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Stripe launches Stripe Tax to simplify global tax compliance for Australian businesses



Stripe, the technology company building economic infrastructure for the internet, has announced the launch of Stripe Tax to help businesses automatically calculate and collect sales tax, value-added tax (VAT), and goods and services tax (GST) in Australia and over 30 countries*.

Stripe Tax makes every aspect of global sales tax handling as frictionless as the rest of Stripe. It automates tax calculation and collection for transactions on Stripe, tells businesses where they need to collect taxes, and creates comprehensive reports to make filing taxes easy.

The complexity of tax compliance

For years, help with tax compliance has been a top request from Australian Stripe users. GST rules in Australia are not uniform, and vary depending on the origin and makeup of a product. For example:

  • GST does not apply to certain services and digital products provided within Australia by overseas businesses to Australian businesses.
  • GST applies to sales of imported services and digital products sold to Australian consumers.

Tax compliance is even more difficult for Australian businesses selling products overseas, with digital and physical goods now taxed in over 130 countries, and over 11,000 different tax jurisdictions in the US alone.

Tax rules in each jurisdiction are updated frequently and often vary based on subtle details. For example:

  • The tax rate for tickets to the same webinar vary significantly depending on the location of the ticket holder, whether it’s a live or recorded version, and whether the purchaser is a private individual or a corporation
  • In the UK, food for animals is not subject to VAT, unless the animal you’re feeding is your pet
  • Cowboy boots aren’t taxed in Texas, but hiking boots are.

Businesses face significant opportunity costs in becoming compliant, but also maintaining a compliant setup globally. As a result, two-thirds of businesses say managing tax compliance holds back their growth, with a majority saying they would launch more products and expand into more countries if relieved of the burden.

How Stripe Tax works

Stripe Tax radically simplifies tax compliance for businesses across more than 30 countries. Features include:

  • Real time tax calculation: By determining the end customer’s precise location, and matching that to the product or service being sold, Stripe Tax always calculates and collects the right amount of tax, and keeps up to date with rate and rule changes so businesses don’t have to.
  • Frictionless checkout: B2C businesses can reduce checkout friction with Stripe Tax, by using location information to calculate and show taxes in the most familiar way to their customers.
  • Tax ID management: For B2B businesses, Stripe Tax collects the tax identification number from customers, and automatically validates VAT IDs for European customers, applying a reverse charge or zero VAT rate when necessary.
  • Reconciliation: Stripe Tax saves businesses the pain of reconciling thousands of transactions by creating comprehensive reports for each market in which a business is registered to collect tax, speeding up filing and remittance.

Instead of taking weeks of work, all this can be done automatically by adding a single line of code or updating a single setting in a business’s Stripe Dashboard.

“No one leaps out of bed in the morning excited to deal with taxes,” said John Collison, Co-Founder and President of Stripe. “For most businesses, managing tax compliance is a painful distraction. We simplify everything about calculating and collecting sales taxes, VAT, and GST, so our users can focus on building their businesses.”

“Simplifying tax compliance is one of the top concerns for Australian small businesses and startups looking to scale. It’s especially a deterrent for businesses that want to expand overseas, but struggle to navigate the complexities of tax compliance given how much it varies,” said Mac Wang, Head of Stripe ANZ. “Stripe Tax takes away the pain associated with tax compliance so our Aussie customers can focus on what they do best.”

*Stripe Tax covers Sales Tax, VAT and GST requirements in Australia, Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, New Zealand, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, the United States, and the United Kingdom.

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Calgary, Alberta’s Allied Venture Partners Confirms they’ve Invested $1M+ into Early-Stage Tech Firms



Allied Venture Partners confirmed on July 23, 2021, that they have invested over $1 million into early-stage tech startups while helping to close almost $13 million in total funding since their October 2020 debut.

Based in Calgary, Alberta, AlliedVP invests in early-stage tech firms from across North America, with a focus on “driving additional foreign investment into Western Canada‘s technology ecosystem” while offering local investors “greater diversification and access to high-potential deal flow.”

Matthew Wilson, Founder and MD at Allied Venture Partners, stated:

“Crossing the $1 Million mark in just nine short months is an exciting milestone. As the economic impact from Covid-19 continues to affect the local oil & gas industry, investor mindsets are expanding to include high-growth & innovative industries, like technology.”

Wilson also noted that when coupled with additional government stimulus into their fast-evolving tech sector, Western Canada remains one of North America’s fastest-growing tech centers.

