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Photo: Even

Salesforce chief Marc Benioff and PayPal Ventures are joining the latest funding round for Oakland-based start-up Even, which aims to provide a better alternative to payday loans.

Why it matters: Historically, those who need an advance on their pay often have few options and pay extremely high fees and interest rates.

Details: Even says it isn't disclosing how much it raised, saying it wants to focus not on the amount, but who is aligning themselves with the company.

  • The service now has more than 550,000 monthly active users, many from initial customer Walmart, though it has signed other unnamed large companies as well.

How it works: As we first wrote last year, Even is a subscription service that employers can offer to workers (either subsidized or not) to let them track their wages, begin saving and, when necessary, get some of their pay a bit early.

  • It charges the same amount per worker per month (roughly $6 to $8) whether they get a payday advance or not. CEO Jon Schlossberg told Axios the goal is to get people to start saving, noting 90% of people save virtually nothing each month. The advances on earned pay are meant so users without savings don’t dig themselves into a deeper hole.
  • "We don't trap you in a cycle of relying on it as can happen with many of the other products in that space," Schlossberg said. "People think it's too good to be true. That really is a scathing review of the financial services industry."

Go deeper

Bryan Walsh, author of Future
23 mins ago - Health

The end of quarantine

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

Long quarantines were a necessary tool to slow the COVID-19 pandemic during its first phases, but better and faster tests — plus vaccines — mean they can be scaled back considerably.

Why it matters: Quick tests and regular surveillance methods that identify who is actually infectious can take the place of the two-week or longer isolation periods that have been common for travelers and people who might have been exposed to the virus, speeding the safe reopening of schools and workplaces.

Amazon rollups are the hottest deals

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

A new generation of companies is forming to scoop up Amazon marketplace sellers — and venture capital firms are writing big checks to support the effort.

Why it matters: These e-commerce aggregators are all about data and using it to optimize and turbocharge sales, which means they’re using Amazon’s own playbook.

Trump Justice Department obtained phone records of WashPost reporters

Photo: Bill O'Leary/The Washington Post via Getty Images

Former President Trump's Justice Department in 2017 secretly obtained the phone records of three Washington Post reporters, the newspaper revealed Friday.

Between the lines: The reporters — Ellen Nakashima, Greg Miller and Adam Entous — at the time were looking into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election.