reach all OneDrive users by the end of the year.

With today’s expansion, it’s a little ahead of schedule, as it’s just now the end of September.

Personal Vault is available to all OneDrive users, with some limitations.

For those using OneDrive’s free or standalone 100GB storage plan, you’re able to store up to three files in Personal Vault. Office 365 subscribers can store as many files as they want, up to their storage limits.

Stronger authentication is the key selling point for Personal Vault, but it also comes with additional security measures. This includes “Scan and Shoot,” which lets you scan documents or shoot photos directly to Personal Vault, bypassing your device storage, like the camera roll. Personal Vault will also automatically lock files after a period of inactivity, restrict sharing on the files saved to prevent accidental shares and automatically sync files to a BitLocker-encrypted area of the hard drive on Windows 10 PCs.

ba2d0566 5e67 43ce 998a fa1aa6517dbeIn addition to the global launch of Personal Vault, Microsoft also today introduced new storage options for One Drive, plus new features like PC Folder backup and dark mode.

Starting today, OneDrive users will now be able to add storage to their plans in 200GB increments, starting at $1.99 per month.

Meanwhile, PC Folder backup will allow OneDrive to back up your desktop, documents and picture folders from your Windows PC to the cloud, similar to rival desktop apps from Dropbox and Google Drive, for example. This option is available to Windows 7, 8 and 10 PCs. On Windows 10, it’s integrated so users can even opt to enable it during Windows setup or updates.

And OneDrive will now support a dark mode on iOS 13.

Personal Vault is live globally, as of today.



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European early-stage VC firm ‘Project A’ on Europe’s startup scene taking the next step – TechCrunch


Project A, the Berlin-based VC, just raised a new $200 million fund (€180 million) to continue backing European startups at Seed and Series A stage.

In addition, the firm — whose investments include WorldRemit, Catawiki, Voi and Uberall — announced it will now have a presence in London and Stockholm in order to put people on the ground in what it says are “two of its favorite ecosystems.”

What better time, therefore, to catch up with the team at Project A, where we talked investment thesis, why Stockholm and London, and the increasing interest in Europe from U.S. LPs and VCs. Other subjects we touched on include diversity in venture, and, of course, Brexit!

TechCrunch: You last raised a fund in 2016, totaling €140 million, what changes have you noticed since then with regards to the types of companies you are seeing and the European ecosystem as a whole?

Uwe Horstmann: Entrepreneurs definitely matured a lot over the last few years. We see more and more of serial founders who combine drive with experience delivering great results. We also noticed an increase in more tech / product-centric and in B2B models.

This doesn’t come as a surprise as the market for consumer-oriented models started developing much earlier and is now reaching its limits after a few years. Many entrepreneurs gained experience in the Old Economy or have been consulting companies for a few years, learned about the struggle with products and processes first-hand and developed solutions specifically tailored to the industry’s needs.

We also notice a rise in professionalism in company setups and a higher ambition level in founding teams. This is probably also due to a more professional angel and micro fund scene that has developed in Europe.

TC: I note that you have U.S. LPs in the new fund, which I think is a first for Project A, and more broadly we are seeing a lot more interest from U.S. VCs in Europe these days. Why do you think that is, and how does this change the competitive landscape for deal-flow and the ambition of European founders?

Thies Sander: Having our first U.S. LPs on board makes us proud. LPs have noticed that European VC returns have really picked up during recent fund cohorts.



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Facebook faces VR challenges – TechCrunch


The Daily Crunch is TechCrunch’s roundup of our biggest and most important stories. If you’d like to get this delivered to your inbox every day at around 9am Pacific, you can subscribe here.

1. Not all is predictable on Facebook’s social Horizon

Last week, Facebook unveiled Horizon, a massively multiplayer VR world that’s scheduled to launch in 2020. This might seem to play to Facebook’s software strengths, but Lucas Matney argues that the social networking giant may not actually have much of an advantage against smaller game studios.

For example, the team at Against Gravity has already built a network inside VR called Rec Room that’s been maturing over the past few years, with rich environments and toolsets for multiplayer interactions. (Extra Crunch membership required.)

2. Spotify now lets you add podcasts to playlists

Users can create their own custom playlists of their favorite podcasts, or even those that combine music and audio — similar to Spotify’s newly launched playlist “Your Daily Drive.”

