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Talking Points

US consumer spending surges 0.9% in March

STARTUPS

Newton company that makes technology to prevent online exam cheating to expand

Examity, a Newton startup that makes technology to help prevent cheating on exams conducted online, said Monday that it is planning a major expansion. The company said it raised $90 million in venture capital, an infusion that puts it in position to grow at a time when online education is exploding, and amid growing concern about cheating. The company said the investment, by the Boston private equity firm Great Hill Partners, is unrelated to the recent college admissions scandal that has rocked academia. But chief executive Michael London said the headlines over the case, which includes allegations of corrupt SAT exam proctors, will help the company explain the value of its product. Examity’s services include identification verification, using facial recognition and other tools, along with several software-enhanced services that detect suspicious behavior from online test-takers — behavior that could indicate there is someone in the room who shouldn’t be there, for example. The company said its clients now include organizations such as the College Board, along with many organizations that use online testing in job training. Examity has raised a total of about $120 million. The private company is expecting to have revenues of about $25 million this year, and London said it is profitable. It has 500 employees globally, including about 100 at its Newton headquarters. — ANDY ROSEN

CONSUMER SPENDING

Spending rose in March, biggest gain in nearly a decade

US consumer spending surged 0.9% in March, the biggest gain in nearly a decade, as inflation pressures remain nonexistent. The March gain was the biggest monthly increase since August 2009, the Commerce Department reported Monday. That’s a marked improvement after three months of lackluster readings in this key segment of the economy.
— ASSOCIATED PRESS

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CO-WORKING

WeWork to go public

WeWork, the co-working company, has filed confidentially to go public, its employees were told Monday, becoming the latest privately held giant to consider heading to the stock markets. The company initially filed paperwork to go public with regulators in December, according to the memo, which is signed by Adam Neumann, a cofounder, and was reviewed by The New York Times. The company made changes to that filing last week, he wrote. The co-working giant has expanded rapidly in Boston in recent years, growing to 11 locations in some of the region’s most desirable office markets. In February, the company signed a deal to lease 11 stories of State Street Financial’s longtime home on Lincoln Street, giving it room for about 4,000 desks in the office tower. Like many of the other richly valued startups that have planned their stock-market debuts, WeWork posts steep losses — and shows no sign of turning a profit anytime soon. — NEW YORK TIMES

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E-COMMERCE

Chewy plans to raise $100m in public offering

Chewy, the online pet store owned by PetSmart, is going public. The company said it plans to raise about $100 million, but that is likely to change based on investor demand. It said Monday it expects its ticker symbol to be ‘‘CHWY.’’ Chewy, which was founded in 2011 and bought by PetSmart in 2017, has never been profitable. It reported a loss of $267.9 million last year on revenue of $3.53 billion. The company said it wants to grow its in-house brands, increase its pet pharmacy offerings, and expand outside the United States. Chewy has headquarters in Boston and Dania Beach, Fla., and has seven warehouses around the country where orders are packed and shipped to shoppers. — ASSOCIATED PRESS

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TECHNOLOGY

Apple says it removed parental control apps because of security, privacy issues

Apple said it removed several parental control apps from its store because of security and privacy concerns, issuing a rare public response to a media report that the iPhone maker was eliminating competition with its own tools. The New York Times reported on Saturday Apple had removed 11 of the 17 most popular programs that help users restrict features or the amount of time kids spend on devices. It said Apple started cracking down on such software after launching its own Screen Time feature last year, which also lets people set limits on certain iPhone and iPad functions and keep track of children’s usage. Apple said the applications it barred relied on a technology called Mobile Device Management or MDM, meant for enterprises that manage groups of devices for employees. ‘‘MDM gives a third party control and access over a device and its most sensitive information including user location, app use, e-mail accounts, camera permissions, and browsing history,’’ it said. That’s a ‘‘clear violation of App Store policies.’’ The company said it gave the relevant developers 30 days to modify their apps, then removed those that weren’t adjusted.
— BLOOMBERG NEWS

HOME-SHARING

Marriott to start taking reservationsfor home stays

Marriott is pushing more heavily into home-sharing, confident that its combination of luxury properties and loyalty points can lure travelers away from rivals like Airbnb. The world’s biggest hotel company will start taking reservations this week for 2,000 homes in 100 markets in the United States, Europe, and Latin America. It plans to expand its Homes and Villas program to other locations. For its part, Airbnb is encroaching further into hotels. On Monday, the San Francisco-based company said it’s working with a New York real estate developer to establish a 10-story hotel with 200 suites in Rockefeller Plaza in Manhattan. The suites will only be available through Airbnb’s website. — ASSOCIATED PRESS

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INDUSTRY

GE loses Iraqi power station deal to Siemens

Iraq approved a plan to develop power stations in the country with help from Siemens AG, which has been vying with General Electric Co. to win a deal worth as much as $15 billion. The cabinet picked Munich-based Siemens, Europe’s biggest engineering company, as a partner to develop electricity projects in the country, according to a government statement that gave no further details. The Iraqi order is crucial to both Siemens and GE as it would prop up either company’s ailing power-generation businesses. — BLOOMBERG NEWS

CREDIT CARDS

MasterCard, Visa to cut fees for foreigners shopping in Europe

Visa Inc. and MasterCard Inc. ended nearly two decades of European Union antitrust scrutiny with a pact that requires them to reduce fees for foreigners shopping in the region. The EU dropped its final investigations months after fining MasterCard 570.6 million euros ($636 million) in another probe over payment rules. Monday’s settlement, which rubber-stamps a draft accord from December, sees the duo reduce levies for non-European cardholders charged on purchases in the 28-nation bloc. — BLOOMBERG NEWS

MUSIC STREAMING

Spotify reaches 100 million subscribers for the first time

Music streaming service Spotify said its paying subscribers have reached 100 million for the first time, up 32 percent on the year and almost twice the latest figures for Apple Music. The Stockholm-based company called the figure, which was reached during the first three months of 2019, ‘‘an important milestone.’’ The growth was driven, among other things, by ‘‘a better-than-planned promotion in the United States and Canada.’’ By comparison, archrival Apple Music had about 50 million paying subscribers at the end of 2018, the latest available figures. Apple is expected to release new figures with its earnings report on Tuesday. — ASSOCIATED PRESS

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