U.S. states are turning to a private Irish company to help stop the spread of COVID

Before the coronavirus pandemic, NearForm, an enterprise software company headquartered in the tiny southeastern Irish seaside town of Tramore, helped some of the most recognizable brands in the world—from Uber to Condé Nast—make quick digital transformations.

When COVID-19 hit and the Irish government needed a technology company with a reputation for being quick and nimble to build a contact tracing app in March, NearForm jumped at the chance to help.

The company’s software engineers, who were all used to working remotely even before the pandemic, created COVID Tracker, a decentralized app that keeps users anonymous but alerts them if they’ve crossed paths with someone who has tested positive for coronavirus in the past two weeks. With a 35% adoption rate, it has been such a success story in Ireland that versions are now being used in four U.S. states, with many more expressing interest. 

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A fortuitously-timed acquisition moved this Fortune 500 fintech’s strategy ‘years ahead’ during COVID

Plenty of businesses have seen the pandemic decimate their prospects as entire industries shut down, or customers pare back. But a lucky few have seen the opposite: a strategy that was already underway before the pandemic now looks brilliant because of it.

Such is the case with Fidelity National Information Services (FIS),the Jacksonville-based finch company which is ranked No. 303 on the Fortune 500. For most of its 52-year history, FIS focused on financial products and services.

Early last spring, FIS had decided to branch out, acquiring Worldpay, a company that processes some 40 million transactions a year, for $43 billion. “By the time the pandemic hit we really had the heavy lifting on the integration [of Worldpay] complete,” Gary Norcross, CEO of FIS, recently told Fortune. “We’ve seen huge growth in our digital channels. We took advantage of a number of things in the market.”

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Twitter backtracks and allows users to share New York Post story about Bidens

Twitter on Friday reversed its controversial editorial decision to block users from sharing an unverified New York Post story that purports to show emails related to Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden and his son.

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Amazon’s activist employees are sowing the seeds of unionization

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At Amazon, employee activism is morphing into something more like old-fashioned union organizing.

Employee activism has been a growing trend in recent years, new and notable because workers have been speaking out against their employers on issues unrelated to pay, benefits, or working conditions. Employees of Google, Microsoft and Amazon walked out to support the Global Climate Strike in September 2019, with Amazon employees specifically opposing the company’s climate-related policies; more than 8,000 workers signed a letter to CEO Jeff Bezos demanding that Amazon cut its carbon emissions and take other steps to reduce use of fossil fuels. The day before the walkout, Bezos announced that Amazon would be carbon neutral by 2040, but the protesting employees said that target wasn’t aggressive enough.

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Stocks fall as Europe reports rising covid rates

U.S. stock indexes erased much of their early losses and closed modestly lower Thursday, extending the S&P 500’s losing streak to a third day.

The S&P 500 fell 0.2% after having been down 1.4%. Technology, health care and communications stocks accounted for most of the selling, outweighing slight gains in banks and elsewhere in the market.

Wall Street has turned cautious this week amid a confluence of worrisome trends for the economy, which is still hampered by the pandemic. Coronavirus infections are rising in Europe, prompting governments in France and Britain to impose new measures to contain the outbreak. European stock indexes fell broadly Thursday as traders pulled money out of riskier investments.

In the U.S., investor optimism that the Trump administration and Congress will soon reach a deal on another round of stimulus for the economy has waned. And the government said Thursday that the number of Americans seeking … Read the rest

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‘We have to change who the investors are’: How women VCs are working to fund Black and female founders

It’s sadly no shock to anyone in the industry: The amount of venture capital dollars that go to female and Black founders is dismally scant.

In fact, according to a recent PitchBook report, VC funding for female founders just hit its lowest quarterly total in three years. But there are forces working to change those statistics in the traditionally male-dominated arena.

Sarah Kunst, managing director at Cleo Capital, Steph Mui, co-founder and general partner at the 2020 Fund, Leyla Seka, partner at the Operator Collective, and Alexa von Tobel, co-founder and managing partner at Inspired Capital, are all on the front lines working to get female and minority-owned businesses the startup funds they need. And that task is formidable: Kunst notes that the vast majority of VC funding doesn’t go to Black and Hispanic founders, and “even when it does, it tends to disproportionately go to Black and Hispanic … Read the rest

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