Ex-CEO of social media startup admits duping investors by claiming company had ‘Shark Tank’ backing
Lukas I. Alpert, 22 July 2021
The former chief executive of a social media startup that pitched itself as a Facebook for small businesses has pleaded guilty to swindling investors using forged documents claiming a “Shark Tank” investor was a backer and that e-commerce platform Shopify wanted to buy the company.
Glen Zinszer, 51, of Liverpool, N.Y., also admitted he had instructed employees of his now-defunct company, Brazzlebox, to create fake user accounts, including for several high-profile people, to make it look to investors like the platform was performing better than it was, federal prosecutors said. Continue reading “Article: Ex-CEO of social media startup admits duping investors by claiming company had ‘Shark Tank’ backing”
A Big Fund Bought Up Marijuana Stock Aurora Cannabis and Mastercard.
Ed Lin, 15 February 2021
A large pension recently made big changes in its U.S.-traded investments. British Columbia Investment Management raised its investment in marijuana stock Aurora Cannabis (ticker: ACB), and bought more Mastercard (MA) stock, while it cut positions in Visa (V) and Shopify (SHOP) stock in the fourth quarter. The manager of the Canadian province’s public funds disclosed the trades, among others, in a form it filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission.
BCI, as the pension is known, declined to comment on the investment changes. It manages $135 billion in assets. BCI bought 232,058 additional shares of Aurora Cannabis to end 2020 with 290,404 shares.
Continue reading “Article: A Big Fund Bought Up Marijuana Stock Aurora Cannabis and Mastercard.”
Nearly 21% of Shopify stores pose fraud risk to customers
Kalila Sangster, 23 December 2020
Nearly 21% of Shopify (SHOP) stores pose a fraud risk to their customers, according to new analysis by e-commerce authentication service Fakespot. Nearly 26,000 of the 124,000 Shopify stores analysed by Fakespot were “related to fraudulent practices,” says Fakespot. Around 39% of those were found to be “problematic sellers,” with issues of counterfeit products, possible brand infringements or a poor reputation.
Some 28% were possible scam stores, with privacy leaks and suspiciously cheap listings and just under 17% had negative reports from consumers, while 10% had no history of any transactions. “We recognise there will be those — however few they may be relative to our base of more than 1 million merchants — that may abuse our service, and we take this matter seriously,” Shopify said in a statement to the BBC.
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Shopify hosts thousands of fraudulent shops, analysis finds
Rachel Gilmore, 23 December 2020
Shopify says it does “not condone the behavior of bad actors” after a Fakespot analysis found that more than 20 per cent of the Shopify stores it analyzed posed a risk to shoppers. Fakespot is a program and browser extension that helps online shoppers to spot fake reviews and counterfeits. But recently, the company used their tools proactively to do an analysis of a little over 10 per cent of Shopify’s storefronts. The analysis found that almost 26,000 of the over 124,000 Shopify stores it looked into were “related to fraudulent practices” and were flagged with a “caution” or “warning determination” by the Fakespot tool. Shopify hosts over a million stores.
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Who Needs New Year’s Resolutions After 43%
Returns? Andrew Left Does.
Alicia McElhaney, 07 January 2020
In 2019, short-seller Andrew Left’s Citron Capital returned a searing 43.3 percent, net of fees. But instead of wallowing in glory, Left plans to make some changes to his investment style in 2020. Foremost, Left intends to zero in on small-cap stocks rather than betting on (or against) major names like Shopify and Tesla, he told Institutional Investor Tuesday.
“My job is not to be right; my job is to generate returns,” Left said. “I’m not doing that by shorting high-concept big stocks.” Left shared the firm’s 2019 performance in an investor letter Monday, where he also reflected on recent big bets and what’s ahead. He learned two major lessons in 2019, according to the letter. The first: “Always go back to Citron’s proficiency – exposing fraud.”
Continue reading “Article: Who Needs New Year’s Resolutions After 43% Returns? Andrew Left Does.”
Shopify’s (SHOP) Stock Price Soars As Short Seller Throws in the Towel
Mat Litalien, 11 January 2020
Since going public, Shopify (TSX:SHOP)(NYSE:SHOP) has been one of Canada’s most prolific stocks. Shareholders who were lucky enough to get in on the company at its IPO price would be sitting on gains in excess of 1,450%! One of the downsides of being an industry disruptor and one of the top performers as that there will always be skeptics.
In the markets, these skeptics take many forms, but one of the most polarizing is the short seller, which is a bearish investors who makes significant bets against the company. In extreme cases, a short seller will spend considerable time and effort trying to market their bearish outlook to the masses. In Shopify’s case, it was attacked repeatedly by notable short seller Andrew Left, Managing Partner at Citron Research. Citron is known for making big marketing splashes.