3. Kickstarter darling EcoFlow Delta battery generator is not what it seems

The EcoFlow Delta is a new battery generator available on Kickstarter with incredible features claimed. Most are true, some are not.

4. YouTube TV is now available on Fire TV devices

Earlier this year, Google and Amazon reached an agreement to bring their streaming video apps to each other’s platforms. The YouTube app launched on Fire TV in July, and now Google is adding its live TV streaming service.

5. Amboss, the knowledge platform for medical professionals, scores €30M Series B

Launched in 2014 as a study platform for medical students, Amboss has since evolved to offer what it claims is the “most comprehensive and technologically-advanced” knowledge platform for medical professionals.

6. Learn everything you can about mobility at Disrupt SF

We’re bringing some of the industry’s leaders onstage at Disrupt SF — including Bird founder and CEO Travis VanderZanden, Kitty Hawk CEO Sebastian Thrun and Zoox CEO Aicha Evans.

7. This week’s TechCrunch podcasts

The latest episode of Equity kicks off with the reemergence of the much-criticized startup Bodega, which is now known as Stockwell and has raised a total of $45 million in funding. Meanwhile, Original Content reviews “Between Two Ferns: The Movie” on Netflix.



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Advanced Mobile SEO TIPS For Mobile Marketing

In 2016, Google introduced the mobile-first index system to provide the best user experience for their mobile users by prioritizing mobile-friendly websites. This new indexing system will first look into the mobile version of your website to determine the ranking. Websites without a mobile version or poorly optimized mobile websites will drop out even further in search engine results pages (SERPs). But, the good news is this Mobile SEO is simple and easy to do yourself tasks.

Advanced Mobile SEO Tips for Mobile Marketers:

Mobile SEO is nothing than a conventional SEO, creating content and tagging to make it stand out online. These white-hat mobile SEO tips will help you to avoid search engine penalties and maintain better online visibility.

1. Google My Business: mobile online marketing.

One of the most important and effective mobile marketing move that business owners can do is signing up for Google My Business account. It is free and simple, by filling the information to the best of your ability and add more possible pictures of your business. When people searching for the keyword that is related to your business, there is more likely to visible your 2nd information first. So, think of using it for mobile marketing.

2. Using social media:

According to reports, average mobile users spending their 80% of the time on social media of the total times they are spending on the mobile. These social media sites bring a huge amount of traffic to your website. So, to improve visibility to mobile users, priorities your social media marketing strategy. The frequency of posting, Quality of content and optimized social media campaign will help your brand stands out. Also, read our Content Marketing Guide.

3. Take advantage of plug-ins for mobile SEO:

If your website uses WordPress or another content management system (CMS). you can use various plug-ins to improve your mobile site more user-friendly. One of the popular CMS, WordPress offers a large number of plug-ins to optimize images, improve speed and take care of other important mobile SEO factors.

WPtouch is the popular universal WordPress plug-in that will create a Google-approved mobile version of your website. If you can’t afford a professional to update and optimize your website, try these plug-ins to build a mobile-friendly website and improve visibilities.

4. Use keywords for mobile users:

It is proven that mobile users search differently than other desktop users. Optimize your content for mobile keyword search phrases to show up your content to the right people. Find the right tools to find the right keywords for your content, you can find keyword comparisons by the device in Google’s Search Console.

5. Improve page loading time:

When it comes to mobile SEO, page loading time is the most important issue. There are many factors that define the page loading time. Gzip compression, Image optimization and using Google AMP (Accelerated Mobile Pages), there are some tools and plug-ins to perform this tasks and improve the faster loading of mobile web pages.

Final Words:

Digital marketing trend changed the whole scenario of marketing. Mobile SEO is becoming a most essential task for all bloggers and webmasters for mobile marketing.



Source by Jithendar Dharmapuri

Google brings its Jacquard wearables tech to Levi’s Trucker Jacket – TechCrunch


Back in 2015, Google’s ATAP team demoed a new kind of wearable tech at Google I/O that used functional fabrics and conductive yarns to allow you to interact with your clothing and, by extension, the phone in your pocket. The company then released a jacket with Levi’s in 2017, but that was expensive, at $350, and never really quite caught on. Now, however, Jacquard is back. A few weeks ago, Saint Laurent launched a backpack with Jacquard support, but at $1,000, that was very much a luxury product. Today, however, Google and Levi’s are announcing their latest collaboration: Jacquard-enabled versions of Levi’s Trucker Jacket.

