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Lack of Understanding Holds Back Digital Payments Innovation –

Adopting the latest technologies can help firms keep their businesses operating smoothly while benefiting customer and supplier relationships. However, several key challenges prevent firms from seeing the full benefits digital innovation has to offer.

One of the greatest barriers is a lack of understanding of the benefits. That’s the No. 1 barrier for large-market firms and the third-most-cited barrier for midmarket firms, according to “Accelerating the Time to Realized Revenue,” a PYMNTS and Mastercard collaboration based on a survey of 400 corporate executives.

Get the report: Accelerating the Time to Realized Revenue
Forty-eight percent of the large-market firms responding to the survey said a lack of understanding of the benefits is a barrier to innovation.

A greater share of these respondents cited this challenge than cited five others: high data management costs; regulatory problems; difficulties hiring and retaining staff; resistance within the organization; and data privacy or security concerns.

Among midmarket firms, 32% said that a lack of understanding of the benefits prevents them from realizing digital innovation, ranking the challenge third behind only high data management costs and regulatory problems.

Getting the Most out of New Digital Payments Technology
Third-party providers can help firms overcome many of these challenges and get the most out of new digital payments technology. These providers have trained professionals who know about the products and services they provide and how to design and quickly roll out solutions tailored to clients’ needs.

“In B2B payments, automation is key to unlocking greater choice and efficiency,” Ron Shultz, Mastercard executive vice president of new payment lows in North America, wrote in an eBook released by PYMNTS.

Read more: Mastercard: 2021 Was the Year of Evolution
“Electronic invoicing, virtual corporate cards, automated accounts payable and bill pay solutions are all top of mind as businesses look to future-proof their operations,” Shultz added.

Partnering with third-party providers can help firms bring digital solutions to market quickly that would otherwise take much longer to architect and deploy on their own.
Third-party providers can also help firms avoid the high costs associated with building their own technologies from scratch, often providing access to technologies and domain area expertise that might otherwise be out of reach.

Tapping Outside Help to Deliver Key Digital Technologies
The survey found that many of the firms that have adopted digital innovations have tapped outside help to deliver several of the key digital technologies they need to optimize their businesses’ payment operations.

Nearly three-quarters of the businesses that use blockchain or smart contracts said they source the technology from third-party providers. The same is true of about half of those who use artificial intelligence (AI) systems or dynamic terms, and about one-third of those that use supplier portals.

These firms know that keeping digital operations up to date is a critical aspect of staying competitive in the global digital marketplace. Firms whose innovation plans are held back by a lack of in-house knowledge, high data management costs or regulatory barriers are in an uphill battle to maximize operational efficiencies and deliver high levels of client and partner satisfaction in an increasingly competitive marketplace.

Many firms may struggle to overcome these barriers on their own, but working with third-party providers can help mitigate the inherent challenges of quickly implementing and maintaining these innovative and crucial digital technologies.

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The Ashley Marie Collection – Natural Hair Care for Gen Z by Gen Z

As a new generation of beauty consumers emerges, the beauty industry is undergoing a significant transformation. Gen Z consumers, in particular, are highly conscious about the ingredients in their beauty products. With a population that accounts for almost 30% of the world, Gen Z (born roughly between 1996 and 2012) are a major focus for several brands.

The desire to be  environmentally and socially aware, has led to a change  in this generation’s values and spearheaded the movement, urging companies to take action on the climate crisis. This is not merely rhetoric. Based on a survey conducted by Capgemini, in 2021, approximately 69 percent of surveyed participants belonging to Generation Z stated that they were willing to spend more on health and beauty products that contain natural and clean ingredients.This trend has led to the rise of natural beauty products, and the Ashley Marie Collection is at the forefront of this movement.

Created by 17-year-old entrepreneur Ashley Marie Gibson, the Ashley Marie Collection features a range of natural hair care products that cater specifically to the evolving needs of Gen Z consumers. Don’t be fooled by her young age – Ashley is a total boss. As a Gen-Z entrepreneur, Ashley is passionate about creating products that use natural ingredients and prioritize health and well-being. The Ashley Marie Collection reflects Gen Z’s preference for natural and eco-friendly products with its commitment to using only the cleanest, ethically sourced ingredients. All products are cruelty-free, color-safe, paraben-free, sulfate-free, and formulated with natural ingredients.

If being clean wasn’t enough, this brand checks off another box – being diverse and inclusive!  The Ashley Marie Collection is an entire hair care line specifically for 4C hair, a hair type that is often overlooked in the beauty industry. The line features a range of uniquely formulated products, including a Clarifying Shampoo, Moisturizing Shampoo, Hydrating Conditioner, Protein Conditioner, Leave-in Conditioner, Coil Cream, and Curly Coil Styling Gel. All of which work wonders for kinky, thick coils and will leave strands feeling and looking even better!

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It’s your last day to apply to speak at TC Disrupt

Today’s your last chance to apply to speak at TechCrunch 2023
Why should you drop everything to get that application in by 11:59 p.m. PDT today? Not only will you help inform and educate the next generation of startups — and potential unicorns — but you’ll also establish or enhance your reputation as a valued thought leader and partner. Around here we call that a win-win situation.

How to apply to speak at TechCrunch Disrupt 2023
When you apply, you’ll choose one of the two formats below and submit a title and description of your topic:

Breakout Session: Up to two people (including moderator) lead a 30-minute presentation followed by a 20-minute Q&A from an audience of up to 100 attendees. You’ll be able to display a presentation and have limited AV capabilities. You’ll present one breakout during Disrupt.
Roundtable Discussion: One person leads a 30-minute interactive conversation for an audience of up to 25 attendees. There is no presentation or AV — it’s all about organic conversation. You may potentially repeat this roundtable twice during Disrupt.
TechCrunch vets every application and then selects the finalists who will participate in the Audience Choice voting round. We’ll post the topics, descriptions and speakers online, and then TechCrunch readers will vote for the sessions they would like to see at the event. The top vote-getters will present live at Disrupt.

These are the important dates you need to know:

Application deadline: Today, April 21, by 11:59 p.m. PDT
Finalists notified: April 27
Audience Choice voting: May 1–12
Winners notified: May 15
Once more — a little louder this time: It’s your last opportunity to submit your application to speak at TechCrunch Disrupt on September 19–21! The application window slams shut today, April 21, at 11:59 p.m. PDT. One more reminder: Save up to $825 with an early-bird ticket. Buy your Disrupt pass, and join us in San Francisco!

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TechCrunch+ roundup: Deep tech tips for SaaS VCs, toxic fundraising, student visa startup options

If someone said “startup” while we were playing a word association game, I’d respond with “fundraising.” (I bet you would, too.)

Asking people for money is a key aspect of every founder’s journey, but Techstars Managing Director Collin Wallace says it can also “accelerate your demise.”

For example, raising a round to rev up engineering, sales and marketing sounds positive — but what if the business itself has negative unit economics?.

“Most of the time, what stands between a company and its ability to achieve scale is not a lack of money,” writes Wallace in TC+.

“It’s better to ask: Do we have hustle problems? Product problems? Process problems? People problems? Is my business model fundamentally flawed?”

In this article, he examines four scenarios that often lead entrepreneurs to seek out new cash and explains why getting “a clear picture of what is fueling losses” is much more important.

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