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A sportswear startup"s line of luxury jacket NFTs sold out in minutes. Now the CEO is scouting out land in the metaverse for a virtual store.

ASRV released its first NFTs as part of its winter clothing line, selling out in minutes. The CEO sees NFTs as a way to crowdsource brand success. ASRV's 2022 winter clothing lineDerek Reynolds/ASRV ASRV released 60 NFTs of a luxury jacket as part of its winter clothing release. They sold out in less than 30 minutes.  The company joins the likes of Nike and Adidas in betting on the metaverse as the future of retail.  CEO Jay Barton said brands can leverage NFTs as a way to crowdsource success. Sign up here for our daily newsletter, 10 Things Before the Opening Bell. Sportswear company ASRV launched its first-ever non-fungible token collection this week as part of its new winter clothing line. The apparel startup released 60 unique NFTs on OpenSea and gifted them to the first 60 customers who bought its special edition winter jacket, which sold for $348. The items sold out in minutes, according to the company.CEO Jay Barton, who was named to Forbes 30 under 30 in 2020, founded the company in 2014. He views NFTs as a tool to help cultivate a more involved customer base, as well as a way for the company to participate in the Web3 evolution. "NFTs allow your fans or customers to basically share the success of a company," Barton told Insider. "Their purchases of products and enthusiasm now have a legitimate financial upside that can be tracked on the blockchain, and they help crowdsource a brand's success."To date, ASRV has been exclusively an online retailer. In February, however, Barton said ASRV will open its first brick-and-mortar retail store in Beverly Hills, California. The company has also begun scouting out plots of virtual land in The Sandbox metaverse.The digital tokens sold this week are three-dimensional renders of ASRV's same physical jacket, each with different colors and properties. Some of the more exotic styles include dragon scales, lightning rods, and even one designed like a NASA spacesuit.According to ASRV, holders of the NFTs could be granted a future utility with things like "discounts, gift cards, excursions, and retail store benefits" — features meant to encourage customer engagement and a sense of community. To Barton, NFTs allow customers to "have a vested interest in promoting a brand or products they already love." "There's a massive value for the customer," Barton said. "They can feel more included, and the more the company becomes successful, the more value the customer can get."With over 1.3 million followers on Instagram and a cult following on online forums, ASRV has seen rapid growth since the start of the pandemic, Insider reported previously. Its donations of anti-bacterial masks at the start of the pandemic helped attract broader attention.  ASRV is one of many fashion brands to enter the nascent Web3 space. This week, iconic American retailer The Gap similarly announced an NFT collection, and global giants Nike and Adidas have both made plays in the metaverse. Decentraland recently announced it will host its first virtual fashion week this coming March with high-profile designer brands. According to crypto giant Grayscale, the metaverse has the potential to become a $1 trillion annual revenue opportunity.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: worldSource: nytJan 15th, 2022

Demand for vintage items like typewriters, records, and film is surging, even as Big Tech pitches the metaverse

Vintage tech is making a comeback as people push back on virtual life: "It takes you away from having to use a computer for everything in your life." Adam Berry/Getty Images As people grow tired of screens, vintage tech like typewriters and records are making a comeback.  Insider spoke to sellers of records, typewriters, vintage video games, and film cameras.  They all said business is booming — here's why.  Gramercy Typewriters, one of New York City's last remaining typewriter shops, looks like a portal into another era. "Our shelves are a bit barren right now," Nick Campano, a sales associate dressed in a plaid suit and blue velvet jacket, said as he pointed to a dozen typewriters lining the narrow store's walls. "We sold six machines yesterday." In the past five minutes, three customers and one dog have walked through the shop's door. Business is booming, Campano explained, and sales have only increased during the pandemic — mostly thanks to young customers. "I think it has to do with being fed up with looking at our computer screen," he said. "We look at it so much ... that what's old has become new again."And it's not just typewriters. Vinyl records, film cameras, and retro video games have all seen a surge in popularity over the past two years, sellers told Insider. DKOldies, a family-run vintage-gaming company based in Morgantown, Pennsylvania, has been "considerably busier" this year than ever before."It's been quite a scramble to get all these orders out," Joey Walker-Denny, who runs the DKOldies' social-media department, said. Right now, the most popular products include the Nintendo 64, the GameCube, and Wii consoles, he told Insider. Gramercy Typewriter sales associate Nick Campano stands in front of the retail store.Hannah Towey/InsiderThe same goes for vintage cameras, according to Silvio Cohen, VP of sales at the Adorama camera store in New York City. "There is a much larger demand for analog cameras or film cameras," he said. "It takes you away from having to use a computer for everything in your life."The retro aesthetic has become so popular that mobile apps like Dispo, which requires you to wait a day before viewing your photos, are used for the sole reason of mimicking the experience of a disposable camera.Why intentionally downgrade a $1,000 iPhone to mimic a $13 camera? Or write on a device without spell-check or a delete key?Some researchers would say the answer lies in the 20-year cycle of nostalgia: In the 2020s, Y2K is all the rage. Others defend the "Golden 40-Year Rule," arguing "the prime site of nostalgia is always whatever happened, or is thought to have happened, in the decade between 40 and 50 years past."The difference this time around is that technology is deeply embedded in our recent memories of the past. As Kyle Chayka explained in a New Yorker article exploring the recent rise of pixel art, we're in the midst of the "first wave of digital nostalgia." Add in a global pandemic, constant Zoom meetings, a new TikTok addiction, and limited in-person interaction, and you get "online fatigue," giving rise to a strong desire for simpler times — regardless of the decade.In the case of vinyl sales, the past two years have just accelerated a trend that was already there, Sharone Bechor, CEO of Rock and Soul record store, told Insider."Vinyl has been steadily going up in the past five years," she said. "During the pandemic, people were less on the go … they were at home and they were just enjoying their life."But as many tried to distance themselves from their screens, technology's creators pitched the opposite — a virtual reality you never have to leave. This so-called "metaverse," recently featured in Facebook's name change to Meta, was mentioned at least 449 times on earnings calls in Q3. Even with Web 3.0 brewing on the horizon, sellers say they're confident that the tech of our past is here to stay. "I feel something different when I'm flipping through the pages of a photo album ... it doesn't feel the same when you're just looking at it on your phone and swiping," Bechor said. "There's something special about holding something tangible that you wouldn't get from the metaverse." Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: personnelSource: nytDec 18th, 2021

Blain: The Problem With Money Is...

Blain: The Problem With Money Is... Authored by Bill Blain via MorningPorridge.com, “Money is better than poverty, if only for financial reasons.” The problem with money is there is just too much of it, and all the wrong people have got it. No particular theme to the porridge this morning. Just some observations on what looks a very confusing market. I’m not in the UK at present, but if I was I’d be shaking my head in horror at the latest noises out of Downing Street. As an Irish chum put it: “If Boris was football team manager, he’d be gone by the weekend,” but this is Politics. Despite all the indications Omicron will not decimate the population, and vaccinations mean we’re most likely to survive, there is nothing like a bit of gold old fashioned panic. It sounds like lockdown is just around the corner to show just how much the Tories care. (Or is it because a furious Chief Medical Officer Chris Whitty read the riot act to them?) Working from Home has very clear economic implications – and kills the December party season. Consequences, consequences. More and more the UK feels like a struggling health service with a inefficient nation attached. It’s not a good look. The stalling UK outlook and the political shenanigans explain why Sterling is looking a tad Turkish this morning. Meanwhile global markets take it all in their stride – convinced Omicron is a distraction and central banks will keep the liquidity juice flowing. What’s the problem? Higher, higher, higher scream the pundits! But it’s all noise. Look at the detail – the flows are all into the story stocks, the big tech, the big names, or the latest stocks picked for their Covid resilience, or those that look best placed to benefit from a turnaround. Markets feel frothy and unconvinced – rushing like the ball in a pinball machine between the buffers looking for the high score. The economic reality is markets are no longer functioning to efficiently distribute capital. Headlines about the collapse of small stocks, funding issues for developing nations and the lack of available capital for early stage alternative energy firms sit uneasy with future growth. I suspect the problem with everything, and particularly markets, is there is just far too much money around, and all the wrong people have got it… They are pushing that too-much-money in all the wrong directions. It’s very difficult to be coldly analytical about company fundamentals or the future economic outlook and direction when it would appear the world has lost sight of any value metrics. This morning is no exception. Fantabulous valuations based on an utter absence of reality has changed finance and way economic decisions are made. In the FT I read about how the computing power now expended on bitcoin mining has risen to a record high, with more and more expensive tech dedicated to digging out digital gold to sell to digital marks. China has banned bitcoin mining, and now the miners have moved elsewhere and brought in more powerful machines. The carbon footprint is huge – but hey-ho, that apparently doesn’t matter because it doesn’t. (Yes it does – whatever US miners say about how they’ve built a renewable energy site in Texas to accommodate more green miners. The bottom line is buttcon mining is an obscene waste of energy.) A chum sent me a story from The Byte: Someone paid $650,000 for a nonexistent yacht in the metaverse. The “yacht” is called The Metaflower Super Mega Yacht. It was “built” by a firm called Republic Realm. The buyer bought the digital asset with a digital currency. An imaginary thing buys an imaginary thing… Wow. The porridge readership will be split on this one: A majority of readers will shake their head in disbelief and wonder what madness drives someone to part with the price of a decent home for what is, perhaps, the fugliest yacht ever designed. (Seriously, it’s horrible. Boxy, sharp corners, and straight lines. A 10-year old playing Minecraft, or opening CAD for the first time would have done better.) A smaller number of readers will delve deeper and try to figure out the potential value of the digital asset in Ethereum will perform. Maybe it will be used in a computer game to hold virtual boat parties and earn returns that way? A very small number will twig it. They will be developing a bigger Metaflower II and looking for the greater fool to sell it to. It all sounds a bit bogus to me. The yacht was sold on The Sandbox, which is described as an “also-ran Metaverse platform” in the story. I am sure someone can tell me what it’s all about. Users of the Sandbox metaverse platform can also buy jet skis, speedboats, private islands and all the other paraphernalia a successful Mexican cartel boss requires in the real world.  They all look horrendous – worse than SIMs 20 years ago.. If I want to live out my days in opulence in the Metaverse, I’d like something a little more real please. That is developing… Apparently. As more and more people experience life in a/the metaverse they’ll want to digitally clothe their avatars, have them driving expensive digital cars, and wear expensive digital watches. I bet the most lucrative part of the metaverse will end up being digital sex and porn. Or, maybe I might care to start a digital property empire in Decentraland..? Someone just paid $2.4 million for a 6000 square foot plot of digital land in the Metaverse called Decentreland… whatever it is.. Land? Space? Venue? Our chums Republic Realm (the Metaflower 1 yacht makers) have bought 260 plots to build a virtual shopping mall where buyers can purchase digital wearables. Apparently fashion chains are queuing up to open virtual shops. Sotheby’s has built a digital auction house to auction NFTs! The great attraction of real land, as opposed to digital land, is they really aren’t making much more of it. (Except here in Dubai, where the most luxury hotels are the ones furthest out on the Palm, but that’s a whole different story for another day… !) More to the point a real Aston Martin is expensive because it’s difficult to make and they are a scarce commodity. A digital Aston costs exactly the same to mock up as a Lada. I really can’t get my head around digital possessions except in terms of what they might be worth when I wish to sell. I learnt an important lesson earlier this year when my mother passed away. Her house was full of beautiful things she and Dad collected over their life together. We’ve now emptied the house – and despite all the treasured memories, none of us has the space for it all. Most of it has gone to charity. Treasured and beautiful, but without her they are just things. Appreciate today what you have and treasure… I have a fondness for early 20th Century Scottish Art. I’ve bought paintings I’d fallen in love with. My wife wasn’t so keen. I’ve tried to sell them, and been told.. “ah, these just aren’t fashionable anymore, your mother’s generation bought them..” I bought them for love rather than market value. I wonder who will cherish them when I’ve gone..? I suspect one day a great grandchild will find a Mackintosh-Patrick up in the loft and discover its worth billions…. In contrast, will they bother searching my obsolete hard-drives to see if there might be some NFTs stashed away? Doubt it. Tyler Durden Thu, 12/09/2021 - 09:40.....»»

Category: personnelSource: nytDec 9th, 2021

Just 4 metaverse projects sold $106 million in virtual land last week, with The Sandbox taking a massive lead: DappRadar

Sales of virtual land boomed last week, bringing in $105.87 million for just four metaverse projects, DappRadar said. MetaverseThinkhubstudio Sales of virtual land have boomed in the last week, bringing in $105.87 million for just four metaverse projects, DappRadar said.  Gaming platform Sandbox dominated with $86.56 million in NFT sales, with Decentraland in second place.  The surge in metaverse-related activity has followed Facebook's name change to Meta, the report said. Sign up here for our daily newsletter, 10 Things Before the Opening Bell. The metaverse is thriving right now, as individuals and companies pile in. A total of $106 million was spent on virtual property in the last week, with purchases of digital land, luxury yachts and other assets, according to data from DappRadar.The Sandbox, an online gaming world that allows users to own plots of land, has dominated activity. Between November 22 to 28, the platform attracted $86.56 million in unique non-fungible token land sales that are tied to the blockchain, DappRadar said.In second place was Decentraland, another virtual platform that brought in $15.53 million in sales of digital plots of land. Smaller competitor CryptoVoxels sold digital land for a total of $2.68 million, while Somnium Space, a metaverse platform, sold $1.10 million worth of real estate. Virtual worlds land NFTs trading volume in 7 daysDappRadarLast week, buyers spent record amounts of money on virtual plots of land in the metaverse, where users can play games, trade digital assets and buy and sell anything from digital sneakers to digital dresses using cryptocurrency tokens.Metaverse Group, a subsidiary of Tokens.com, bought digital land for $2.43 million last Tuesday, a record for property sales on Decentraland. Another plot was purchased for $2.3 million on Axie Infinity, a play-to-earn gaming platform, in the same week. "Undoubtedly, metaverse land is the next big hit in the NFT space. Outputting record sales numbers and constantly increasing NFT prices, virtual worlds are the new top commodity in the crypto space," DappRadar said. Last week, the four leading virtual worlds had attracted over 6,000 traders. Over the previous week, Sandbox boasted the second most traded NFT collection, while Decentraland came in 8th place. The report said the surge in metaverse-related activity started with Facebook's decision in late October to rebrand itself as "Meta", in a nod to its commitment to building out its own digital world for its users."Metaverse events are becoming an industry-standard in the crypto space. Allowing brands, artists, and creators to showcase their work and product to millions of people worldwide, virtual events in the metaverse will only become more popular," the report said. Crypto asset manager Grayscale has said the metaverse is a $1 trillion opportunity. This week, Sandbox saw the sale of the most expensive piece of virtual land ever, after Republic Realm spent $4.3 million on a plot.Decentraland is gearing up to host a 2022 edition of this October's virtual festival that drew in 50,000 attendees who claimed a total of 11,204 NFTs. Sports clubs are diving in too. English soccer club Manchester City has teamed up with Sony to build its own virtual world, according to a statement Tuesday. And German sportswear maker Adidas said recently it had teamed up with crypto exchange Coinbase after announcing it would expand its activities in the metaverse.Gemini exchange founders Tyler and Cameron Winklevoss said they had purchased a plot of virtual land and raised $400 million in a funding round recently which they will use to help build their own metaverse. Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderDec 2nd, 2021

A metaverse mega yacht that just sold for $650,000 is the most expensive NFT sold in The Sandbox virtual world

The Metaflower Super Mega Yacht was purchased for 149 ether. It features a DJ booth, two helipads, and a hot tub. The Amarula Sun in the Bahamas.Courtesy of Fraser Yachts A mega yacht just sold for around $650,000, HypeBeast first reported. The Metaflower Super Mega Yacht was purchased for 149 ether. The Sandbox is a virtual world where players can build, own, and monetize their gaming experiences. Sign up here for our daily newsletter, 10 Things Before the Opening Bell. A mega yacht just sold for around $650,000, making it the most expensive non-fungible token ever sold in The Sandbox virtual gaming world.The Metaflower Super Mega Yacht was purchased for 149 ether, according to etherscan. It is described as an ultra-luxury megayacht, featuring a DJ booth, two helipads, and a hot tub, among other amenities. HypeBeast was the first to report.The digital asset was released by Republic Realm, a metaverse developer, for The Fantasy Collection line of luxury NFTs designed for The Sandbox. Other luxury products include private islands, jet skis, and speedboats.The Sandbox is a virtual world where players can build, own, and monetize their gaming experiences.Players can create digital assets such as NFTs and upload them to the marketplace, according to its white paper. Those who own sand, the main utility token of the platform, can participate in the governance of the platform via a decentralized autonomous organization, or DAO.The sale of luxury items in the metaverse, a new three-dimensional iteration of the internet, has been making headlines as of late.In November, a plot of digital land in Decentraland, a virtual world, was sold for $2.43 million — a hefty price tag that trumped the cost of most homes in New York City and San Francisco.A day after, another plot of digital land sold for $2.3 million in Axie Infinity, another virtual world.The sales continue to highlight the momentum of how much investors are willing to pay to secure their lots before the metaverse enters the mainstream.The acceleration in interest has also fueled steep rises in the value of the cryptocurrencies that are linked to the virtual world, from Decentraland's mana token to Sandbox's sand coin.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderNov 26th, 2021

47 startup brands with incredible Black Friday 2021 sales, including Bombas, Mejuri, Away, Brooklinen, and more

The best Black Friday 2021 startup deals are here. Here are the best discounts to take advantage of right now, including bedding, cookware, and more. Prices are accurate at the time of publication.BrooklinenBlack Friday is today, November 26, and all of the best startup deals are live. While many retailers continue to struggle amidst supply chain issues and shortages, that doesn't mean your Christmas shopping is ruined, especially not with a lot of direct-to-consumer startups that have tighter supply chains.Below, we've rounded up the best deals from startup brands around the web on everything from bedding and sheets to clothing, apparel, and wine. All of the deals below are live now, and most of them will run through Cyber Monday, November 29 and beyond.Best Black Friday 2021 deals from startupsBrooklinenBrooklinenThe deal: Save 20% off sitewideWhat we recommend:Luxe Hardcore Sheet BundleAll-Season Down ComforterRead more about Brooklinen: Brooklinen sheets review: One of the best purchases I've ever madeBrooklinen vs Parachute sheets: How 2 of the most popular bedding startups stack upPopular bedding startup Brooklinen has launched a new baby collectionBrooklinen's $100 bathrobe is the little luxury I never thought I neededEverlaneEverlaneThe deal: Take up to 30% off top winter stylesWhat we recommend:The Day BootSlim Four-Way Stretch Uniform JeanRead more about Everlane: The best women's cashmere sweatersThe best men's cashmere sweatersThe best women's flatsWe wore Everlane's $236 Day Boots regularly over the last year — here's how they held upWe swear by Everlane for affordable, quality basics — these are the 21 styles that stay in our everyday rotationTommy JohnTommy JohnThe deal: Take 20% off purchases $100+, plus get free shipping on orders $75+What we recommend:Men's Second Skin Boxer Brief (3-Pack)Women's Air Mesh ThongRead more about Tommy John: Tommy John clothing review: You'll want to wear it all the timeTommy John women's collection review: They're worth every pennyTommy John men's leggings review: Really comfy for cold-weather runsTommy John men's dress shirts review: They won't come untucked and they fit like a gloveTommy John is offering 25% off all orders of $100 or more, from November 24 through Cyber MondayBombasBombasThe deal: Take 20% off of everything with the code MERRY20 through Friday, December 3What we recommend:Women's All-Ankle Sock (12-Pack)Men's Dress Calf Sock (4-Pack)Read more about Bombas: Meet Bombas, the cult-favorite sock startup that has donated millions of pairs to homeless sheltersBombas' hiking socks are engineered for the outdoor adventurer, but they're comfortable enough to wear every dayCult-favorite sock startup Bombas is ending the plague of missing socks by promising to send a replacement pair if one gets lostBombas is having a 20% off sale right now for Cyber Monday 2020LeesaLeesa/InstagramThe deal: Take up to $500 off a new mattress (with two free down pillows), and take 20% off bundles (with two free down pillows)What we recommend:Leesa Mattress (Queen)Hybrid Mattress (Queen)Read more about Leesa:Leesa Hybrid mattress review: The best bed-in-a-box I've triedReview: The Leesa Original mattress works for every type of sleeperLeesa pillow review: It always stays extremely coolLeesa bed frame review: It adjusts for better supportGreat JonesGreat JonesThe deal: Take 25% off all orders and get free shipping on orders $100+What we recommend:Fully BakedThe DutchessRead more about Great Jones: Great Jones makes luxury cookware more accessible and affordable — it even has a cooking hotline you can text for advice12 direct-to-consumer kitchen startups that are changing the way we shop for cookware and knivesFresh off a $1.75 million investment, Instagram-friendly cookware brand Great Jones expands into bakeware as Americans spend more time in the kitchen than ever beforeMirrorMirrorThe deal: Save $500 on a Mirror and get free delivery ($250 value) and installation ($500 value)What we recommend:MirrorRead more about Mirror: Mirror turns your living room into a boutique fitness studio but its $1,500 price tag isn't a practical investment for most peopleCasperCasperThe deal: Take 20% off mattresses and bundles, and take 10% off everything elseWhat we recommend:Casper Wave Mattress (Queen)Casper Mattress (Queen)Read more about Casper: Casper Wave mattress review: It's truly a marvel of engineeringReview: Casper's affordable pillow totally exceeded our expectationsCasper sheets review: They're actually really impressiveReview: Why I switched to a Casper adjustable bed frameCasper has a new line of dog beds — I got one for my new puppy, and he's in love with itCoop Home GoodsCoop Home GoodsThe deal: Get 20% off pillows, 25% off bedding, and 30% off support pillows with the code FRIYAY at checkoutWhat we recommend:Coop Original PillowEden PillowRead more about Coop Home Goods:The best pillows for your bedThe best memory foam pillowsThe best gel pillowsThis memory foam pillow is a hit with everyone I know — it can be customized to support many sleeping positionsI sleep on my side and use this full-body pillow to reduce strain on my knees while keeping my spine alignedParachuteParachuteThe deal: Save 20% sitewide, excluding bed framesWhat we recommend:Parachute Percale Venice Sheet Set (Queen)Parachute The Mattress (Queen)Braided Wool RugParachute Classic Bathrobe (for women)Parachute Classic Bathrobe (for men)Read more about Parachute:Parachute is my go-to choice for its softness, comfort, and range of understated colorsHome startup Parachute sells more than sheets and towelsCozy bedding startup Parachute is now making eco-friendly, plush mattressesThe 5 best men's bathrobes we tested in 2021The 7 best women's bathrobes we tested in 2021FullyFullyThe deal: Take 15% off sitewide through Tuesday, November 30What we recommend:Jarvis Bamboo Standing DeskCora Standing Desk ConverterRead more about Fully: The best standing desks for your home officeA guide to everything you need to work from home, according to product reviewersOutdoor VoicesOutdoor VoicesThe deal: Take 25% off sitewideWhat we recommend:TechSweat Core 7/8 LeggingRelay ShortThe Exercise DressRead more about Outdoor Voices:I asked several people to test the Outdoor Voices TechSweat leggings, and the verdict was unanimous — they're some of the most comfortable we've ever wornI worked out in a dress from Outdoor Voices exercise dress and it was surprisingly practicalAUrateAUrateThe deal: Get 25% off everything with the code STOCKEDWhat we recommend:Solid Circle EarringsStackable Twist RingRead more about Aurate:Popular jewelry startup AUrate used its customers' feedback to create a stunning new collection — here's your first lookThe best places to buy affordable fine jewelry8 people share the best pieces of jewelry they've ever bought or received — from $7 Etsy purchases to $1,500 splurges they don't regretMejuriMejuriThe deal: Take 20% off everything when you spend $150+What we recommend:Duo RingEditor HoopsZodiac NecklaceRead more about Mejuri: Mejuri, a popular online jewelry startup, has launched a collection of unique engagement rings — all under $2,000Popular jewelry startup Mejuri has an under-$80 zodiac collection — and the styles are great for subtly personalized Mother's Day gifts8 people share the best pieces of jewelry they've ever bought or receivedDagne DoverDagne Dover/InstagramThe deal: Take 20% off everything with the code HOLIDAZE at checkout (note that due to shipping delays, the brand recommends ordering gifts as soon as possible)What we recommend:Allyn ToteDakota BackpackLandon CarryallRead more about Dagne Dover: The best backpack for womenThe best work bag for womenThe 16 weekender bags we turn to most often because they're easy to pack and comfortable to carryFirstleafConnie Chen/InsiderThe deal: Join the club by Cyber Monday, November 29, and get your first six bottles for $29.95 and free shipping for a year with promo code CYBERWINEWhat we recommend:Firstleaf Monthly Wine SubscriptionRead more about Firstleaf:I tried Firstleaf, a subscription box that delivers wines from top vineyards around the worldThe best wine subscriptionsOtherlandOtherlandThe deal: Take 20% off candle bundlesWhat we recommend:Silk Pajamas CandleFallen Fir CandleBuild Your Own Candle Box (3-pack)Read more about Otherland:This candle startup has a beautiful gifting and unboxing experience, making them foolproof giftsThe best places to buy candlesMade InMade In; Alyssa Powell/Business InsiderThe deal: Take up to 25% off sitewideWhat we recommend:Stainless Clad SaucierServing Platter8-inch Chef KnifeRead more about Made In:Made In review: all the cookware pieces we've triedMade In saucier reviewMade In carbon steel pan reviewM.GemiM.GemiThe deal: Get 20% off sitewideWhat we recommend:The Palestra DueSacca Donna LoafersFeliz LoafersThe CorsaThe EspertoNote: things are selling out quickly during Black Friday and Cyber Monday.Read more about M.Gemi: Online luxury startup M.Gemi only makes limited quantities of all its shoes, and its cult-favorite suede flat is sure to sell out again this fallYou may know footwear startup M.Gemi for its colorful loafers — but here's why its ankle boots are the real standout5 cool online startups that drop new products every single week of the yearPartners Coffee Co.Partners Coffee Co.The deal: Save 20% off sitewideWhat we recommend:Manhattan roastColombia - El Ramo roastDriftawayDriftawayThe deal: Get up to $60 off Annual Gift Subscriptions with code BF21What we recommend:A customizable gift boxA personalized coffee subscriptionRead more about Driftaway: This coffee subscription box helped me figure out what kinds of coffee I actually enjoy drinkingThe 7 best coffee subscriptions in 2021HavenlyHavenly/InstagramThe deal: Get a 50% discount plus a price match of 5% on top of existing deals with promo code 50PERCENTWhat we recommend:The Style QuizHavenly MiniRead more about Havenly:You can have any room in your home made over by an expert interior designer through this online service — here's how it worksThe SillThe SillThe deal: Take up to 50% off best-selling plants, planters, plant care accessories, nature-inspired gifts, and moreWhat we recommend:ZZ & BalboaBeginner BundleRead more about The Sill:Plant delivery startup The Sill makes it easy to learn about which plants are right for your home — here's how it worksWe compared 3 of the most popular online plant shops — here's how their shipping and return policies and plant care advice stack upVivinoVivinoThe deal: Take up to 50% off wines and an additional 10% off with code BFRIWhat we recommend:Bordiga Vermouth Rosso N.V.Altaneve Prosecco Superiore N.V.Polar Bear CoolersPolar Bear CoolersThe deal: Get 50% off sitewide including deals on coolers, stand-up paddleboards (SUPs), drinkware, and accessories with code FOXWhat we recommend: Original 12-Pack Soft CoolerPolar Bear Topper 20Stuart and LauStuart & LauThe deal: Save up to 50% sitewide, plus get an additional 10% off with promo code BCFM2021What we recommend:The Cary BriefcaseThe Regimen Gym BagRead more about Stuart and Lau:This briefcase has survived a year's worth of daily commuting and traveling and is still in tip-top shape — here's why it's worth $350 to meSafelySafelyThe deal: Get 20% off using the promo code SAFELYSALERead more about Safely:Kris Jenner's line of cleaning products just landed a major placement at Bed Bath & BeyondBurrowBurrowThe deal: Save up to 15% with code BF21What we recommend:Burrow Nomad SofaThe Mid-Century Ranch SetRead more about Burrow: This startup makes sofas that sound almost too good to be true — they're easy to move and only take 10 minutes to buildWe compared online sofas from Campaign and Burrow to determine which couch startup deserves a spot in your living roomThis Burrow couch is made with full-grain leather that will last for years — here's what it feels like and why it's worth $3,800OnsenConnie Chen/InsiderThe deal: Get 30% off sitewide with promo code BF2021What we recommend:Bath TowelBath Towel SetRead more about Onsen: The best bath towelsOur PlaceOur Place/InstagramThe deal: Save up to $125 on popular items, including the cult-favorite Always PanWhat we recommend:Always PanDinner for 4Read more about Our Place: This cleverly designed pan replaces 8 traditional pieces of cookware to help streamline my small kitchen8 tableware startups changing the way we shop for dishes12 direct-to-consumer kitchen startups that are changing the way we shop for cookware and knivesBear MattressBearThe deal: Get 25% sitewide plus a free Cloud Pillows, and a free sheet set ($250 value) with promo code BF25What we recommend:Bear Mattress (Queen)Bear Hybrid (Queen)Read more about Bear Mattress: I tested this startup's mattress and it helped me with one of my biggest sleeping problemsLuxury 'hybrid' mattresses are taking over the mattress industry — here's what they are and what it's like to sleep on oneGlossierGlossierThe deal: Take 20% off everythingWhat we recommend:Boy BrowCloud PaintSolutionRead more about Glossier:7 of our favorite products from Glossier, the internet's favorite beauty startupThe best facial exfoliatorsGlossier's Futuredew serum-oil hybrid gives my skin a glassy, dewy effect all day — and it's pretty affordable at $24Glossier's Lash Slick mascara has little fibers that add length and definition to my eyelashes without clumping or smudgingEqual PartsEqual PartsThe deal: Take 20% off Pattern-owned brands including Letterfolk, Open Spaces, and GIR, and get free shippingWhat we recommend:Sauce PanThe Utensils SetRead more about Equal Parts:I tried nonstick cookware from new kitchen startup Equal Parts — it's not perfect, but it's still excellent for the price12 direct-to-consumer kitchen startups that are changing the way we shop for cookware and knivesI tried the bright, customizable doormat that's all over social media, and it's my new favorite piece of decorPactPactThe deal: Shop deals starting at 20% offWhat we recommend:Shelf Bra CamisoleClearance ThongRead more about Pact:8 clothing brands we count on for affordable women's basics12 ethical companies to shop from if you like to put your money where your values areThis $32 Fair Trade wrap dress from a little-known startup is one of my wardrobe's best-kept secretsThe InsideThe Inside/FacebookThe deal: Take 20% off sitewideWhat we recommend:Modern Platform BedThrow PillowRead more about The Inside:These new sofas are the colorful, cool antidote to every boring couch you've seen online — they start at $1,599 and max out at $3,800 for a sectionalFrank and OakFrank And OakThe deal: 30% off everything with free shipping and returns through Saturday 11/27. Use code BF30What we recommend:Hemp Polo ShirtCircular Denim CollectionRead more about Frank and Oak:This women's clothing subscription box is the first I've tried that I kept everything from, and it's a nice bonus that its clothes are sustainableThis startup is recycling old denim to make new jeans for under $100 and you'd never know the differenceMeUndiesMeUndies Color Scale lineMeUndiesThe deal: Save up to 60% on Packs (Save on Undies, Bralettes, Socks, Stretch Cotton, and Breathe with the Pack Friday sale)What we recommend:Second Skin BriefAir CheekyAir ThongRead more about MeUndies:The best women's underwear6 of the most comfortable online underwear brands we've tried — from $10 pairs to $26 premium stylesSenreveSally Kaplan/INSIDERThe deal: Shop 25% off and get free gifts when you spend $400, $600, and $1000What we recommend:Maestra BagRead more about Senreve:This Instagram-famous convertible backpack and shoulder bag is nearly $900 — I thought the price was ridiculous until I actually used itGreatsGreatsThe deal: Get 50% off select styles and a free tote on orders $150+What we recommend:Greats Royale (men's)Greats Royale (women's)Read more about Greats:The best leather sneakers for menThe best leather sneakers for women9 footwear brands that make sustainable sneakers from recycled and renewable materialsMVMTMVMTThe deal: Save up to 50% sitewideWhat we recommend: Beverly WatchAstro WatchRead more about MVMT: One of our favorite startups proves you don't have to spend more than $200 to get a stylish watchMVMT's new $300 automatic watch proves that you don't need deep pockets to get your hands on a luxury timepieceI've written about a bunch of great watches, but this is the one I wear to work every day — here's whyNaadamNaadamThe deal: Get 40% off (almost) everything and free domestic shipping with code BLACKFRIDAYWhat we recommend:Women's Recycled Cashmere Crewneck SweaterMen's Recycled Cashmere Crewneck SweaterSignature Ribbed Cashmere BeanieRead more about Naadam: This online startup is reinventing luxury with $75 cashmere sweaters — and they're among the best I've ever worn6 places to buy affordable, top-quality cashmere sweaters for as little as $75The best cashmere sweaters you can buySnoweSnowe/InstagramThe deal: Get 20% off plus free shipping until 2:59 am EST, Tuesday, November 30What we recommend:Classic BathrobeThe Complete Eat BundleRead more about Snowe: Here's why a new home store founded by Wharton MBA grads is a favorite among millennial shoppersThis up-and-coming startup makes luxury bedding accessible and low-maintenance — here's why I'm a convert to their wrinkle-resistant sheetsThis $98 bathrobe is truly the best one out there — here's whyUnited by BlueUnited By BlueThe deal: Take 20% off sitewide and an extra 50% off select sales with promo code TGIFWhat we recommend:Men's Bison Puffer JacketWomen's Bison Long JacketRead more about United by Blue: This $228 slim puffer jacket is filled with bison down — a surprisingly sustainable material that's seriously warmDanner Boots partnered with a small outdoors startup to give its classic pair of hiking boots a sustainable facelift — here's why they're worth the costHedley & BennettHedley & Bennett/InstagramThe deal: Take 20% off sitewide and 30% off orders over $150What we recommend:The Big ApronThe Essential ApronThe Baker BundleRead more about Hedley & Bennett: More than 6,000 restaurants worldwide use these colorful, sturdy aprons. We tested them out in our home kitchens.AutonomousJada Wong/InsiderThe deal: Save up to 50% on select items from AutonomousWhat we recommend:Autonomous SmartDesk 2 PremiumRead more about Autonomous:The best standing desks for your home officeSardelSardelThe deal: Save 15% on orders up to $350, 20% on orders over $350, and 25% off orders over $750What we recommend:Sauté Pan (4-quart)Skillet (12-inch)Skillet (10-inch)Saucepan (2-quart)Read more about Sardel:Cookware startup Sardel makes some of our favorite pots and pans12 direct-to-consumer kitchen startups that are changing the way we shop for cookware and knivesWild OneShoshi Parks/InsiderThe deal: 25% Off Sitewide (including Kits, which are discounted only twice a year)What we Recommend: Wild One Travel CarrierRead more about Wild One:The best airline cat carrierHow do we select the best startup deals?We choose brands that we've tested or deeply researched.We compare prices against Amazon, Target, Walmart, and other retailers.We look at products' price histories to evaluate how significant the savings are.When do Black Friday sales start at startups?Black Friday 2021 is November 26 and Cyber Monday is November 29, but many startups have already started their sales, just as many will extend beyond Cyber Monday.What should I buy from startups on Black Friday?You'll be able to find deals on just about anything and everything from direct-to-consumer startups during Black Friday. Great categories to keep an eye on for better-than-normal deals are mattresses and bedding, kitchenware, clothing, and home furnishing and decor.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderNov 26th, 2021

