William Grant Still’s one-act “Highway 1, U.S.A.” runs in St. Louis through June 17.
The Met Orchestra’s return, an opera from Paris and a Philip Glass circus work are among the highlights.
Chinese-backed and Africa-focused fintech platform OPay is in talks to raise up to $400 million, The Information reported today. The fundraising will be coming two years after OPay announced two funding rounds in 2019 — $50 million in June and $120 million Series B in November.
The $170 million raised so far comes from mainly Chinese investors who have begun to bet big on Africa over the past few years. Some of them include SoftBank, Sequoia Capital China, IDG Capital, SoftBank Ventures Asia, GSR Ventures, Source Code Capital.
In 2018, Opera, popularly known for its internet search engine and browser, launched the OPay mobile money platform in Lagos. It didn’t take long for the company to expand aggressively within the city using ORide, a now-defunct ride-hailing service, as an entry point to the array of services it wanted to offer. The company has tested several verticals — OBus, a bus-booking platform (also defunct); OExpress, a logistics delivery service; OTrade, a B2B e-commerce platform; OFood, a food delivery service, among others.
While none of these services has significantly scaled, OPay’s fintech and mobile money arm (which is its main play) is thriving. This year, its parent company Opera reported that OPay’s monthly transactions grew 4.5x last year to over $2 billion in December. OPay also claims to process about 80% of bank transfers among mobile money operators in Nigeria and 20% of the country’s non-merchant point of sales transactions.Last year, the company also said it acquired an international money transfer license with a partnership with WorldRemit also in the works.
It’s quite surprising that none of OPay’s plans to expand to South Africa and Kenya (countries it expressed interest in during its Series B) has come to fruition despite its large raises. The company blamed the pandemic for these shortcomings. However, earlier this year, the country set up shop in North Africa by expanding to Egypt. This next raise, likely a Series C, will be instrumental in the company’s quest for expansion, both geographically and product offerings. Per The Information, OPay’s valuation will increase to about $1.5 billion, three times its valuation in 2019.
We reached out to OPay, but they declined to comment on the story.
One of the few places where performances continued steadily for much of the pandemic has had to shut down theaters just as they are reopening elsewhere.
The company’s continuing labor tensions hovered over two consoling concerts featuring its orchestra and chorus.
The Metropolitan Opera hopes to reopen in September after its long pandemic closure, but simmering labor tensions have called that date into question.
Despite ongoing labor tensions, members of the company’s orchestra and chorus will perform with soloists and Yannick Nézet-Séguin.
“Satyagraha,” one of the Metropolitan Opera’s greatest stagings of the 21st century, has been released on DVD and CD.
Listen to the gorgeous sound of a mass of voices: ancient, contemporary, gospel, opera, sacred, romantic.
Honks instead of applause: An open-air “Barber of Seville” brought the company back after 16 months.
He had no opera experience when he was chosen to run the Glimmerglass Opera in upstate New York; 17 years later, he took on City Opera during a difficult period.
Mr. Lambrinos sang performances at the Metropolitan Opera and was a stalwart of New York Grand Opera. He died of Covid-related pneumonia.
Pavarotti, Domingo, Sills, Fleming and many more: Perhaps 200,000 autographs are piled in a vacant East Village apartment.
This classical superstar, just named as the Paris Opera’s next music director, isn’t the first maestro to jump to the theater.
In a coup, the venerable company has hired as its next music director the rare classical artist to have crossed into pop-culture celebrity.
Olist, a Brazilian e-commerce marketplace integrator, has raised $23 million in a Series D round extension led by new investor Goldman Sachs Asset Management that brings its total Series D financing to $80 million.
Existing backer Redpoint Ventures, which first put money in Olist in 2015, also participated in the latest round. With this latest infusion, Olist has now raised over $126 million since its 2015 inception. This round is reportedly its last before the company plans to go public, according to Bloomberg.
SoftBank led the first tranch of Olist’s Series D in November as well as the company’s $46 million Series C in 2019. Valor Capital, Velt Partners, FJ Labs, Península and angel Kevin Efrusy had previously invested in the first tranche of the Series D.
Olist connects small businesses to larger product marketplaces to help entrepreneurs sell their products to a larger customer base. The company was founded with the mission of helping small merchants gain market share across the country through a SaaS licensing model to small brick and mortar businesses.
As of October 2019, Olist had more than 7,000 customers and used a drop-shipping model to send products directly from stores to clients around the country, allowing them to grow with a capital-light model.
Today, Olist says its platform provides tools that support “all the stages of an e-commerce operation” with the goal of helping merchants see “rapid increases in sales volume.” It currently has about 25,000 merchants on its platform.
The startup is no doubt benefiting from the pandemic-fueled e-commerce boom taking place all over the world as more people have turned to online shopping. Latin America, in general, has been home to increased e-commerce adoption. The region’s $85 billion e-commerce market is growing rapidly with projections of it reaching $116.2 billion in 2023.
As evidence of that, Olist says its revenue tripled to a record number in the first quarter of 2021 compared to the previous year, although it did not provide hard figures. It also reportedly doubled revenue in 2020, according to Bloomberg.
Olist Store, the company’s flagship product, gives merchants a way to manage product listings, logistics and store payments. It also offers “a unique sales experience” through channels such as Mercado Livre, B2W and Via Varejo. The product saw a record GMV in the first half of the year, which was up 2.5 times over the same period in the prior year, the company said.
