Standout Stories

Etsy… an online marketplace for all things artisan, from dog soap to Bernie Sanders dolls, seems to be on a roll. In February the firm was recertified as a “B Corporation,” which meets certain social and environmental standards, and reported good results, with sales last year reaching $2.4 billion, up by 24%. On April 5 the firm’s executives, flanked by succulents and a yarn bouquet at their headquarters in Brooklyn, announced a new service to help sellers build their own websites. On April 16 Etsy will celebrate the one-year anniversary of its initial public offering.

All this appears to add up to what Etsy aims for: “sustainable growth.” The company wants to make everybody involved richer: not just shareholders, but buyers, sellers, and manufacturers. It does not give quarterly guidance. It works for the long term. “We are really focused on building a business that can grow consistently year after year,” says Chad Dickerson, Etsy’s chief executive. Read article

GumGum CFO Phil Schraeder… What do you get when you combine the opportunity to work in an exciting, emerging industry with a company culture that allows you to thrive?

You might get what you’ve always wanted. That’s the case for Phil Schraeder, CFO and chief operating officer of GumGum, an advertising technology startup.

On the excitement side, while advertising technology broadly is a fairly well-established industry, GumGum’s niche within it — the “in-image” advertising business — is not. Still, less than five years after settling on its business model, the company is already profitable and expects this year to crack the $100 million revenue threshold. Read article

Security wake-up call… In a recent report, the Federal Bureau of Investigation warned that a type of spear phishing attack known as “CEO email scams” is on the rise. In those kinds of attacks, the perpetrator usually assumes the identity of someone in a position of authority and sends email requests for privileged information or the transfer of assets outside the company. It’s not a new tactic, but it is one that is becoming increasingly popular; according to the FBI, businesses have racked up more than $2.3 billion in losses to targeted phishing attacks since 2013.

The main challenge is that these fraudulent emails look legitimate at first glance. They target employees in human resources, legal, accounting, finance, and other departments with seemingly urgent and innocent requests for W2 records, wire transfers, invoices, company credit card information, employees’ personal information, and more. With fairly believable asks being made by a sender that appears to be an executive or an outside service provider who would naturally want that information, employees end up cooperating and unwittingly put the company at risk. Read article

Headlines

Microsoft Sues Over Feds’ Secret Data Searches

The suit seeking to overturn a 1986 law aligns Microsoft with the tech industry in a high-stakes battle over privacy rights.

 

Etsy’s Growing Pains: Knitty Gritty

A do-good company tests investors’ need for speed.

 

Company’s Culture Helps Hat-Juggling Finance Chief Make an Impact

How would you like to run a fresh young business in the kind of environment you’d long dreamed of? For the CFO of ad-tech firm GumGum, it’s real life.

 

Brazil’s Economy Seen Shrinking 3.8% This Year

The latest Brazilian central bank survey of economists shows increasing pessimism amid the country’s prolonged recession and political turmoil.

 

Modern Spear Phishing is a Security Wake-Up Call

Spear phishing attacks prey on the fact that employees want to please a superior or some other high-level executive.

 

Morgan Stanley’s Profit Dives on Weak Markets

First-quarter earnings beat analysts’ estimates but the firm admits that “global uncertainties” continue to weigh on its investment businesses.

 

Private Equity Firm to Buy Cvent for $1.65B

Vista Equity is paying a 69% premium for the event management software company, which has been on a wild Wall Street ride since going public in 2013.

 

PepsiCo’s Sales Fall for 6th Straight Quarter

The company’s results were hit by the strong dollar but excluding currency impact and an impairment charge, earnings beat analysts’ expectations.

 

Sport Chalet’s Owner Files Chapter 11 Petition

Vestis Retail is shuttering its Sports Chalet stores but is hoping its two other brands will continue operating under new ownership.

 

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