Wilson added that several major funding announcements have helped to put their tech ecosystem on the map, “namely from local tech companies Symend, Athennian, Benevity, Neo Financial, Absorb Software… and the list goes on.” Alberta continues to “emerge as a global AI & ML hub, with the number of technology companies more than doubling since 2018, to more than 3,000,“ he added.

Allied Venture Partners was established as “a means of driving experienced outside capital into Western Canada’s technology ecosystem while providing local investors with greater access to high-potential deal flow from established VC markets.”

Wilson also mentioned that early indications indicate that their alternative outside-in model is “working exceptionally well, having already given local investors access to numerous venture-scale technology opportunities alongside top-tier VCs.” Concurrently, their diverse investor network has “grown exponentially, now with more than 700 members globally,” Wilson claims.

He remarked:

“Our investor network not only includes angels, VCs & institutional funds but also a wealth of entrepreneur/operators, from senior engineers at Google & Amazon to founders and C-suite executives at billion-dollar tech unicorns. In addition, the launch of our Scout Program has been a key growth driver, and we are now at the exciting inflection point where we can showcase our promising local tech startups to a globally diverse & experienced network of technology investors.”

AlliedVP’s first $1 million has been invested across five firms ranging from Seed to Series A, along with one “follow-on” investment. Industries include Gaming, Blockchain, FinTech, Enterprise SaaS, MarTech, Finance & Consumer Marketplaces, according to an update shared with Crowdfund Insider.

Wilson continued:

“Most importantly, we are seeing early indications of establishing the brand we set out to build. We’re attracting the types of highly talented, passionate & innovative entrepreneurs we aspire to work with, and they are choosing to partner with us as they build world-class companies.”

Allied Venture Partners or AlliedVP is one of Canada’s biggest angel investor groups that is focused on diversifying Western Canada’s funding ecosystem for tech entrepreneurs and investors.

The group’s threefold strategy aims “to broaden the pool of available capital for local startups, provide local investors with greater portfolio diversification via outside deal flow opportunities, while acting as a trusted conduit among foreign investors wishing to gain access to Canada’s fastest-growing technological hub.”

AlliedVP is based in Calgary, Canada with another office in Sydney, Australia. Startups may submit applications for backing and investors may join the group by visiting

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Hilton Grand Vacations’ Timeshare Test and 9 Other Top Travel Stories This Week



Throughout the week we are posting original stories night and day covering news and travel trends, including the impact of coronavirus. Every weekend we will offer you a chance to read the most essential stories again in case you missed them earlier.

How Hilton Grand Vacations Digests a $1.4 Billion Takeover Will Test Hot Timeshare Market: The timeshare sector is underway with overdue change. Chasing changing traveler tastes, millennials, and eventually Gen Z buyers means pushing into cities and offering more flexibility.

United Airlines Eyes Blockbuster 2022 With Plans to Be Larger Than Pre-Pandemic: United has big aspirations for 2022 as the travel recovery continues to accelerate in the U.S. But very real concerns about the Delta variant and the broader recovery outside of the airline’s control could set those plans back.

Tripadvisor Plus Creates Less Friction and Lower Costs for Hotels: Adding channel managers to bypass global distribution systems Amadeus and Sabre isn’t a super-duper game-changer for Tripadvisor Plus, but less friction and lower fees can lead to greater traction.

Kayak Is Missing a Golden Opportunity With Its New Corporate Travel Platform:
In what could be the travel industry’s most drawn-out launch of a booking tool, the final version will appeal to many small companies — but it could have offered so much more.

Japan’s Tourism Reality From Olympics: Build It and Maybe They Will Come Later: The 2020 Tokyo Games will be a big financial hit for Japan’s tourism sector, but vaccines now under way plus pent-up demand and infrastructure boosts could make it come out of this tough stretch a winner — sooner than one might think.

Canada to Lift Restrictions for Fully Vaccinated U.S. Travelers From August 9: The decision by Canada to open its border to fully vaccinated U.S. visitors is a massive boost for the country’s economy. While businesses in Canada have lost billions of dollars due to the absence of U.S. customers, the reopening’s timing in early August allows them to salvage something from the summer.

Travel and Fintech Are Colliding in New Exciting Ways: Fintech is trending, and likewise for superapps in certain parts of the world. Getting into travel is too delicious to resist, but the world is not ending for incumbent travel competitors.

