Afternoon Coffee: Bloom Procurement Services gets $19.3 million investment; IRS to investigate tax evasion with cryptocurrencies; Bubble tea supplies face shortages

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Bloom Procurement Services, a UK-based public sector marketplace, secured a new $19.3 million investment from growth capital investor BGF.

Bloom is known for its managed service that allows public sector buyers a compliant and transparent process to find contracts and achieve savings. In a press release announcing the funding, the company said its platform has a dynamic supplier base across a range of professional service categories. Bloom has transacted over 7,500 projects with a value of about $1 billion across the public sector.

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In addition to the funding, Amabel Grant was named CEO after joining Bloom in 2018 as CTO. The company said it will use the funding to invest in development of its Pro-vide technology.

BGF said it's looking forward to working with the team it invested in.

“Bloom is a unique asset, which has access to a large market and the potential to rapidly scale,” Barry Jackson, investor at BGF, said in the press release. “This is a business offering a best-in-class solution, delivering results for its users and driving social value throughout the supply chain."

IRS looking at the dark web to monitor cryptocurrency tax evasion

Tax evasion using cryptocurrencies is a rising threat for the Internal Revenue Service, according to CNBC.

In testimony before the Senate Finance Committee on Tuesday, IRS Commissioner Charles Rettig said the US fails to collect as much as $1 trillion in taxes owed every year — a number only complicated by the explosion in cryptocurrencies. Rettig said the crypto economy continues to expand, with its value now over $2 trillion, the article reported. He specifically mentioned nonfungible tokens, or NFTs.

CNBC reported that Rettig said the crypto world “is replicating itself constantly. So now we have these nonfungible tokens, which are essentially collectibles in the crypto world. These are not visible items by design. The crypto world is not visible.”

“In the criminal context, the IRS criminal investigations, cybercrime unit has been spectacular operating in the dark web, engaging with cryptocurrency-related transactions,” Rettig said.

New shortage of bubble tea supplies related to overwhelmed ports

Supplies to make bubble tea, a popular Taiwanese milk drink, are running low amid a shortage related to backed-up US ports, according to Business Insider.

Tapioca pearls, popping bobas, and flavored powders and syrups are all stuck in transit as US ports on the East and West Coasts are overwhelmed. Consumer spending has increased for months, along with many logistical issues amid the Covid pandemic. Ports can’t keep up with demand.

The shortage for bubble tea makers started about a month ago, the article said. It’s likely to not let up until the end of April at the earliest. Supplies are stuck in a “huge bottleneck,” Oliver Yoon, the Vice President of sales and global marketing at Boba Direct (a supplier of bubble tea products), told Business Insider.

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