These jackets, which will come in different styles, including the Classic Trucker and the Sherpa Trucker, and in men’s and women’s versions, will retail for $198 for the Classic Trucker and $248 for the Sherpa Trucker. In addition to the U.S., it’ll be available in Australia, France, Germany, Italy, Japan and the U.K.

The idea here is simple and hasn’t changed since the original launch: a dongle in your jacket’s cuff connects to conductive yarns in your jacket. You can then swipe over your cuff, tap it or hold your hand over it to issue commands to your phone. You use the Jacquard phone app for iOS or Android to set up what each gesture does, with commands ranging from saving your location to bringing up the Google Assistant in your headphones, from skipping to the next song to controlling your camera for selfies or simply counting things during the day, like the coffees you drink on the go. If you have Bose noise-canceling headphones, the app also lets you set a gesture to turn your noise cancellation on or off. In total, there are currently 19 abilities available, and the dongle also includes a vibration motor for notifications.

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What’s maybe most important, though, is that this (re-)launch sets up Jacquard as a more modular technology that Google and its partners hope will take it from a bit of a gimmick to something you’ll see in more places over the next few months and years.

“Since we launched the first product with Levi’s at the end of 2017, we were focused on trying to understand and working really hard on how we can take the technology from a single product […] to create a real technology platform that can be used by multiple brands and by multiple collaborators,” Ivan Poupyrev, the head of Jacquard by Google told me. He noted that the idea behind projects like Jacquard is to take things we use every day, like backpacks, jackets and shoes, and make them better with technology. He argued that, for the most part, technology hasn’t really been added to these things that we use every day. He wants to work with companies like Levi’s to “give people the opportunity to create new digital touchpoints to their digital life through things they already have and own and use every day.”

What’s also important about Jacquard 2.0 is that you can take the dongle from garment to garment. For the original jacket, the dongle only worked with this one specific type of jacket; now, you’ll be able to take it with you and use it in other wearables as well. The dongle, too, is significantly smaller and more powerful. It also now has more memory to support multiple products. Yet, in my own testing, its battery still lasts for a few days of occasional use, with plenty of standby time.

jacquard dongle

Poupyrev also noted that the team focused on reducing cost, “in order to bring the technology into a price range where it’s more attractive to consumers.” The team also made lots of changes to the software that runs on the device and, more importantly, in the cloud to allow it to configure itself for every product it’s being used in and to make it easier for the team to add new functionality over time (when was the last time your jacket got a software upgrade?).

He actually hopes that over time, people will forget that Google was involved in this. He wants the technology to fade into the background. Levi’s, on the other hand, obviously hopes that this technology will enable it to reach a new market. The 2017 version only included the Levi’s Commuter Trucker Jacket. Now, the company is going broader with different styles.

“We had gone out with a really sharp focus on trying to adapt the technology to meet the needs of our commuter customer, which a collection of Levi’s focused on urban cyclists,” Paul Dillinger, the VP of Global Product Innovation at Levi’s, told me when I asked him about the company’s original efforts around Jacquard. But there was a lot of interest beyond that community, he said, yet the built-in features were very much meant to serve the needs of this specific audience and not necessarily relevant to the lifestyles of other users. The jackets, of course, were also pretty expensive. “There was an appetite for the technology to do more and be more accessible,” he said — and the results of that work are these new jackets.

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Dillinger also noted that this changes the relationship his company has with the consumer, because Levi’s can now upgrade the technology in your jacket after you bought it. “This is a really new experience,” he said. “And it’s a completely different approach to fashion. The normal fashion promise from other companies really is that we promise that in six months, we’re going to try to sell you something else. Levi’s prides itself on creating enduring, lasting value in style and we are able to actually improve the value of the garment that was already in the consumer’s closet.”

I spent about a week with the Sherpa jacket before today’s launch. It does exactly what it promises to do. Pairing my phone and jacket took less than a minute and the connection between the two has been perfectly stable. The gesture recognition worked very well — maybe better than I expected. What it can do, it does well, and I appreciate that the team kept the functionality pretty narrow.