The 50 best brands, according to Gen Z

Gen Z's top brands include gaming companies, streaming services, and fast-food chains, according to data compiled by Comparably. Starbucks was named one of Gen Z's top 50 brands.Shutterstock Comparably identified Gen Z's best brands based on ratings from customers aged 18 to 24. Gaming companies, streaming services, and retailers geared towards younger shoppers made the list. Gen Z customers named Google, Apple, and Amazon as their top three brands. Gen Z's best brands include fast-food chains, clothing stores, gaming companies, and social media platforms.People pass an American Eagle Outfitters clothing store in New York.AP Photo/Mark LennihanComparably identified Gen Z's favorite brands based on ratings from customers aged 18 to 24. Consumers anonymously rated brands on Comparably.com between November 2020 and November 2021 on six main factors: quality of the product or service, customer service, ROI, overall satisfaction with the company, loyalty, and how likely they are to recommend the company to a friend.The 50 best brands — 26 of which were also rated the best brands by millennial customers — include content-sharing platforms and fashion brands, especially those targeted to a younger audience, such as Hot Topic and American Eagle Outfitters. Gaming companies such as Riot Games and Razer also made the list — companies that were not named as top brands by millennials. After asking customers how likely they were to recommend a brand, Comparably also determined a "Net Promoter Score" that ranged from -100 to 100 to indicate consumer satisfaction with that company. This score has also been included on the list below.Keep scrolling to read the final ranking of the 50 best brands, according to Gen Z.50. CrocsCrocs.Shoshy Ciment/Business InsiderIndustry: Fashion and beautyDescription: Crocs manufactures casual footwear for men, women, and children.Net Promoter Score (-100 to 100): 5849. GOAT GroupGOAT sneakers.GOATIndustry: Fashion and beautyDescription: GOAT Group is a startup that functions as a marketplace for authentic sneakers.Net Promoter Score (-100 to 100): 3948. 7-Eleven7-Eleven.Tim Boyle/GettyIndustry: RetailDescription: 7-Eleven is an American international chain of convenience stores, selling food, snacks, hot and cold beverages, gas and more, known for generally being open 24 hours a day.Net Promoter Score (-100 to 100): 3447. Hot TopicHot Topic.Shoshy Ciment/Business InsiderIndustry: RetailDescription: Hot Topic is a retail chain specializing in counterculture-related clothing and accessories, as well as licensed music.Net Promoter Score (-100 to 100): 3946. RazerRazer store.Business Insider/Eugene KimIndustry: Consumer goodsDescription: Razer is a multinational technology company that designs, develops, and sells consumer electronics, financial services, and gaming hardware.Net Promoter Score (-100 to 100): 4145. SamsungSamsung Galaxy Note.Business Insider EspañaIndustry: Consumer goodsDescription: Samsung manufactures, designs, and markets consumer electronic products.Net Promoter Score (-100 to 100): 3444. Riot GamesValorant championship.Colin Young-Wolff/Riot Games Inc. via Getty ImagesIndustry: Media and entertainmentDescription: Riot Games is a gaming company that develops, publishes, and supports player-focused games such as League of Legends and e-sports tournaments.Net Promoter Score (-100 to 100): 3443. InstagramPhotos for Instagram.sergey causelove/ShutterstockIndustry: Tech, social mediaDescription: Instagram is a free photo-sharing application that enables its users to take photos, apply filters, and share them on social networks.Net Promoter Score (-100 to 100): 3842. McDonald'sMcDonald's meal.Rachel Askinasi/Business InsiderIndustry: Retail, food and beverageDescription: McDonald's is the world's leading global fast food service retailer with more than 37,000 locations in over 100 countries.Net Promoter Score (-100 to 100): 3941. SephoraSephora.Thomas Lohnes/Stringer/Getty ImagesIndustry: Retail, fashion and beautyDescription: Sephora is a multinational retailer of personal care and beauty products, featuring nearly 3,000 brands, along with its own private label, Sephora Collection.Net Promoter Score (-100 to 100): 4040. Zoom Video CommunicationsZoom.Shutterstock/Cabeca de MarmorIndustry: TechDescription: Zoom is a software company that offers a communications platform that connects people through video, voice, chat, and content sharing. Net Promoter Score (-100 to 100): 5239. KFCKFC employee.Moses Robinson/Getty Images for KFCIndustry: Retail, food and beverageDescription: KFC is a subsidiary of Yum! Brands. The fast-food restaurant chain specializes in fried chicken.Net Promoter Score (-100 to 100): 4038. TikTokTikTok.AP Photo/Jessica HillIndustry: Tech, social mediaDescription: TikTok is a video-focused social networking service hosting a variety of short-form user videos, from genres like dance, comedy, and education, with durations from 15 seconds to three minutes.Net Promoter Score (-100 to 100): 4037. TwitterTwitter.Nopparat Khokthong/ShutterstockIndustry: TechDescription: Twitter is an American microblogging and social networking service on which users post and interact.Net Promoter Score (-100 to 100): 4736. LVMH (Louis Vuitton Moet Hennessy)LVMH.Carlos Barria/ReutersIndustry: Fashion and beautyDescription: LVMH is a French holding multinational corporation and conglomerate specializing in luxury goods.Net Promoter Score (-100 to 100): 4735. AirbnbThe Airbnb app.VideoBSN/ShutterstockIndustry: Travel and hospitalityDescription: Airbnb is an online marketplace for lodging, accessible via website and mobile app, primarily for homestays for vacation rentals and tourism activities. Net Promoter Score (-100 to 100): 5034. IkeaTwo people shop for plants at Ikea.Andreas Rentz/Getty ImagesIndustry: RetailDescription: Ikea is a Scandinavian chain selling ready-to-assemble furniture, plus housewares, in a warehouse-like space. Net Promoter Score (-100 to 100): 5133. GucciBobby Yip/ReutersIndustry: Fashion and beautyDescription: Gucci is an iconic Italian luxury fashion house, known worldwide for its high-end apparel, jewelry, and leather goods.Net Promoter Score (-100 to 100): 4932. The Coca-Cola CompanyA couple drinks some coke.Jonathan Leibson/Getty ImagesIndustry: Food and beverageDescription: The Coca-Cola Company is a leading global player in the soft-drinks industry, distributing Coke, Diet Coke, and other soft drinks worldwide. Net Promoter Score (-100 to 100): 5131. Dunkin'Dunkin.Andrew Burton/Getty ImagesIndustry: Retail, food and beverageDescription: Dunkin' is an American multinational coffee and doughnut company, as well as a quick-service restaurant that serves hot and cold coffee and baked goods.Net Promoter Score (-100 to 100): 5230. StarbucksStarbucks.ShutterstockIndustry: Retail, food and beverageDescription: Starbucks is a multinational chain of coffeehouses and roastery reserves that retails handcrafted coffee, tea, and fresh food items.Net Promoter Score (-100 to 100): 4729. Red BullRed Bull.Arnd Wiegmann/ReutersIndustry: Food and beverageDescription: Red Bull manufactures energy drink beverages and has the highest market share of any energy drink in the world, with 7.5 billion cans sold in a year.Net Promoter Score (-100 to 100): 5128. YouTubeYouTube.Mateusz Slodkowski/Getty ImagesIndustry: Media and entertainmentDescription: YouTube is a video platform that allows users to upload, view, rate, share, add to favorites, report, comment on videos, and subscribe to other users.Net Promoter Score (-100 to 100): 5027. NintendoNintendo Switch.Reuters/Toru HanaiIndustry: Media and entertainmentDescription: Nintendo is a Japanese multinational consumer electronics company that develops consoles and games, including Nintendo Switch and Super Mario Brothers.Net Promoter Score (-100 to 100): 6126. AdidasAdidas.SOPA Images/Getty ImagesIndustry: Fashion and beautyDescription: Adidas is a German multinational corporation that designs and manufactures shoes, clothing, and accessories. Net Promoter Score (-100 to 100): 5225. Lego GroupA Lego logo.Thomson ReutersIndustry: Consumer goodsDescription: Lego Group provides play material and offers products based on learning and development through play. Net Promoter Score (-100 to 100): 6424. The Walt Disney CompanyDisney World.Charles Sykes/APIndustry: Media and entertainment, consumer goodsDescription: The Walt Disney Company, commonly known as Disney, is an American diversified multinational mass media and entertainment conglomerate with toys, theme parks, TV and online streaming services. Net Promoter Score (-100 to 100): 6423. NvidiaNvidia logo.David Becker/Stringer/Getty ImagesIndustry: TechDescription: Nvidia manufactures integrated circuits for use in motherboard chip-sets, graphic processing units, and game consoles.Net Promoter Score (-100 to 100): 6422. GlossierGlossier pop-up in Boston in 2019.Jonathan Wiggs/The Boston Globe via Getty ImagesIndustry: Fashion and beautyDescription: Glossier is a digitally native beauty brand that built a cult following for its easy-to-use skincare and makeup products with real beauty routines in mind.Net Promoter Score (-100 to 100): 7121. ValveA player competes in "Counter-Strike," developed by Valve Corporation.Chesnot/Getty ImagesIndustry: Media and entertainmentDescription: Valve is an American video-game developer, publisher, and digital distribution company.Net Promoter Score (-100 to 100): 7120. ChanelChanel headquarters in Paris, France.Getty ImagesIndustry: Fashion and beautyDescription: Chanel is luxury brand that provides the latest in fashion and accessories, eyewear, fragrance and beauty, jewelry and watches. Net Promoter Score (-100 to 100): 5719. Ulta BeautyInside Ulta Beauty.Business Insider/Jessica TylerIndustry: Retail, fashion and beautyDescription: Ulta Beauty is an American chain of beauty stores that carries cosmetics, fragrances, nail products, bath and body products, beauty tools, and haircare products.Net Promoter Score (-100 to 100): 5818. American Eagle OutfittersAmerican Eagle Outfitters.Shoshy Ciment/Business InsiderIndustry: Retail, fashion and beautyDescription: American Eagle Outfitters is an American lifestyle, clothing, and accessories retailer.Net Promoter Score (-100 to 100): 6817. CostcoCostco storefront in Mount Prospect, Illinois.Tim Boyle/Getty ImagesIndustry: RetailDescription: Costco Wholesale is a global retailer with membership-only warehouse club operations that provide a wide selection of merchandise. Net Promoter Score (-100 to 100): 6416. TargetTarget shoppers.Getty/Scott OlsonIndustry: RetailDescription: Target is an American retail company providing access to a wide selection of products such as furniture, electronics, toys, and more.Net Promoter Score (-100 to 100): 6215. MicrosoftA woman walks past a Microsoft Store on 5th avenue.John Nacion/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty ImagesIndustry: TechDescription: Microsoft is an American multinational technology corporation that develops, manufactures, licenses, supports, and sells a range of software products, consumer electronics, personal computers, and related services.Net Promoter Score (-100 to 100): 5614. UniqloUniqlo.AP/Ng Han GuanIndustry: Retail, fashion and beautyDescription: Uniqlo is a designer, manufacturer, and retailer of women's, men's, and kids' clothing and accessories.Net Promoter Score (-100 to 100): 6013. Trader Joe'sTrader Joe's.Shoshy Ciment/Business InsiderIndustry: RetailDescription: Trader Joe's is an American chain of grocery stores that specializes in selling fresh and organic food with over 500 stores in 42 states.Net Promoter Score (-100 to 100): 8312. Bath & Body WorksA Bath & Body Works shopper.Barbara Haddock Taylor/Baltimore Sun/Tribune News Service via Getty ImagesIndustry: RetailDescription: Bath & Body Works is a retailer offering a breadth of exclusive fragrances for the body and home, including body lotion and body cream, body wash, hand soap, and fine fragrance mist.Net Promoter Score (-100 to 100): 7611. RobloxRoblox.SOPA Images / Contributor / Getty ImagesIndustry: Media and entertainmentDescription: Roblox is an online game platform that provides immersive digital experiences built by a global community of creators.Net Promoter Score (-100 to 100): 5410. NikeA Nike store in Portland, Oregon.Rick Bowmer/APIndustry: Fashion and beautyDescription: Nike is the world's leading designer, marketer, and distributor of authentic athletic footwear, apparel, equipment, and accessories for a wide variety of sports and fitness activities.Net Promoter Score (-100 to 100): 569. SpotifySpotify.Mr.Whiskey/ShutterstockIndustry: Media and entertainmentDescription: Spotify is the world's largest music streaming service provider, with over 365 million monthly active users, including 165 million paying subscribers. Net Promoter Score (-100 to 100): 698. Sony PlaystationA gamer plays on the Sony Playstation PS5.YELIM LEE/AFP via Getty ImagesIndustry: Media and entertainmentDescription: Sony PlayStation is a global video-game brand, developed and marketed by Sony Interactive Entertainment (SIE), that consists of five home video game consoles and a line of controllers, and interactive and digital entertainment. Net Promoter Score (-100 to 100): 707. DiscordDiscord app.ShutterstockIndustry: TechDescription: Discord is a VoIP, instant messaging, and digital distribution platform.Net Promoter Score (-100 to 100): 666. VansVans.Pablo Cuadra/Getty ImagesIndustry: Fashion and beautyDescription: Vans manufactures shoes, apparel, and other products for action sports.Net Promoter Score (-100 to 100): 855. Chick-fil-AChick-fil-A chicken nuggets.Erin McDowell/InsiderIndustry: Retail, food and beverageDescription: Chick-fil-A is one of the largest American fast-food restaurant chains with over 3,000 locations across the US, and the largest whose specialty is chicken sandwiches. Net Promoter Score (-100 to 100): 824. Netflix"Bridgerton" on Netflix.LIAM DANIEL/NETFLIXIndustry: Media and entertainmentDescription: Netflix is a streaming entertainment service company that provides content that can be watched anytime, anywhere, on any internet-connected screen. Net Promoter Score (-100 to 100): 583. AmazonAn Amazon package.Beata Zawrzel/NurPhoto via Getty ImagesIndustry: Retail, e-commerceDescription: Amazon is an international e-commerce website for consumers, sellers, and content creators.Net Promoter Score (-100 to 100): 602. AppleAn Apple store.Spencer Platt/Getty ImagesIndustry: Tech, consumer goods, media and entertainmentDescription: Apple is a multinational corporation that designs, manufactures, and markets consumer electronics, personal computers, and software. Net Promoter Score (-100 to 100): 621. GoogleGoogle.Justin Sullivan/Getty ImagesIndustry: TechDescription: Google is a multinational corporation that specializes in internet-related services and products, which include online advertising technologies, a search engine, cloud computing, software, and hardware.Net Promoter Score (-100 to 100): 64Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderNov 17th, 2021

The frantic metaverse land grab is likely to persist in 2022 as investors realize virtual real estate equals cash, predictive analytics firm says

Interest in metaverse land rentals has also surged as businesses look to host major events like Fashion Week virtually, NWO.ai said. Decentraland, one of the most popular metaverses. Decentraland press kitDecentraland press kit Interest in metaverse land sales and rentals is going to continue to surge this year, NWO.ai said. The AI firm said online conversations around metaverse real estate have been robust. "The hype has the numbers to back it up: over $100 million has already been spent on metaverse land plots," NWO said. Sign up here for our daily newsletter, 10 Things Before the Opening Bell. The mad dash for virtual land is likely just beginning.Real estate sales in metaverses like Decentraland and the Sandbox — where plots have sold for millions of dollars — are likely set to continue at a brisk pace before peaking in May, though interest will remain high even after, according to predictive analytics firm NWO.ai."We're really seeing the utility of these properties rising; we're seeing that people can make actual money, that buying these properties equals cash. That is going to drive those sales," said Julia Myers, a machine-learning engineer at NWO.NWO, an artificial intelligence startup that launched almost three years ago, tracks millions of texts like news articles, social media platforms Twitter and Reddit, and Google Search, among other things, in order to predict broader emerging narratives. For example, NWO said its AI foresaw millions of retail traders driving massive gains in meme stock companies like GameStop a year ago, and it predicted troubles for Chinese real estate company Evergrande.Conversations around the metaverse, a virtual world where people can interact, shop, and game as avatars, have been robust. According to Grayscale, the metaverse represents a $1 trillion market opportunity. In a recent newsletter, NWO said, "The hype has the numbers to back it up: over $100 million has already been spent on metaverse land plots."In the last year, there have been eye-popping virtual real-estate sales, like the $4.3 million plot of Sandbox land sold to Republic Realm. Meanwhile, conversations around metaverse land rentals are also skyrocketing as companies like Tokens.com rent space in Decentraland for major events, including the first-ever metaverse Fashion Week — where people can buy the latest fashion trends for their look-alike avatars — as well as the inaugural virtual Australian Open. "Location is really huge," Myers said. "The same with real estate in real life, it's all about where you are."According to NWO, Decentraland has become the leading metaverse and upcoming events like Fashion Week are going to solidify that further. Surging interest in the metaverse has only been cemented by skyrocketing prices in the native tokens for metaverses like Decentraland, which has jumped 2,000% in a year, according to Crypto.com. Meanwhile, the Sandbox's underlying cryptocurrency has surged more than 8,000%, and Axie Infinity has risen 11,000%, crypto.com shows."As people gain trust in these platforms and the fact that the future is here, I predict that we will only see [sales] go up," Myers said.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderJan 22nd, 2022

Why Investors Are Paying Real Money For Virtual Land

A blank square of pixels in a virtual metaverse world like The Sandbox can cost as much as a home in the real world. But investors are buying in A version of this article was published in TIME’s newsletter Into the Metaverse. Subscribe for a weekly guide to the future of the Internet. You can find past issues of the newsletter here. Chris Adamo considers himself late to the game when it comes to investing in NFTs, or non-fungible tokens. He collected his first one in summer 2021. But when it comes to buying up property in the metaverse, Adamo is early. Eight months ago, the Miami-based venture capitalist and a group of associates calling themselves the MetaCollective DAO used a virtual real estate broker to buy 23 parcels in The Sandbox, a user-generated, blockchain-based virtual world, for prices starting at 1ETH (about $3,000). A nearby property sold for about 42ETH, or $130,000. [time-brightcove not-tgx=”true”] The land—pixels, really—borders the compound of the Bored Ape Yacht Club, a buzzy NFT community, and a plot owned by Adidas. They’re calling it Sandbox Hill Road, as a nod to Silicon Valley’s famous Sand Hill Road and The Sandbox, the platform where this “land” exists. Already, the parcels’ value has gone up about ten times in price, making their holdings potentially worth many millions of dollars. “It’s like the New York City of The Sandbox,” Adamo says. “Like the Lower East Side or Soho right now.” Translation: it’s hip—or at least, they are invested in believing it can be. More from TIME If the metaverse is meant to encompass everything that exists virtually, from digital art to virtual worlds, then the real estate parcels that are being snapped up can be seen as just one type of metaversal investment, often listed as NFTs. These virtual worlds—The Sandbox, Decentraland, Cryptovoxels, Earth2, Nifty Island, Superworld, Wilder World—each offer different things to users: hyper-realistic graphics, gaming options, communities of specific types of early adopters. (Snoop Dogg, for instance, staked out a home for himself in The Sandbox; Paris Hilton has an island in Roblox.) Read More: NFT Art Collectors Are Playing a Risky Game—And Winning Right now, if you open The Sandbox on a web browser, all you’ll see is a flat map of brand logos scattered throughout land-shaped masses made up of colorful pixels. (Each of those pixels, or plots, is a property worth real money; in general, the concept of scarcity is a farce online, but in these worlds—as in our physical one—it is often real.) Meanwhile over on Cryptovoxels, things feel more like an early-stage video game populated by blank walking mannequins. (Sometimes, they fly.) Click on a billboard, and you’ll see details of the NFT work and artist you’re viewing, with a link to OpenSea, the NFT marketplace. MetaCollective has big plans for their blank squares. For Drew Austin, managing partner at venture capital syndicate RedBeard Ventures and leader for MetaCollective, it’s all about developing this corner of the future internet into a learning center or “university” for self-education on all things web3. He envisions virtual classes, dormitory rooms that users can rent, and a full social experience. “We can recreate what an educational digital experience is, in this new digital world,” he says. None of this has been built or designed yet. But the money is real. SandboxSandbox view. One way to think about it is like purchasing a domain name, or snagging a good social media handle. If email was our home in Web 1, and social profiles—like a Facebook or Instagram page—were the Web 2 home bases for each of us, then personal property in the form of virtual real estate may be the Web 3 version. The difference is that instead of being beholden to providers or platforms to design, regulate and control the experience, Web 3 property is intended to be something you, the end user, can build yourself. For brands, it could mean something much more interactive and active than their current digital presences. For individuals, it could mean earning income by playing games or selling products. Andrew Steinwold, managing partner at metaverse-native fund Sfermion, calls it “unlimited optionality,” breaking free of the bounds of our profiles and pages. An entire industry of virtual world developers has already popped up. “One of the things that’s so exciting and fascinating about the metaverse is it’s all about cocreation, right?” says Jessica Peltz Zatulove, another MetaCollective member. “So we’re also just seeing this blending between creators and celebrities and communities.” Then again, right now this is all speculation. The big winners—at the moment, at least—are the platforms and developers, who are raking in investment dollars from early buyers. Animoca Brands, the company behind The Sandbox, recently reported it is now worth $5 billion, up from a valuation just over $2 billion in 2021. Roblox, a more established gaming universe, listed on the New York Stock Exchange in March 2021 at a valuation of $42 billion. One research report predicts virtual gaming worlds alone could be worth $400 billion by 2025, with the broader metaverse industry worth over $1 trillion. Read More: NFTs Are Shaking Up the Art World—But They Could Change So Much More Many of the early buyers of virtual real estate are doubly invested—in the platforms themselves and through personal plays like DAOs buying and developing new land—so their bullishness is ultimately self-serving. (Steinwold’s fund, for instance, has its hand in both platform investments and individual properties; Austin runs a fund that invests in five different worlds.) The technology, too, is early—Adamo is the first to admit we’re about a decade out from easy mass adoption, and Austin notes plenty of “room for improvement,” from the interface to the technically complicated process of buying property. But the hunger is there for web3 investors. Virtual property prices have gone up as much as 500% since Facebook’s much-hyped transition to Meta, according to CNBC. Already, plots in some virtual worlds are just as expensive as a real-world house.   DecentralandThe entrance to Decentraland. Decentraland is a 3D virtual world platform. Users may buy virtual plots of land in the platform as NFTs via the MANA cryptocurrency, which is a sidechain of Ethereum. It was opened to the public in February 2020, and is overseen by the nonprofit Decentraland Foundation. Even if the casual user experience leaves much to be desired, however, ways to claim land and plans to develop property are expanding daily. ONE Sotheby’s just announced they will build a virtual replica of a real-world property in The Sandbox, with ownership crossing over. Meanwhile, an anonymous buyer snapped up the neighboring property to Snoop Dogg for a reported $450,000, betting on proximity to a famous neighbor as a value-add, just as MetaCollective is betting on Bored Ape Yacht Club. Over at Cryptovoxels, one developer is planning to build a New York Stock Exchange-style trading center and home for crypto-native companies like defi protocols in their centrally-located Frankfurt property, a spot they purchased because it allows for larger virtual buildings. The dream is for it to become a central hub in this universe, and one with real utility as we migrate into virtual realms. If this all sounds quixotic, that cynicism is warranted. Even investors are maintaining healthy skepticism about the current iterations of virtual worlds. Steinwold has raised over $100 million from investors for his funds, but he sees much of the virtual world speculation as being overvalued so far. In fact, he says, overvaluation in web3 is “true broadly,” from NFT art to crypto tokens. But that still hasn’t stopped him from investing “at the company-building level.” And it hasn’t stopped him from backing the Frankfurt NYSE plan in Cryptovoxels. “We’re kind of in the pre-Napster era. We don’t have Napster yet. We don’t have iTunes, and we don’t have Spotify,” he says, comparing today’s virtual worlds to the early-2000s music-sharing platform and its successors. “That’ll come, but it’s gonna take a pretty long time.” Read More: Teen Artists Are Making Millions on NFTs. How Are They Doing It? For Zatulove, another MetaCollective investor, the draw is in the business potential. As a founding partner of Hannah Grey, an early stage venture firm that specializes in emerging platform potential for brands, Zatulove is focused on finding ways to build commerce into this new landscape. “It’s about having an office space in a prime location, but it’s really about: Can you rent this land?” she says, “Can you have a store? Can you host events? We’re in a gold rush moment with virtual real estate where people don’t know what they’re gonna build or how they’re going to build it, but they’re acquiring land in the best possible locations to create an interesting financial future.” She imagines setting up office space on the MetaCollective campus. “Maybe we have a coffee shop, maybe we have a cool hangout. Maybe we have town hall meetings, maybe we host office hours for founders, maybe we just have a museum that inspires creativity, in collaboration across different builders in this space,” she says, brainstorming. Plus, the market is untapped; Zatulove cites the three billion people worldwide who are gamers, and who are used to spending time in virtual environments. Even if Sandbox hasn’t captured their attention yet, the potential is there. “The delight right now of virtual real estate is that it’s recognizing that there’s opportunity ahead that you’re setting up for yourself,” she says. Adamo has kids and, like any dad, he’s thinking about their future—and about what he can pass down to them. This real estate might not be a brick-and-mortar property, but it’s still something bought with their best interests in mind. “With the rates of this year’s growth, this looks like a really multi-generational plan purchase,” he says. Maybe Sandbox Hill Road will disappear into the ether of the internet in a few years, like Limewire and Kazaa. Maybe he’s bought into a future Spotify. In the meantime, the bubble just gets bigger. Subscribe to Into the Metaverse for a weekly guide to the future of the Internet. Join TIMEPieces on Twitter and Discord.....»»

