Afternoon Coffee: Payment provider MineralTree raises $50M, acquires Inspyrus and Regal Software; New jobless claims rise; Tesla eyes cheaper, more powerful car battery

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MineralTree, an accounts payable (AP) and payment automation solution provider, announced the closing of a $50 million investment funded by Great Hill Partners, .406 Ventures and Eight Roads Ventures.

Additionally, MineralTree acquired two companies in the AP automation and B2B payments space, Inspyrus and Regal Software. The investment and acquisitions will be a part of MineralTree’s efforts to expand product capabilities, partnerships and scale to serve the needs of the middle market and enterprise companies, according to a press release.

“Mid-market companies of all sizes continue to show strong interest in automating their AP and payments processes, but as a market segment have been overlooked and underserved,” Micah Remley, MineralTree CEO, said in the press release. “Our vision to revolutionize B2B commerce starts with making the invoice to payment processes simple, speedy and secure for mid-market customers and our bank partners. This new funding, combined with expanded product capabilities and scale that come as a result of acquiring Inspyrus and Regal Software, uniquely positions MineralTree to do just that.”

New jobless claims rise

The number of new people filing for unemployment aid rose last week to 870,000, a figure that is historically high and that shows the COVID-19 pandemic is still hurting the U.S. economy, according to the Associated Press. The U.S. Labor Department on Thursday said Americans who are continuing to receive unemployment benefits declined to 12.6 million.

Additionally, some newly laid-off Americans have seen delays in receiving their unemployment benefits as state agencies focus on combating fraudulent applications and clear the pipeline of a backlog for claims. According to the article, up to 10,000 inmates in Pennsylvania have improperly received aid.

Economists warned that it could be hard for the job market or economy to sustain recovery unless Congress can enact another aid package for struggling businesses, individuals and states, the article reported. A vaccine will likely be needed for a full recovery of the economy.

Tesla to work on cheaper, more powerful battery for electric cars

Tesla hosted its “Battery Day” this week where CEO Elon Musk said the company is developing cheaper, more powerful batteries for its electric cars, according to the New York Times.

The company said it will create a “compelling” $25,000 electric vehicle three years from now. The advances have the potential to cut battery costs more than 50% and increase the distance that Tesla vehicles can travel by nearly as much. However, many of the required innovations are still works in progress, the article reported.

The company will pilot production of batteries at its car factory in Fremont, California, and plans to build another cathode production plant somewhere in North America, according to the article. Despite the announcement, Tesla expects battery shortages starting in 2022.

“It just really bodes well for the future, and it means that the long-term scaling of Tesla and the sustainable energy products we make will be massively increased,” Musk said.

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