Whether Jacquard is for you may depend on your lifestyle, though. I think the ideal user is somebody who is out and about a lot, wearing headphones, given that music controls are one of the main features here. But you don’t have to be wearing headphones to get value out of Jacquard. I almost never wear headphones in public, but I used it to quickly tag where I parked my car, for example, and when I used it with headphones, I found using my jacket’s cuffs easier to forward to the next song than doing the same on my headphones. Your mileage may vary, of course, and while I like the idea of using this kind of tech so you need to take out your phone less often, I wonder if that ship hasn’t sailed at this point — and whether the controls on your headphones can’t do most of the things Jacquard can. Google surely wants Jacquard to be more than a gimmick, but at this stage, it kind of still is.

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Instagram launches a ‘creators’ account to encourage more… creation – TechCrunch


Instagram deployed a new tool today that should help it continue to build a more viable alternative to YouTube for individual creators looking to try a different platform. It’s a dedicated account called @creators, which will deliver tips and tricks for people hoping to become more active on the platform.

Based on the pinned FAQ story that Instagram has posted to the account, and a brief explainer with some testimonials from actual creators using the platform. Some of the questions that Instagram answers include how to get Verified, which must be asked so incredibly frequently by this particular set of folks.

The grid posts of @creators include some helpful tips like pointing out that 60% of people listen to stories on the platform with the sound on. Clearly, the account is geared towards pushing video creation tips and tools, which makes sense given that’s an area of growth for the company, and a way for it to win over disaffected YouTubers and younger creators who are looking for their new home on the web.

This could be a huge potential opportunity for Instagram, in fact, and this account, while a small part of an overall approach to wooing creators, is a good one.





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SmartNews’ head of product on how the news discovery app wants to free readers from filter bubbles – TechCrunch


Since launching in the United States five years ago, SmartNews, the news aggregation app that recently hit unicorn status, has quietly built a reputation for presenting reliable information from a wide range of publishers. The company straddles two very different markets: the U.S. and its home country of Japan, where it is one of the leading news apps.

SmartNews wants readers to see it as a way to break out of their filter bubbles, says Jeannie Yang, its senior vice president of product, especially as the American presidential election heats up. For example, it recently launched a feature, called “News From All Sides,” that lets people see how media outlets from across the political spectrum are covering a specific topic.

The app is driven by machine-learning algorithms, but it also has an editorial team led by Rich Jaroslovsky, the first managing editor of WSJ.com and founder of the Online News Association. One of SmartNews’ goal is to surface news that its users might not seek out on their own, but it must balance that with audience retention in a market that is crowded with many ways to consume content online, including competing news aggregation apps, Facebook and Google Search.

In a wide-ranging interview with Extra Crunch, Yang talked about SmartNews’ place in the media ecosystem, creating recommendation algorithms that don’t reinforce biases, the difference between its Japanese and American users and the challenges of presenting political news in a highly polarized environment.

Catherine Shu: One of the reasons why SmartNews is interesting is because there are a lot of news aggregation apps in America, but there hasn’t been one huge breakout app like SmartNews is in Japan or Toutiao in China. But at the same time, there are obviously a lot of issues in the publishing and news industry in the United States that a good dominant news app might be able to help, ranging from monetization to fake news.

Jeannie Yang: I think that’s definitely a challenge for everybody in the U.S. With SmartNews, we really want to see how we can help create a healthier media ecosystem and actually have publishers thrive as well. SmartNews has such respect for the publishers and the industry and we want to be good partners, but also really understand the challenges of the business model, as well as the challenges for users and thinking of how we can create a healthier ecosystem.



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PayPal to enter China through GoPay acquisition – TechCrunch


The People’s Bank of China has approved PayPal’s acquisition of a 70% equity state in GoPay (Guofubao Information Technology Co. (GoPay), Ltd.), which will make PayPal the first foreign payment platform to provide online payment services in China. GoPay has licenses for online and mobile transactions, and mainly provides payment products for industries including e-commerce, cross-border commerce, aviation tourism, and others.

According to a statement from Guofubao, PayPal acquired the controlling stake through the Shanghai-based subsidiary, Yinbaobao Information Technology (Shanghai) Co., Ltd.

