Afternoon Coffee: Amazon launches online pharmacy; AppBrilliance raises $3 million; BMW to shift manufacturing to electric cars

Amazon on Tuesday launched an online pharmacy that will allow users to get prescription medications delivered straight to their homes, according to ABC News.

The pharmacy is the newest addition to the e-commerce empire and a major move into the U.S. healthcare industry. Amazon said its Prime members will receive its free two-day delivery on medications and promised savings of up to 80% off generic brands for customers without insurance, the article said.

“As more and more people look to complete everyday errands from home, pharmacy is an important and needed addition to the Amazon online store," Doug Herrington, the senior vice president of North American Consumer at Amazon, said in a statement.

AppBrilliance secures $3 million in funding, opening new avenues for payments industry

AppBrilliance, a payments technology start-up, announced last week that it secured more than $3 million in seed financing as it hopes to lay a foundation for open payments and open banking technology for U.S. businesses.

AppBrilliance said it has created a patented technology that can remove certain barriers to interacting with bank accounts, and this technology aims to enable instant and secure “push” payments to consumers’ favorite businesses.

According to a press release announcing the funding, the AppBrilliance Money API is a secure, non-custodial option that can enable real-time payments and contactless check-out experiences in-app and in-browser that reduces payment processing costs by 75% or more. Businesses using this solution can save billions and pass on those savings to shareholders or  consumers.

“Studio VC is thrilled to welcome AppBrilliance to our recently launched Fund II portfolio. Prior to making our investment, the Studio VC team reviewed nearly 50 fintech and payments opportunities — AppBrilliance is the type of game-changing technology that our partnership at Studio VC hunts for every day,” Joseph Coyne, partner and chief investment officer of Studio VC, said in the press release. “We're excited to support (this) team of industry veterans as they upend a massive market that has been stagnated for decades.”

BMW to focus its manufacturing on electric vehicles

BMW on Wednesday announced it will begin retooling its German factories to build electric cars and shift its manufacturing of combustion engines to plants in Austria and England, according to Reuters.

BMW’s announcement comes as part of a broader shift toward low-emission cars. Factories all over the world are looking to invest in next-generation cars as electric vehicles gain traction with consumers and governments turn away from the combustion engine. On Wednesday, Germany unveiled a $3.6 billion plan to promote low-emission cars. Britain says it will ban the sale of new petrol and diesel cars in 2030, the article said.

“By the end of 2022 all our German factories will make at least one fully electric car,” Milan Nedeljkovic, BMW’s board member responsible for production, said in a statement Wednesday.

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