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Shopify dives after short-seller Andrew Left of Citron Research shorts the e-commerce stock
Ellen Kelleher, 04 April 2019
Shares of Shopify Inc (NYSE:SHOP) tumbled Thursday after famed short-seller Andrew Left of Citron Research went bearish and urged investors to short the Canadian e-commerce company. In a research note, Left and his team make the case that their newly-adopted short position stems from a “perfect storm” of business setbacks that will knock Shopify “off its high wire to $100 in the next 12 months.”
Growing fearful about Left’s predictions, investors sent Shopify shares down 6% to $192.75 in afternoon trade. In the past month, Citron says a lot has changed for Shopify as Square Inc (NYSE:SQ) announced it is revamping its online store; Mailchimp ended its partnership with the e-commerce site; and news surfaced that Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) is launching a competitive offering to Shopify.
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The Shopify Stock Bubble Can Only Keep Getting Bigger for so Long
Dana Blankenhorn, 14 March 2019
I’ve been pretty hard on web store provider Shopify (NASDAQ:SHOP), but investors, and the Shopify stock price, have ignored me. Since tech bottomed at Christmas, Shopify shares have risen from less than $130 to their March 13 opening bid of $202. That gives the company a market cap of $22.4 billion, on 2018 revenue of $1.07 billion.
As far back as 2017 I predicted this would all end in tears, citing a report from short-sellers Citron Research that called Shopify a scam at $60 per share. More recently I noted its lack of operating cash flow and use in drop-ship scams. All this is still true. But it doesn’t disturb the bulls. One recent story calls Shopify a “virtual go-to destination for aspiring entrepreneurs and small businesses.”
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Fraudsters using Shopify to scam people, and critics say the company isn’t doing enough to stop them
Gerrit De Vynck and Alistair Barr, 09 August 2018
Shopify’s fight against fake users echoes similar battles being waged at Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. And like those companies, Shopify is contending with the same conundrum: Is a so-called platform company responsible for the behaviour of those who use it? Shopify must police users without limiting its ability to make fistfuls of cash from them.
“We can ensure that there are fewer bad actors on our platform every single day,” says Shopify Chief Operating Officer Harley Finkelstein. “Do some sneak in from time to time? It could happen, just like it could happen on any platform.”
Continue reading “Article: Fraudsters using Shopify to scam people, and critics say the company isn’t doing enough to stop them”
This small online retail stock will plunge if Facebook takes its data ‘punch bowl’ away, says short-seller Andrew Left
Thomas Franck, 26 March 2018
Citron Research’s Andrew Left, who’s gained notoriety for successful bets against companies such as Valeant Pharmaceuticals, on Monday posted a new bearish report on Shopify. Shares of Shopify fell more than 3 percent after Left disparaged the relationship between Shopify and Facebook as an “unholy alliance,” based on the exchange of personal information collected by Facebook and sold to Shopify “entrepreneurs.”
Founded in 2004, Shopify’s software helps merchants run their businesses across a variety of platforms, including web, social media storefronts, and brick-and-mortar pop-up shops. It assists merchants in managing products, processing orders and analyzing customer trends.
Continue reading “Article: This small online retail stock will plunge if Facebook takes its data ‘punch bowl’ away, says short-seller Andrew Left”
Shopify stock drops $1.5B thanks to a lone blogger
Zachary Crockett, 06 October 2017
On Wednesday, investment site Citron Research published a scathing accusation that ecommerce platform Shopify — one of 2017’s best-performing tech stocks — is actually a “completely illegal get-rich-quick scheme.” According to Citron, Shopify’s method of recruiting (which involves marketing their service as a way for “partners” to easily make millions) flagrantly violates FTC rules. Shortly after the post and video were published, Shopify’s stock plummeted as much as 11.6%, chopping about $1.5B off the company’s market value.
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Short seller Andrew Left says he’s found a ‘business dirtier than Herbalife’
Joe Ciolli, 04 October 2017
Andrew Left is back at it again. The Citron Research founder tweeted on Wednesday that the Canadian e-commerce company Shopify was a “business dirtier than Herbalife.” He also posted a seven-minute YouTube video outlining his bear case, titled “Citron Exposes the Dark Side of Shopify — The FTC Will Take Notice,” and posted a report to his firm’s website.
In the video, Left lays out the big question he has around the company: Outside the roughly 50,000 verifiable merchants working with Shopify, who are the other 450,000 the company says it has? According to Left, many of them are, among other things, influencers paid to promote the company.
Continue reading “Article: Short seller Andrew Left says he’s found a ‘business dirtier than Herbalife’”