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Exclusive: Courier lands $35M to build a service for app notifications



Courier lands $35M to build a service for app notifications

#Courier #lands #35M #build #service #app #notifications

App notifications, well-intentioned or no, have become a part of daily life. A 2018 study out of Duke University estimated that — aside from email and work app alerts — the average person receives between 65 and 80 mobile app notifications per day. Unsurprisingly, the result is frustration. One recent survey found that half of app users consider push notifications annoying, while another suggests that 57% will take steps to avoid brand that bombard them with “poorly-targeted” communications, including notifications.

Executing a successful notification strategy requires forethought. Moreover, it requires technical know-how and infrastructure. That’s where Courier comes in, argues CEO Troy Goode. Courier, which today closed a $35 million Series B funding round led by GV, provides an API and “studio” to send and build notifications across multiple channels, including email, text, web, and mobile.

“I founded Courier in 2019. As a former engineer and engineering executive, I experienced the pain involved with building and scaling notification infrastructure at every company I was involved with,” Goode told TechCrunch in an email interview. Previously, Goode was VP of engineering at political campaign organizing platform EveryAction and a senior manager at Eloqua, a marketing automation startup. “Every time I was tasked with building a new notification system for a new product, I wished there was a service I could reach for to free up my engineering team and avoid the future headache that I knew would follow. That’s why I founded Courier.”

Apps can be programmed to emit events, which Courier can receive via the platform’s API or SDK. An event contains data for the notification’s content (e.g., a message) and a receiver (e.g., a user). Courier generates a notification template and routes it to one or more supported channels or “providers,” which include Postmark, Slack, Twilio, or Sendgrid. Lastly, each provider delivers the template from Courier to the end-user and Courier receives and logs delivery, open, and engagement data.

Courier can proactively notify users when their action is required. And it can send dynamic, customized digests created using Courier’s notification designer tool.

“[Many] user entrances to business-to-business software-as-a-service applications are driven by notifications, so getting this experience right is critical to delivering a great user experience as well as driving user engagement,” Goode said. “Courier helps its customers deliver a better user experience, reduce their total cost of ownership by not needing to maintaining their own notification infrastructure, and achieve a far greater amount of agility because new notifications can she shipped live in minutes.”

Using Courier to send notifications with segment.

Soon, Goode said, Courier will gain new functionality aimed at making it easier for mobile app developers to send push notifications. A new API will allow developers to deliver an ostensibly more consistent notification experience across devices, while a notification “inbox” for apps will let users access all the notifications they’ve received from an app in one place — even if they’ve opted out of push notifications altogether.


“Mobile push notifications are often the most disruptive types of notification users receive on a daily basis. The multitude of devices, operating systems, and permission protocols also means that they are the most complex to build from an engineering and product standpoint,” Goode added. “These tools are essential building blocks to delivering a less disruptive, more personalized mobile notification experience.”

Courier is by no stretch the first plug-and-play notification platform for apps. There’s MagicBell and Notifo, the latter of which was founded way back in 2010. MagicBell is particularly competitive with Courier, offering a notification inbox that’s embeddable into existing software and provides real-time notification delivery.

But Goode asserts that Courier has managed to hold its own, attracting over 150 paying customers and raising $47.5 million to date. Goode expects the company’s workforce will grow from 40 employees to 65 by the end of the year.

“Notifications are a complex and ubiquitous technical challenge and the use cases vary widely by industry. The biggest challenge is delivering a platform that can solve for customers across industries,” Courier said. “Notifications are an essential part of every software product. Courier has a usage-based pricing model, so as our customers user bases grow and they send more notifications, we are able to grow revenue. As long as overall software adoption continues to grow Courier is positioned well to grow.”

Bessemer Venture Partners, Matrix Partners, Twilio Ventures, Slack Fund, and Y Combinator also participated in the Series B.


Exclusive: Star Trek: Deep Space Nine's Opening Titles Still Somehow Rule as an N64 Game –




Star Trek: Deep Space Nine's Opening Titles Still Somehow Rule as an N64 Game

#Star #Trek #Deep #Space #Nine039s #Opening #Titles #Rule #N64 #Game

Star Trek has had an up-and-down history with video games, sometimes managing to succeed in gaming genres it arguably shouldn’t, while never managing to quite succeed in the ones it should. There’s been plenty of great ones, but now a very cool little animation imagines one of its finest entries getting a ‘90s tie-in that never was.

Twitter user SpinaSanctuary’s hypothetical title screen for a mid-’90s Deep Space Nine game on the Nintendo 64 imagines a sideways glance where the platform that gave us Star Wars: Shadow of the Empire instead took a visit to the Gamma Quadrant for some licensed gaming goodness, essentially riffing on the opening moments of Deep Space Nine’s own title sequence, but in a gloriously polygonal retro style.

What could’ve Star Trek 64: Deep Space Nine even been? An adventure game aboard the station? A starship strategy game set during the Dominion War? A retail management sim dedicated to the Promenade á la Roller Coaster Tycoon or Theme Park World? A first person shooter like Voyager got with the Elite Force games, that shouldn’t make sense, but totally does? Whatever it would’ve been, this cute little “demake” has me wishing we could’ve found out.