Last year, Olist launched a new product, Olist Shops, giving users the ability to create a virtual showcase “in less than 3 minutes” that also offers payment checkout tools and integration with logistics operators. Shops has interfaces in Portuguese, English, and Spanish, and since its launch, it has attracted more than 200,000 users in 180 countries, according to Olist.
“The pandemic has accelerated digitalizing business processes around the world, thus spurring e-commerce growth in a surprising way,” said Tiago Dalvi, Olist’s founder and CEO, in a written statement.
The company plans to use its new capital to invest in technology and products, pursuing new mergers and acquisitions and boosting its internationalization process. This is on top of two acquisitions Olist made last year — Clickspace and Pax Logistica, which gave Olist entry into the heated logistics space with more than 4,000 registered drivers.
Specifically, CFO Eduardo Ferraz said the company is in preliminary discussions with ERPs, retailers, and companies with complementary solutions to its own.
“That is why we also decided to expand the investment in our Series D and bring Goldman Sachs as another relevant investor to our cap table,” he said.
David Castelblanco, managing director and head of Latin America Corporate and Growth Equity Investing for the Goldman Sachs Asset Management, said his firm was impressed with how Olist empowers SMBs to generate more revenue.
“Tiago and the Olist team are incredibly customer oriented and have created an innovative technological solution for their e-commerce clients,” he added.
Olist is operating in an increasingly crowded space. In March, we covered São Paulo-based Nuvemshop’s $90 million raise that was led by Silicon Valley venture firm Accel. That company has developed an e-commerce platform that aims to allow SMBs and merchants to connect more directly with their consumers.
Three recent recordings conjure the mid-20th-century moment when the city was a center of innovative composition.
In New York opera circles, an autograph request from her, the mezzo-soprano Frederica von Stade said, was considered “a special type of approval.”
The singers, dancers and musicians played on, serenading their phones, pirouetting in masks and performing, faceless, on the radio.
There’s no applause for these performers, but they’re working to be ready for live audiences when they return.
“The Island We Made,” Velour’s collaboration with the composer Angélica Negrón and the director Matthew Placek, is a meditation on motherhood.
Weill’s early, Weimar-era works reveal the qualities that found a natural home in his golden age American musicals.
Michigan Opera Theater announced the return of indoor performances and named an associate artistic director: the star soprano Christine Goerke.
His career ended with allegations of sexual abuse and harassment. But the Metropolitan Opera’s longtime conductor, who has died at 77, changed that company in ways that will outlive him.
The return of Shakespeare to Central Park is among the most visible signs that theaters, orchestras and opera companies aim to return to the stage — outdoors.
The production, which examines the work’s colonial legacy, opened after the far right accused the Paris Opera of “antiracism gone mad.”
Rufus Wainwright, Josh Groban, Andrea Bocelli and others choose opera’s most passionate, golden voices.
Mr. Hodge, a bass-baritone, was recently a chorus member in “Porgy and Bess” at the Metropolitan Opera. He died of Covid-19.
A six-week program developed by the English National Opera and a London hospital offers customized vocal lessons to aid coronavirus recovery.
Anna Netrebko sang a recital live from Vienna as the opera company and its unions remain in a standoff.
Drawing on the passion of experts, a Culture desk series has doubled its audience for the genre.
Proficient across a range of genres, she had the hall-filling power of an operatic mezzo-soprano and the directness of a pop singer.
Beauty, charm and luck all factor into the social ascent of Edith Wharton’s ambitious protagonist — but money, crucially, matters the most.
With its own streaming service and a string of premieres, this company is setting the pace for virtual performances.
When President Biden quoted Gene Scheer’s song in his inaugural address, it solidified its transformation from art song to Norah Jones tune on a Ken Burns soundtrack to patriotic hymn.
Before his directorial debut in France, with Mondonville’s “Titon et l’Aurore” at the Opéra Comique, the virtuoso puppeteer discussed the challenges of working in a pandemic.
Steven LaBrie is a freelance baritone in New York. Jarrett Ott has a full-time job singing in Germany. As the coronavirus spread, that made all the difference.
Prototype, known for presenting visceral, chamber-scale new works, unveils an almost entirely streamed pandemic edition.
A holiday recital, streamed live from Wales, will be this star singer’s first headlining performance for the Met since 2012.
After warring with powerful unions in Paris, Stéphane Lissner has moved to Naples to run the Teatro di San Carlo.
A host of livestreamed concerts, the sounds of silence, time-hopping quartets and at-home divas were among the highlights.
In a year when everything seems deliverable, On Site Opera is presenting “The Beauty That Still Remains,” its first production by mail.
Protests over police brutality inspired the composer Joseph C. Phillips Jr. to write “The Grey Land,” a mono-opera.
Alexander Neef has taken on one of the most prestigious jobs in culture amid a pandemic, labor strikes and internal unrest.
A 65-foot-tall stage curtain that the artist created for the Metropolitan Opera in the 1960s will go up for auction Tuesday at Bonhams.
Listen to the soaring voices of Maria Callas, Jessye Norman, Leontyne Price, Renée Fleming and others.
Many of the continent’s museums, theaters, concert halls and bookshops have been forced to close again, and now, people’s reactions have changed.
Our critics and writers have selected noteworthy cultural events to experience virtually or in person in New York City.
His work in theater, dance and opera helped redefine American stage design.
In Detroit, “Twilight: Gods” joins other recent performances that offer a path forward for the arts amid the pandemic.