Category: topSource: timeJan 21st, 2022

Walmart Creates Its Own Cryptocurrency, NFTs, Enters Metaverse With Sales Of Virtual Goods

Walmart Creates Its Own Cryptocurrency, NFTs, Enters Metaverse With Sales Of Virtual Goods The last time Walmart was reportedly entering the crypto space, it turned out to be a giant Litecoin-promoting hack, that was quickly reversed, after it became clear that playful hackers had fabricated a press release. But there appears to be nothing fake about the latest news involving Walmart's desire to ride the latest wave of crypto/web 3.0/metaverse/NFT euphoria, and as a result the big box retailer is boldly venturing into the metaverse with plans to create its own cryptocurrency and collection of non-fungible tokens, or NFTs. According to CNBC, Walmart filed several new trademarks late last month that indicate its intent to make and sell virtual goods, including electronics, home decorations, toys, sporting goods and personal care products. In a separate filing, the company said it would offer users a virtual currency, as well as NFTs.  In total, seven separate applications have been submitted. The patent applications were among a flurry the company filed on Dec. 30, including three under “Walmart Connect” - the name of the company’s existing digital advertising venture - for a financial exchange for virtual currency and advertising. Applications also were filed for “Verse to Store,” “Verse to Curb” and “Verse to Home” for shopping services. It’s also seeking trademarks to apply the Walmart name and “fireworks” logo to heath-care services and education in virtual and augmented reality. “They’re super intense,” said Josh Gerben, a trademark attorney, quoted by CNBC. “There’s a lot of language in these, which shows that there’s a lot of planning going on behind the scenes about how they’re going to address cryptocurrency, how they’re going to address the metaverse and the virtual world that appears to be coming or that’s already here.” Gerben said that ever since Facebook announced it was changing its company name to Meta, signaling its ambitions beyond social media, businesses have been rushing to figure out how they will fit into a virtual world. The applications represent a significant step for the retail giant as it studies how to participate in the metaverse, a virtual world that blends aspects of digital technologies. Walmart dropped a hint to what was coming, after it advertised in August a position to develop “the digital currency strategy and product roadmap” while identifying “crypto-related investment and partnerships,” according to a job posting on the company’s website. “Walmart is continuously exploring how emerging technologies may shape future shopping experiences,” the company responded in an emailed statement. “We don’t have anything further to share today, but it’s worth noting we routinely file trademark applications as part of the innovation process.” Walmart’s cryptocurrency plans were the subject of a high-profile hoax in September, when a fake announcement caused a short-lived surge in Litecoin, a relatively obscure cryptocurrency. According to the faked news release, Walmart would start letting its customers pay with Litecoin. In October, the Bentonville, Arkansas-based retailer started a pilot program in which shoppers can buy Bitcoin at Coinstar kiosks in some of its U.S. stores. The test with Coinstar, which is known for the machines that let customers exchange U.S. coins for paper bills or gift cards, includes 200 kiosks in Walmart stores. In early December, Walmart Chief Financial Officer Brett Biggs said at an analyst conference that the company was open to allowing shoppers to pay in cryptocurrency if customers demand it, but the company didn’t see a need to rush out any capabilities. Walmart is the latest brand to jump on the bandwagon of selling virtual goods and/or NFTs. In November, Nike filed a slew of trademark applications that previewed its plans to sell virtual branded sneakers and apparel. Later that month, it said it was teaming up with Roblox to create an online world called Nikeland. In December, it bought the virtual sneaker company RTFKT (pronounced “artifact”) for an undisclosed amount. “All of a sudden, everyone is like, ‘This is becoming super real and we need to make sure our IP is protected in the space,’” said Gerben. Others are also piling in: Gap has started selling NFTs of its iconic logo sweatshirts. The apparel maker said its NFTs will be priced in tiers ranging from roughly $8.30 to $415, and come with a physical hoodie. Meantime, both Under Armour’s and Adidas’ NFT debuts sold out last month. They’re now fetching sky-high prices on the NFT marketplace OpenSea. Gerben said that apparel retailers Urban Outfitters, Ralph Lauren and Abercrombie & Fitch have also filed trademarks in recent weeks detailing their intent to open some sort of virtual store. A report from CB Insights outlined some of the reasons why retailers and brands might want to make such ventures, which can potentially offer new revenue streams. Launching NFTs allows for businesses to tokenize physical products and services to help reduce online transaction costs, it said. And for luxury brands like Gucci and Louis Vuitton, NFTs can serve as a form of authentication for tangible and more expensive goods, CB Insights noted. As the following chart from JPM shows, the NFT space has been red hot in the past year, and the market cap of the NFT universe has never been higher even though crytpocurrencies have tumbled by more than 40% in the past 2 months as institutions dumped the best performing assets of 2021 ahead of widely telegraphed Fed tightening. Launching NFTs allows for businesses to tokenize physical products and services to help reduce online transaction costs, it said. And for luxury brands like Gucci and Louis Vuitton, NFTs can serve as a form of authentication for tangible and more expensive goods, CB Insights noted. Gerben said that as more consumers familiarize themselves with the metaverse and items stored on the blockchain, more retailers will want to create their own ecosystem around it. And after all, while it is the view of the World Economic Forum that after the Great Reset "you will own nothing, and you will be happy", nobody said that one can't own virtual goods in the coming dystopian future. Quoted by CNBC, Frank Chaparro, director at crypto information services firm The Block, said that many retailers are still reeling from being late to e-commerce, so they don’t want to miss out on any opportunities in the metaverse. “I think it’s a win-win for any company in retail,” Chaparro said. “And even if it just turns out to be a fad there’s not a lot of reputation damage in just trying something weird out like giving some customers an NFT in a sweepstake, for instance.” Tyler Durden Sun, 01/16/2022 - 21:00.....»»

Category: personnelSource: nytJan 16th, 2022

Jeff Bezos turns 58 today. Here"s how he built Amazon into a $1.7 trillion company and became one of the world"s richest people.

Jeff Bezos got his start as a New York hedge-funder before driving across the country to start building Amazon. Jeff Bezos inside Amazon's Spheres in 2018.The Washington Post/Getty Images Jeff Bezos began his career as a hedge-funder in New York before leaving to start Amazon. Amazon struggled to turn a profit at first, but these days, it's worth $1.7 trillion. Its share price has hit new highs during the pandemic. Along the way, Bezos has faced antitrust scrutiny, weathered scandals, traveled to space, and become one of the world's richest people. Jeff Bezos' mom, Jackie, was a teenager when she had him on January 12, 1964. She had recently married Cuban immigrant Miguel Bezos, who adopted Jeff. Jeff didn't learn that Miguel wasn't his real father until he was 10, but says he was more fazed about learning he needed to get glasses than he was about the news.Jeff Bezos with his father, Miguel Bezos.Kevin Mazur/Getty Images for Statue Of Liberty-Ellis Island FoundationSource: WiredWhen Bezos was 4, his mother told his biological father, who previously had worked as a circus performer, to stay out of their lives. When Brad Stone interviewed Bezos' biological father for Stone's book "The Everything Store," Bezos' dad had no idea who his son had become.Not Jeff Bezos' father.Reuters/Eric GaillardSource: The Everything StoreBezos showed signs of brilliance from an early age. When he was a toddler, he took apart his crib with a screwdriver because he wanted to sleep in a real bed.Fabian Strauch/picture alliance via Getty ImagesSource: The Everything StoreFrom ages 4 to 16, Bezos spent summers on his grandparents' ranch in Texas, doing things like repairing windmills and castrating bulls.AP Photo/Richard DrewSource: The Everything StoreHis grandfather, Preston Gise, was a huge inspiration for Bezos and helped kindle his passion for intellectual pursuits. At a commencement address in 2010, Bezos said Gise taught him "it's harder to be kind than clever."Jeff Bezos.AP ImagesSource: Business InsiderBezos fell in love with reruns of the original "Star Trek" and became a fan of later versions too. Early on, he considered naming Amazon MakeItSo.com, a reference to a line from Captain Jean-Luc Picard.Paramount PicturesSource: The Everything StoreIn school, Bezos told teachers "the future of mankind is not on this planet." As a kid, he wanted to be a space entrepreneur — now, he owns a space-exploration company called Blue Origin.Getty Images / Blue OriginSource: WiredAfter spending a miserable summer working at McDonald's as a teen, Bezos, together with his girlfriend, started the Dream Institute, a 10-day summer camp for kids. They charged $600 a kid and managed to sign up six students. The "Lord of the Rings" series made the required reading list.Kim Kulish/Getty imagesSource: WiredBezos eventually went to college at Princeton University and majored in computer science. Upon graduation, he turned down job offers from Intel and Bell Labs to join a startup called Fitel.Princeton University.John Greim / Getty ImagesSource: The Everything StoreAfter he quit Fitel, Bezos considered partnering with Halsey Minor — who would later found CNET — to launch a startup that would deliver news by fax.Karl Baron/FlickrSource: WiredInstead, he got a job at the hedge fund D.E. Shaw. He became a senior vice president after only four years.The rising graph of the Bombay Stock Index is reflected in the glasses of Senior broker and Assistant Vice President of Motilal Oswal Securities Limited, Jitendra Prasad, as he looks into a computer in his firm in Bombay November 15, 2001. India's key share index finished up more than two percent on Thursday to its highest level since September 11, as investors bet on a recovery in global equity sentiment. The 30-share Bombay Sensitive Index closed up a provisional 2.65 percent at 3,195.52 points. YEAREND PICTURES 2001 Reuters/Arko DattaSource: The Everything StoreMeanwhile, Bezos was taking ballroom dancing classes as part of a scheme to increase his "women flow." Just as Wall Streeters have a process for increasing their "deal flow," Bezos thought analytically about meeting women.Lisi Niesner/ReutersSource: The Everything StoreHe married MacKenzie Tuttle, a D.E. Shaw research associate, in 1993. The couple had four kids together.APSource: The Everything StoreIn 1994, Bezos read that the web had grown 2,300% in one year. This number astounded him, and he decided he needed to find some way to take advantage of its rapid growth. He made a list of 20 possible products to sell online and decided books were the best option.Paul FalardeauSource: The Everything StoreBezos decided to leave D.E. Shaw even though he had a great job. His boss at the firm, David E. Shaw, tried to persuade Bezos to stay. But Bezos was already determined to start his own company — he felt he'd rather try and fail at a startup than never try at all.Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos is silhouetted during a presentation of his company's new Fire smartphone at a news conference in Seattle, Washington June 18, 2014.REUTERS/Jason RedmondSource: WiredAnd so Amazon was born. MacKenzie and Jeff flew to Texas to borrow a car from his father, and then they drove to Seattle. Bezos was making revenue projections in the passenger seat the whole way, though the couple did stop to watch the sunrise at the Grand Canyon.Sara Jaye/Getty Images Source: The Everything StoreBezos started Amazon.com in a garage with a potbelly stove. He held most of his meetings at the neighborhood Barnes & Noble.Mike Segar/ReutersSource: WiredIn the early days, a bell would ring in the office every time someone made a purchase, and everyone would gather around to see whether anyone knew the customer. It took only a few weeks before it was ringing so often they had to make it stop.AP Photo/Andy RogersSource: InsiderIn the first month of its launch, Amazon sold books to people in all 50 states and in 45 different countries. And it continued to grow: Amazon went public on May 15, 1997.Frank Micelotta/Getty ImagesSource: InsiderWhen the dot-com crash came, analysts called the company "Amazon.bomb." But it weathered the storm and ended up being one of the few startups that wasn't wiped out by the dot-com bust.Mario Tama/Getty ImagesSource: Barron'sAmazon has now gone beyond selling books to offering almost everything you can imagine, including appliances, clothing, and even cloud computing services.An Amazon warehouse.ShutterstockIn the early days, Bezos was a demanding boss and could explode at employees. Rumor has it he hired a leadership coach to help him tone it down.Amazon's Jeff BezosReutersSource: InsiderBezos is known for banning PowerPoint presentations at Amazon. Instead, he requires his staff to turn in papers of a specific length on their proposals to encourage critical thinking over simplistic bullet points.Pens and paper with an Amazon logo are seen at the logistics center in BrieselangThomson ReutersSource: The Everything StoreBezos is also known for creating a frugal company culture that doesn't offer perks like free food or massages.An Amazon office.Business InsiderIn 1998, Bezos became an early investor in Google. He invested $250,000, which was worth about 3.3 million shares when the company went public in 2004. Those would be worth billions today (Bezos hasn't said whether he kept any of his stock after the initial public offering).APSource: All Things DWhat does Bezos do with all his money? In 2012, he donated $2.5 million to defend gay marriage in Washington. More recently, he's pledged $10 billion to fight climate change, donated $200 million to the Smithsonian, and gave $100 million each to the Obama Foundation, chef Jose Andres, and activist Van Jones.Jeff Bezos.REUTERS/Abhishek N. ChinnappaSource: The Washington Post, Insider, InsiderBezos has also donated $42 million and part of his land in Texas to the construction of The Clock Of The Long Now, an underground timepiece designed to work for 10,000 years.The Long Now Foundation / Facebook Source: InsiderIn August 2013, Bezos bought The Washington Post for $250 million.Chip Somodevilla/Getty ImagesSource: The Washington PostAnd he also spend money on his space company, Blue Origin. Blue Origin made history in 2015 when it became one of the first commercial companies to successfully launch a reusable rocket.Blue OriginSource: InsiderBezos' interest in flying has gotten him into trouble in the past. In 2003, Bezos almost died in a helicopter crash in Texas while scouting a site for a test-launch facility for Blue Origin.This isn't Bezos' helicopter.NTSBSource: CNNBut in early 2016, he flew his personal jet to Germany to pick up and bring home Jason Rezaian, the Washington Post reporter who had been detained by Iran.Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty ImagesSource: InsiderBezos is said to own a 5.35-acre estate on Seattle's Lake Washington that includes 200 yards of shoreline.An Amazon-branded Boeing 767 freighter, nicknamed Amazon One, flies over Lake Washington.Stephen Brashear/GettySource: Curbed SeattleHe bought a seven-bedroom, $24.5 million mansion in Beverly Hills in 2007. There's a greenhouse, tennis court, pool, and guest house on the property, and it neighbors Tom Cruise's estate.Bezos' house in Beverly Hills.Dream Homes MagazineSource: ForbesIn January 2017, Bezos purchased the Textile Museum, a pair of mansions in Washington, DC's Kalorama neighborhood. The property sold for $23 million and is the largest in Washington. Bezos' renovation plans for the house cost $12 million.AgnosticPreachersKid/Wikimedia CommonsSource: The Washington Post, InsiderBezos also owns five apartments at 212 Fifth Avenue in New York City. His most recent purchase in the building was last August, when he paid a reported $23 million for a four-bedroom unit, bringing his total real estate holdings in the building to $119 million.Madison Square Park in New York City.ShutterstockSource: InsiderIn February 2020, Bezos became the new owner of the Warner estate, a sprawling compound in Beverly Hills, California, that he reportedly purchased for $165 million. A few months later, Bezos added to the compound with an adjacent house worth $10 million.Los Angeles County/PictometrySource: InsiderIn October 2021, Bezos reportedly added to his real estate portfolio once again with a new home in Hawaii. The home is located in an isolated area on Maui's south shore and is near lava fields, Pacific Business News reported.A home in Maui, Hawaii, although not the one Bezos purchased.ejs9/Getty ImagesSource: Insider, Pacific Business NewsNow, more than 20 years after going public, Amazon has a market cap of nearly $1.7 trillion.Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos.Alex Wong/Getty ImagesSource: Markets InsiderIn August 2017, Amazon officially acquired Whole Foods for $13.7 billion. The Amazon influence became immediately clear: Customers who are Amazon Prime subscribers can get 10% of sale prices, and you'll see some Amazon branded items offered in stores, including tech products like the popular Amazon Echo line.Kate Taylor/Business InsiderSource: InsiderIn July 2017, Bezos became the world's richest person for the first time, surpassing Microsoft founder Bill Gates. At the time, his net worth was more than $90 billion.Getty ImagesSource: Markets Insider, ForbesDespite his high net worth, Bezos never actually took home a high salary, comparatively speaking: His annual salary while he was CEO came out to $81,840, according to Bloomberg.Jeff Bezos, chief executive officer of Amazon, and John Elkann, chairman of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, walk together during the annual Allen & Company Sun Valley Conference, July 12, 2018 in Sun Valley, Idaho.Drew Angerer/Getty ImagesSource: BloombergIn January 2019, Bezos and his wife, MacKenzie, announced they were divorcing. "As our family and close friends know, after a long period of loving exploration and trial separation, we have decided to divorce and continue our shared lives as friends," the couple wrote in the statement. "If we had known we would separate after 25 years, we would do it all again."Dia Dipasupil / StaffSource: InsiderShortly after the Bezoses announced their divorce, news broke that Bezos was dating TV host and helicopter pilot Lauren Sanchez. At the time, the National Enquirer said it had obtained texts and explicit photos the couple had sent to each other.Simon Stacpoole/Offside/Getty ImagesSource: InsiderBezos immediately launched an investigation into who had leaked his personal messages. Soon after, he dropped a bombshell of his own: an explosive blog post accusing National Enquirer publisher AMI of trying to blackmail him. "Rather than capitulate to extortion and blackmail, I've decided to publish exactly what they sent me, despite the personal cost and embarrassment they threaten," Bezos wrote.Jeff Bezos.Drew Angerer/Getty ImagesSource: MediumThe Bezoses announced on Twitter they had finalized the term of their divorce in April 2019. MacKenzie retained more than $35 billion in Amazon stock, making her one of the world's richest women.Jeff and MacKenzie Bezos.ReutersSource: InsiderSince then, Bezos and Sanchez have had a whirlwind few years, attending Wimbledon together, yachting with other moguls and celebrities, and vacationing in Saint-Tropez and St. Barths.Reuters/Andrew CouldridgeSource: InsiderDuring the coronavirus outbreak, Amazon saw a surge in demand as more people were forced to shop online. At the same time, the company faced criticism over its treatment of workers and its attention to health and safety at its fulfillment centers nationwide.Former Amazon employee, Christian Smalls, stands with fellow demonstrators during a protest outside of an Amazon warehouses in the Staten Island borough of New York on May 1, 2020.REUTERS/Lucas JacksonSource: InsiderAmazon delivery drivers, who are contractors employed by third-party companies, have also spoken out about the demands of their jobs. Drivers say Amazon's emphasis on metrics has forced them to use their delivery vans as a bathroom or sacrifice safety to deliver packages on time.An Amazon driver carrying packages.Patrick T. FALLON / AFPSource: Insider, InsiderThe company is also facing antitrust concerns, particularly over the company's treatment of third-party sellers on its platform. Bezos and other major tech CEOs were called to testify before Congress in July 2020.Jeff Bezos threw his weight behind the US military.AP/Pablo Martinez MonsivaisSource: InsiderAfter the killing of George Floyd and the protests that followed in 2020, Bezos was outspoken about his support for the Black Lives Matter movement, publicly shaming customers who sent racist emails about his and Amazon's support. In an Instagram post, he posted a screenshot of a customer email and described the man as "the kind of customer I'm happy to lose."A person holds a "Black Lives Matter" sign at a protest in Seattle, Washington on June 1, 2020.Lindsey Wasson/ReutersSource: InsiderOn February 2, 2021, Bezos announced he would step down as Amazon's CEO and transition to executive chairman after 27 years at the helm. Bezos said that he planned to spend more time on philanthropy — including the Bezos Earth Fund and his Day 1 Fund — as well as his two other major endeavors: The Washington Post and his rocket company, Blue Origin.Jeff Bezos attends the premiere of "Star Trek Beyond" in 2016.Kevin Winter/Getty ImagesSource: InsiderBezos stepped down in July and embarked on his next adventure: On July 20, he took an 11-minute voyage to the edge of space aboard a Blue Origin spacecraft. He was accompanied by his brother, Mark; a Dutch teenager named Oliver Daemen; and Wally Funk, an 82-year-old aviator who trained to go to space in the '60s but was ultimately denied the opportunity because she was a woman.Isaiah J. Downing/ReutersSource: Insider Allana Akhtar contributed to an earlier version of this story.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderJan 13th, 2022

Metaverse platform Decentraland is preparing for its first fashion week as digital clothing rakes in big business

Decentraland is teaming up with UNXD, a luxury marketplace that hosted Dolce & Gabbana's first NFT clothing collection, which sold for $5.7 million. (Decentraland/ UNXD promotional video).Decentraland/UNXD promotional video Decentraland will host its first fashion week in March 2022 as the business of virtual clothes heats up.  The metaverse platform is teaming up with UNXD, which recently hosted Dolce & Gabbana's first NFT clothing collection.  Virtual land on Decentraland's Fashion District recently sold for $2.4 million.  Sign up here for our daily newsletter, 10 Things Before the Opening Bell. Fashion is shaping up to be a key area of business in the potentially $1 trillion-a-year-metaverse, and Decentraland will expand its stake in the market by hosting its first fashion week. The metaverse platform in March will host four days of runway shows and immersive experiences with UNXD, a luxury marketplace built on the Polygon blockchain network."Have your collections ready!" Decentraland said in a Sunday post on Twitter calling on designers, brands, and fashionistas to prepare for the event set for March 24-27, 2022. The metaverse refers to online 3D virtual environments where people represented by avatars can play games, work and socialize, as well as buy and trade crypto assets. Cryptocurrency asset management firm Grayscale last month said the metaverse has the potential to become a $1 trillion annual revenue opportunity. But all those avatars in the metaverse need virtual clothing, which is emerging as a hot sector.Fashion brands such as Dolce & Gabbana, Gucci, Balenciaga, and Ralph Lauren have been making inroads into the metaverse. UNXD hosted Dolce & Gabbana's first NFT clothing collection, and the Collezione Genesi group of nine non-fungible tokens designed by Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana sold for $5.7 million in September. Digital clothing from Ralph Lauren and Gucci have been featured on avatars through separate partnerships with avatar app Zepeto, Asia's largest fashion virtual platform with nearly a quarter of a billion users, according to the BBC.Meanwhile, Decentraland's burgeoning Fashion District grabbed attention in recent weeks after a company paid the equivalent of $2.4 million in cryptocurrency to purchase virtual parcels there. "We think the Fashion District purchase is like buying on Fifth Avenue back in the 1800s … or the creation of Rodeo Drive," Lorne Sugarman, the CEO of Metaverse Group, told Insider, about his company's deal in November. Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: worldSource: nytDec 27th, 2021

A 28-year-old on Asia"s top metaverse platform makes six figures as a virtual fashion influencer

The BBC highlighted Monica Louise, aka Monica Quin, who's earning big money designing and selling clothes for avatars on the Zepeto platform. Zepeto.Ralph Lauren x Zepeto A 28-year old Canadian woman is earning a "six-figure salary" selling digital clothes on the metaverse, the BBC reported Thursday.  Monica Louise, who designs and sells apparel for avatars, makes her money on Zepeto, Asia's biggest metaverse platform.  More than 1.6 billion virtual fashion items have been sold on Zepeto, the BBC said. Sign up here for our daily newsletter, 10 Things Before the Opening Bell. While luxury fashion names like Gucci and Ralph Lauren are stepping into the metaverse, the internet's next iteration is also opening its doors to smaller creators -- case in point, a 28-year-old digital clothing designer is making top dollar on the biggest metaverse platform in Asia, according to a BBC report. South Korea-based Zepeto has nearly a quarter of a billion users, and its app allows people to create avatars, or digital representations of themselves. But avatars need clothes, and more than 1.6 billion virtual fashion items have been sold on Zepeto, the BBC reported.Among the most well-known users in the platform's fashion world is Monica Louise, a Canadian woman known as Monica Quin, who designs and sells digital apparel. The BBC report published Thursday highlighted Louise in a broader story about the metaverse, saying she earns "an impressive six-figure salary" through her Zepeto avatar. Louise's dresses, tops, and other items are sold using Zepeto's currency, called zems, and are priced from one to five zems each. Zepeto users purchase zems with real money, and creators receive $106 for every sale worth 5,000 zems. "There are clothes that I cannot afford to wear in real life but in the digital world, I can buy all of them," Louise told the BBC. "I think that's one huge factor why I'm really drawn into this." Zepeto started three years ago and last month landed a $1 billion valuation in a funding round led by Japanese conglomerate Softbank. HYBE, the company that manages K-pop sensation BTS, was among the investors and poured in about $41 million.About 70% of its users are female, including teenagers. Chief Strategy Officer Rudy Lee told the BBC that Zepeto is the first social network for a lot of its users. Zepeto also has other partnerships that feature digital representations of clothes from Ralph Lauren and Gucci. And fashion has been the focus in other portions of the metaverse. Virtual land in the Fashion District on Decentraland recently sold for $2.4 million. "We think the Fashion District purchase is like buying on Fifth Avenue back in the 1800s … or the creation of Rodeo Drive," Lorne Sugarman, the CEO of Metaverse Group, told Insider, about his company's deal announced in November. Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderDec 25th, 2021

