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Walmart buys Silicon Valley solution for Sam’s Club

BY Mike Troy

BENTONVILLE, Ark. — Walmart has returned to its acquisitive ways in Silicon Valley with the purchase of engagement and insights platform PunchTab, a four-year old company with talent and technology to help the retailer’s Sam’s Club division better personalize offers.
 
Jeremy King, head of WalmartLabs, and Jamie Iannone, president and CEO of Samsclub.com announced the deal to acquire PunchTab in a joint statement on the @WalmartLabs site. The deal involves the purchase of PunchTab’s and six employees who will join WalmartLabs including founder Mehdi Ait Oufkir.
 
“We’ll use the technology to enhance our existing 'customer relationship management' tools, or the technology behind how we reach customers across e-mail, on our websites, on mobile phones and in our physical stores,” King and Iannone said in the statement.
 
The deal is the 15th acquisition @WalmartLabs’ has made in the last four years, although prior to PunchTab it had been relatively quiet on the acquisition front.
 
“PunchTab’s first task is to leverage its software platform to enhance the ways we tailor offers to Sam’s Club members across our clubs, our mobile app and on Samsclub.com. Like most of the technology we build at @WalmartLabs, we plan to apply what we build for Sam’s Club to Walmart’s other businesses, including Walmart.com,” according to King and Iannone.
 
PunchTab was founded in 2011 by Mehdi Ait Oufkir, who was an early member of YouSendIt.com, helping to scale the company to 18 million registered users.

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Food Lion founder gives leadership gift for 95th birthday

BY Mike Troy

SALISBURY, N.C. — “Lessons in Leadership” is the name of a new documentary film profiling the life and contributions of Food Lion co-founder Ralph Ketner, who turned 95 this month.
 
Food Lion and Catawba College, based in the grocer’s hometown, produced the film, which chronicles the life and business lessons of Ketner. Plans call for the film to be distributed in both digital and physical formats to North Carolina high schools. The film features stories and advice from those who Ketner touched throughout his long-tenured career, from leaders in the Salisbury community to family members and colleagues. To help schools use the leadership lessons from Ketner, Catawba College collaborated with Rowan-Salisbury Schools' educators to create five lesson plans that enable students to take the concepts featured in the video and apply them in a practical way in a classroom setting.
 
"For more than 50 years, Food Lion has been an important part of the City of Salisbury's history and all of this was made possible by our company's founders, including Mr. Ketner," said Meg Ham, president of Food Lion. "When approached by Catawba College about this opportunity to preserve the rich heritage of Mr. Ketner's impact on this community, from the founding of Food Lion to his pro bono work with Catawba, we couldn't think of a better way to honor our founder and all he has given to us.  We were honored to underwrite this video to preserve the history and lessons Mr. Ketner has taught all of us as part of his vision to build a company with the focus on always taking care of the customer, having the lowest prices in North Carolina and being a good corporate citizen, which are all strong pillars of our business today."
 
Catawba College president Brien Lewis said the video resource and accompanying five lesson plans will help inspire a future generation of entrepreneurs who will dream a big idea and work diligently to make that idea a reality.

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Report: PepsiCo taps former Walmart mobile head

BY DSN STAFF

PURCHASE, N.Y. — PepsiCo last week tapped Walmart’s former head of mobile and digital to head to oversee potentially large changes at the company, according to Quartz. In his five years at Walmart, Gibu Thomas oversaw the launch of @WalmartLabs and spearheaded the company’s digital commerce efforts. 

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