ZipWhip, a startup that is extending SMS beyond the mobile phone, has raised a $5 million Series B round led by Chicago private equity firm Ronin Capital. ZipWhip has a cloud-based messaging platform that’s able to route text and multimedia messages to and from any landline number, whether it’s linked to a home phone or business. Consumers or businesses can then access those messages from a browser or app.
The theoretically super-secure Blackphone had a very serious bug in its SilentText chat app, security researcher Mark Dowd revealed Wednesday after informing the phone’s makers. The vulnerability in Silent Text, which is also available for other devices from Blackphone backer Silent Circle, made it possible for attackers to decrypt messages, take over Silent Circle accounts, gather contacts and location data, and basically take over the phone. The flaw was patched before Dowd went public, and Silent Circle has expressed its gratitude. Probably not the best publicity for the firm as it criticizes other apps for their excessive permission demands on Data Privacy Day, though.
The seven Harry Potter books, plus three spin-off titles, are now available through the ebook subscription site Oyster. The company says Harry Potter has been in its top-ten searches since launch. The Harry Potter series is also available in Amazon’s subscription service, Kindle Unlimited, so the differentiator here is the spin-offs — Quidditch Through the Ages, Fantastic Beasts & Where to Find Them and The Tales of Beedle the Bard — plus a few promotions that Oyster is running around the titles.
Add another 200,000 locations to the list of where you can use Apple Pay. USA Technologies announced Tuesday a national rollout of Apple Pay support on “coffee brewers, vending machines, kiosks, laundry equipment, parking pay stations and other self-serve appliances” that the company provides payment technologies for in the U.S. Apple Pay is rolling out at a fast pace, helped in large part of course by the many iPhone 6 and 6 Plus phones that the company has sold since September. Later today we’ll know how many handsets Apple sold in its most recent quarter, but I’ll place my guess now: around 68.5 million of them, with most of them sold in China, even though Apple Pay isn’t yet available there.
It looks like the WWE’s online video venture is starting to pay off: More than one million people have now subscribed to WWE Network, the online-only subscription streaming service that provides access to the league’s 12 key events per year, plus access to reality shows and past matches, for around $10 a month. WWE originally tried to hit that milestone by the end of 2014, but is now expected to sign up even more users before the WWE’s signature WrestleMania event in March.