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Twitter will get an even darker ‘dark mode’

Twitter’s dark mode is about to get darker. In response to a customer’s complaint that Twitter’s dark theme isn’t really black, but more of a blue-ish shade, company CEO Jack Dorsey replied that’s going to be fixed. Though a seemingly minor tweak, dark mode settings for apps have become increasingly popular as a means of conserving battery life on high-end devices and making the apps we use often for long stretches easier on our eyes.The interest in dark themes has grown steadily since Twitter first debuted its own “Night mode” back in mid-2016.A number of apps now support darker themes, including YouTube, Google, Medium, Reddit, Wikipedia, Instapaper, Pocket, IMDb, iBooks, Kindle, Google Maps, Waze, Opera Mini, and many more. It’s even rumored that the upcoming version of the Android OS will have a system-wide dark mode setting – something dark mode users have wanted for years.This weekend, the topic made its way to The Wall Street Journal, which made the case for dark modes becoming…

Varsity Tutors acquires Veritas Prep to expand into live online classes

Varsity Tutors, the online learning platform that launched in 2011, has today announced the acquisition of Veritas Prep.The terms of the deal were not disclosed, but, according to the press release, the Veritas Prep team will remain at its Calabasas, CA office and that the product will continue on as a separate brand.Veritas Prep launched in 2002 with a suite of test prep courses. Over the years, Veritas built out its online live classes as well as a business around admissions consulting. As Varsity Tutors focuses on geographical and product expansion, the Veritas Prep acquisition allows the company to get into live online courses (alongside one-to-one tutoring).“Over the course of its 17 years, Veritas has built up a lot of expertise in how to deliver exceptional live online classes,” said Varsity Tutors founder and CEO Chuck Cohn. “We looked at a lot of companies out there, and we saw huge potential to really accelerate our own product development cycle by buying that expertise.”Var…

Adtech veteran Macus Startzel becomes CEO at Whitebox

Marcus Startzel is moving from the adtech to ecommerce: He’s becoming the new CEO at Whitebox.One of his first tasks, apparently, will be raising a Series A.Startzel was previously an executive at AppNexus, which he joined after the acquisition of MediaGlu, where he was CEO. (He departed AppNexus after it was bought by AT&T.) He’s also had senior roles at Millennial Media and Advertising.com.Whitebox, meanwhile, was founded in 2013 by previous CEO Rob Wray. The company helps businesses manage some of the most challenging parts of ecommerce — for example, it handles warehousing and fulfillment, while also creating and optimizing listings on Amazon, eBay and the seller’s own website.Startzel said he was attracted to the company because it taps into broader trends around the growth of ecommerce, and because of the opportunity provided by all of Whitebox’s data around “finding the best way to get the product to the consumer.” He also said he was impressed by the recent hiring of Chief…

Elliott Management letter puts eBay on notice to improve stock performance, sell StubHub

Elliott Management, a NYC investment firm well known for its activist streak, released a letter today sent to eBay’s management. The letter put the company on notice that the stock needs to do better, much better. And it outlined a five-step plan, including selling StubHub, it believes can get eBay there.Elliott is making this request as a managers of funds owning more than 4 percent of eBay’s stock. It believes that with some tweaks, the company stock, which sits at $33.71 this morning (up over eight percent) could be worth substantially more. In fact, the company believes if eBay follows its advice it could increase the stock price to $55-$63 per share.Elliott, which doesn’t tend to be subtle in its assessments of a company’s performance, didn’t pull any punches in its statement regarding the letter to eBay. “Despite its remarkable history as one of the world’s largest e-commerce platforms, eBay as a public-company investment has underperformed both its peers and the market for a pr…

Dosh raises $40M on $300M valuation as its cash back app passes $50M doled out to shoppers

When it comes to reaching would-be customers today, one of the biggest investments that brands and retailers will make is in advertising, to the tune of nearly $630 billion globally. Now, a startup called Dosh, which offers cash back on purchases, is announcing that it has raised $40 million to take on the advertising industry, with the pitch that its app provides a more targeted and guaranteed way of getting consumers to bite.The funding — $20 million in equity and $20 million in venture debt — is led by Goodwater Capital and Western Technology Investment. Previous investors PayPal, BAM Capital and Anthem Venture Partners also participated. Sources close to the company confirm that the funding was done on approximately a $300 million valuation. It’s raised $96 million in total, including both equity and debt.“Instead of taking all in equity we decided to split because of the strength of the company at the moment,” said Ryan Wuerch, Dosh’s founder and CEO, in an interview, who said th…