Bob Iger: Pixar Deal Completed To Show Disney Employees It Was A New Day

Following are excerpts from the unofficial transcript of a CNBC exclusive interview with Walt Disney Co (NYSE:DIS) Chairman and former CEO Bob Iger on CNBC today, Tuesday, December 21st. Following is a link to video on CNBC.com: Q3 2021 hedge fund letters, conferences and more Pixar Deal Completed To Show Disney Employees It Was A […] Following are excerpts from the unofficial transcript of a CNBC exclusive interview with Walt Disney Co (NYSE:DIS) Chairman and former CEO Bob Iger on CNBC today, Tuesday, December 21st. Following is a link to video on CNBC.com: if (typeof jQuery == 'undefined') { document.write(''); } .first{clear:both;margin-left:0}.one-third{width:31.034482758621%;float:left;margin-left:3.448275862069%}.two-thirds{width:65.51724137931%;float:left}form.ebook-styles .af-element input{border:0;border-radius:0;padding:8px}form.ebook-styles .af-element{width:220px;float:left}form.ebook-styles .af-element.buttonContainer{width:115px;float:left;margin-left: 6px;}form.ebook-styles .af-element.buttonContainer input.submit{width:115px;padding:10px 6px 8px;text-transform:uppercase;border-radius:0;border:0;font-size:15px}form.ebook-styles .af-body.af-standards input.submit{width:115px}form.ebook-styles .af-element.privacyPolicy{width:100%;font-size:12px;margin:10px auto 0}form.ebook-styles .af-element.privacyPolicy p{font-size:11px;margin-bottom:0}form.ebook-styles .af-body input.text{height:40px;padding:2px 10px !important} form.ebook-styles .error, form.ebook-styles #error { color:#d00; } form.ebook-styles .formfields h1, form.ebook-styles .formfields #mg-logo, form.ebook-styles .formfields #mg-footer { display: none; } form.ebook-styles .formfields { font-size: 12px; } form.ebook-styles .formfields p { margin: 4px 0; } Get The Full Henry Singleton Series in PDF Get the entire 4-part series on Henry Singleton in PDF. Save it to your desktop, read it on your tablet, or email to your colleagues (function($) {window.fnames = new Array(); window.ftypes = new Array();fnames[0]='EMAIL';ftypes[0]='email';}(jQuery));var $mcj = jQuery.noConflict(true); Q3 2021 hedge fund letters, conferences and more Pixar Deal Completed To Show Disney Employees It Was A New Day, Says Former CEO Bob Iger Part I on CNBC's "Squawk Box" DAVID FABER: Yeah, of course, he did step down as you well know Becky, at the end of let's call it February of 2020 right before the pandemic hit very hard and of course, he had three times that we thought he was going to step down as CEO only to stay on but this time is for real. He's got about 10 days left as you said on a career that’s spanned some 47-plus years at this company starting as he did in sports at ABC at 23 years of age and we did have a chance to sit down for a long period of time last week, late last week in Disneyland and talk about his career, talk about the challenges facing Disney at this point, a lot of other things that you don't typically do in a CNBC interview. But I did ask Iger whether at this moment as he looks towards the future and of course towards his past at Disney whether he's got any anxiety at all. BOB IGER: There's no anxiety about that at all. Sadness because I'm leaving people that I love working with and a company I've loved working for. But no remorse. No second guessing. No anxiety. FABER: You don't regret having left when you did and stepped down as CEO when you did? IGER: No, I think the, look, I didn't, no one knew that the pandemic was going to explode the way it did. I think the timing was unfortunate. But throwing a new CEO into, you know, that, you know, that circumstance, it was difficult. But no, I have no, no regrets about having made that decision. It was time. I didn't want people to say be going around saying, "When the heck is he gonna leave," you know? "Isn't it time?" I'd rather have them say, "Gee, did he have to leave when he's leaving? We would've liked him to stay longer." I'm getting some of that. Part II on CNBC's "Squawk Box" FABER: You know, listen, there are no shortage of challenges for Chapek and there's also been a decent amount sort of reported and written about challenges between Chapek and Iger, you know, as you’d probably expect, Iger did not want to engage too fully on it. I don't know if we have time but I did ask him if there should be any concern amongst Disney shareholders in terms of the relationship between the Bobs but at this point, of course, as you know, it is Mr. Chapek’s show and that's something that Iger agrees with. IGER: It shouldn't be a concern to Disney shareholders at all that, you know, that, that any dynamic between us is, would have an impact on the company long term. I'm leaving. He's in. It's his company. He's going to manage it as he see fit, he sees fit with the board under circumstances that are very different than existed when I was CEO and, and chairman because they're changing, as we've talked, they're changing so rapidly. And, you know, he'll make his own decisions, and, and I, you know, I hope that he's learned good lessons. I believe that he has, in terms of, you know, some of the things that I did along the way, and what worked and what didn't work. And I think the relationship I have with him is not really relevant to, you know, how he, how effective he is running the company. Part III on CNBC's "Squawk on the Street" FABER: But yeah, we did sit down for a long interview that I was very happy to have an opportunity to conduct and a bit different than we typically do here at CNBC talking of course about his long career at Disney not just his time as CEO, obviously we hit on a lot of the key business questions as you might anticipate and we went over a lot of other things as well, you know, including sort of some of the things that he saw in terms of his strengths and weaknesses. And I guess I'll start there because he did sight sort of something he noticed about his own responsiveness that he said was one thing that alerted him maybe it was time to consider stepping down. Take a listen. IGER: I will say that over time, I think I started listening less than maybe with a little less tolerance of other people's opinions maybe because of getting a little bit more overconfident in my own, which is sometimes what happens when you get built up, you know, in some form or another, as you know, something special or great or whatever. I was mindful of that. FABER: Well you were introspective enough to recognize it though. A lot of leaders might not even recognize it. IGER: I think I wrote about that too. I was I became a little bit more dismissive of dissent and other people's opinions than I should have been. And that was that that was an early sign that it was time. It wasn't the reason I left but it was a contributing factor. FABER: That you just weren't, right, you just didn't have the patience any longer or you thought I've heard this all before and— IGER: Yes, a lot of all those things. You've heard all the, every argument before. I don't want to hear it again, even though it may be more valid today than it was then, times change. All the, you know, all the, that's the time, the challenges of a CEO of a large global company today in terms of managing time so you can't, so dissent has to be finite in a sense and depends on where you draw that line and when you, when do you shut dissent down. Maybe I was doing it a little bit too quickly. I felt that. Part IV on CNBC's "Squawk on the Street" FABER: Back to Bob Iger and that interview we conducted late last week. Of course, Mr. Iger spending his last few days as the Chairman of Disney after what's been a 47-year career plus career at that company, 15-plus as its CEO as well in a period, as Jim noted earlier, in which the stock did extraordinarily well. We did have that chance though sort of an unusual opportunity really to talk not just about Disney and its business, but also sort of about some of the broader leadership lessons that Mr. Iger learned and perhaps could impart to others. He did some of that in a book that Jim and I of course have lauded for some time as well, but he and I did spend some time talking about that and culture and things that he would tell other potential CEOs as well. Take a listen. I'm curious as to how you think you went about changing the culture of Disney and what you would say or, you know, how quickly you can do it as a leader and where that culture is today versus then. IGER: Yeah, I think for any CEO of any particularly large company in today's world, the world throws you more and more curveballs, more and more challenges. And they now they come at you constantly and from directions that you could never anticipate, never expect. It gets really tough and I think I think one of the reasons why I think it's right for there to be change at the top sometimes is that can turn a CEO into more of a skeptical or pessimist or just because they get weary of all of those challenges. And I think we had gone through it. I know we had gone through a period of time at Disney prior to my ascending to become CEO where those challenges were numerous. They were omnipresent. There was the Comcast hostile takeover attempt. There was the share, the board member or shareholder revolt. There was the impact of technology on all of our traditional businesses. There was 9/11, there was, we can think about all of these things and I think Disney at the time had become weary of those challenges and with that came a little bit less of a belief in its future. There was a scale issue as well, were we large enough and it was intimidating, you know, faced some of those technology companies. Steve Jobs announcing “Rip. Mix. Burn.” and what was going to be the future of IP. People challenging copyrights, it was left and right and all over the place. And so, what I wanted to do when I came in was to see whether we could not ignore those challenge but put them aside and become optimists again and look to a future that we actually believed was brighter. And one thing that was important to me was embracing technology even though it was causing disruption and potential threats, I wanted to embrace it as a means of creating opportunity for us. FABER: Well you did I mean Jobs showed you the first video iPod, didn’t he? IGER: Right, so we put our television programs on it first which was a tiny, tiny deal but all of a sudden it signaled, wait a minute, maybe we could use technology to gain as opposed to, to lose. And that mentality was something I wanted to infuse in the company which is future's bright, let's view technology as opportunity versus threat and that, and that announcement actually turned out to be a big one and it has led to more serious conversations with Steve about buying Pixar too. FABER: Right, right. IGER: And I think one of the things that I was surprised at is if you if you consider pessimism about the future to be part of the company's culture, I thought it was going to take a long time to change that. It was very fast. FABER: Why do you think it was so fast? And why was that a surprise to you? IGER: Well, I think what it says something about that change in the top matters, you know, I'm not suggesting good or bad. I'm not suggesting oh in comes Bob and out goes Michael but it's, it has its it can freshen things up so to speak. And it’s happening at Disney now as well, you know, there's a change at the top and that could create a whole different outlook for the company going forward. FABER: Do you think it freshens things up, your departure as CEO? IGER: Look, the world is changing dramatically and it's important for a CEO of a company to address all of those changes rapidly. Bob is going to address them probably differently perhaps than I may have. That's neither good nor bad. I think change, I think generally speaking, change is good. Change isn't necessarily bad. FABER: Yeah. What do you see yourself doing, you know, a few days from now when you are no longer a part of this company? IGER: Step away from all of this, this dream when this dream finally ends. You know, I've worked full time, really full time since I was 23 years old and going to be 71. Working in the job that I've the jobs that I've had CEO and Chairman have, you know, were taxing from a time perspective, never in terms of my energy or my enthusiasm. It's time for me to have a blank canvas so to speak to be forced in a way to be a little bit more imaginative with my time. Not fortunate enough to have that luxury. Well, what will I do today? FABER: Do you have any hobbies though? IGER: Yeah, I have some hobbies. I don't golf. I like to sail, you don't sail and golf in the same lifetime. There just isn't enough time for that. But my wife has a full time job. My kids are out of the house— FABER: So you’re going to have to keep busy? IGER: I'll keep busy. I'm doing some selective investing. I'd like the ability to be an advisor to founders of startups because I think I've got some advice to give in that regard even though I haven't run a startup. And I've been sought after by some already. I'll probably do some of that. I plan to write another book, which is a homework assignment right now. I've got to get at that. And I'll do some speaking and I'll see where life takes me. I'm not in any rush. I've been advised by some who have stepped down from high office, including President Obama, do not, he said, “Do not make any decisions. Don't commit to anything for six months.” FABER: Six months? IGER: I’m telling you, don't do that. Yes. FABER: You know, you wrote about Eisner's departure in the book and you said it's hard to know exactly who you are without this attachment and title and role that has defined you for so long. IGER: Yes. When I wrote about tha,t I, I had developed a lot of empathy from Michael. I remember his last day at Disney. It was a Friday, last Friday in September of 2005 when his wife and one of the sons came to Disney and had lunch with him and he drove off the Disney lot after having been CEO for 21 years. And I was, at that point, I couldn't wait because I was ready to have that office and that title and that job and raring to go. And I don't think I thought long and hard at the time what that really meant to him and here I am. Yesterday was my last day on that Disney lot, you know, in this role and it was, it was an emotional experience for me. My son came to the lot, one of my sons, we had lunch together. There I walked around, took some pictures, I was feeling incredibly wistful, incredibly emotional. The ties that I've had to this company that have been so part of my life were ending and I in two weeks from now, I will not have a title and I've had a decent title since I was in my 30s. It’s a long time. But there's no anxiety about that at all. Sadness because I'm leaving people that I loved working with and a company I've loved working for, but no remorse. No second guessing. No anxiety. FABER: You don't regret having left when you did and stepped down as CEO when you did? IGER: No, I think the, look, I didn't, no one knew that the pandemic was going to explode the way it did. I think the timing was unfortunate. But throwing a new CEO into, you know, that, you know, that circumstance, it was difficult. But no, I have no, no regrets about having made that decision. It was time. FABER: It was, why? IGER: Some of the things that I've said which is believing that change at the top was good, although I will say a lot of it was very, very personal. It wasn't about the company. It was about me, you know, wanting to leave with the vitality to explore the world in different way. I thought back about a biography I read a pitcher for the Brooklyn Dodgers and the Los Angeles Dodgers named Sandy Koufax left at the top of his game and I think the biographer, Koufax’s biographer Jane Leavy said that he left walking off the field or on his own volition are, “Great athletes rarely retire on their own instead they limp off the field.” I didn't want to limp off the field. Part V on CNBC's "Squawk on the Street" FABER: Well Carl, shares of Disney actually having a strong open this morning, up some almost 2.5% but for the year, the shares of the company down roughly 17%, one of the key reasons of course continuing concern about the growth of subscribers at Disney+ its key direct-to-consumer offering, and whether in fact the company can continue to add subscribers at a rate at least that investors had come to expect given quite vigorous subscriber growth certainly during the course of 2020 and early part of 2021. As you might expect in a long sit down with Disney's Chairman, he is still Chairman for another 10 days or so, Bob Iger, I did ask him about how he sees the outlook for streaming given its importance to Disney's overall business. IGER: There's guidance out there that the company has provided that I'm neither gonna update or comment too much on but obviously the company has expressed confidence in its ability to achieve the guidance that it has out there. So, I obviously supported that guidance was put out there by Bob when he was CEO and I was Chairman. Again, I think, we can't, we can't just maintain a pat hand because the world isn't staying basically the same. We have to continue to evolve and all that that means not just changing but taking advantage of opportunities aggressively. FABER: But there’s this continued question as strong as Pixar is with its audience, as strong as Star Wars is and Marvel and the incredibly deep loyalty it has, do you need to be broader in order to actually reach those kinds of numbers? IGER: I think there probably need, there probably needs more volume, there probably needs to be more dimensionality meaning more, you know, basically, more programming and more content for more people, different demographics, but Bob's aware of that. He’s addressing those issues. FABER: You seem to have that first mover advantage and gulped up a lot of assets that I'm sure many of the competitors now wish they had actually moved on. Doesn't mean that there weren't plenty of opportunities that perhaps you passed on but is everybody else sort of subscale when you look at the world as it was 16, 17 years ago? IGER: You know, I've never really spent much time thinking about how our competitors are positioned in that regard. I spent most of the time thinking about how we're positioned. So I don't know that others are scaled right or subscaled necessarily, I just think we're well scaled. Part VI on CNBC's "Squawk on the Street" FABER: All day long, we've also been sharing excerpts of interview that I did last week with Bob Iger, the longtime CEO and the current Chairman of Disney. There's a look at the performance of the stock during the period of his CEO-ship so to speak. Remember he stepped down it's it's not that far away from two years ago Bob Chapek is the CEO of the company. Chairmanship will also change as well at the end of this year. Mr. Iger ending a 47-plus year run at the company that began with his working at ABC Sports when he was a young man. When we talked about his tenure of course, as you might expect, deal making was certainly one of the keys and starting with that decision to acquire Pixar. Take a listen. IGER: I'm proud of a lot of the decisions that were made, certainly the acquisitions. I'd say of all of them probably Pixar because it was the first and it put us on a path to achieving what I wanted to achieve which is scale when it came to storytelling. That was probably the best. FABER: And you faced I mean your own board. You were uncertain whether you're going to get it passed. Eisner came back to, to say, “Don't do it.” IGER: He subsequently, we had a long conversation about that years later and he admitted that he was wrong about that. I think there was a lot of emotion at that point for him having left Disney under such strange circumstances with Steve but looking back when he reflected on it with me, he admitted that I did the right thing. FABER: Well, you know, it's funny because I remember interviewing you and Jobs that afternoon after you announced it and I was basically focused on the price. I think, man, you're paying an awfully high multiple and many people may not have understood how incredibly important it was to sort of set a new direction for the company and revitalize animation. IGER: Well, that's exactly what I wanted to do. I, what I wanted to do more than anything is I wanted to send a signal to everybody at Disney that it was a new day, that we were more open minded about expansion in particular about partnerships, that creativity was the most important strategy for the company and Pixar at that point exemplified original storytelling and quality and creativity and in its highest form. And then there was the Steve factor, which I sometimes called the cool factor, which is what Apple was, what Steve represented the fact that Steve would embrace not just Disney but me and the vote of confidence that Steve gave in me, and Steve becoming a member of the board and our largest shareholder and I was all tied up in my desire to not only grow content, but it reposition Disney to our employees, to our shareholders and to our customers. And the price you mentioned it also factored in my desire to revitalize Disney Animation, which we did. You look at “Frozen” and you look at “Moana” and you look at “Zootopia” and you look at “Wreck-It Ralph” and you look at “Tangled,” and the number of Academy Awards and the box office success and all of the IP that that created, generated and what how basically we're going to mine that IP for Disney+, you know, it all was tied really everything that we've done at Disney Animation since then, was tied to the Pixar acquisition. FABER: Do you think it was something unique about you that allowed you to convince all of these founders to part with their “babies?” IGER: In all cases, I developed a trust with them and that I convinced them would serve them well if they sold to us meaning, in Steve's case, he, he owned half of Pixar publicly traded company and converted his ownership of Pixar into all Disney. That by the way, wasn't the motivation behind him doing and it wasn't about growing his personal wealth at all. But more importantly, with Steve, I created a trust in him that the assets of Pixar and its people would be in the right hands. And so I think in terms of your question, what was it about me that convinced them. First of all, it was me meaning it was singular in terms of I didn't do the deal myself. It was singular in terms of the pursuit. One on one in some cases, being as candid as I possibly could be and I think as authentic as I could be in developing a relationship, even if we've developed over a relatively brief period of time and not disappointing him either. FABER: What does that mean? IGER: He was never disappointed. Once we did the deal, in fact, in the months before he died he came to, he and his wife, Laurene, came to our house. And Laurene and Steve and Willow and I sat down at a dinner and he toasted to the deal we had done some years earlier, convinced that it was the right thing to do for Disney and for Pixar. And I remember it was, it was very heartfelt and tears came to our eyes, four of us at the dinner table crying, in part dreading what was potentially in store for him which is the end of his life but in part reflecting on what we had done together and truly appreciating it. So. I think again, it's development of a relationship, different in some ways but similar in others. It was me going to New York spending months trying to figure out getting a meeting with him, sitting with him one on one once and then twice a couple of days later and convincing him that it was the right thing to do for the Marvel shareholders, publicly traded company and the people at Marvel and I think he was intrigued with the notion of, of investing in Disney plus Marvel and it worked out extremely well. FABER: And became a large shareholder. I assume you heard from him frequently as well after he became a Disney shareholder. IGER: I heard from Ike, yeah, I heard from Ike a lot over the years. FABER: Yes, that’s what I heard. IGER: We weren't, we weren't always— FABER: In sync? IGER: Complete agreement on things. But that's neither here nor there. I think it's turned out extremely well for him and certainly for the shareholders of Marvel. It's turned out I think they got Disney shares somewhere in the neighborhood of $28 a share. I know we were up around 200 even if you look at it today in that 150 range, that's a pretty good return on investment and George's case was also singular in many ways. I had breakfast with him at Disney World. Talked to him about the future of Lucasfilm and broached the subject. He was close with Steve Jobs and don't forget Pixar was owned at one point by George. Steve bought it from George. And there was a real connection although Steve had passed when I first sat down with George and George was impressed with how we had managed Pixar and assimilated Pixar into the company. He was very, very concerned about Lucasfilm many respects his baby, his legacy, and there was a trust there too that I think we demonstrated that we could be trusting in terms of how we had already managed the Marvel assets and the Pixar assets and I think he was looking to some extent for either long term wealth preservation or long term wealth creation. FABER: You know, you mentioned in the book, the idea that if Steve had lived, Disney and Apple might have become one. Did you guys ever really talk about Apple buying? IGER: No, Steve and I never did. What we did talk about and he was public about at one point at one of his late Apple product presentations, he stood in front of a street sign with an intersection I think one said liberal arts and one said technology. That's what made his heart sing. I think that's how we put it that intersection. So what we talked about a lot was what happens when great technology meets great creativity. He thought that means that to him was the secret sauce for almost everything. And if you, if you project that into how the world was changing and you think of a world where suddenly the opportunity to use that technology to create new experiences for people in terms of how they access content, the natural thing would have been for Apple to have the great content that Disney creates applied or used on their platform. And I know I'm pretty convinced we would have had that discussion. And you know, that was maybe someone wistful of me when I wrote that, but I just knew of his passion for everything we did and everything Apple did and then his deep, deep belief that nothing would be more powerful than that combination. I think we would have gotten there. Part VII on CNBC's "TechCheck" FABER: Yeah, of course Julia, and something you've been very focused on as well as your coverage of the company, direct-to-consumer certainly being a such an important component overall of their strategy. I know we can both remember back in what was it August of 2015 on that earnings conference call when for the first time Iger addressed potential sub erosion at the giant cash flowing property ESPN. Since then, of course, it's no secret that the linear ecosystem has been in decline, and certainly Iger acknowledges that as well. IGER: I think you're seeing a migration to more digital, direct-to-consumer forms of entertainment distribution. And being in that business at a larger scale, which because I think that will provide more growth for the company than the traditional media platforms would've and just the migration, the erosion of the traditional media platforms and the growth of the new ones. We're playing in that new space much more aggressively than we would have obviously without Disney+, without Hulu as well. I think people are consuming things in much more different ways. App-based entertainment in the home has, is replacing the linear channel consumption in the home. So, when you go back to the question you asked about the future of that business, it's not bright at all. It's, it's actually eroding right before our eyes. FABER: And it continues to erode before our eyes You know, it was a long interview and opportunity to talk to Iger about so many different things, best decisions in which he sort of talked about the decision to buy Pixar and worst decisions as well where YouTube came up. IGER: I remember when YouTube was sold. One of the things I always rued, because when YouTube emerged, it was the, we didn't see that first. I'm the one who put “America's Funniest Videos” on ABC in 1989, which was user-generated content. It's kinda funny, which YouTube really started as. It's evolved tremendously. Why didn't I think of that? FABER: Yeah. Why, yeah. IGER: I don't know, I, I missed that one— FABER: You missed that one. Worth, it's worth about $300 billion now, by the way, based on its revenue if you— IGER: Well, YouTube would've been smart. FABER: It would've been. All right, so that gets me to worst decision. Is there one that comes to mind in terms of just a really bad decision you made over those 16-plus years? IGER: I made some bad decisions. Fortunately, they weren't monumental or they woulda, brought me, me down. So I can't really think of, like, the worst decision. I made some bonehead creative decisions along way, you know, greenlit some things that I probably shouldn't have. I mean— FABER: All right, yeah, but saying yes-- IGER: But that's kinda easy. FABER: To Cop Rock is not exactly the worst decision you're gonna make. IGER: You know, I’m, I'm, there's, that's actually, it's interesting, I try to be honest and candid, both in terms of assessment and myself. I definitely made a bunch of bad decisions. Sometimes people, sometimes product, nothing gigantic. FABER: Nothing gigantic? IGER: No. FABER: And nothing comes to mind at all that you can share? IGER: A buncha little things. FABER: Just little things. IGER: Yeah. FABER: So I guess that's a pretty good tenure then, if it's a buncha little things-- IGER: Well, I lasted a long time, so I guess, I suggest I didn't make any really bad, any big, bad decisions. Updated on Dec 21, 2021, 12:33 pm (function() { var sc = document.createElement("script"); sc.type = "text/javascript"; sc.async = true;sc.src = "//mixi.media/data/js/95481.js"; sc.charset = "utf-8";var s = document.getElementsByTagName("script")[0]; s.parentNode.insertBefore(sc, s); }()); window._F20 = window._F20 || []; _F20.push({container: 'F20WidgetContainer', placement: '', count: 3}); _F20.push({finish: true});.....»»

Category: blogSource: valuewalkDec 21st, 2021

Check out 30 pitch decks from fintechs disrupting trading, banking, and lending that helped them raise millions

