Wall Street Firm Citadel Securities Courts AI Startups for Trading EdgeRead more

Illustration by Jesus Escudero

How Three Startups Are Racing to Beat Amazon in One-Click Checkouts

By  |  Aug. 11, 2021 10:55 AM PDT
Photo: Illustration by Jesus Escudero

For more than a decade, Amazon’s one-click–checkout feature gave it an edge over other online retailers by eliminating the hassle of reentering passwords and payment information. Then four years ago, the patent for that process expired. That has opened the door to a cluster of startups that have developed similar technology for online businesses.

Companies that sell one-click–checkout technology—notably Bolt and Fast—have attracted a total of nearly $700 million in funding from investors. Venture capitalists have been encouraged by the pandemic-fueled spike in online shopping and the success of $191 billion market cap Shopify, whose subscription services enable merchants to sell online.

The startups’ recently enlarged bank accounts will be necessary. They are competing fiercely to sign up those merchants not already locked into Shopify’s e-commerce network or committed to selling only through Amazon’s third-party marketplace. The startups also face a looming threat from Stripe, Google and Apple, which could push their own easy-checkout options more aggressively.

Access on the go
View stories on our mobile app and tune into our weekly podcast.
Join live video Q&A’s
Deep-dive into topics like startups and autonomous vehicles with our top reporters and other executives.
Enjoy a clutter-free experience
Read without any banner ads.
CareRev co-founder Will Patterson stepped down as CEO last week. Art by Clark Miller
Exclusive startups venture capital
A Long, Strange Trip for the ‘Uber for Nurses’
Will Patterson was on a hot streak. As the co-founder and CEO of CareRev—a gig-work platform sometimes described as an “Uber for nurses”—he saw his company’s business surge during the pandemic as hospitals and clinics scrambled to find healthcare workers.
A Thursday Night Football game between the Jacksonville Jaguars and the New York Jets. Photo by Getty.
Exclusive amazon entertainment
How Amazon Misread the NFL Ad Market
Last summer, advertising representatives for a national pizza chain in the U.S. met with Amazon ad executives to negotiate a potential sponsorship deal for Amazon Prime Video’s broadcast of “Thursday Night Football.” Amazon executives asked the pizza chain for commitments of up to $12 million for the full season, double what the chain wanted to spend, said a person with direct knowledge of the matter.
Adam D'Angelo photograph by Ko Sasaki. Art by Clark Miller
The 1:1 ai
Adam D’Angelo’s Endless Quest to Answer Everything
Adam D’Angelo is basking in an “ endless summer ” of artificial intelligence. A few weeks before he and 350 industry peers released a bizarre, one-line statement warning that AI could herald a nuclear-level extinction event, the 38-year-old co-founder of Quora told me he actually sees more upside in AI than downside.
The Port of Los Angeles, where Next Trucking has a significant presence. Photo by David McNew/Getty Images.
Exclusive startups Finance
Logistics Startup Next Trucking Tries to Sell Itself
Sequoia Capital–backed logistics startup Next Trucking, facing a slowdown in the trucking sector, is trying to sell itself, according to people familiar with the matter and a pitch deck reviewed by The Information.
Jonah Peretti. Photo by Getty.
Exclusive media/telecom
BuzzFeed Considers Sale of Complex Networks
BuzzFeed is exploring a potential sale of Complex Networks, a digital media firm it acquired when going public in late 2021 for nearly $300 million, according to people familiar with the matter.
Emad Mostaque, Vitalik Buterin and Grimes in the waters of Montenegro. Photo-illustration by Clark Miller.
Scene and Heard culture
The Hullabaloo of Zuzalu: Inside the Secret Pop-up City of Vitalik Buterin’s Dreams
Until it reached its planned obsolescence last week, the mythical city of Zuzalu was an intellectual wonderland.