The companies did not disclose deal terms.

The news of PayPal’s entry into China comes at a time when there’s increased tensions between the U.S. and China, with The White House reportedly now considering curbing some U.S. investments in China amid the trade dispute between the countries.

Though China’s payments market today is led by local players, including eWallet providers like AliPay and WeChat Pay on the mobile side, there’s still plenty of room for it to grow — which would benefit PayPal.

On the mobile payments side alone, the market is expected to grow 21.8% from 2017 to $96.73 trillion in 2023, driven partly by increasing demand for e-commerce, a report from Frost & Sullivan found. The market has also seen an increase in cross-border transactions, particularly in sectors like e-commerce, travel and overseas education. These reached $6.66 trillion in 2016.

The report additionally said the total number of active mobile payment customers is expected to reach 956 million by 2023, up from 562 million in 2017.

Last year, China’s central bank said it would open up further to foreign payment companies.

U.S. firms in the financial services market have for a long time struggled to enter China. Notably, American Express became the first U.S. card network to gain permission to set up card-clearing services in China last November, and MasterCard this year said it would try to set up a joint venture with another local player to gain entry.

PayPal said the transaction is expected to close in Q4 2019 and is subject to customary closing conditions.

The company’s full statement on the acquisition is below:

The People’s Bank of China has approved PayPal Information Technologies Co., Ltd.’s acquisition of a 70% equity interest in Guofubao Information Technology Co. (GoPay), Ltd., a holder of a payment business license in China. We are honored to become the first foreign payment platform to be licensed to provide online payment services in China. We look forward to partnering with China’s financial institutions and technology platforms, providing a more comprehensive set of payment solutions to businesses and consumers, both in China and globally. The transaction is expected to close in the fourth quarter of 2019 and is subject to customary closing conditions.



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Spotify now lets you add podcasts to playlists – TechCrunch


Spotify this morning announced a new feature that will allow users to add their podcasts to playlists. With the addition, users can create their own custom playlists of their favorite podcasts, or even those that combine music and audio — similar to Spotify’s own newly-launched “Your Daily Drive.”

With “Your Daily Drive,” Spotify put its personalization engine to work to combine both music and news from select sources. But with the ability to now build your own podcast-filled playlists, you won’t have to rely on Spotify’s curation as much.

Instead, you can build your own podcast playlists by tapping the three-dot menu to the right of the podcast episode and then “Add to playlist.” You can either choose to add it a playlist you’ve already created, or you can build a new one from scratch. You can continue to add more content to this playlist, including music, if you prefer.

The company says this functionality is something users have regularly requested since the integration of podcasts to its streaming music service. However, it’s not necessarily the easiest way to tune into the latest episodes of your favorite programs as it involves manual curation.

Many podcasts release new episodes every week or so — and don’t want to get stuck constantly building playlists for those. Instead, the feature makes more sense for curating a set of podcasts around a theme, or preparing yourself to binge your way through a few programs on a long commute or road trip, for example.

Spotify says today there are over 3 billion user-generated music playlists on its service, so it believes that its users will embrace this new curation ability, as well.

Once a podcast playlist has been created, it can be shared with friends or the public, just like music playlists can be. This could make for an interesting marketing tool for podcasters, who could put together playlists of their best episodes or those with high-profile guest stars, for example, as a way to introduce newcomers to their shows. But it could also serve as a way for friends to recommend their favorite shows to others, by putting together a list of their all-time favorite episodes.

For those interested in tracking news and entertainment, they could build playlists of podcast episodes from different sources all focused on the same topic. For instance, a playlist offering everyone’s reviews of the new iPhone.

Over the past year or so, Spotify has heavily invested in the podcast market, including through acquisitions like GimletParcast, and Anchor — as well as in its programming, like the deal with Barack and Michelle Obama’s production company, Higher Ground, for instance, and a quickly-growing number of exclusives, windowed-exclusives, and originals. It also hired former Condé Nast president of entertainment Dawn Ostroff to lead its content efforts.

Today, Spotify says it has “hundreds of thousands” of podcasts available to stream on its platform.

The new podcast playlist-building feature is mobile-only for now. On desktop, you can only stream the playlists you made, but can’t build them yet, Spotify says.



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