Looking for examples of real fintech pitch decks? Check out pitch decks that Qolo, Lance, and other startups used to raise money from VCs. Check out these pitch decks for examples of fintech founders sold their vision.Yulia Reznikov/Getty Images Insider has been tracking the next wave of hot new startups that are blending finance and tech.  Check out these pitch decks to see how fintech founders sold their vision. See more stories on Insider's business page. Fintech VC  funding hit a fresh quarterly record of $22.8 billion in the first three months of 2021, according to CB Insights data. While mega-rounds helped propel overall funding, new cash was spread across 614 deals. Insider has been tracking the next wave of hot new startups that are blending finance and tech. Check out these pitch decks to see how fintech founders are selling their vision and nabbing big bucks in the process. You'll see new financial tech geared at freelancers, fresh twists on digital banking, and innovation aimed at streamlining customer onboarding. A trading app for activismAntoine Argouges, CEO and founder of Tulipshare.TulipshareAn up-and-coming fintech is taking aim at some of the world's largest corporations by empowering retail investors to push for social and environmental change by pooling their shareholder rights.London-based Tulipshare lets individuals in the UK invest as little as one pound in publicly-traded company stocks. The upstart combines individuals' shareholder rights with other like-minded investors to advocate for environmental, social, and corporate governance change at firms like JPMorgan, Apple, and Amazon.The goal is to achieve a higher number of shares to maximize the number of votes that can be submitted at shareholder meetings. Already a regulated broker-dealer in the UK, Tulipshare recently applied for registration as a broker-dealer in the US. "If you ask your friends and family if they've ever voted on shareholder resolutions, the answer will probably be close to zero," CEO and founder Antoine Argouges told Insider. "I started Tulipshare to utilize shareholder rights to bring about positive corporate change that has an impact on people's lives and our planet — what's more powerful than money to change the system we live in?"Check out the 14-page pitch deck from Tulipshare, a trading app that lets users pool their shareholder votes for activism campaignsThe back-end tech for beautyDanielle Cohen-Shohet, CEO and founder of GlossGeniusGlossGeniusDanielle Cohen-Shohet might have started as a Goldman Sachs investment analyst, but at her core she was always a coder.After about three years at Goldman Sachs, Cohen-Shohet left the world of traditional finance to code her way into starting her own company in 2016. "There was a period of time where I did nothing, but eat, sleep, and code for a few weeks," Cohen-Shohet told Insider. Her technical edge and knowledge of the point-of-sale payment space led her to launch a software company focused on providing behind-the-scenes tech for beauty and wellness small businesses.Cohen-Shohet launched GlossGenius in 2017 to provide payments tech for hair stylists, nail technicians, blow-out bars, and other small businesses in the space.Here's the 11-page deck GlossGenius, a startup that provides back-end tech for the beauty industry, used to raise $16 millionPrivate market data on the blockchainPat O'Meara, CEO of Inveniam.InveniamFor investors in publicly-traded stocks, there's typically no shortage of company data to guide investment decisions. Company financials are easily accessible and vetted by teams of regulators, lawyers, and accountants.But in the private markets — which encompass assets that range from real estate to private credit and private equity — that isn't always the case. Within real estate, for example, valuations of a specific slice of property are often the product of heavily-worked Excel models and a lot of institutional knowledge, leaving them susceptible to manual error at many points along the way.Inveniam, founded in 2017, is a software company that tokenizes the business data of private companies on the blockchain. Using a distributed ledger allows Inveniam to keep track of who is touching the data and what they are doing to it. Check out the 16-page pitch deck for Inveniam, a blockchain-based startup looking to be the Refinitiv of private-market dataHelping freelancers with their taxesJaideep Singh is the CEO and co-founder of FlyFin, an AI-driven tax preparation software program for freelancers.FlyFinSome people, particularly those with families or freelancing businesses, spend days searching for receipts for tax season, making tax preparation a time consuming and, at times, taxing experience. That's why in 2020 Jaideep Singh founded FlyFin, an artificial-intelligence tax preparation program for freelancers that helps people, as he puts it, "fly through their finances." FlyFin is set up to connect to a person's bank accounts, allowing the AI program to help users monitor for certain expenses that can be claimed on their taxes like business expenditures, the interest on mortgages, property taxes, or whatever else that might apply. "For most individuals, people have expenses distributed over multiple financial institutions. So we built an AI platform that is able to look at expenses, understand the individual, understand your profession, understand the freelance population at large, and start the categorization," Singh told Insider.Check out the 7-page pitch deck a startup helping freelancers manage their taxes used to nab $8 million in funding Shopify for embedded financeProductfy CEO and founder, Duy Vo.ProductfyProductfy is looking to break into embedded finance by becoming the Shopify of back-end banking services.Embedded finance — integrating banking services in non-financial settings — has taken hold in the e-commerce world. But Productfy is going after a different kind of customer in churches, universities, and nonprofits.The San Jose, Calif.-based upstart aims to help non-finance companies offer their own banking products. Productfy can help customers launch finance features in as little as a week and without additional engineering resources or background knowledge of banking compliance or legal requirements, Productfy founder and CEO Duy Vo told Insider. "You don't need an engineer to stand up Shopify, right? You can be someone who's just creating art and you can use Shopify to build your own online store," Vo said, adding that Productfy is looking to take that user experience and replicate it for banking services.Here's the 15-page pitch deck Productfy, a fintech looking to be the Shopify of embedded finance, used to nab a $16 million Series AReal-estate management made easyAgora founders Noam Kahan, CTO, Bar Mor, CEO, and Lior Dolinski, CPO.AgoraFor alternative asset managers of any type, the operations underpinning sales and investor communications are a crucial but often overlooked part of the business. Fund managers love to make bets on markets, not coordinate hundreds of wire transfers to clients each quarter or organize customer-relationship-management databases.Within the $10.6 trillion global market for professionally managed real-estate investing, that's where Tel Aviv and New York-based startup Agora hopes to make its mark.Founded in 2019, Agora offers a set of back-office, investor relations, and sales software tools that real-estate investment managers can plug into their workflows. On Wednesday, Agora announced a $9 million seed round, led by Israel-based venture firm Aleph, with participation from River Park Ventures and Maccabee Ventures. The funding comes on the heels of an October 2020 pre-seed fund raise worth $890,000, in which Maccabee also participated.Here's the 15-slide pitch deck that Agora, a startup helping real-estate investors manage communications and sales with their clients, used to raise a $9 million seed roundCheckout made easyBolt's Ryan Breslow.Ryan BreslowAmazon has long dominated e-commerce with its one-click checkout flows, offering easier ways for consumers to shop online than its small-business competitors.Bolt gives small merchants tools to offer the same easy checkouts so they can compete with the likes of Amazon.The startup raised its $393 million Series D to continue adding its one-click checkout feature to merchants' own websites in October.Bolt markets to merchants themselves. But a big part of Bolt's pitch is its growing network of consumers — currently over 5.6 million — that use its features across multiple Bolt merchant customers. Roughly 5% of Bolt's transactions were network-driven in May, meaning users that signed up for a Bolt account on another retailer's website used it elsewhere. The network effects were even more pronounced in verticals like furniture, where 49% of transactions were driven by the Bolt network."The network effect is now unleashed with Bolt in full fury, and that triggered the raise," Bolt's founder and CEO Ryan Breslow told Insider.Here's the 12-page deck that one-click checkout Bolt used to outline its network of 5.6 million consumers and raise its Series DHelping small banks lendCollateralEdge's Joel Radtke, cofounder, COO, and president, and Joe Beard, cofounder and CEO.CollateralEdgeFor large corporations with a track record of tapping the credit markets, taking out debt is a well-structured and clear process handled by the nation's biggest investment banks and teams of accountants. But smaller, middle-market companies — typically those with annual revenues ranging up to $1 billion — are typically served by regional and community banks that don't always have the capacity to adequately measure the risk of loans or price them competitively. Per the National Center for the Middle Market, 200,000 companies fall into this range, accounting for roughly 33% of US private sector GDP and employment.Dallas-based fintech CollateralEdge works with these banks — typically those with between $1 billion and $50 billion in assets — to help analyze and price slices of commercial and industrial loans that previously might have gone unserved by smaller lenders.On October 20th, CollateralEdge announced a $3.5 million seed round led by Dallas venture fund Perot Jain with participation from Kneeland Youngblood (a founder of the healthcare-focused private-equity firm Pharos Capital) and other individual investors.Here's the 10-page deck CollateralEdge, a fintech streamlining how small banks lend to businesses, used to raise a $3.5 million seed round Quantum computing made easyQC Ware CEO Matt Johnson.QC WareEven though banks and hedge funds are still several years out from adding quantum computing to their tech arsenals, that hasn't stopped Wall Street giants from investing time and money into the emerging technology class. And momentum for QC Ware, a startup looking to cut the time and resources it takes to use quantum computing, is accelerating. The fintech secured a $25 million Series B on September 29 co-led by Koch Disruptive Technologies and Covestro with participation from D.E. Shaw, Citi, and Samsung Ventures.QC Ware, founded in 2014, builds quantum algorithms for the likes of Goldman Sachs (which led the fintech's Series A), Airbus, and BMW Group. The algorithms, which are effectively code bases that include quantum processing elements, can run on any of the four main public-cloud providers.Quantum computing allows companies to do complex calculations faster than traditional computers by using a form of physics that runs on quantum bits as opposed to the traditional 1s and 0s that computers use. This is especially helpful in banking for risk analytics or algorithmic trading, where executing calculations milliseconds faster than the competition can give firms a leg up. Here's the 20-page deck QC Ware, a fintech making quantum computing more accessible, used to raised its $25 million Series BSimplifying quant modelsKirat Singh and Mark Higgins, Beacon's cofounders.BeaconA fintech that helps financial institutions use quantitative models to streamline their businesses and improve risk management is catching the attention, and capital, of some of the country's biggest investment managers.Beacon Platform, founded in 2014, is a fintech that builds applications and tools to help banks, asset managers, and trading firms quickly integrate quantitative models that can help with analyzing risk, ensuring compliance, and improving operational efficiency. The company raised its Series C on Wednesday, scoring a $56 million investment led by Warburg Pincus with support from Blackstone Innovations Investments, PIMCO, and Global Atlantic. Blackstone, PIMCO, and Global Atlantic are also users of Beacon's tech, as are the Commonwealth Bank of Australia and Shell New Energies, a division of Royal Dutch Shell, among others.The fintech provides a shortcut for firms looking to use quantitative modelling and data science across various aspects of their businesses, a process that can often take considerable resources if done solo.Here's the 20-page pitch deck Beacon, a fintech helping Wall Street better analyze risk and data, used to raise $56 million from Warburg Pincus, Blackstone, and PIMCOInvoice financing for SMBsStacey Abrams and Lara Hodgson, Now cofounders.NowAbout a decade ago, politician Stacey Abrams and entrepreneur Lara Hodgson were forced to fold their startup because of a kink in the supply chain — but not in the traditional sense.Nourish, which made spill-proof bottled water for children, had grown quickly from selling to small retailers to national ones. And while that may sound like a feather in the small business' cap, there was a hang-up."It was taking longer and longer to get paid, and as you can imagine, you deliver the product and then you wait and you wait, but meanwhile you have to pay your employees and you have to pay your vendors," Hodgson told Insider. "Waiting to get paid was constraining our ability to grow."While it's not unusual for small businesses to grapple with working capital issues, the dust was still settling from the Great Recession. Abrams and Hodgson couldn't secure a line of credit or use financing tools like factoring to solve their problem. The two entrepreneurs were forced to close Nourish in 2012, but along the way they recognized a disconnect in the system.  "Why are we the ones borrowing money, when in fact we're the lender here because every time you send an invoice to a customer, you've essentially extended a free loan to that customer by letting them pay later," Hodgson said. "And the only reason why we were going to need to possibly borrow money was because we had just given ours away for free to Whole Foods," she added.Check out the 7-page deck that Now, Stacey Abrams' fintech that wants to help small businesses 'grow fearlessly', used to raise $29 millionInsurance goes digitalJamie Hale, CEO and cofounder of Ladder.LadderFintechs looking to transform how insurance policies are underwritten, issued, and experienced by customers have grown as new technology driven by digital trends and artificial intelligence shape the market. And while verticals like auto, homeowner's, and renter's insurance have seen their fair share of innovation from forward-thinking fintechs, one company has taken on the massive life-insurance market. Founded in 2017, Ladder uses a tech-driven approach to offer life insurance with a digital, end-to-end service that it says is more flexible, faster, and cost-effective than incumbent players.Life, annuity, and accident and health insurance within the US comprise a big chunk of the broader market. In 2020, premiums written on those policies totaled some $767 billion, compared to $144 billion for auto policies and $97 billion for homeowner's insurance.Here's the 12-page deck that Ladder, a startup disrupting the 'crown jewel' of the insurance market, used to nab $100 millionEmbedded payments for SMBsThe Highnote team.HighnoteBranded cards have long been a way for merchants with the appropriate bank relationships to create additional revenue and build customer loyalty. The rise of embedded payments, or the ability to shop and pay in a seamless experience within a single app, has broadened the number of companies looking to launch branded cards.Highnote is a startup that helps small to mid-sized merchants roll out their own debit and pre-paid digital cards. The fintech emerged from stealth on Tuesday to announce it raised $54 million in seed and Series A funding.Here's the 12-page deck Highnote, a startup helping SMBs embed payments, used to raise $54 million in seed and Series A fundingAn alternative auto lenderDaniel Chu, CEO and founder of Tricolor.TricolorAn alternative auto lender that caters to thin- and no-credit Hispanic borrowers is planning a national expansion after scoring a $90 million investment from BlackRock-managed funds. Tricolor is a Dallas-based auto lender that is a community development financial institution. It uses a proprietary artificial-intelligence engine that decisions each customer based on more than 100 data points, such as proof of income. Half of Tricolor's customers have a FICO score, and less than 12% have scores above 650, yet the average customer has lived in the US for 15 years, according to the deck.A 2017 survey by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation found 31.5% of Hispanic households had no mainstream credit compared to 14.4% of white households. "For decades, the deck has been stacked against low income or credit invisible Hispanics in the United States when it comes to the purchase and financing of a used vehicle," Daniel Chu, founder and CEO of Tricolor, said in a statement announcing the raise.An auto lender that caters to underbanked Hispanics used this 25-page deck to raise $90 million from BlackRock investorsA new way to access credit The TomoCredit team.TomoCreditKristy Kim knows first-hand the challenge of obtaining credit in the US without an established credit history. Kim, who came to the US from South Korea, couldn't initially get access to credit despite having a job in investment banking after graduating college. "I was in my early twenties, I had a good income, my job was in investment banking but I could not get approved for anything," Kim told Insider. "Many young professionals like me, we deserve an opportunity to be considered but just because we didn't have a Fico, we weren't given a chance to even apply," she added.Kim started TomoCredit in 2018 to help others like herself gain access to consumer credit. TomoCredit spent three years building an internal algorithm to underwrite customers based on cash flow, rather than a credit score.TomoCredit, a fintech that lends to thin- and no-credit borrowers, used this 17-page pitch deck to raise its $10 million Series AAn IRA for alternativesHenry Yoshida is the co-founder and CEO of retirement fintech startup Rocket Dollar.Rocket DollarFintech startup Rocket Dollar, which helps users invest their individual retirement account (IRA) dollars into alternative assets, just raised $8 million for its Series A round, the company announced on Thursday.Park West Asset Management led the round, with participation from investors including Hyphen Capital, which focuses on backing Asian American entrepreneurs, and crypto exchange Kraken's venture arm. Co-founded in 2018 by CEO Henry Yoshida, CTO Rick Dude, and VP of marketing Thomas Young, Rocket Dollar now has over $350 million in assets under management on its platform. Yoshida sold his first startup, a roboadvisor called Honest Dollar, to Goldman Sachs' investment management division for an estimated $20 million.Yoshida told Insider that while ultra-high net worth investors have been investing self-directed retirement account dollars into alternative assets like real estate, private equity, and cryptocurrency, average investors have not historically been able to access the same opportunities to invest IRA dollars in alternative assets through traditional platforms.Here's the 34-page pitch deck a fintech that helps users invest their retirement savings in crypto and real estate assets used to nab $8 millionConnecting startups and investorsHum Capital cofounder and CEO Blair Silverberg.Hum CapitalBlair Silverberg is no stranger to fundraising.For six years, Silverberg was a venture capitalist at Draper Fisher Jurvetson and Private Credit Investments making bets on startups."I was meeting with thousands of founders in person each year, watching them one at a time go through this friction where they're meeting a ton of investors, and the investors are all asking the same questions," Silverberg told Insider. He switched gears about three years ago, moving to the opposite side of the metaphorical table, to start Hum Capital, which uses artificial intelligence to match investors with startups looking to fundraise.On August 31, the New York-based fintech announced its $9 million Series A. The round was led by Future Ventures with participation from Webb Investment Network, Wavemaker Partners, and Partech. This 11-page pitch deck helped Hum Capital, a fintech using AI to match investors with startups, raise a $9 million Series A.Payments infrastructure for fintechsQolo CEO and co-founder Patricia Montesi.QoloThree years ago, Patricia Montesi realized there was a disconnect in the payments world. "A lot of new economy companies or fintech companies were looking to mesh up a lot of payment modalities that they weren't able to," Montesi, CEO and co-founder of Qolo, told Insider.Integrating various payment capabilities often meant tapping several different providers that had specializations in one product or service, she added, like debit card issuance or cross-border payments. "The way people were getting around that was that they were creating this spider web of fintech," she said, adding that "at the end of it all, they had this mess of suppliers and integrations and bank accounts."The 20-year payments veteran rounded up a group of three other co-founders — who together had more than a century of combined industry experience — to start Qolo, a business-to-business fintech that sought out to bundle back-end payment rails for other fintechs.Here's the 11-slide pitch deck a startup that provides payments infrastructure for other fintechs used to raise a $15 million Series ASoftware for managing freelancersWorksome cofounder and CEO Morten Petersen.WorksomeThe way people work has fundamentally changed over the past year, with more flexibility and many workers opting to freelance to maintain their work-from-home lifestyles.But managing a freelance or contractor workforce is often an administrative headache for employers. Worksome is a startup looking to eliminate all the extra work required for employers to adapt to more flexible working norms.Worksome started as a freelancer marketplace automating the process of matching qualified workers with the right jobs. But the team ultimately pivoted to a full suite of workforce management software, automating administrative burdens required to hire, pay, and account for contract workers.In May, Worksome closed a $13 million Series A backed by European angel investor Tommy Ahlers and Danish firm Lind & Risør.Here's the 21-slide pitch deck used by a startup that helps firms like Carlsberg and Deloitte manage freelancersPersonal finance is only a text awayYinon Ravid, the chief executive and cofounder of Albert.AlbertThe COVID-19 pandemic has underscored the growing preference of mobile banking as customers get comfortable managing their finances online.The financial app Albert has seen a similar jump in activity. Currently counting more than six million members, deposits in Albert's savings offering doubled from the start of the pandemic in March 2020 to May of this year, from $350 million to $700 million, according to new numbers released by the company. Founded in 2015, Albert offers automated budgeting and savings tools alongside guided investment portfolios. It's looked to differentiate itself through personalized features, like the ability for customers to text human financial experts.Budgeting and saving features are free on Albert. But for more tailored financial advice, customers pay a subscription fee that's a pay-what-you-can model, between $4 and $14 a month. And Albert's now banking on a new tool to bring together its investing, savings, and budgeting tools.Fintech Albert used this 10-page pitch deck to raise a $100 million Series C from General Atlantic and CapitalGRethinking debt collection Jason Saltzman, founder and CEO of ReliefReliefFor lenders, debt collection is largely automated. But for people who owe money on their credit cards, it can be a confusing and stressful process.  Relief is looking to change that. Its app automates the credit-card debt collection process for users, negotiating with lenders and collectors to settle outstanding balances on their behalf. The fintech just launched and closed a $2 million seed round led by Collaborative Ventures. Relief's fundraising experience was a bit different to most. Its pitch deck, which it shared with one investor via Google Slides, went viral. It set out to raise a $1 million seed round, but ended up doubling that and giving some investors money back to make room for others.Check out a 15-page pitch deck that went viral and helped a credit-card debt collection startup land a $2 million seed roundBlockchain for private-markets investing Carlos Domingo is cofounder and CEO of Securitize.SecuritizeSecuritize, founded in 2017 by the tech industry veterans Carlos Domingo and Jamie Finn, is bringing blockchain technology to private-markets investing. The company raised $48 million in Series B funding on June 21 from investors including Morgan Stanley and Blockchain Capital.Securitize helps companies crowdfund capital from individual and institutional investors by issuing their shares in the form of blockchain tokens that allow for more efficient settlement, record keeping, and compliance processes. Morgan Stanley's Tactical Value fund, which invests in private companies, made its first blockchain-technology investment when it coled the Series B, Securitize CEO Carlos Domingo told Insider.Here's the 11-page pitch deck a blockchain startup looking to revolutionize private-markets investing used to nab $48 million from investors like Morgan StanleyE-commerce focused business bankingMichael Rangel, cofounder and CEO, and Tyler McIntyre, cofounder and CTO of Novo.Kristelle Boulos PhotographyBusiness banking is a hot market in fintech. And it seems investors can't get enough.Novo, the digital banking fintech aimed at small e-commerce businesses, raised a $40.7 million Series A led by Valar Ventures in June. Since its launch in 2018, Novo has signed up 100,000 small businesses. Beyond bank accounts, it offers expense management, a corporate card, and integrates with e-commerce infrastructure players like Shopify, Stripe, and Wise.Founded in 2018, Novo was based in New York City, but has since moved its headquarters to Miami. Here's the 12-page pitch deck e-commerce banking startup Novo used to raise its $40 million Series ABlockchain-based credit score tech John Sun, Anna Fridman, and Adam Jiwan are the cofounders of fintech startup Spring Labs.Spring LabsA blockchain-based fintech startup that is aiming to disrupt the traditional model of evaluating peoples' creditworthiness recently raised $30 million in a Series B funding led by credit reporting giant TransUnion.Four-year-old Spring Labs aims to create a private, secure data-sharing model to help credit agencies better predict the creditworthiness of people who are not in the traditional credit bureau system. The founding team of three fintech veterans met as early employees of lending startup Avant.Existing investors GreatPoint Ventures and August Capital also joined in on the most recent round.  So far Spring Labs has raised $53 million from institutional rounds.TransUnion, a publicly-traded company with a $20 billion-plus market cap, is one of the three largest consumer credit agencies in the US. After 18 months of dialogue and six months of due diligence, TransAmerica and Spring Labs inked a deal, Spring Labs CEO and cofounder Adam Jiwan told Insider.Here's the 10-page pitch deck blockchain-based fintech Spring Labs used to snag $30 million from investors including credit reporting giant TransUnionDigital banking for freelancersJGalione/Getty ImagesLance is a new digital bank hoping to simplify the life of those workers by offering what it calls an "active" approach to business banking. "We found that every time we sat down with the existing tools and resources of our accountants and QuickBooks and spreadsheets, we just ended up getting tangled up in the whole experience of it," Lance cofounder and CEO Oona Rokyta told Insider. Lance offers subaccounts for personal salaries, withholdings, and savings to which freelancers can automatically allocate funds according to custom preset levels. It also offers an expense balance that's connected to automated tax withholdings.In May, Lance announced the closing of a $2.8 million seed round that saw participation from Barclays, BDMI, Great Oaks Capital, Imagination Capital, Techstars, DFJ Frontier, and others.Here's the 21-page pitch deck Lance, a digital bank for freelancers, used to raise a $2.8 million seed round from investors including BarclaysDigital tools for independent financial advisorsJason Wenk, founder and CEO of AltruistAltruistJason Wenk started his career at Morgan Stanley in investment research over 20 years ago. Now, he's running a company that is hoping to broaden access to financial advice for less-wealthy individuals. The startup raised $50 million in Series B funding led by Insight Partners with participation from investors Vanguard and Venrock. The round brings the Los Angeles-based startup's total funding to just under $67 million.Founded in 2018, Altruist is a digital brokerage built for independent financial advisors, intended to be an "all-in-one" platform that unites custodial functions, portfolio accounting, and a client-facing portal. It allows advisors to open accounts, invest, build models, report, trade (including fractional shares), and bill clients through an interface that can advisors time by eliminating mundane operational tasks.Altruist aims to make personalized financial advice less expensive, more efficient, and more inclusive through the platform, which is designed for registered investment advisors (RIAs), a growing segment of the wealth management industry. Here's the pitch deck for Altruist, a wealth tech challenging custodians Fidelity and Charles Schwab, that raised $50 million from Vanguard and InsightPayments and operations support HoneyBook cofounders Dror Shimoni, Oz Alon, and Naama Alon.HoneyBookWhile countless small businesses have been harmed by the pandemic, self-employment and entrepreneurship have found ways to blossom as Americans started new ventures.Half of the US population may be freelance by 2027, according to a study commissioned by remote-work hiring platform Upwork. HoneyBook, a fintech startup that provides payment and operations support for freelancers, in May raised $155 million in funding and achieved unicorn status with its $1 billion-plus valuation.Durable Capital Partners led the Series D funding with other new investors including renowned hedge fund Tiger Global, Battery Ventures, Zeev Ventures, and 01 Advisors. Citi Ventures, Citigroup's startup investment arm that also backs fintech robo-advisor Betterment, participated as an existing investor in the round alongside Norwest Venture partners. The latest round brings the company's fundraising total to $227 million to date.Here's the 21-page pitch deck a Citi-backed fintech for freelancers used to raise $155 million from investors like hedge fund Tiger GlobalFraud prevention for lenders and insurersFiordaliso/Getty ImagesOnboarding new customers with ease is key for any financial institution or retailer. The more friction you add, the more likely consumers are to abandon the entire process.But preventing fraud is also a priority, and that's where Neuro-ID comes in. The startup analyzes what it calls "digital body language," or, the way users scroll, type, and tap. Using that data, Neuro-ID can identify fraudulent users before they create an account. It's built for banks, lenders, insurers, and e-commerce players."The train has left the station for digital transformation, but there's a massive opportunity to try to replicate all those communications that we used to have when we did business in-person, all those tells that we would get verbally and non-verbally on whether or not someone was trustworthy," Neuro-ID CEO Jack Alton told Insider.Founded in 2014, the startup's pitch is twofold: Neuro-ID can save companies money by identifying fraud early, and help increase user conversion by making the onboarding process more seamless. In December Neuro-ID closed a $7 million Series A, co-led by Fin VC and TTV Capital, with participation from Canapi Ventures. With 30 employees, Neuro-ID is using the fresh funding to grow its team and create additional tools to be more self-serving for customers.Here's the 11-slide pitch deck a startup that analyzes consumers' digital behavior to fight fraud used to raise a $7 million Series AAI-powered tools to spot phony online reviews Saoud Khalifah, founder and CEO of Fakespot.FakespotMarketplaces like Amazon and eBay host millions of third-party sellers, and their algorithms will often boost items in search based on consumer sentiment, which is largely based on reviews. But many third-party sellers use fake reviews often bought from click farms to boost their items, some of which are counterfeit or misrepresented to consumers.That's where Fakespot comes in. With its Chrome extension, it warns users of sellers using potentially fake reviews to boost sales and can identify fraudulent sellers. Fakespot is currently compatible with Amazon, BestBuy, eBay, Sephora, Steam, and Walmart."There are promotional reviews written by humans and bot-generated reviews written by robots or review farms," Fakespot founder and CEO Saoud Khalifah told Insider. "Our AI system has been built to detect both categories with very high accuracy."Fakespot's AI learns via reviews data available on marketplace websites, and uses natural-language processing to identify if reviews are genuine. Fakespot also looks at things like whether the number of positive reviews are plausible given how long a seller has been active.Fakespot, a startup that helps shoppers detect robot-generated reviews and phony sellers on Amazon and Shopify, used this pitch deck to nab a $4 million Series ANew twists on digital bankingZach Bruhnke, cofounder and CEO of HMBradleyHMBradleyConsumers are getting used to the idea of branch-less banking, a trend that startup digital-only banks like Chime, N26, and Varo have benefited from. The majority of these fintechs target those who are underbanked, and rely on usage of their debit cards to make money off interchange. But fellow startup HMBradley has a different business model. "Our thesis going in was that we don't swipe our debit cards all that often, and we don't think the customer base that we're focusing on does either," Zach Bruhnke, cofounder and CEO of HMBradley, told Insider. "A lot of our customer base uses credit cards on a daily basis."Instead, the startup is aiming to build clientele with stable deposits. As a result, the bank is offering interest-rate tiers depending on how much a customer saves of their direct deposit.Notably, the rate tiers are dependent on the percentage of savings, not the net amount. "We'll pay you more when you save more of what comes in," Bruhnke said. "We didn't want to segment customers by how much money they had. So it was always going to be about a percentage of income. That was really important to us."Check out the 14-page pitch deck fintech HMBradley, a neobank offering interest rates as high as 3%, used to raise an $18.25 million Series ARead the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderDec 21st, 2021

The 56 best last-minute gifts for college students, from portable photo printers to the comfiest sheets