Hilton Sees Bigger Meetings and Events Role in All-Inclusive Resort Growth: All-inclusive resorts are always going to be dominated by leisure travel, but it’s a smart move by Hilton to position these properties for some level of corporate meetings and events. Leisure traveler tastes aren’t the only ones that changed over the span of the pandemic.

Why American Airlines Lags Delta and United on a Key Recovery Metric: American likes to tout its strengths from more flights and a broader domestic network when it talks about the recovery. But with higher costs than competitors, it will continue to lag its peers even as some forecast profits in the coming months.

Hopper Sells Travel But Its Fintech Hedging Drives the Growth: Hopper makes more money on add-on, fintech-oriented services than on selling travel — even the usually juicy hotel business. The business isn’t profitable but who cares when grabbing market share is on the agenda.

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How to solve the Bitcoin energy consumption problem



How to solve the Bitcoin energy consumption problem


Blockchain technology is redesigning the world order via its interlinked network of blocks, simplifying monetary transfers and transforming the financial space.

But its pros may be weighed down by the huge environmental cost that cryptocurrency mining incurs each year. Currently, Bitcoin mining alone is responsible for more than 0.5% of global energy consumption.

Bill Gates, in early March, criticized Bitcoin for being the most energy-consuming transaction method known ever to mankind. Since then the Twitterati have been abuzz about how cryptocurrency mining has been hogging down energy from the already limited available resources. Down from their reputation of being a panacea for every malady, Bitcoin and its accompanying blockchain technology are earning notoriety as NFTs (non-fungible tokens) powered by blockchain are steadily gaining traction in the digital scene. 

Recently, an NFT artwork by the digital artist Beeple was sold for US$69 million by Christie’s auction house as an NFT. Around the same time, French sculptor cum environmentalist Joanie Lemercier was horrified to learn that the sale of just six of his NFT artworks consumed energy equivalent to a total of two-year energy consumption of his studio.

Excessive energy consumption: hype or problem area?

Cryptocurrencies are created — or mined, in blockchain terminology — over a decentralized network of computers that validates payments between users and maintains a historical log of transactions. Almost all the cryptocurrencies use a proof-of-work consensus mechanism that requires the miners to solve difficult computational problems, thus consuming a lot of electricity. There are hundreds of thousands of such computers that mine such cryptocurrencies actively, and only 39% of them use renewable energy resources, according to a University of Cambridge report.

The environmental cost of the digital revolution far supersedes the current stats that convict Bitcoin and blockchain as the sole culprits of degrading environment. A single swipe of your debit card initiates a rally of transactions over a humongous but buried network of systems. Though the frequency of transactions in banks and financial institutions (500 billion per year)  is incomparable to that of the Bitcoin network (100 million), cryptocurrency mining isn’t inherently prone to leave a carbon footprint. 

We ought to know how climate change is a huge environmental issue being realized today by businesses and the masses alike. A 2019 study by Harvard Business Review found that the market for sustainable products was touted to grow 5.6 times faster than the other not such responsible products. Another study found 79% of the customers preferring socially and environmentally responsible products. With changing customer preference towards environment-friendly products, the crypto industry has to work towards more sustainable energy solutions as it nears mainstream adoption. Let us look at the solutions available to tame the cryptocurrency industry’s carbon footprint and excessive energy consumption.

Solutions within and without

Changing the way coins are mined

The proof-of-work consensus mechanism is averse to saving energy due to its insatiable and unending consumption issues. It is, therefore, pertinent to change the way coins are mined. Easier said than done. Attempts have been made to bring in more energy-efficient consensus mechanisms, like the proof of stake and proof of authority.

Proof of stake is a low-energy consuming consensus mechanism as it leverages the efficacy of coins itself in the network. A user who has locked his tokens can verify blocks; therefore, the need for intensive mining is eliminated. Ethereum founder Vitalik Buterin strongly believes that blockchains sharding based on proof-of-stake is “thousands of times more efficient.” 

A group of hackers created an eco-friendly network based on the same called the PIVX network. The network’s energy requirements can be sufficed by a single wind turbine alone!

A proof-of-authority consensus mechanism leverages the identity of the people being a reputation-based consensus system. It is one of the most efficient and eco-friendly consensuses that could replace the proof of work.

Finding alternative energy sources

Bitcoin mining currently consumes 69.85 TWh per year, which ismore than the energy consumed by Austria in a year. There is an urgent need to shift to alternative resources to cut on the carbon footprint. The shift to environmentally fit energy solutions is already visible. Some mining nodes now use hydropower Some mining businesses rely on gas leaks captured from oil fields. Others are increasingly exploring solar-powered machines to fuel their mining operations.