Want more io9 news? Check out when to expect the latest Marvel and Star Wars releases, what’s next for the DC Universe on film and TV, and everything you need to know about House of the Dragon and Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power.

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Exclusive: Amazon Prime subscribers now get GrubHub Plus free for a year –




Amazon Prime subscribers now get GrubHub Plus free for a year

#Amazon #Prime #subscribers #GrubHub #free #year

Amazon Prime subscribers in the US are getting a new benefit as part of their subscription, the company has announced. From today, they’ll be able to redeem a free year of Grubhub Plus, the monthly subscription service that offers free food delivery on orders over $12 from participating restaurants. Grubhub Plus normally costs $9.99 a month.

According to Amazon, free deliveries associated with Grubhub Plus are available from hundreds of thousands of restaurants across over 4,000 cities in the US. After the year is up, Grubhub will automatically start charging $9.99 a month for continued access. Existing Grubhub Plus subscribers can still make use of the promotion, which will be applied from the start of their next billing cycle. Canceling Prime automatically cancels Grubhub Plus.

The deal comes just a few short years after Amazon shut down Amazon Restaurants, its own attempt to compete in the takeout delivery market. The service was live between 2015 and 2019 but faced stiff competition from the likes of Uber Eats and DoorDash.

Since then, the e-commerce giant has mainly focused on grocery deliveries, but has kept a toe in the takeout delivery market through partnerships with other firms. It announced an investment in Europe-focused Deliveroo in 2019, and started offering access to its Deliveroo Plus subscription service as an additional perk for Prime members in the UK last year.

“Amazon has redefined convenience with Prime and we’re confident this offering will expose many new diners to the value of Grubhub Plus while driving more business to our restaurant partners and drivers,” Grubhub CEO Adam DeWitt said in a statement. The company, which is owned by Just Eat, says it expects Grubhub Plus subscriptions to rise as a result of the deal.

GrubHub Plus isn’t the only additional benefit Amazon is announcing for Prime members today. The e-commerce giant is also making a short teaser trailer for its upcoming Lord of the Rings TV show, Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power available exclusively to Prime subscribers for 48 hours. Members can watch the teaser over on the show’s Amazon page. The trailer ends by promising yet another teaser is coming on July 14th ahead of the release of the series on September 2nd.

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Exclusive: Explained: What is the Toll Fraud malware, how it attacks digital wallets and how to protect yourself –




Explained: What is the Toll Fraud malware, how it attacks digital wallets and how to protect yourself

#Explained #Toll #Fraud #malware #attacks #digital #wallets #protect

Microsoft recently published a blog post that warned Android users of a new malicious malware that is going around, called the Toll Fraud malware. The concern that Microsoft raises about this malware, is the fact that it can drain the payment wallets in infected devices, and, can also empty your bank accounts.

Microsoft researchers Dimitrios Valsamaras and Sang Shin Jung detailed the continuing evolution of “toll fraud malware” and the ways in which it attacks Android devices.

The malware falls under the subcategory of billing fraud “in which malicious applications subscribe users to premium services without their knowledge or consent” and “is one of the most prevalent types of Android malware.”

According to a Google transparency report, most of the installations of this malware are in India, Russia, Mexico, Indonesia, and Turkey.

How does the Toll Fraud Malware work?
What this malware does, is that it disconnects your device from WiFi, and allows the device to only operate on the cellular network. It then takes over the WAP or the Wireless Application Protocol.

WAPs, normally allow consumers to subscribe to paid content and add the charge to their phone bill. Once it hijacks the WAP, the malware starts subscribing to premium services while also intercepting one-time passwords (OTP) that a legit service provider may have sent you to verify your identity.


These SMSs are then forwarded to a database, which malicious hackers and actors can use to hack into various accounts that you own, even your bank accounts.

The Toll Fraud malware is one of the oldest malware in existence and has been going around since the time of dial-up internet. However, over the decades, it has evolved into something very sophisticated.

The current version of the malware is able to evade detection and can achieve a high number of installations before a single variant can be removed. It uses dynamic code loading, which makes it difficult for genuine mobile security solutions and antiviruses to detect threats.

It also suppresses SMS notifications and app notifications from wallets and dedicated banks. This way, by the time a user gets to know that their device has been infected, it is very late.

How do Android devices get infected by the Toll Fraud malware?
Not all apps on the Play Store are legit. Most of the free antiviruses, file managers, beauty filters and wallpaper apps have some sort of malware embedded in them.

The biggest red flag that such apps throw up is asking for bizarre permissions. For example, a camera app, asking permission to send or read SMSs make no sense. Or, a wallpaper app, asking for permissions to read notifications and monitor them again makes no sense. People often ignore what sort of permissions certain apps ask for. 

How to protect yourself from Toll Fraud malware?
Users need to be very careful of the apps they download, even if they are doing it through the Play Store. Also, avoid sideloading apps.

Avoid installing apps that ask for excessive permissions for programs that don’t require such privileges. Also, avoid apps which have similar UIs or icons to that of legitimate proper apps.

Keep an eye on the developer profiles that look fake or have poor grammar, and if the app has a slew of bad reviews.

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