The best gifts for college students are practical and fun. Here are 56 gift ideas from a recent college graduate. Prices are accurate at the time of publication.When you buy through our links, Insider may earn an affiliate commission. Learn more.Staples The best gifts for college students are practical, fun, and time-saving. I'm a current college student, and I put together this list of 50+ gift options any student would appreciate. Need more gift ideas? Check out our gift guides for toddlers, teens, and pretty much everyone. As a college student, there are just a few things we want: clear skin, job security, and to have some fun. Some gifts can help with this. Others can't, but they're still nice to have for how much they make our lives easier.College students today are in a unique position in life between (probably) getting little sleep, taking classes while working, and taking care of themselves throughout everything. This is especially important to keep in mind when thinking about gifts.One thing this list assumes is that the student you're thinking about already has basics like a shower caddy, lanyard for their student ID, and laundry basket that can hold several weeks of dirty clothes at time. Instead, this list is full of gifts that'll be like the cherry on top to whatever they already have.Check out all 56 gifts for college students:A more modern card game for nights in and partiesAmazonWhat Do You Meme?, available at Amazon, $29.99College students today are of the meme generation, so this game will be highly appreciated. This set includes 75 of the funniest memes plus 360 caption cards to make the wonkiest combinations for a game during study breaks or chill wine nights.One of the easiest ways to find your favorite fragranceScentbirdScentbird 6-month subscription, available from Scentbird, $84Finding a fragrance that speaks to you is an unspoken step in finding your style. But buying a bunch of different scents can take a long time and cost a lot. Scentbirds is a perfume and cologne discovery subscription that helps you find your favorite perfumes by sending monthly options based on your preferences.A sunrise alarm clock for a gentle wakeup, no phones involvedSuzy Hernandez/InsiderHatch Restore, available on Amazon, $129.99Using your phone as an alarm clock makes it a lot easier to start scrolling on your phone first thing in the morning, which isn't the healthiest habit. A sunrise alarm clock can help your student have a much better start to their day than immediately checking emails or scrolling on Instagram. The Hatch Restore is a great sunrise alarm option with a ton of special features, and the iHome Zenergy Dream Mini ($69.99) is the best option on a budget.One of the nicest, most classic notebooks everMoleskineMoleskine Classic Notebook, available on Amazon, $20.34Moleskine journals have a history of belonging to creatives and being the place where great ideas and art begin. If the student you're thinking of is a writer, for example, a Moleskine journal is a perfect gift to let them know you support them. These are also stellar for note-taking.An air fryer for the snack loverAmazonThe Philips Premium TurboStar Air Fryer, available at Walmart, $249.35Air fryers have been all the buzz for how they can turn just about anything into a warm, crispy delight. Plus, they save a ton of time, which every college student can appreciate. The Philips Premium TurboStar Air Fryer is one of the best air fryers on the market today.There's some controversy about how good air fryers actually are, so you can also think about gifting a toaster oven.A good wallet to hold their cards, cash, and keep their student ID handyVera BradleyMicrofiber Zip ID Wallet, available at Vera Bradley, $10Vera Bradley's Zip ID Wallet is a great option for students who have to frequently show or swipe their student ID but don't need an overstuffed bifold. The O-ring is a convenient and sturdy place to hold all their keys. It also makes it easy to clip the wallet into their other bags like a purse or backpack.A steady supply of healthier (and still very tasty) snacksThrive Market1-Year Membership + $25 Shopping Credit, available at Thrive Market, $64.95College students live off good food and snacks. Gifting a subscription to Thrive Market means access to healthier snacks, which leads to feeling more energized and better studying.A long-lasting backpack that'll look good on campus, in the airport, and at job interviewsHerschelLittle America Backpack, available at Herschel, $109.99Typical backpacks work great for class, but what about everything that happens outside of class? Having a sturdy backpack that's well-suited for traveling and job interviews helps a ton. Herschel's Little America ($109.99) is a great option because it's versatile, sturdy, and stylish. Similarly, the Dagne Dover backpack ($200) is specifically designed for a woman's body and is made to store everything you need and go anywhere you go. productsIf the student is a total tote person and doesn't touch backpacks, the Longchamp Le Pliage Shoulder Bag ($155) is a staple for students and young workers alike.An aroma diffuser to set the moodGrove CollaborativeGrove Collaborative Ultrasonic Aromatherapy Diffuser, $39.95An aroma diffuser delivers calming, in-home aromatherapy and is a great fragrance option for dorms where candles usually aren't allowed. This one from Grove Collaborative diffuses essential oils for up to five hours at a time, has LED light options, and elegantly blends into any room thanks to its minimalistic ceramic design.A weighted blanket that'll change the way you sleepTranquilityTranquility Weighted Blanket, available at Target, $49Every college student ever has needed better sleep. Weighted blankets apply a calming pressure on you, making it easier to fall asleep and wake up more rested. The great thing about Tranquility's weighted blanket is how perfectly-sized it is to move from bed to couch, how it's sized to fit a standard dorm twin XL bed, and how easily washable it is.A foolproof planner to keep everything in orderDay DesignerWeekly Planner, available on Day Designer, $59A planner keeps them organized between all their assignments, exams, events, and so much more. Day Designer makes luxurious planners that students love. Planners come in daily or weekly options which each have space for all your checklists and schedules plus extra pages for goal setting, future planning, and notes.The most comfortable socks college students can ownBombasWomen's Ankle Sock 4-Pack, available at Bombas, $47.50Men's Ankle Sock 4-Pack, available at Bombas, $47.50Bombas makes the best socks on the market. They benefit from upgrades like a supportive honeycomb stitch, blister tabs built into ankle-height styles, and a Y-stitched heel and "invisitoe" that minimizes annoying bumps. Even if it seems like socks aren't an exciting gift, comfort is pretty much always a hit in college. Plus, for every pair purchased, Bombas donates a specially designed sock to someone in need.A cult-favorite tumbler to keep their drinks just the right temperature for hoursHydro FlaskHydro Flask 40 oz.Water Bottle, available at Hydro Flask, from $37.46This HydroFlask will keep cold drinks cold for up to 24 hours and hot drinks hot for up to 12 hours with the lid on, perfect for when they need coffee for a long night studying.Great coffee from all over the world to help them stay energizedAtlas Coffee ClubAtlas Coffee 3-month Subscription, $55If they drink coffee, they'll likely drink a fair amount of it during college. And it's really nice to have a good cup. Atlas Coffee is a monthly subscription that's sort of like a worldwide coffee tour — bringing the best single-origin coffee (with a postcard from its origin country) to your door. They'll also get brewing tips and flavor notes. A book that helps them build good habits and break bad onesAmazonAtomic Habits: An Easy & Proven Way to Build Good Habits & Break Bad Ones, available at Amazon, $11.98Many college students are trying to map out what they want out of life and how to build the habits that get them where they want to go. In the popular book "Atomic Habits," James Clear, an expert on habit formation, teaches practical strategies for building lasting habits (and ditching detrimental ones). Popular wireless over-ear headphones for quality noise-canceling during studying and working outAmazonBeats Solo3 Wireless Noise Cancelling On-Ear Headphones, available at Amazon, $129.95If there's one thing every college student needs, it's good wireless headphones. This Beats pair has rich sound and up to 40 hours of listening time. And if they let the battery run out, a five-minute charge converts to three hours of playback.If they're a runner and need something lightweight and in-ear, you should opt for Jaybird Vista.An inexpensive way to get the iced coffee they love at homeAmazonTakeya Patented Deluxe Cold Brew Coffee Maker, available on Amazon, $24.99If the student you're thinking of drinks coffee — and there's a very good chance they do — having access to one of the best cold brew contraptions will be a gift that keeps on giving. A cold brew machine means you can go 4-5 days in a row without brewing another pot. It's also easy to clean. Find a full review here.A waterproof speaker that can bring the bassJBLJBL FLIP5 Bluetooth Speaker, available at B&H Photo, $129.95A Bluetooth speaker is a must-have: it helps set the mood for study nights and helps bring the party to life whenever you're hosting. JBL's Flip 5 speaker is the best choice. It has vibrantly booming bass, lasts for up to 12 hours without a charge, and is waterproof.Clothes and shoes for their upcoming interviews and presentationsEverlaneThe Oversized Blazer, available at Everlane, from $185Rebecca Allen Classic Pump, available at Nordstrom, $165Other Stories Wool Coat, available at Other Stories, $279College is full of big meetings, big presentations, and nerve-wracking interviews. For days when sweatpants aren't an option and something more formal is needed, these are some great options for women's staples. We've also created a list of our personal favorite workwear stores — plus the best styles to buy from each one. A nice watch they can wear to internshipsMVMTGunmetal Sandstone, Men, available at MVMT, $138Lexington, Women, available at MVMT, $128MVMT makes beautiful watches for men and women at great prices, and they feel more contemporary to wear than most on the market. It's a versatile, sentimental gift you can feel good about giving because you know they'll feel good — and perhaps more put-together — wearing it. One of the best tablets, which makes note-taking, entertainment, and everything else so much betterBest Buy2021 Apple iPad, available at Amazon, $479 If you go on a college campus today, you'll probably see iPads all over the place — and for a good reason. These slim rectangular boxes are bundles of joy for students. They make note-taking, e-reading, Netflix, and leisure drawing easy to do all in one place. The new 256GB iPad ($479) will make an unforgettable gift. If you want to take it up a notch, the highly-coveted and ultrafast 11" iPad Pro ($899) is even better.If they already have an iPad, you can think about getting them an Apple Pencil ($129), which will level up their gadget even more.A key-, wallet-, and iPhone-finderAmazonTile Mate with Replaceable Battery, 4-Pack, available at Amazon, $69.99You can't go wrong with a tracker for their keys, wallet, or phone. The Tile Mate is compact, thoughtful, and useful for everyone — especially an oft-frazzled college student. A bed frame that can easily move with themLauren Savoie/InsiderThuma Bed Frame, available at Thuma, from $995A good bed frame is the foundation of good sleep and this one by Thuma features interlocking Japanese joinery that makes it incredibly sturdy but easy to disassemble, move, and store. It's a great option for young adults on the move, especially if they're moving into older or smaller buildings. The most popular FitbitFitbitFitbit Charge 4 Fitness Activity Tracker, available on Amazon, from $122.21The Charge 4 offers stellar activity tracking (average and current pace, heart rate zones, calories burned, etc.) in a smaller footprint than a smartwatch and at a budget-friendly price point. Plus, it has a week-long battery life.A smartphone-sized travel photo printerStaplesFujifilm Instax Mini Link Bluetooth Photo Printer, available at Target, Apple, and Best Buy, from $99.95Mini portable Bluetooth printers make turning iPhone photos into tangible memories quick and easy — which is especially convenient for decorating their room. All they'll have to do is download the app (which also has internal PhotoShop elements and features like themed stickers and collages) and connect via Bluetooth. *This product is currently out of stock. Their favorite comfort foodsGoldbellyGoldbelly food gifts, available from $25Goldbelly makes it possible to satisfy their most specific and nostalgic cravings no matter where they live in the US — a cheesecake from Junior's, deep dish pizza from Lou Malnati, and more. Browse the iconic gifts section for inspiration.A media streamer that transforms a normal TV into a smart oneAmazonRoku Ultra 4K/HDR/HD Streaming Player, available at Amazon, $69Most college students aren't forking over a monthly payment to cable. This streaming player is, overall, the best one you can buy, and it transforms an otherwise ordinary TV into one that can stream shows and movies from Netflix, Hulu, HBO Now, Prime Video, and others all in one spot.  One of the all-time best facial cleansers for a clean and effective routineFOREOLuna 2 Facial Cleansing Device, Men, available at FOREO, $169.95Luna 2 Facial Cleansing Device, Women, available at FOREO, $169.95FOREO's cult-favorite Luna 2 cleansing device gently and effectively cleans with thin, antimicrobial silicone touch points, and it removes 98.5% of dirt and makeup residue without irritating the skin. Plus, it's 100% waterproof and the battery life lasts for a few months per charge. Find a full review from a female reporter and a male reporter here.A 10-minute breakfast that will save them money and timeAmazonDash Rapid Egg Cooker, available at Target, $15.99The Dash Rapid Egg Cooker looks gimmicky but is actually deceptively useful. It's compact and makes virtually every kind of egg (hard-boiled, poached, scrambled, or an omelet) perfectly, and in under 10 minutes. Trendy and convenient Apple AirPodsAppleApple AirPods with Wireless Charging Case, available at Best Buy, $149.99If you're after the title of their favorite relative of the year, here's a good place to start. AirPods are both easy to use and functional as well as trendy. The newer generation of AirPods can be purchased on Amazon for $200, but we also liked the earlier generation (which is slightly cheaper).A comfy Patagonia pullover they'll rely on a lotPatagoniaLightweight Synchilla Snap-T Pullover, Men, available at Patagonia, $119Women's Better Sweater 1/4-Zip Fleece, available at Patagonia, $119It's a good bet that many of their peers will also have this Snap-T pullover from Patagonia. It and the Better Sweater are long-held favorites, and both are comfortable classics that they'll no doubt come to rely upon. A Patagonia sweater is also a particularly good gift for students who are invested in sustainability. The company has been turning plastic bottles into polyester for its clothing since 1993, and continues to do so today.The world's comfiest shoesAllbirds/InstagramWool Runners, Men, available at Allbirds, $98Wool Runners, Women, available at Allbirds, $98Startup Allbirds makes wildly popular shoes out of soft, sustainable materials. Their Runners made of super-soft merino wool have been nicknamed "the world's most comfortable shoes." You can find a full review here. A portable projector that's the size of a soda canAmazonAnker Nebula Capsule Smart Mini Projector, available at Amazon, $299.99Anker's Nebula Capsule is a powerful and versatile mini projector, and its portability makes it a great option for college students who want a cozy movie-viewing experience in the comfort of their own room. It's 1 pound and the size of a soda can, but it has surprisingly crisp image quality and 360-degree sound. It's also quiet and has a continuous playtime of four hours. Find a full review here.College merchandise for school spiritAmerican EagleShop American Eagle's Tailgate ApparelParticularly if they're going to a school with a big sports team, you can be sure they'll both need and appreciate all the fan gear. A great game for a night in with friendsAmazonCards Against Humanity, available at Amazon, $25Grab a fun card game they'll inevitably end up pulling out to play with friends on the weekend nights and snow days. Check out What Do You Meme, too.A Brooklinen gift card for really nice sheetsBrooklinenGift Card, available at Brooklinen, from $50Few things sound so nice as comfortable, beautiful sheets that you don't need to buy for yourself. Brooklinen is one of our favorite startups to shop at, and we ranked their sateen cotton sheets (from $122) the best luxury sheets you can buy.A funny but useful book full of expert and student advice on everything from finances to relationships and dorm lifeAmazonThe Naked Roommate: And 107 Other Issues You Might Run Into in College, available at Amazon, $10.19For everything from sharing a bathroom with 40 strangers to social network do's and don'ts, this funny but useful New York Times bestseller runs the gamut. A monthly subscription of personalized new makeup, haircare, and skincare samples delivered to their doorBirchbox Man/InstagramBirchbox Three Month Subscription, available at Birchbox, $45College students like to look and feel good, but tight budgets aren't conducive to trying a lot of new, (and often expensive) grooming products. Birchbox sends samples of new and beloved products once a month, so they can test out new finds and discover products they may want to buy a full size of in the future. It's also just fun to get a monthly gift that's all about them. An Echo Dot with a built-in clockAmazonEcho Dot 4th Gen with Clock, available on Amazon, $34.99The newest Echo Dot is more convenient than ever. The all-new design features a larger speaker for better audio, a digital clock to display the time and timer countdowns, and all of Alexa's other skills. A savvy suitcase for traveling on holiday breaksAway/FacebookCarry-On, available at Away, from $225Away's hyper-popular suitcases deserve their hype. Their hard shell is lightweight but durable, their 360-degree spinner wheels make for seamless traveling, and the external (and ejectable and TSA-compliant) battery pack included can charge a smartphone five times over so they never have to sit behind a trash can at the airport for access to an outlet again. It's also guaranteed for life by Away. Find our full review here.We also recommend Calpak. A book about capitalizing on the huge choices to make in your 20sAmazonThe Defining Decade: Why Your Twenties Matter — And How to Make the Most of Them Now, available at Amazon, $3.62The decisions you make in your 20s can greatly impact the rest of your life. The best defense is a good offense and your grad should know now, before any life-altering events crop up, how to get the most out of their "defining decade."An Amazon Prime membershipTommaso Boddi / Getty ImagesGift an Amazon Prime membership, $119An Amazon Prime membership is one of those things that immediately makes life easier and ultimately better. If you decide to gift one, the recipient will enjoy free two-day shipping; access to the Prime Now app, which provides free two-hour delivery on tens of thousands of items; Prime Video, Amazon's streaming video service; Prime Music; the Kindle Lending Library; Prime Reading; Prime Audible Channels; unlimited photo storage, and more.If you want to see how Amazon Prime ($119 for the year) actually gives you a lot more than free shipping, you can read about the benefits of the service here.A candle to remind college students of their favorite place or hometownAmazonHomesick Scented Candle, available at Uncommon Goods, $34If they're away from family or friends, a reminder of home is a wonderful thing to have around. The best electric toothbrushAmazonOral-B White Pro 1000, available at Best Buy, $39.99We rated this the best electronic toothbrush you can buy. Childlike cereal for adultsMagic SpoonFour Flavors, available at Magic Spoon, $39Magic Spoon is a new "childlike cereal for adults" that's high in protein and low in sugar — and all four flavors are delicious. Here's one way to show college kids it's completely possible to transition to adulthood without losing all the joy of being a kid. You can read more in a personal review here. Framed memoriesFramebridgeGift Card or Frame a Memory, available at Framebridge, from $25Help them honor some of their best memories — whether it's from friends now studying across the country, family, or best-loved locales. Framebridge is relatively affordable, but decor is one of the luxuries plenty of college students shirk to save elsewhere — even though it can make their home a much more inviting, happy place.A monogrammed leather shave bag so students can keep all their things in one placeLeatherologyLeatherology Small Shave Bag, available at Leatherology, from $90 (available for monogram for $10)The dreaded truth of college is that you'll most likely need to schlep your shower belongings to a communal area if you live in the dorms. No one wants to rely on a plastic shower caddy to do that. Grab them a leather shave bag that they'll use for years to come — they probably wouldn't justify the expense on their own, and they'll be grateful to have it. If you're looking for a chic aesthetic, Dagne Dover also makes a great neoprene toiletry bag named the Hunter (from $35) that's built to accommodate makeup. If they have a lot of toiletries, you'll probably want to get the large size for $55.The most comfortable lounge pants we've ever tried for lazy weekend morningsMeUndiesThe Lounge Pant, Men, available at MeUndies, $68The Lounge Pant, Women, available at MeUndies, $68MeUndies is a popular LA startup that makes some of the most comfortable underwear we've ever tried. Their lounge pants, however, are the real hidden gem — perfect for lounging around on weekend mornings, and they're sleek enough to avoid feeling too unkempt.The best pillow you can buyCoop Home GoodsPremium Adjustable Memory Foam Pillow, available at Coop Home Goods and Amazon, from $63.99Make sure they're optimizing their sleep with the best pillow you can buy. Thanks to the shredded memory foam, they'll get the support and comfortable "sinking in" sensation of a traditional memory foam pillow, but none of the excessive heat or firmness that can be a problem with solid foam. Read more in our Buying Guide here.A gift card to ClassPass so they can go to tons of boutique fitness classes without the expenseClassPass/InstagramGift Card, available at ClassPass, from $50Boutique fitness classes are expensive. ClassPass makes them less so. If they like to be active, are looking for a newfound favorite class, or like yoga as much as boxing classes, this is a great gift they'll actually use — and applies to virtual classes until in-person ones are safe again.A custom poster of their favorite placeGrafomapGift a customized Grafomap poster, from $49Commemorate their college town, hometown, or favorite place in the world with this customizable graphic map so they can keep it with them wherever life takes them.A hyper-useful extra-long, reinforced phone chargerAmazonNative Union 10-Foot Extra-Long Charging Cable with Leather Strap, available at Amazon, $34.99If they're going to be tethered to devices, you may as well give them a long leash. This long charging cable means no matter where one is, they'll have power — and they won't have to sit at the foot of their bed to reach it. A gym bag that can transition to a professional settingNordstromHerschel Supply Co. Novel Duffel Bag, available at Nordstrom, $90Just like bringing a beat-up JanSport everywhere, lugging an old nylon gym bag isn't ideal for anyone looking for versatile use. Herschel Supply Co. makes reliable, long-lasting bags, and this one has a separate compartment for gym or dress shoes. A microwave-safe ramen cooker for the most stressful or time-crunched nightsAmazonRapid Ramen Cooker, available at Amazon, $10.99There will be plenty of late nights filled with cheap and tasty ramen. If they're going to eat it anyway, at least let them make it quickly and perfectly every time.A super soft throw blanket they'll find themselves cocooned time and time againAmazonBEDSURE Sherpa Fleece Blanket, available at Amazon, from $26.99Grab their favorite candy, this sherpa-lined fleece blanket with over 4,400 five-star reviews on Amazon, and a Hulu gift card to make their nights in actually fun.Gift cards — perhaps the best gift you can give a cash-strapped college studentWhole Foods Market FacebookWhat a stressed, broke college student needs most is money and probably a hug. If you're looking for a way to gift maximum convenience, gift cards are a surprisingly thoughtful way to do that — either for their favorite restaurant, transportation, school books, or music to keep them occupied during long study hours. Check out more gift card gifts here. Everything: Visa Gift Card / Amazon Gift Card / Gift Amazon Prime MembershipCoffee: Starbucks Gift CardSchool books: Amazon Gift Card Entertainment: Netflix Gift Card / Hulu Gift Card / Sling Gift Card / StubHub gift cardTransportation: Uber Gift CardDecoration: Framebridge Gift CardFurniture: Amazon Gift Card / Wayfair Gift CardMusic: Spotify Gift CardSheets: Brooklinen Gift CardGroceries and food: Whole Foods Gift Card / Chipotle Gift CardClothes: Nordstrom Gift Card / Everlane Gift CardTech: Best Buy Gift CardTravel: Delta Gift Card / Airbnb Gift CardRead the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: personnelSource: nytDec 16th, 2021

Here are 29 pitch decks from fintechs disrupting trading, banking, and lending that helped them raise millions

Looking for examples of real fintech pitch decks? Check out pitch decks that Qolo, Lance, and other startups used to raise money from VCs. Check out these pitch decks for examples of fintech founders sold their vision.Yulia Reznikov/Getty Images Insider has been tracking the next wave of hot new startups that are blending finance and tech.  Check out these pitch decks to see how fintech founders sold their vision. See more stories on Insider's business page. Fintech VC  funding hit a fresh quarterly record of $22.8 billion in the first three months of 2021, according to CB Insights data. While mega-rounds helped propel overall funding, new cash was spread across 614 deals. Insider has been tracking the next wave of hot new startups that are blending finance and tech. Check out these pitch decks to see how fintech founders are selling their vision and nabbing big bucks in the process. You'll see new financial tech geared at freelancers, fresh twists on digital banking, and innovation aimed at streamlining customer onboarding. The back-end tech for beautyDanielle Cohen-Shohet, CEO and founder of GlossGeniusGlossGeniusDanielle Cohen-Shohet might have started as a Goldman Sachs investment analyst, but at her core she was always a coder.After about three years at Goldman Sachs, Cohen-Shohet left the world of traditional finance to code her way into starting her own company in 2016. "There was a period of time where I did nothing, but eat, sleep, and code for a few weeks," Cohen-Shohet told Insider. Her technical edge and knowledge of the point-of-sale payment space led her to launch a software company focused on providing behind-the-scenes tech for beauty and wellness small businesses.Cohen-Shohet launched GlossGenius in 2017 to provide payments tech for hair stylists, nail technicians, blow-out bars, and other small businesses in the space.Here's the 11-page deck GlossGenius, a startup that provides back-end tech for the beauty industry, used to raise $16 millionPrivate market data on the blockchainPat O'Meara, CEO of Inveniam.InveniamFor investors in publicly-traded stocks, there's typically no shortage of company data to guide investment decisions. Company financials are easily accessible and vetted by teams of regulators, lawyers, and accountants.But in the private markets — which encompass assets that range from real estate to private credit and private equity — that isn't always the case. Within real estate, for example, valuations of a specific slice of property are often the product of heavily-worked Excel models and a lot of institutional knowledge, leaving them susceptible to manual error at many points along the way.Inveniam, founded in 2017, is a software company that tokenizes the business data of private companies on the blockchain. Using a distributed ledger allows Inveniam to keep track of who is touching the data and what they are doing to it. Check out the 16-page pitch deck for Inveniam, a blockchain-based startup looking to be the Refinitiv of private-market dataHelping freelancers with their taxesJaideep Singh is the CEO and co-founder of FlyFin, an AI-driven tax preparation software program for freelancers.FlyFinSome people, particularly those with families or freelancing businesses, spend days searching for receipts for tax season, making tax preparation a time consuming and, at times, taxing experience. That's why in 2020 Jaideep Singh founded FlyFin, an artificial-intelligence tax preparation program for freelancers that helps people, as he puts it, "fly through their finances." FlyFin is set up to connect to a person's bank accounts, allowing the AI program to help users monitor for certain expenses that can be claimed on their taxes like business expenditures, the interest on mortgages, property taxes, or whatever else that might apply. "For most individuals, people have expenses distributed over multiple financial institutions. So we built an AI platform that is able to look at expenses, understand the individual, understand your profession, understand the freelance population at large, and start the categorization," Singh told Insider.Check out the 7-page pitch deck a startup helping freelancers manage their taxes used to nab $8 million in funding Shopify for embedded financeProductfy CEO and founder, Duy Vo.ProductfyProductfy is looking to break into embedded finance by becoming the Shopify of back-end banking services.Embedded finance — integrating banking services in non-financial settings — has taken hold in the e-commerce world. But Productfy is going after a different kind of customer in churches, universities, and nonprofits.The San Jose, Calif.-based upstart aims to help non-finance companies offer their own banking products. Productfy can help customers launch finance features in as little as a week and without additional engineering resources or background knowledge of banking compliance or legal requirements, Productfy founder and CEO Duy Vo told Insider. "You don't need an engineer to stand up Shopify, right? You can be someone who's just creating art and you can use Shopify to build your own online store," Vo said, adding that Productfy is looking to take that user experience and replicate it for banking services.Here's the 15-page pitch deck Productfy, a fintech looking to be the Shopify of embedded finance, used to nab a $16 million Series AReal-estate management made easyAgora founders Noam Kahan, CTO, Bar Mor, CEO, and Lior Dolinski, CPO.AgoraFor alternative asset managers of any type, the operations underpinning sales and investor communications are a crucial but often overlooked part of the business. Fund managers love to make bets on markets, not coordinate hundreds of wire transfers to clients each quarter or organize customer-relationship-management databases.Within the $10.6 trillion global market for professionally managed real-estate investing, that's where Tel Aviv and New York-based startup Agora hopes to make its mark.Founded in 2019, Agora offers a set of back-office, investor relations, and sales software tools that real-estate investment managers can plug into their workflows. On Wednesday, Agora announced a $9 million seed round, led by Israel-based venture firm Aleph, with participation from River Park Ventures and Maccabee Ventures. The funding comes on the heels of an October 2020 pre-seed fund raise worth $890,000, in which Maccabee also participated.Here's the 15-slide pitch deck that Agora, a startup helping real-estate investors manage communications and sales with their clients, used to raise a $9 million seed roundCheckout made easyBolt's Ryan Breslow.Ryan BreslowAmazon has long dominated e-commerce with its one-click checkout flows, offering easier ways for consumers to shop online than its small-business competitors.Bolt gives small merchants tools to offer the same easy checkouts so they can compete with the likes of Amazon.The startup raised its $393 million Series D to continue adding its one-click checkout feature to merchants' own websites in October.Bolt markets to merchants themselves. But a big part of Bolt's pitch is its growing network of consumers — currently over 5.6 million — that use its features across multiple Bolt merchant customers. Roughly 5% of Bolt's transactions were network-driven in May, meaning users that signed up for a Bolt account on another retailer's website used it elsewhere. The network effects were even more pronounced in verticals like furniture, where 49% of transactions were driven by the Bolt network."The network effect is now unleashed with Bolt in full fury, and that triggered the raise," Bolt's founder and CEO Ryan Breslow told Insider.Here's the 12-page deck that one-click checkout Bolt used to outline its network of 5.6 million consumers and raise its Series DHelping small banks lendCollateralEdge's Joel Radtke, cofounder, COO, and president, and Joe Beard, cofounder and CEO.CollateralEdgeFor large corporations with a track record of tapping the credit markets, taking out debt is a well-structured and clear process handled by the nation's biggest investment banks and teams of accountants. But smaller, middle-market companies — typically those with annual revenues ranging up to $1 billion — are typically served by regional and community banks that don't always have the capacity to adequately measure the risk of loans or price them competitively. Per the National Center for the Middle Market, 200,000 companies fall into this range, accounting for roughly 33% of US private sector GDP and employment.Dallas-based fintech CollateralEdge works with these banks — typically those with between $1 billion and $50 billion in assets — to help analyze and price slices of commercial and industrial loans that previously might have gone unserved by smaller lenders.On October 20th, CollateralEdge announced a $3.5 million seed round led by Dallas venture fund Perot Jain with participation from Kneeland Youngblood (a founder of the healthcare-focused private-equity firm Pharos Capital) and other individual investors.Here's the 10-page deck CollateralEdge, a fintech streamlining how small banks lend to businesses, used to raise a $3.5 million seed round Quantum computing made easyQC Ware CEO Matt Johnson.QC WareEven though banks and hedge funds are still several years out from adding quantum computing to their tech arsenals, that hasn't stopped Wall Street giants from investing time and money into the emerging technology class. And momentum for QC Ware, a startup looking to cut the time and resources it takes to use quantum computing, is accelerating. The fintech secured a $25 million Series B on September 29 co-led by Koch Disruptive Technologies and Covestro with participation from D.E. Shaw, Citi, and Samsung Ventures.QC Ware, founded in 2014, builds quantum algorithms for the likes of Goldman Sachs (which led the fintech's Series A), Airbus, and BMW Group. The algorithms, which are effectively code bases that include quantum processing elements, can run on any of the four main public-cloud providers.Quantum computing allows companies to do complex calculations faster than traditional computers by using a form of physics that runs on quantum bits as opposed to the traditional 1s and 0s that computers use. This is especially helpful in banking for risk analytics or algorithmic trading, where executing calculations milliseconds faster than the competition can give firms a leg up. Here's the 20-page deck QC Ware, a fintech making quantum computing more accessible, used to raised its $25 million Series BSimplifying quant modelsKirat Singh and Mark Higgins, Beacon's cofounders.BeaconA fintech that helps financial institutions use quantitative models to streamline their businesses and improve risk management is catching the attention, and capital, of some of the country's biggest investment managers.Beacon Platform, founded in 2014, is a fintech that builds applications and tools to help banks, asset managers, and trading firms quickly integrate quantitative models that can help with analyzing risk, ensuring compliance, and improving operational efficiency. The company raised its Series C on Wednesday, scoring a $56 million investment led by Warburg Pincus with support from Blackstone Innovations Investments, PIMCO, and Global Atlantic. Blackstone, PIMCO, and Global Atlantic are also users of Beacon's tech, as are the Commonwealth Bank of Australia and Shell New Energies, a division of Royal Dutch Shell, among others.The fintech provides a shortcut for firms looking to use quantitative modelling and data science across various aspects of their businesses, a process that can often take considerable resources if done solo.Here's the 20-page pitch deck Beacon, a fintech helping Wall Street better analyze risk and data, used to raise $56 million from Warburg Pincus, Blackstone, and PIMCOInvoice financing for SMBsStacey Abrams and Lara Hodgson, Now cofounders.NowAbout a decade ago, politician Stacey Abrams and entrepreneur Lara Hodgson were forced to fold their startup because of a kink in the supply chain — but not in the traditional sense.Nourish, which made spill-proof bottled water for children, had grown quickly from selling to small retailers to national ones. And while that may sound like a feather in the small business' cap, there was a hang-up."It was taking longer and longer to get paid, and as you can imagine, you deliver the product and then you wait and you wait, but meanwhile you have to pay your employees and you have to pay your vendors," Hodgson told Insider. "Waiting to get paid was constraining our ability to grow."While it's not unusual for small businesses to grapple with working capital issues, the dust was still settling from the Great Recession. Abrams and Hodgson couldn't secure a line of credit or use financing tools like factoring to solve their problem. The two entrepreneurs were forced to close Nourish in 2012, but along the way they recognized a disconnect in the system.  "Why are we the ones borrowing money, when in fact we're the lender here because every time you send an invoice to a customer, you've essentially extended a free loan to that customer by letting them pay later," Hodgson said. "And the only reason why we were going to need to possibly borrow money was because we had just given ours away for free to Whole Foods," she added.Check out the 7-page deck that Now, Stacey Abrams' fintech that wants to help small businesses 'grow fearlessly', used to raise $29 millionInsurance goes digitalJamie Hale, CEO and cofounder of Ladder.LadderFintechs looking to transform how insurance policies are underwritten, issued, and experienced by customers have grown as new technology driven by digital trends and artificial intelligence shape the market. And while verticals like auto, homeowner's, and renter's insurance have seen their fair share of innovation from forward-thinking fintechs, one company has taken on the massive life-insurance market. Founded in 2017, Ladder uses a tech-driven approach to offer life insurance with a digital, end-to-end service that it says is more flexible, faster, and cost-effective than incumbent players.Life, annuity, and accident and health insurance within the US comprise a big chunk of the broader market. In 2020, premiums written on those policies totaled some $767 billion, compared to $144 billion for auto policies and $97 billion for homeowner's insurance.Here's the 12-page deck that Ladder, a startup disrupting the 'crown jewel' of the insurance market, used to nab $100 millionEmbedded payments for SMBsThe Highnote team.HighnoteBranded cards have long been a way for merchants with the appropriate bank relationships to create additional revenue and build customer loyalty. The rise of embedded payments, or the ability to shop and pay in a seamless experience within a single app, has broadened the number of companies looking to launch branded cards.Highnote is a startup that helps small to mid-sized merchants roll out their own debit and pre-paid digital cards. The fintech emerged from stealth on Tuesday to announce it raised $54 million in seed and Series A funding.Here's the 12-page deck Highnote, a startup helping SMBs embed payments, used to raise $54 million in seed and Series A fundingAn alternative auto lenderDaniel Chu, CEO and founder of Tricolor.TricolorAn alternative auto lender that caters to thin- and no-credit Hispanic borrowers is planning a national expansion after scoring a $90 million investment from BlackRock-managed funds. Tricolor is a Dallas-based auto lender that is a community development financial institution. It uses a proprietary artificial-intelligence engine that decisions each customer based on more than 100 data points, such as proof of income. Half of Tricolor's customers have a FICO score, and less than 12% have scores above 650, yet the average customer has lived in the US for 15 years, according to the deck.A 2017 survey by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation found 31.5% of Hispanic households had no mainstream credit compared to 14.4% of white households. "For decades, the deck has been stacked against low income or credit invisible Hispanics in the United States when it comes to the purchase and financing of a used vehicle," Daniel Chu, founder and CEO of Tricolor, said in a statement announcing the raise.An auto lender that caters to underbanked Hispanics used this 25-page deck to raise $90 million from BlackRock investorsA new way to access credit The TomoCredit team.TomoCreditKristy Kim knows first-hand the challenge of obtaining credit in the US without an established credit history. Kim, who came to the US from South Korea, couldn't initially get access to credit despite having a job in investment banking after graduating college. "I was in my early twenties, I had a good income, my job was in investment banking but I could not get approved for anything," Kim told Insider. "Many young professionals like me, we deserve an opportunity to be considered but just because we didn't have a Fico, we weren't given a chance to even apply," she added.Kim started TomoCredit in 2018 to help others like herself gain access to consumer credit. TomoCredit spent three years building an internal algorithm to underwrite customers based on cash flow, rather than a credit score.TomoCredit, a fintech that lends to thin- and no-credit borrowers, used this 17-page pitch deck to raise its $10 million Series AAn IRA for alternativesHenry Yoshida is the co-founder and CEO of retirement fintech startup Rocket Dollar.Rocket DollarFintech startup Rocket Dollar, which helps users invest their individual retirement account (IRA) dollars into alternative assets, just raised $8 million for its Series A round, the company announced on Thursday.Park West Asset Management led the round, with participation from investors including Hyphen Capital, which focuses on backing Asian American entrepreneurs, and crypto exchange Kraken's venture arm. Co-founded in 2018 by CEO Henry Yoshida, CTO Rick Dude, and VP of marketing Thomas Young, Rocket Dollar now has over $350 million in assets under management on its platform. Yoshida sold his first startup, a roboadvisor called Honest Dollar, to Goldman Sachs' investment management division for an estimated $20 million.Yoshida told Insider that while ultra-high net worth investors have been investing self-directed retirement account dollars into alternative assets like real estate, private equity, and cryptocurrency, average investors have not historically been able to access the same opportunities to invest IRA dollars in alternative assets through traditional platforms.Here's the 34-page pitch deck a fintech that helps users invest their retirement savings in crypto and real estate assets used to nab $8 millionConnecting startups and investorsHum Capital cofounder and CEO Blair Silverberg.Hum CapitalBlair Silverberg is no stranger to fundraising.For six years, Silverberg was a venture capitalist at Draper Fisher Jurvetson and Private Credit Investments making bets on startups."I was meeting with thousands of founders in person each year, watching them one at a time go through this friction where they're meeting a ton of investors, and the investors are all asking the same questions," Silverberg told Insider. He switched gears about three years ago, moving to the opposite side of the metaphorical table, to start Hum Capital, which uses artificial intelligence to match investors with startups looking to fundraise.On August 31, the New York-based fintech announced its $9 million Series A. The round was led by Future Ventures with participation from Webb Investment Network, Wavemaker Partners, and Partech. This 11-page pitch deck helped Hum Capital, a fintech using AI to match investors with startups, raise a $9 million Series A.Payments infrastructure for fintechsQolo CEO and co-founder Patricia Montesi.QoloThree years ago, Patricia Montesi realized there was a disconnect in the payments world. "A lot of new economy companies or fintech companies were looking to mesh up a lot of payment modalities that they weren't able to," Montesi, CEO and co-founder of Qolo, told Insider.Integrating various payment capabilities often meant tapping several different providers that had specializations in one product or service, she added, like debit card issuance or cross-border payments. "The way people were getting around that was that they were creating this spider web of fintech," she said, adding that "at the end of it all, they had this mess of suppliers and integrations and bank accounts."The 20-year payments veteran rounded up a group of three other co-founders — who together had more than a century of combined industry experience — to start Qolo, a business-to-business fintech that sought out to bundle back-end payment rails for other fintechs.Here's the 11-slide pitch deck a startup that provides payments infrastructure for other fintechs used to raise a $15 million Series ASoftware for managing freelancersWorksome cofounder and CEO Morten Petersen.WorksomeThe way people work has fundamentally changed over the past year, with more flexibility and many workers opting to freelance to maintain their work-from-home lifestyles.But managing a freelance or contractor workforce is often an administrative headache for employers. Worksome is a startup looking to eliminate all the extra work required for employers to adapt to more flexible working norms.Worksome started as a freelancer marketplace automating the process of matching qualified workers with the right jobs. But the team ultimately pivoted to a full suite of workforce management software, automating administrative burdens required to hire, pay, and account for contract workers.In May, Worksome closed a $13 million Series A backed by European angel investor Tommy Ahlers and Danish firm Lind & Risør.Here's the 21-slide pitch deck used by a startup that helps firms like Carlsberg and Deloitte manage freelancersPersonal finance is only a text awayYinon Ravid, the chief executive and cofounder of Albert.AlbertThe COVID-19 pandemic has underscored the growing preference of mobile banking as customers get comfortable managing their finances online.The financial app Albert has seen a similar jump in activity. Currently counting more than six million members, deposits in Albert's savings offering doubled from the start of the pandemic in March 2020 to May of this year, from $350 million to $700 million, according to new numbers released by the company. Founded in 2015, Albert offers automated budgeting and savings tools alongside guided investment portfolios. It's looked to differentiate itself through personalized features, like the ability for customers to text human financial experts.Budgeting and saving features are free on Albert. But for more tailored financial advice, customers pay a subscription fee that's a pay-what-you-can model, between $4 and $14 a month. And Albert's now banking on a new tool to bring together its investing, savings, and budgeting tools.Fintech Albert used this 10-page pitch deck to raise a $100 million Series C from General Atlantic and CapitalGRethinking debt collection Jason Saltzman, founder and CEO of ReliefReliefFor lenders, debt collection is largely automated. But for people who owe money on their credit cards, it can be a confusing and stressful process.  Relief is looking to change that. Its app automates the credit-card debt collection process for users, negotiating with lenders and collectors to settle outstanding balances on their behalf. The fintech just launched and closed a $2 million seed round led by Collaborative Ventures. Relief's fundraising experience was a bit different to most. Its pitch deck, which it shared with one investor via Google Slides, went viral. It set out to raise a $1 million seed round, but ended up doubling that and giving some investors money back to make room for others.Check out a 15-page pitch deck that went viral and helped a credit-card debt collection startup land a $2 million seed roundBlockchain for private-markets investing Carlos Domingo is cofounder and CEO of Securitize.SecuritizeSecuritize, founded in 2017 by the tech industry veterans Carlos Domingo and Jamie Finn, is bringing blockchain technology to private-markets investing. The company raised $48 million in Series B funding on June 21 from investors including Morgan Stanley and Blockchain Capital.Securitize helps companies crowdfund capital from individual and institutional investors by issuing their shares in the form of blockchain tokens that allow for more efficient settlement, record keeping, and compliance processes. Morgan Stanley's Tactical Value fund, which invests in private companies, made its first blockchain-technology investment when it coled the Series B, Securitize CEO Carlos Domingo told Insider.Here's the 11-page pitch deck a blockchain startup looking to revolutionize private-markets investing used to nab $48 million from investors like Morgan StanleyE-commerce focused business bankingMichael Rangel, cofounder and CEO, and Tyler McIntyre, cofounder and CTO of Novo.Kristelle Boulos PhotographyBusiness banking is a hot market in fintech. And it seems investors can't get enough.Novo, the digital banking fintech aimed at small e-commerce businesses, raised a $40.7 million Series A led by Valar Ventures in June. Since its launch in 2018, Novo has signed up 100,000 small businesses. Beyond bank accounts, it offers expense management, a corporate card, and integrates with e-commerce infrastructure players like Shopify, Stripe, and Wise.Founded in 2018, Novo was based in New York City, but has since moved its headquarters to Miami. Here's the 12-page pitch deck e-commerce banking startup Novo used to raise its $40 million Series ABlockchain-based credit score tech John Sun, Anna Fridman, and Adam Jiwan are the cofounders of fintech startup Spring Labs.Spring LabsA blockchain-based fintech startup that is aiming to disrupt the traditional model of evaluating peoples' creditworthiness recently raised $30 million in a Series B funding led by credit reporting giant TransUnion.Four-year-old Spring Labs aims to create a private, secure data-sharing model to help credit agencies better predict the creditworthiness of people who are not in the traditional credit bureau system. The founding team of three fintech veterans met as early employees of lending startup Avant.Existing investors GreatPoint Ventures and August Capital also joined in on the most recent round.  So far Spring Labs has raised $53 million from institutional rounds.TransUnion, a publicly-traded company with a $20 billion-plus market cap, is one of the three largest consumer credit agencies in the US. After 18 months of dialogue and six months of due diligence, TransAmerica and Spring Labs inked a deal, Spring Labs CEO and cofounder Adam Jiwan told Insider.Here's the 10-page pitch deck blockchain-based fintech Spring Labs used to snag $30 million from investors including credit reporting giant TransUnionDigital banking for freelancersJGalione/Getty ImagesLance is a new digital bank hoping to simplify the life of those workers by offering what it calls an "active" approach to business banking. "We found that every time we sat down with the existing tools and resources of our accountants and QuickBooks and spreadsheets, we just ended up getting tangled up in the whole experience of it," Lance cofounder and CEO Oona Rokyta told Insider. Lance offers subaccounts for personal salaries, withholdings, and savings to which freelancers can automatically allocate funds according to custom preset levels. It also offers an expense balance that's connected to automated tax withholdings.In May, Lance announced the closing of a $2.8 million seed round that saw participation from Barclays, BDMI, Great Oaks Capital, Imagination Capital, Techstars, DFJ Frontier, and others.Here's the 21-page pitch deck Lance, a digital bank for freelancers, used to raise a $2.8 million seed round from investors including BarclaysDigital tools for independent financial advisorsJason Wenk, founder and CEO of AltruistAltruistJason Wenk started his career at Morgan Stanley in investment research over 20 years ago. Now, he's running a company that is hoping to broaden access to financial advice for less-wealthy individuals. The startup raised $50 million in Series B funding led by Insight Partners with participation from investors Vanguard and Venrock. The round brings the Los Angeles-based startup's total funding to just under $67 million.Founded in 2018, Altruist is a digital brokerage built for independent financial advisors, intended to be an "all-in-one" platform that unites custodial functions, portfolio accounting, and a client-facing portal. It allows advisors to open accounts, invest, build models, report, trade (including fractional shares), and bill clients through an interface that can advisors time by eliminating mundane operational tasks.Altruist aims to make personalized financial advice less expensive, more efficient, and more inclusive through the platform, which is designed for registered investment advisors (RIAs), a growing segment of the wealth management industry. Here's the pitch deck for Altruist, a wealth tech challenging custodians Fidelity and Charles Schwab, that raised $50 million from Vanguard and InsightPayments and operations support HoneyBook cofounders Dror Shimoni, Oz Alon, and Naama Alon.HoneyBookWhile countless small businesses have been harmed by the pandemic, self-employment and entrepreneurship have found ways to blossom as Americans started new ventures.Half of the US population may be freelance by 2027, according to a study commissioned by remote-work hiring platform Upwork. HoneyBook, a fintech startup that provides payment and operations support for freelancers, in May raised $155 million in funding and achieved unicorn status with its $1 billion-plus valuation.Durable Capital Partners led the Series D funding with other new investors including renowned hedge fund Tiger Global, Battery Ventures, Zeev Ventures, and 01 Advisors. Citi Ventures, Citigroup's startup investment arm that also backs fintech robo-advisor Betterment, participated as an existing investor in the round alongside Norwest Venture partners. The latest round brings the company's fundraising total to $227 million to date.Here's the 21-page pitch deck a Citi-backed fintech for freelancers used to raise $155 million from investors like hedge fund Tiger GlobalFraud prevention for lenders and insurersFiordaliso/Getty ImagesOnboarding new customers with ease is key for any financial institution or retailer. The more friction you add, the more likely consumers are to abandon the entire process.But preventing fraud is also a priority, and that's where Neuro-ID comes in. The startup analyzes what it calls "digital body language," or, the way users scroll, type, and tap. Using that data, Neuro-ID can identify fraudulent users before they create an account. It's built for banks, lenders, insurers, and e-commerce players."The train has left the station for digital transformation, but there's a massive opportunity to try to replicate all those communications that we used to have when we did business in-person, all those tells that we would get verbally and non-verbally on whether or not someone was trustworthy," Neuro-ID CEO Jack Alton told Insider.Founded in 2014, the startup's pitch is twofold: Neuro-ID can save companies money by identifying fraud early, and help increase user conversion by making the onboarding process more seamless. In December Neuro-ID closed a $7 million Series A, co-led by Fin VC and TTV Capital, with participation from Canapi Ventures. With 30 employees, Neuro-ID is using the fresh funding to grow its team and create additional tools to be more self-serving for customers.Here's the 11-slide pitch deck a startup that analyzes consumers' digital behavior to fight fraud used to raise a $7 million Series AAI-powered tools to spot phony online reviews Saoud Khalifah, founder and CEO of Fakespot.FakespotMarketplaces like Amazon and eBay host millions of third-party sellers, and their algorithms will often boost items in search based on consumer sentiment, which is largely based on reviews. But many third-party sellers use fake reviews often bought from click farms to boost their items, some of which are counterfeit or misrepresented to consumers.That's where Fakespot comes in. With its Chrome extension, it warns users of sellers using potentially fake reviews to boost sales and can identify fraudulent sellers. Fakespot is currently compatible with Amazon, BestBuy, eBay, Sephora, Steam, and Walmart."There are promotional reviews written by humans and bot-generated reviews written by robots or review farms," Fakespot founder and CEO Saoud Khalifah told Insider. "Our AI system has been built to detect both categories with very high accuracy."Fakespot's AI learns via reviews data available on marketplace websites, and uses natural-language processing to identify if reviews are genuine. Fakespot also looks at things like whether the number of positive reviews are plausible given how long a seller has been active.Fakespot, a startup that helps shoppers detect robot-generated reviews and phony sellers on Amazon and Shopify, used this pitch deck to nab a $4 million Series ANew twists on digital bankingZach Bruhnke, cofounder and CEO of HMBradleyHMBradleyConsumers are getting used to the idea of branch-less banking, a trend that startup digital-only banks like Chime, N26, and Varo have benefited from. The majority of these fintechs target those who are underbanked, and rely on usage of their debit cards to make money off interchange. But fellow startup HMBradley has a different business model. "Our thesis going in was that we don't swipe our debit cards all that often, and we don't think the customer base that we're focusing on does either," Zach Bruhnke, cofounder and CEO of HMBradley, told Insider. "A lot of our customer base uses credit cards on a daily basis."Instead, the startup is aiming to build clientele with stable deposits. As a result, the bank is offering interest-rate tiers depending on how much a customer saves of their direct deposit.Notably, the rate tiers are dependent on the percentage of savings, not the net amount. "We'll pay you more when you save more of what comes in," Bruhnke said. "We didn't want to segment customers by how much money they had. So it was always going to be about a percentage of income. That was really important to us."Check out the 14-page pitch deck fintech HMBradley, a neobank offering interest rates as high as 3%, used to raise an $18.25 million Series ARead the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderDec 16th, 2021