Countries that have a surplus of renewable energy sources can encourage miners by allowing subsidized rates and other such allowances. Companies can work on a more efficient and robust mining and grid infrastructure that can help miners store and channel energy flows.

Reducing crypto mining’s carbon footprint

Exploring the uses cases of blockchain further, Canadian business consultant, Magdalena Gronowska says: “Miners can provide grid balancing and flexible demand-response services and improve renewables integration.” Miners can support the community rather than draining it. The mining firms can take up reforestation programs and other sequestration programs to help improve the air quality. 

Mining rigs can utilize the heat from their units to warm houses in cold temperatures. Hotmine in Siberia is a fine example of the above application. Places like Iceland offer natural cooling to the Bitcoin mining rigs and also harvest hydropower and geothermal energy that further help make Bitcoin mining more green and clean.  

Environmental regulations

Government and policymakers around the world can put into force regulators and categorical bans for cryptocurrencies that flout the prescribed limits of CO2 emissions. For instance, Quebec has introduced a moratorium on new currency mining. The crypto industry, like other industries, could be brought within the ambit of corporate social responsibility (CSR) regulations that are becoming increasingly mandatory for business enterprises today. 

Development and environment protection have and will always be at loggerheads. What is essential is to find the middle path. Making mining more energy-efficient and switching to alternate modes of energy can go a long way in making it a carbon-neutral technology.

What is required to be told and understood is that Blockchain tech has been testing its limits ever since its inception. The crypto community is self-aware and thinking about how to tackle the energy consumption issue. Being a disruptor tech still in its nascent phase, it possesses the potential to rethink, revise and rework on its shortcomings. As the DigiEconomist founder Alex de Vries says, “Ideally, change comes from within.” The alternative currency and tech are sure to find an alternate solution soon. 

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French Spend Management Fintech Spendesk Acquires €100M in Capital via Series C led by General Atlantic



France-based Spendesk, a spend management platform, has acquired €100 million in capital through a Series C round that was led by General Atlantic, an international growth equity company.

Spendesk offers finance professionals a software-as-a-services or SaaS spend management system for complete visibility and control on all company-related spending — with every purchase being easily trackable to an individual, a specific project, as well as a budget.

The Spendesk platform brings together payments, processes, and data, with digital and physical cards for workers, expense reimbursements, invoice management, automated spend approvals, as well as budgets.

Having recently doubled revenue, Spendesk’s client base has expanded to 3,000, and its employee headcount reached 300+ in the past year. The company revealed that it will be channeling the proceeds from the raise towards recruiting new talent and further develop its line of products.

Rodolphe Ardant, CEO at Spendesk, stated:

“In the past few years we have built the reference spend management solution for finance teams in Europe, which frees businesses and their people from administrative constraints of spending and managing money at work. While our solution is about empowering finance teams, we are actually delivering value to the entire business through the finance team.”

Spendesk was founded on the idea that “spending money at work is far too complicated and time consuming,” the company explained in a blog post.

The Fintech firm points out that it “actually slows businesses down and reduces output across the entire company.”

According to Spendesk, nowhere is this pain “felt more acutely than in finance teams, where you have talented, thoughtful experts with a real impact to make.” They also noted that there may be a lot of value that could be added to firms “if they weren’t spending weeks chasing receipts, reconciling payments, or manually updating budgets.”

The company further noted:

“So that’s the problem we’ve set out to solve at Spendesk: to create an all-in-one solution that liberates finance teams from the tedious tasks, and empowers them to focus on more impactful, strategic work.”

They added:

“We call this ‘spend management’ – a concept that aims to streamline every aspect of spending & managing money at work: expenses, card payments, and invoice processing, but also approval workflows and accounting automation. And while our solution is about empowering finance teams, we deliver value to the entire business through the finance team, with a simple solution that employees love to use.”

With Spendesk, non-finance workers can be empowered to take care of spending on their own, with all the guidance they require to make the right decisions. Managers are able to keep track of and control budgets “without hassle, and senior leadership has more visibility over cash flow and revenue.” Essentially, Spendesk helps “every employee focus on the work that matters most.”

The company also mentioned:

“We’ve certainly benefited from using Spendesk ourselves during this funding round. We could tell a very detailed data story about our business with very little effort.”

They also confirmed that their Series C round was led by global growth equity firm General Atlantic and they’re pleased to welcome back all of our previous investors, including Index Ventures and Eight Roads Ventures.

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