NFTs are the early stage of a social network that doesn"t rely on ads or "poison marketplaces" to bring communities together, Solana co-founder Anatoly Yakovenko says

Solana co-founder Anatoly Yakovenko said he believes non-fungible tokens were at the beginning of their social network journey. Anatoly YakovenkoSolana Anatoly Yakovenko, who co-founded Solana, says NFTs are essentially self-monetizing social networks. Yakovenko said NFT communities did not rely on "poison marketplaces" to make money.  Experts have said NFT communities grow thanks in large part to word of mouth. Sign up here for our daily newsletter, 10 Things Before the Opening Bell. Non-fungible tokens might be all the rage right now, but they're in fact the early foundations the social networks of the future, according to Solana co-founder Anatoly Yakovenko.NFTs are often sold as part of a collection, or come as part of a play-to-earn gaming platform, linking up owners all over the world. The sense of community is built in from the get-go and requires no external involvement."I think these are the early starts of true web social networks that do not rely on ads for monetization that don't rely on Google or Facebook to function," Yakovenko told Insider in a recent interview. "They are purely these digital communities that can monetize/self monetize from their own content without the need of any of these external poison marketplaces," he said. Yakovenko is a long-time critic of some of the advertising and data-privacy strategies of larger social platforms such as Facebook or Google.Hype around the metaverse, a virtual reality where people can buy land, homes, luxury items that they pay for in cryptocurrency, helped make NFTs November's best performing digital assets.In the past week alone, a whopping $275.5 million worth of NFTs have been sold, according to Non Fungible data, thanks in part to rockstars' avatars hanging out in the likes of Decentraland or the Sandbox with those of ordinary people, as well as digital art sales from the Bored Ape Yacht Club and CryptoPunks NFT collections. Community-based NFTs often bring perks to their members too.The solana blockchain is a smaller rival to the ethereum network. It too can host decentralized finance applications, like smart contracts, as well as run NFTs, which are unique digital tokens that represent a real-world piece of content, such as artwork, music or video. Unlike cryptocurrencies, they can't be exchanged like for like, making them a kind of digital collector's item.Chainalysis, a blockchain analytics platform, says the success of NFTs is a result of "community and word of mouth growth". They certainly appeal to communities such as celebrity fan bases. K-pop idol band BTS, pop star Katy Perry, along with fashion houses Burberry and Louis Vuitton are just some of the names that have dived into the NFT space. TikTok, a video-sharing social media platform, launched its own NFT collection in October. Snoop Dog even has his own metaverse called the Snoopverse and a fan coughed up $450,000 for a plot of virtual land to be the rapper's neighbor. Even with all the glitz and glamour around NFTs, they're mainly something ordinary people will own. 80% of all NFT transfers between January and October this year involved people that spent less than $10,000 per transaction. "I am really excited to see an NFT community go from - 10,000 people to 100,000 and then a million and then 100 million - that's unbelievable, right?" Yakovenko said. "What does that look like when there's 100 million people that are all in - the same community that is driven by this digital content?" he said.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: smallbizSource: nytDec 12th, 2021

Check out 27 pitch decks that fintechs disrupting trading, banking, and lending used to raise millions

Looking for examples of real fintech pitch decks? Check out pitch decks that Qolo, Lance, and other startups used to raise money from VCs. Check out these pitch decks for examples of fintech founders sold their vision.Yulia Reznikov/Getty Images Insider has been tracking the next wave of hot new startups that are blending finance and tech.  Check out these pitch decks to see how fintech founders sold their vision. See more stories on Insider's business page. Fintech VC  funding hit a fresh quarterly record of $22.8 billion in the first three months of 2021, according to CB Insights data. While mega-rounds helped propel overall funding, new cash was spread across 614 deals. Insider has been tracking the next wave of hot new startups that are blending finance and tech. Check out these pitch decks to see how fintech founders are selling their vision and nabbing big bucks in the process. You'll see new financial tech geared at freelancers, fresh twists on digital banking, and innovation aimed at streamlining customer onboarding. Helping freelancers with their taxesJaideep Singh is the CEO and co-founder of FlyFin, an AI-driven tax preparation software program for freelancers.FlyFinSome people, particularly those with families or freelancing businesses, spend days searching for receipts for tax season, making tax preparation a time consuming and, at times, taxing experience. That's why in 2020 Jaideep Singh founded FlyFin, an artificial-intelligence tax preparation program for freelancers that helps people, as he puts it, "fly through their finances." FlyFin is set up to connect to a person's bank accounts, allowing the AI program to help users monitor for certain expenses that can be claimed on their taxes like business expenditures, the interest on mortgages, property taxes, or whatever else that might apply. "For most individuals, people have expenses distributed over multiple financial institutions. So we built an AI platform that is able to look at expenses, understand the individual, understand your profession, understand the freelance population at large, and start the categorization," Singh told Insider.Check out the 7-page pitch deck a startup helping freelancers manage their taxes used to nab $8 million in funding Shopify for embedded financeProductfy CEO and founder, Duy Vo.ProductfyProductfy is looking to break into embedded finance by becoming the Shopify of back-end banking services.Embedded finance — integrating banking services in non-financial settings — has taken hold in the e-commerce world. But Productfy is going after a different kind of customer in churches, universities, and nonprofits.The San Jose, Calif.-based upstart aims to help non-finance companies offer their own banking products. Productfy can help customers launch finance features in as little as a week and without additional engineering resources or background knowledge of banking compliance or legal requirements, Productfy founder and CEO Duy Vo told Insider. "You don't need an engineer to stand up Shopify, right? You can be someone who's just creating art and you can use Shopify to build your own online store," Vo said, adding that Productfy is looking to take that user experience and replicate it for banking services.Here's the 15-page pitch deck Productfy, a fintech looking to be the Shopify of embedded finance, used to nab a $16 million Series AReal-estate management made easyAgora founders Noam Kahan, CTO, Bar Mor, CEO, and Lior Dolinski, CPO.AgoraFor alternative asset managers of any type, the operations underpinning sales and investor communications are a crucial but often overlooked part of the business. Fund managers love to make bets on markets, not coordinate hundreds of wire transfers to clients each quarter or organize customer-relationship-management databases.Within the $10.6 trillion global market for professionally managed real-estate investing, that's where Tel Aviv and New York-based startup Agora hopes to make its mark.Founded in 2019, Agora offers a set of back-office, investor relations, and sales software tools that real-estate investment managers can plug into their workflows. On Wednesday, Agora announced a $9 million seed round, led by Israel-based venture firm Aleph, with participation from River Park Ventures and Maccabee Ventures. The funding comes on the heels of an October 2020 pre-seed fund raise worth $890,000, in which Maccabee also participated.Here's the 15-slide pitch deck that Agora, a startup helping real-estate investors manage communications and sales with their clients, used to raise a $9 million seed roundCheckout made easyBolt's Ryan Breslow.Ryan BreslowAmazon has long dominated e-commerce with its one-click checkout flows, offering easier ways for consumers to shop online than its small-business competitors.Bolt gives small merchants tools to offer the same easy checkouts so they can compete with the likes of Amazon.The startup raised its $393 million Series D to continue adding its one-click checkout feature to merchants' own websites in October.Bolt markets to merchants themselves. But a big part of Bolt's pitch is its growing network of consumers — currently over 5.6 million — that use its features across multiple Bolt merchant customers. Roughly 5% of Bolt's transactions were network-driven in May, meaning users that signed up for a Bolt account on another retailer's website used it elsewhere. The network effects were even more pronounced in verticals like furniture, where 49% of transactions were driven by the Bolt network."The network effect is now unleashed with Bolt in full fury, and that triggered the raise," Bolt's founder and CEO Ryan Breslow told Insider.Here's the 12-page deck that one-click checkout Bolt used to outline its network of 5.6 million consumers and raise its Series DHelping small banks lendCollateralEdge's Joel Radtke, cofounder, COO, and president, and Joe Beard, cofounder and CEO.CollateralEdgeFor large corporations with a track record of tapping the credit markets, taking out debt is a well-structured and clear process handled by the nation's biggest investment banks and teams of accountants. But smaller, middle-market companies — typically those with annual revenues ranging up to $1 billion — are typically served by regional and community banks that don't always have the capacity to adequately measure the risk of loans or price them competitively. Per the National Center for the Middle Market, 200,000 companies fall into this range, accounting for roughly 33% of US private sector GDP and employment.Dallas-based fintech CollateralEdge works with these banks — typically those with between $1 billion and $50 billion in assets — to help analyze and price slices of commercial and industrial loans that previously might have gone unserved by smaller lenders.On October 20th, CollateralEdge announced a $3.5 million seed round led by Dallas venture fund Perot Jain with participation from Kneeland Youngblood (a founder of the healthcare-focused private-equity firm Pharos Capital) and other individual investors.Here's the 10-page deck CollateralEdge, a fintech streamlining how small banks lend to businesses, used to raise a $3.5 million seed round Quantum computing made easyQC Ware CEO Matt Johnson.QC WareEven though banks and hedge funds are still several years out from adding quantum computing to their tech arsenals, that hasn't stopped Wall Street giants from investing time and money into the emerging technology class. And momentum for QC Ware, a startup looking to cut the time and resources it takes to use quantum computing, is accelerating. The fintech secured a $25 million Series B on September 29 co-led by Koch Disruptive Technologies and Covestro with participation from D.E. Shaw, Citi, and Samsung Ventures.QC Ware, founded in 2014, builds quantum algorithms for the likes of Goldman Sachs (which led the fintech's Series A), Airbus, and BMW Group. The algorithms, which are effectively code bases that include quantum processing elements, can run on any of the four main public-cloud providers.Quantum computing allows companies to do complex calculations faster than traditional computers by using a form of physics that runs on quantum bits as opposed to the traditional 1s and 0s that computers use. This is especially helpful in banking for risk analytics or algorithmic trading, where executing calculations milliseconds faster than the competition can give firms a leg up. Here's the 20-page deck QC Ware, a fintech making quantum computing more accessible, used to raised its $25 million Series BSimplifying quant modelsKirat Singh and Mark Higgins, Beacon's cofounders.BeaconA fintech that helps financial institutions use quantitative models to streamline their businesses and improve risk management is catching the attention, and capital, of some of the country's biggest investment managers.Beacon Platform, founded in 2014, is a fintech that builds applications and tools to help banks, asset managers, and trading firms quickly integrate quantitative models that can help with analyzing risk, ensuring compliance, and improving operational efficiency. The company raised its Series C on Wednesday, scoring a $56 million investment led by Warburg Pincus with support from Blackstone Innovations Investments, PIMCO, and Global Atlantic. Blackstone, PIMCO, and Global Atlantic are also users of Beacon's tech, as are the Commonwealth Bank of Australia and Shell New Energies, a division of Royal Dutch Shell, among others.The fintech provides a shortcut for firms looking to use quantitative modelling and data science across various aspects of their businesses, a process that can often take considerable resources if done solo.Here's the 20-page pitch deck Beacon, a fintech helping Wall Street better analyze risk and data, used to raise $56 million from Warburg Pincus, Blackstone, and PIMCOInvoice financing for SMBsStacey Abrams and Lara Hodgson, Now cofounders.NowAbout a decade ago, politician Stacey Abrams and entrepreneur Lara Hodgson were forced to fold their startup because of a kink in the supply chain — but not in the traditional sense.Nourish, which made spill-proof bottled water for children, had grown quickly from selling to small retailers to national ones. And while that may sound like a feather in the small business' cap, there was a hang-up."It was taking longer and longer to get paid, and as you can imagine, you deliver the product and then you wait and you wait, but meanwhile you have to pay your employees and you have to pay your vendors," Hodgson told Insider. "Waiting to get paid was constraining our ability to grow."While it's not unusual for small businesses to grapple with working capital issues, the dust was still settling from the Great Recession. Abrams and Hodgson couldn't secure a line of credit or use financing tools like factoring to solve their problem. The two entrepreneurs were forced to close Nourish in 2012, but along the way they recognized a disconnect in the system.  "Why are we the ones borrowing money, when in fact we're the lender here because every time you send an invoice to a customer, you've essentially extended a free loan to that customer by letting them pay later," Hodgson said. "And the only reason why we were going to need to possibly borrow money was because we had just given ours away for free to Whole Foods," she added.Check out the 7-page deck that Now, Stacey Abrams' fintech that wants to help small businesses 'grow fearlessly', used to raise $29 millionInsurance goes digitalJamie Hale, CEO and cofounder of Ladder.LadderFintechs looking to transform how insurance policies are underwritten, issued, and experienced by customers have grown as new technology driven by digital trends and artificial intelligence shape the market. And while verticals like auto, homeowner's, and renter's insurance have seen their fair share of innovation from forward-thinking fintechs, one company has taken on the massive life-insurance market. Founded in 2017, Ladder uses a tech-driven approach to offer life insurance with a digital, end-to-end service that it says is more flexible, faster, and cost-effective than incumbent players.Life, annuity, and accident and health insurance within the US comprise a big chunk of the broader market. In 2020, premiums written on those policies totaled some $767 billion, compared to $144 billion for auto policies and $97 billion for homeowner's insurance.Here's the 12-page deck that Ladder, a startup disrupting the 'crown jewel' of the insurance market, used to nab $100 millionEmbedded payments for SMBsThe Highnote team.HighnoteBranded cards have long been a way for merchants with the appropriate bank relationships to create additional revenue and build customer loyalty. The rise of embedded payments, or the ability to shop and pay in a seamless experience within a single app, has broadened the number of companies looking to launch branded cards.Highnote is a startup that helps small to mid-sized merchants roll out their own debit and pre-paid digital cards. The fintech emerged from stealth on Tuesday to announce it raised $54 million in seed and Series A funding.Here's the 12-page deck Highnote, a startup helping SMBs embed payments, used to raise $54 million in seed and Series A fundingAn alternative auto lenderDaniel Chu, CEO and founder of Tricolor.TricolorAn alternative auto lender that caters to thin- and no-credit Hispanic borrowers is planning a national expansion after scoring a $90 million investment from BlackRock-managed funds. Tricolor is a Dallas-based auto lender that is a community development financial institution. It uses a proprietary artificial-intelligence engine that decisions each customer based on more than 100 data points, such as proof of income. Half of Tricolor's customers have a FICO score, and less than 12% have scores above 650, yet the average customer has lived in the US for 15 years, according to the deck.A 2017 survey by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation found 31.5% of Hispanic households had no mainstream credit compared to 14.4% of white households. "For decades, the deck has been stacked against low income or credit invisible Hispanics in the United States when it comes to the purchase and financing of a used vehicle," Daniel Chu, founder and CEO of Tricolor, said in a statement announcing the raise.An auto lender that caters to underbanked Hispanics used this 25-page deck to raise $90 million from BlackRock investorsA new way to access credit The TomoCredit team.TomoCreditKristy Kim knows first-hand the challenge of obtaining credit in the US without an established credit history. Kim, who came to the US from South Korea, couldn't initially get access to credit despite having a job in investment banking after graduating college. "I was in my early twenties, I had a good income, my job was in investment banking but I could not get approved for anything," Kim told Insider. "Many young professionals like me, we deserve an opportunity to be considered but just because we didn't have a Fico, we weren't given a chance to even apply," she added.Kim started TomoCredit in 2018 to help others like herself gain access to consumer credit. TomoCredit spent three years building an internal algorithm to underwrite customers based on cash flow, rather than a credit score.TomoCredit, a fintech that lends to thin- and no-credit borrowers, used this 17-page pitch deck to raise its $10 million Series AAn IRA for alternativesHenry Yoshida is the co-founder and CEO of retirement fintech startup Rocket Dollar.Rocket DollarFintech startup Rocket Dollar, which helps users invest their individual retirement account (IRA) dollars into alternative assets, just raised $8 million for its Series A round, the company announced on Thursday.Park West Asset Management led the round, with participation from investors including Hyphen Capital, which focuses on backing Asian American entrepreneurs, and crypto exchange Kraken's venture arm. Co-founded in 2018 by CEO Henry Yoshida, CTO Rick Dude, and VP of marketing Thomas Young, Rocket Dollar now has over $350 million in assets under management on its platform. Yoshida sold his first startup, a roboadvisor called Honest Dollar, to Goldman Sachs' investment management division for an estimated $20 million.Yoshida told Insider that while ultra-high net worth investors have been investing self-directed retirement account dollars into alternative assets like real estate, private equity, and cryptocurrency, average investors have not historically been able to access the same opportunities to invest IRA dollars in alternative assets through traditional platforms.Here's the 34-page pitch deck a fintech that helps users invest their retirement savings in crypto and real estate assets used to nab $8 millionConnecting startups and investorsHum Capital cofounder and CEO Blair Silverberg.Hum CapitalBlair Silverberg is no stranger to fundraising.For six years, Silverberg was a venture capitalist at Draper Fisher Jurvetson and Private Credit Investments making bets on startups."I was meeting with thousands of founders in person each year, watching them one at a time go through this friction where they're meeting a ton of investors, and the investors are all asking the same questions," Silverberg told Insider. He switched gears about three years ago, moving to the opposite side of the metaphorical table, to start Hum Capital, which uses artificial intelligence to match investors with startups looking to fundraise.On August 31, the New York-based fintech announced its $9 million Series A. The round was led by Future Ventures with participation from Webb Investment Network, Wavemaker Partners, and Partech. This 11-page pitch deck helped Hum Capital, a fintech using AI to match investors with startups, raise a $9 million Series A.Payments infrastructure for fintechsQolo CEO and co-founder Patricia Montesi.QoloThree years ago, Patricia Montesi realized there was a disconnect in the payments world. "A lot of new economy companies or fintech companies were looking to mesh up a lot of payment modalities that they weren't able to," Montesi, CEO and co-founder of Qolo, told Insider.Integrating various payment capabilities often meant tapping several different providers that had specializations in one product or service, she added, like debit card issuance or cross-border payments. "The way people were getting around that was that they were creating this spider web of fintech," she said, adding that "at the end of it all, they had this mess of suppliers and integrations and bank accounts."The 20-year payments veteran rounded up a group of three other co-founders — who together had more than a century of combined industry experience — to start Qolo, a business-to-business fintech that sought out to bundle back-end payment rails for other fintechs.Here's the 11-slide pitch deck a startup that provides payments infrastructure for other fintechs used to raise a $15 million Series ASoftware for managing freelancersWorksome cofounder and CEO Morten Petersen.WorksomeThe way people work has fundamentally changed over the past year, with more flexibility and many workers opting to freelance to maintain their work-from-home lifestyles.But managing a freelance or contractor workforce is often an administrative headache for employers. Worksome is a startup looking to eliminate all the extra work required for employers to adapt to more flexible working norms.Worksome started as a freelancer marketplace automating the process of matching qualified workers with the right jobs. But the team ultimately pivoted to a full suite of workforce management software, automating administrative burdens required to hire, pay, and account for contract workers.In May, Worksome closed a $13 million Series A backed by European angel investor Tommy Ahlers and Danish firm Lind & Risør.Here's the 21-slide pitch deck used by a startup that helps firms like Carlsberg and Deloitte manage freelancersPersonal finance is only a text awayYinon Ravid, the chief executive and cofounder of Albert.AlbertThe COVID-19 pandemic has underscored the growing preference of mobile banking as customers get comfortable managing their finances online.The financial app Albert has seen a similar jump in activity. Currently counting more than six million members, deposits in Albert's savings offering doubled from the start of the pandemic in March 2020 to May of this year, from $350 million to $700 million, according to new numbers released by the company. Founded in 2015, Albert offers automated budgeting and savings tools alongside guided investment portfolios. It's looked to differentiate itself through personalized features, like the ability for customers to text human financial experts.Budgeting and saving features are free on Albert. But for more tailored financial advice, customers pay a subscription fee that's a pay-what-you-can model, between $4 and $14 a month. And Albert's now banking on a new tool to bring together its investing, savings, and budgeting tools.Fintech Albert used this 10-page pitch deck to raise a $100 million Series C from General Atlantic and CapitalGRethinking debt collection Jason Saltzman, founder and CEO of ReliefReliefFor lenders, debt collection is largely automated. But for people who owe money on their credit cards, it can be a confusing and stressful process.  Relief is looking to change that. Its app automates the credit-card debt collection process for users, negotiating with lenders and collectors to settle outstanding balances on their behalf. The fintech just launched and closed a $2 million seed round led by Collaborative Ventures. Relief's fundraising experience was a bit different to most. Its pitch deck, which it shared with one investor via Google Slides, went viral. It set out to raise a $1 million seed round, but ended up doubling that and giving some investors money back to make room for others.Check out a 15-page pitch deck that went viral and helped a credit-card debt collection startup land a $2 million seed roundBlockchain for private-markets investing Carlos Domingo is cofounder and CEO of Securitize.SecuritizeSecuritize, founded in 2017 by the tech industry veterans Carlos Domingo and Jamie Finn, is bringing blockchain technology to private-markets investing. The company raised $48 million in Series B funding on June 21 from investors including Morgan Stanley and Blockchain Capital.Securitize helps companies crowdfund capital from individual and institutional investors by issuing their shares in the form of blockchain tokens that allow for more efficient settlement, record keeping, and compliance processes. Morgan Stanley's Tactical Value fund, which invests in private companies, made its first blockchain-technology investment when it coled the Series B, Securitize CEO Carlos Domingo told Insider.Here's the 11-page pitch deck a blockchain startup looking to revolutionize private-markets investing used to nab $48 million from investors like Morgan StanleyE-commerce focused business bankingMichael Rangel, cofounder and CEO, and Tyler McIntyre, cofounder and CTO of Novo.Kristelle Boulos PhotographyBusiness banking is a hot market in fintech. And it seems investors can't get enough.Novo, the digital banking fintech aimed at small e-commerce businesses, raised a $40.7 million Series A led by Valar Ventures in June. Since its launch in 2018, Novo has signed up 100,000 small businesses. Beyond bank accounts, it offers expense management, a corporate card, and integrates with e-commerce infrastructure players like Shopify, Stripe, and Wise.Founded in 2018, Novo was based in New York City, but has since moved its headquarters to Miami. Here's the 12-page pitch deck e-commerce banking startup Novo used to raise its $40 million Series ABlockchain-based credit score tech John Sun, Anna Fridman, and Adam Jiwan are the cofounders of fintech startup Spring Labs.Spring LabsA blockchain-based fintech startup that is aiming to disrupt the traditional model of evaluating peoples' creditworthiness recently raised $30 million in a Series B funding led by credit reporting giant TransUnion.Four-year-old Spring Labs aims to create a private, secure data-sharing model to help credit agencies better predict the creditworthiness of people who are not in the traditional credit bureau system. The founding team of three fintech veterans met as early employees of lending startup Avant.Existing investors GreatPoint Ventures and August Capital also joined in on the most recent round.  So far Spring Labs has raised $53 million from institutional rounds.TransUnion, a publicly-traded company with a $20 billion-plus market cap, is one of the three largest consumer credit agencies in the US. After 18 months of dialogue and six months of due diligence, TransAmerica and Spring Labs inked a deal, Spring Labs CEO and cofounder Adam Jiwan told Insider.Here's the 10-page pitch deck blockchain-based fintech Spring Labs used to snag $30 million from investors including credit reporting giant TransUnionDigital banking for freelancersJGalione/Getty ImagesLance is a new digital bank hoping to simplify the life of those workers by offering what it calls an "active" approach to business banking. "We found that every time we sat down with the existing tools and resources of our accountants and QuickBooks and spreadsheets, we just ended up getting tangled up in the whole experience of it," Lance cofounder and CEO Oona Rokyta told Insider. Lance offers subaccounts for personal salaries, withholdings, and savings to which freelancers can automatically allocate funds according to custom preset levels. It also offers an expense balance that's connected to automated tax withholdings.In May, Lance announced the closing of a $2.8 million seed round that saw participation from Barclays, BDMI, Great Oaks Capital, Imagination Capital, Techstars, DFJ Frontier, and others.Here's the 21-page pitch deck Lance, a digital bank for freelancers, used to raise a $2.8 million seed round from investors including BarclaysDigital tools for independent financial advisorsJason Wenk, founder and CEO of AltruistAltruistJason Wenk started his career at Morgan Stanley in investment research over 20 years ago. Now, he's running a company that is hoping to broaden access to financial advice for less-wealthy individuals. The startup raised $50 million in Series B funding led by Insight Partners with participation from investors Vanguard and Venrock. The round brings the Los Angeles-based startup's total funding to just under $67 million.Founded in 2018, Altruist is a digital brokerage built for independent financial advisors, intended to be an "all-in-one" platform that unites custodial functions, portfolio accounting, and a client-facing portal. It allows advisors to open accounts, invest, build models, report, trade (including fractional shares), and bill clients through an interface that can advisors time by eliminating mundane operational tasks.Altruist aims to make personalized financial advice less expensive, more efficient, and more inclusive through the platform, which is designed for registered investment advisors (RIAs), a growing segment of the wealth management industry. Here's the pitch deck for Altruist, a wealth tech challenging custodians Fidelity and Charles Schwab, that raised $50 million from Vanguard and InsightPayments and operations support HoneyBook cofounders Dror Shimoni, Oz Alon, and Naama Alon.HoneyBookWhile countless small businesses have been harmed by the pandemic, self-employment and entrepreneurship have found ways to blossom as Americans started new ventures.Half of the US population may be freelance by 2027, according to a study commissioned by remote-work hiring platform Upwork. HoneyBook, a fintech startup that provides payment and operations support for freelancers, in May raised $155 million in funding and achieved unicorn status with its $1 billion-plus valuation.Durable Capital Partners led the Series D funding with other new investors including renowned hedge fund Tiger Global, Battery Ventures, Zeev Ventures, and 01 Advisors. Citi Ventures, Citigroup's startup investment arm that also backs fintech robo-advisor Betterment, participated as an existing investor in the round alongside Norwest Venture partners. The latest round brings the company's fundraising total to $227 million to date.Here's the 21-page pitch deck a Citi-backed fintech for freelancers used to raise $155 million from investors like hedge fund Tiger GlobalFraud prevention for lenders and insurersFiordaliso/Getty ImagesOnboarding new customers with ease is key for any financial institution or retailer. The more friction you add, the more likely consumers are to abandon the entire process.But preventing fraud is also a priority, and that's where Neuro-ID comes in. The startup analyzes what it calls "digital body language," or, the way users scroll, type, and tap. Using that data, Neuro-ID can identify fraudulent users before they create an account. It's built for banks, lenders, insurers, and e-commerce players."The train has left the station for digital transformation, but there's a massive opportunity to try to replicate all those communications that we used to have when we did business in-person, all those tells that we would get verbally and non-verbally on whether or not someone was trustworthy," Neuro-ID CEO Jack Alton told Insider.Founded in 2014, the startup's pitch is twofold: Neuro-ID can save companies money by identifying fraud early, and help increase user conversion by making the onboarding process more seamless. In December Neuro-ID closed a $7 million Series A, co-led by Fin VC and TTV Capital, with participation from Canapi Ventures. With 30 employees, Neuro-ID is using the fresh funding to grow its team and create additional tools to be more self-serving for customers.Here's the 11-slide pitch deck a startup that analyzes consumers' digital behavior to fight fraud used to raise a $7 million Series AAI-powered tools to spot phony online reviews Saoud Khalifah, founder and CEO of Fakespot.FakespotMarketplaces like Amazon and eBay host millions of third-party sellers, and their algorithms will often boost items in search based on consumer sentiment, which is largely based on reviews. But many third-party sellers use fake reviews often bought from click farms to boost their items, some of which are counterfeit or misrepresented to consumers.That's where Fakespot comes in. With its Chrome extension, it warns users of sellers using potentially fake reviews to boost sales and can identify fraudulent sellers. Fakespot is currently compatible with Amazon, BestBuy, eBay, Sephora, Steam, and Walmart."There are promotional reviews written by humans and bot-generated reviews written by robots or review farms," Fakespot founder and CEO Saoud Khalifah told Insider. "Our AI system has been built to detect both categories with very high accuracy."Fakespot's AI learns via reviews data available on marketplace websites, and uses natural-language processing to identify if reviews are genuine. Fakespot also looks at things like whether the number of positive reviews are plausible given how long a seller has been active.Fakespot, a startup that helps shoppers detect robot-generated reviews and phony sellers on Amazon and Shopify, used this pitch deck to nab a $4 million Series ANew twists on digital bankingZach Bruhnke, cofounder and CEO of HMBradleyHMBradleyConsumers are getting used to the idea of branch-less banking, a trend that startup digital-only banks like Chime, N26, and Varo have benefited from. The majority of these fintechs target those who are underbanked, and rely on usage of their debit cards to make money off interchange. But fellow startup HMBradley has a different business model. "Our thesis going in was that we don't swipe our debit cards all that often, and we don't think the customer base that we're focusing on does either," Zach Bruhnke, cofounder and CEO of HMBradley, told Insider. "A lot of our customer base uses credit cards on a daily basis."Instead, the startup is aiming to build clientele with stable deposits. As a result, the bank is offering interest-rate tiers depending on how much a customer saves of their direct deposit.Notably, the rate tiers are dependent on the percentage of savings, not the net amount. "We'll pay you more when you save more of what comes in," Bruhnke said. "We didn't want to segment customers by how much money they had. So it was always going to be about a percentage of income. That was really important to us."Check out the 14-page pitch deck fintech HMBradley, a neobank offering interest rates as high as 3%, used to raise an $18.25 million Series ARead the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderDec 10th, 2021

84 great gifts for your girlfriend no matter her interests, from astrology jewelry to an REI co-op membership

We rounded up 84 thoughtful gifts to give your girlfriend, from keepsake jewelry under $100 to helpful tech and fitness accessories. Prices are accurate at the time of publication.When you buy through our links, Insider may earn an affiliate commission. Learn more.Gift your girlfriend a thoughtful, custom keepsake.Framebridge Giving your girlfriend a meaningful gift doesn't have to require hours of research. Below is a list of thoughtful gifts for your girlfriend, from accessories and tech to home decor. Still looking for gifts? Find more gift guides broken down by interest, budget, and occasion here. Giving gifts as a couple can be a lot of fun. You know your partner: What they love, what rituals they enjoy, what small daily annoyances you could possibly solve with a thoughtful gift. You also know how much they'll appreciate the gift when it comes from you.Odds are you want to give them something wonderful — whatever your price range is. All most of us need is a little direction and a few great options to pick from, so we put together a list of our favorite gift ideas for girlfriends of all personalities and interests to help guide you.Check out all 84 gifts for your girlfriend:This list includes a Sponsored Product that has been suggested by Vuori. It also meets our editorial criteria in terms of quality and value.*The best Apple Watch we've triedAppleApple Watch Series 7, available on Amazon and Apple, from $379If you're looking for a great gift and not concerned about staying in an under-$200 budget, we'd recommend the Apple Watch Series 7.Currently, we think it's the best Apple Watch. The Series 7 can charge up to 80% in 45 minutes, and it's the most advanced version with features such as blood oxygen saturation measuring and an electrocardiogram scanner to detect abnormalities in the heart's rhythm. Earrings made with her birthstoneMejuriAmethyst Flat Sphere Studs, available on Mejuri, $180If your girlfriend wears jewelry, birthstone earrings that she can keep forever are a thoughtful, personalized gift she'll wear often.  Delicious sweets from a famous NYC bakeryMilk BarMilk Bar Treats, from $22If your girlfriend has a sweet tooth, send her Milk Bar — the company delivers its iconic and decadent cakes, cookies, and truffles to her doorstep.A pass to get into a bunch of boutique fitness classesClasspassClassPass Gift Card, from $15Boutique fitness classes are expensive, which can make trying new workouts — either for variety or to figure out what we like — less appealing. ClassPass solves both issues. It's relatively affordable, and members can access a neverending catalog of great workouts with small class sizes. If your partner is getting back into fitness after over a year of at-home workouts, we'd highly recommend a gift card here for whenever they're ready to use it.Leggings fit for workouts and lounge sessionsVuoriVuori Daily Legging, from $50Vuori is known for its smooth, soft fabrics and flattering fits — and the Daily Legging is no exception. Combining the leisure and comfort of a jogger with the function and stretch of a legging, your girlfriend can wear these for both workouts and weekend lounging. *Sponsored by VuoriA disposable camera that doesn't take you out of the momentGamesgamer024 The gamer/YouTubeDisposable camera, $42.49Interested in preserving memories without taking yourself out of them? A good disposable camera or a film camera can take the pressure away from perfection so you and your girlfriend can focus on just savoring experiences together.The best electric toothbrushColgateElectric toothbrush, $39.99If your girlfriend is more interested in gifts she needs as well as wants, an electric toothbrush is a good option. We've tested our fair share of electric toothbrushes, and we think Colgate's Hum is the best value. It cleans thoroughly and offers advanced features and modern design for $70 — which is considerably more affordable than options with fancy features you may not use enough. A planned trip for the two of you to take togetherAirbnbAirbnb Gift Card, available at Airbnb, from $25If you want to gift an experience you and your girlfriend can enjoy together, grab a card, a gift card to Airbnb, and come up with a few location ideas to choose from. You can also book a hotel in your city on Booking.com or Expedia for a sweet staycation. *This gift can be saved and used at a later date.A versatile Exercise DressOutdoor VoicesThe Exercise Dress, available on Outdoor Voices, $100Given the popularity of the Exercise Dress, we wouldn't be surprised if this was on your girlfriend's wish list. The Exercise Dress is comfortable, versatile, and cute — which has made it a cult-favorite item. If she's a fan of dresses, outdoor voices, or clothes she can wear all day long, this may be a good option. Her favorite specialty food straight from the sourceGoldbelly/InstagramOrder her favorite specialty foods using Goldbelly, from $28Goldbelly makes it possible to satisfy your girlfriend's most specific and nostalgic cravings no matter where they live in the US — a cheesecake from Junior's, deep dish pizza from Lou Malnati, and more. Browse the iconic gifts section for inspiration. A streaming bundle that checks off all the boxesHulu/Disney+/ESPN+/Business InsiderHulu, Disney+ ESPN+ Bundle, available at Disney+, ESPN+, and Hulu, from $13.99 per monthIf canceled sporting events or trips to Disney have you feeling down, you can gift Disney+, ESPN, and Hulu together to ensure the next few months include plenty of entertainment options. If your partner is not too fond of ads, this bundle can also be purchased with the ad-free version of Hulu.A small skincare tool that removes 99.5% of dirt, oil, and makeup residueAmazonForeo Luna Play Plus 2, available at Foreo, $59In the category of things your girlfriend may love but hasn't asked for yet: Foreo facial brushes. Our team swears by these gentle yet effective cleansing devices. They have hygienic silicone bristles and come in five different models for different skin types. The Luna is small enough to bring on the go, so your partner can maintain their skincare routine while traveling. A thoughtful book she'll loveAmazon"Tiny Beautiful Things: Advice on Love and Life from Dear Sugar" by Cheryl Strayed, available on Amazon, $12.42Pick up one of your all-time favorite books that you think she'd like, or browse some of the books we love to gift. This collection of Dear Sugar advice columns is a heartfelt favorite. Its topics are diverse, its letters to Dear Sugar are intimate and relatable, and Cheryl Strayed's responses are both witty and extraordinarily compassionate.A membership to a huge outdoor co-opREIREI Co-Op Lifetime Membership, $20, available at REIAn REI membership offers a lifetime of benefits for a one-time purchase. That includes 10%-back dividends, special offers, access to in-store REI Garage sales, and special pricing on REI classes and events. If your girlfriend loves the outdoors, this is an option she can enjoy solo and with you. A Dutch oven to elevate their bread gameLodge mfgEnameled Cast Iron Dutch Oven, available at Walmart, $79.90Did your girlfriend get into baking bread and, miraculously, stay committed to it? If so, a really nice Dutch oven can help elevate her experience. You can get something great for under $100, or you can splurge on a beautiful Le Creuset. Other meaningful upgrades include a cooling rack, according to the famous baker Apollonia Poilâne.A subscription that sends her a six-month world tour of teasAtlas Tea ClubAtlas Tea Club 6 Month Subscription, available on Atlas Tea Club, $94This subscription sends your girlfriend single-origin teas from the best tea-growing regions in the world for six months. She'll get two delicious options sent to her home each month.Festive matching underwear from one of the internet's favorite startupsMeUndiesMatching Underwear, available at MeUndies, $42Get yourself and your girlfriend festive matching underwear — which also happen to be some of the most comfortable pairs we've ever found. MeUndies gives you the options to create your own personalized set — two styles listed for women, two styles listed for men, a mix, and whichever length or cut you and your partner prefer. A standing desk for a home office upgradeFullyJarvis Bamboo Standing Desk, available at Fully, from $569If she's working from home, your girlfriend might love a home office upgrade the most. We ranked the Fully Jarvis the best standing desk; it provides the right blend of features and reliable performance. Its customizations for style, height, and accessories make it adaptable to pretty much any need. A framed keepsake of a favorite memoryFramebridgeFramed photo, available at Framebridge, from $45Gift Card, available at Framebridge, from $25Framebridge makes custom framing a bit more affordable. You can print or paint something on your own and have it framed, or have them print and frame it, and you can take advantage of the team of designers for help deciding what frame to get. The best socks she'll ever wearBombasBombas Women's Performance Running Ankle Sock 3-Pack, $49.50Bombas makes the best socks we've ever tried, and they're a gift we find ourselves giving every year to loved ones. They're lightweight, moisture-wicking, and built to circumvent annoyances like uncomfortable seams and heel slipping.A powerful, customizable massage gunTheragunTheragun PRO, available at Therabody, $599This is the best massage gun we've tested — though it's also on the higher end of what you would expect to pay. We loved it in part due to its two-year warranty, adjustable massage arm, customizable speeds, 60 lbs of no-stall force, six different heads, an extra battery, and how easy it is to use. If you can't give your girlfriend an unlimited pass to professional massages, this is a nice in-between option. A nice gold vermeil and sapphire zodiac sign necklaceMejuriAquarius Necklace, available at Mejuri, $395Mejuri is a Canadian startup created in 2015 to make fine jewelry affordable to buy — and it has racked up waitlists with more than 40,000 people before. Their popular Zodiac Necklace is cool, minimalist, and something she can wear every day. It's made in gold vermeil with AAA quality white sapphires. Mejuri's affordable pricing means the estimated traditional retail price of the same necklace elsewhere would be closer to $235.  The best bathrobe that money can buySnoweBathrobe, available at Snowe, $100Snowe's unisex bathrobe has been called the best and most absorbent terry robe on the market, and I'm just one more fervent believer. The cotton fiber traps air for extra absorbency and is soft and plush, and the unisex sizing means it will feel like a blanket-turned-robe. Perfect functionality, and extra points for coziness.A tracker for finding cell phones and wallets quicklyAmazonTile Pro, available at Amazon, $34.99When your girlfriend can't find her phone, all she has to do is click the Tile button to make her phone ring, even if it's on silent. We've found them especially useful lately. A monogrammed jewelry case from a minimalist fashion startupCuyanaLeather Jewelry Case, available at Cuyana, $85 (+ $15 for monogram)Keeping track of tiny and delicate jewelry is difficult — but jewelry cases are a pretty and useful solution. This is a thoughtful and personalized gift, especially if you've gotten your girlfriend jewelry in the past, or plan to in the future. It's made from premium leather, comes in many colors, and can be monogrammed with her initials. Cuyana is a cool leather bag startup she may have already heard of. A pair of blue light-blocking glasses that look good enough to wear outside of the houseFelix GrayFaraday Glasses, available at Felix Gray, from $95If she's ever complained about strain from constant screens, you can help mitigate it with a pair of blue-light-blocking glasses. They might even help with sleep.The convenience of Apple AirPodsHollis Johnson/Business InsiderApple AirPods, available at Best Buy, $119.99When it comes to convenience, truly wireless earbuds are the best. And Apple's AirPods are very popular with iPhone and Android users alike. They look subtle compared to other bigger options, and they're easy to use. For the latest option, you can pick up AirPods Pro for $189.99. A 215-piece art kit for creative projectsAmazonArt 101 215-Piece Wood Art Set, available at Amazon, $49.34If your girlfriend loves to create art, this 215-Piece art kit includes everything she'll need for projects: crayons, colored pencils, oil pastels, fine line markers, watercolor cakes, and acrylic paint.A year-long MasterClass membership to learn about things she's passionate aboutMasterClassAnnual Membership, available at MasterClass, from $180/yearIf your dinner table conversations often include talk of photography, or tennis, or screenwriting, or another passion, consider getting your girlfriend a gift that helps her spend time with her hobbies. We love MasterClass because it kind of feels like entertainment. Classes are short, there's no homework, and she can listen to the audio like its a podcast or watch the videos. The site hosts classes taught by well-known celebrities and industry leaders — from Neil deGrasse Tyson teaching Scientific Thinking and Communication to Malcolm Gladwell on Writing, Shonda Rhimes on Writing for Television, and Bob Iger on Business Strategy and Leadership. You can read our full review here.A one-size-fits-all lid that instantly declutters the cabinetsMade InSilicone Universal Lid Kit, available at Made In, $59This was one of the gifts that professional chefs recommended to us for avid home cooks. If your girlfriend loves to cook and has a plethora of differently sized pots and pans with all the corresponding lids, having one universal lid can declutter and streamline their space in one move. A convenient phone sanitizerPhoneSoapPhoneSoap 3 Smartphone UV Sanitizer, available at PhoneSoap, $79.95This small, easy-to-use device uses UV-C light to sanitize a phone, killing 99.9% of common household germs.A bottle (or two) of wineMcBride SistersMcBride Sisters Black Girl Magic Wine, starting at $19.99As the largest black-owned wine company in the United States, the McBride Sisters Collection is the perfect place to find a wine gift for your girlfriend. The Black Girl Magic collection in particular is inspired by the resilience of black women and includes varieties from Rosé to Merlot. The new Sonos Move portable speakerAmazonSonos Move, available at Best Buy, $399.99The Sonos Move is one of the best speakers on the market. It's powerful, can be controlled by voice or an app, and has Amazon Alexa built-in so on WiFi you can play music, check the news, set alarms, get your questions answered, and more, without much effort.A stylish, savvy carry-on with an external battery packAwayCarry-On, available at Away, from $225Away's hyper-popular suitcases deserve their hype. Their hard shell is lightweight but durable, their 360° spinner wheels make for seamless traveling, and the external (and ejectable and TSA-compliant) battery pack included can charge a smartphone five times over so she never has to sit behind a trash can at the airport for access to an outlet again. It's also guaranteed for life by Away. Find our full review here.16 highly-rated sheet masksAmazon/Business InsiderSheet Mask Set, available at Amazon, $22.99Grab 39 sheet masks to make it easier for your girlfriend to have a frequent and well-deserved "treat yourself" day. These are highly-rated and have both vitamin E and collagen included for healthy, happy skin.   A weighted blanket for better restAmazonYnM Weighted Blanket, available at YnM, from $49.80Weighted blankets help create more restful sleep by "grounding" the body, and YnM makes some of the most popular and affordable weighted blankets on the internet. There are multiple sizes and weights for the ideal fit and width (they recommend picking whichever is about 10% of your body weight), and the segmented design allows you to move around without displacing all the weighted beads inside. A mini multipurpose toolAmazonMini Multitool Knife 12 in 1, available on Amazon, $9.99This lightweight multitool has a knife, pliers, screwdrivers, wire cutters, scissors, and a bottle opener — so it's nine times as many opportunities for being useful as your average gift. A sleek fitness tracker that includes heart rate monitoringFitbitFitbit Inspire 2, available at Best Buy, $69.95Fitbit's affordable Inspire 2 tracker has no shortage of useful features to keep someone informed about their physical activity — tracking calorie burn, resting heart rate, and heart rate zones.An 8-in-1 pan that helps to declutter your homeOur PlaceAlways Pan, available at Our Place, $145If you're spending more time at home cooking together — or re-organizing the kitchen — she may appreciate a good 8-in-1 cookware hack.The Always Pan from startup Our Place is a frying pan, saute pan, steamer, skillet, saucier, saucepan, non-stick pan, spatula, and spoon rest in the space of a single pan. In other words, a clever generalist that's extremely convenient for small spaces or minimalist cooks. You can read our review here.A video message from someone she loves almost as much as youCameo/Business InsiderCameo Video Messages, available at Cameo, from $15Whether it's your girlfriend's favorite actor, comedian, or athlete, you're likely to find someone she admires on Cameo. Cameo allows celebrities to send custom video messages to recipients for nearly any occasion, and a personalized video is a gift that she'll never forget. Personalized cartoon couple mugsShelley KleinPersonalized Family Mugs, available at Uncommon Goods, from $30These cute mugs can be personalized for what you're like as a couple, making for a special weekend morning coffee routine or just a nice reminder in the kitchen cabinet. On the back, you can add a family name and the year the couple was established if you'd like. Silky, breathable leggingsEverlaneEverlane Leggings, $68Everlane's Perform Leggings are some of our all-time favorites — they're breathable and silky, like a slightly less expensive version of Alo leggings. You can read a full review of the Everlane Perform Leggings and see pictures of them here.Beautiful candles from a cool startupOtherlandOtherland Candles, available at Otherland, $36Otherland is a candle company started by Abigail Cook Stone, a former art buyer for Ralph Lauren. If you want to give your girlfriend a candle that burns for 55 hours, looks beautiful, and comes from a startup that she's probably seen (or coveted) before, this is a great option. Find our full review here.The last weekend bag you'll ever need to buy herRothy'sRothy's The Weekender, available at Rothy's, $550With its large, padded top handles and roomy interior, Rothy's The Weekender might be the last overnight bag your partner ever needs. It's got multiple pockets and a sturdy insert that helps it maintain its shape. You'll be shocked by how much you can fit in this bag — definitely enough for a long weekend. It's made of recycled plastic pulled from the ocean and is machine washable.  The "world's most comfortable shoes"AllbirdsWomen's Wool Runners, available at Allbirds, $98The classic Wool Runners make a great gift for the uninitiated, though we'd also highly recommend the brand's casual cup sole Wool Piper for everyday wear if that's more your partner's style. You can find our full review of the Runners here, and the Wool Pipers here.A customized map of her favorite placeGrafomapCustom Map Poster, available at Grafomap, from $49Grafomap lets you design custom maps of anywhere in the world — like the first place you met, the best trip you ever took together, or the hometown she couldn't wait to show you. It's unique, thoughtful, and pretty inexpensive.  You can find our full review here.A gift card to a popular wine subscription clubWincGift Card, available at Winc, from $29.95Winc is a personalized wine club — and we think it's the best one you can belong to overall. Members take a wine palate profile quiz and then choose from the personalized wine suggestions. Each bottle has extensive tasting notes and serving recommendations online, and makes it easy to discover similar bottles. Gift her a Winc gift card, and she can take a wine palate profile quiz and get started with her own customized suggestions. An exercise bike for staying active indoorsNordicTrackCommercial S22i Studio Cycle, available at NordicTrack, $1,499If money is of no object and your partner is trying to figure out how to exercise while staying indoors, an exercise bike is a particularly thoughtful and useful gift right now. We like the NordicTrack option the most overall, but we also like and recommend options that are under $200. A large print on fine art paper of a favorite memoryArtifact Uprising/Business InsiderLarge Format Prints, available at Artifact Uprising, from $22Artifact Uprising makes luxury prints at accessible prices — and they make especially thoughtful gifts that look like they should cost much more. Get one of their favorite photos printed on archival fine art paper for $20 and up, or thoughtful cards for as little as $1 per custom card. You can also make a color series photo book for $22, a set of prints for $9, and a personalized calendar on a handcrafted wood clipboard for $30.A mug that keeps hot drinks hot for up to six hours straightHydro FlaskHydro Flask Mug, 12 oz, available at Hydro Flask, from $24.95This mug is a common desk companion for the Insider Reviews team. The 12-ounce coffee mug has the company's proprietary TempShield insulation that made its water bottles famous. This mug will keep hot drinks hot for up to six hours, and cold drinks cold up to 24 hours. Read our full review of it here.A gift card for delicious, healthy meals she can make in about 30 secondsDaily HarvestGift Card, available at Daily Harvest, from $50Daily Harvest is a food startup that makes it possible to eat healthy, delicious meals for less than $10 each even if you only have 30 seconds to spare for prep time. Meals are pre-portioned, delicious, and designed by both a chef and a nutritionist to make sure they're tasty and good for you. It addressed most of my healthy eating roadblocks. The best hair dryer ever inventedDyson/FacebookDyson Blow Dryer, available at Ulta, $399.99This gift may seem inexplicably expensive, but the Dyson blow dryer is lauded as the best one ever invented, making it a cult favorite. It prevents hair damage by measuring air temperature 20 times per second, has a specially designed Dyson motor for fast drying, and reduces static, breakage, and makes hair look smooth and shiny.Comfy, high-end sheets at the best price on the marketBrooklinenLuxe Hardcore Sheet Bundle, available at Brooklinen, from $240Brooklinen is one of our favorite companies, point-blank. We think they make the best high-end sheets at the best price on the market, and most of the Insider Reviews team uses Brooklinen on their own beds.The Luxe Hardcore Sheet Bundle comes in plenty of colors and patterns, and you can mix and match them to suit your taste. Grab a gift card if you want to give her more freedom. If you opt for a sheet bundle, she'll receive a core sheet set (fitted, flat, two pillowcases), duvet cover, and two extra pillowcases in soft, smooth 480-thread-count weave.This cozy loungewear set that she'll never want to take offKnixKnix Cozzzy Track Pants, available at Knix, $46.75Cozy and warm, the Cozzzy Track Pants from Knix are comfortable enough to wear around the house while also being cute enough to wear to the market. The ultra-soft fabric feels like the softest terry cloth washcloth you've ever used, and its slouchy fit is modern and luxe. She'll love the joggers with cuffed legs that are sleek without being overly tight. Comes in cream and gray.The internet's favorite olive oilBrightlandAwake Olive Oil, available at Brightland, $37Brightland's olive oils make great gifts for cooks and anyone else who loves to entertain. The white bottles protect the EVOO from light damage and look nice displayed on a countertop. Find a full review here. A high-tech towel that keeps her from slipping around during yoga classesMandukaManduka Yogitoes Yoga Mat Towel, from $42.50Manduka is known for making the best yoga products, and their Yogitoes towel is one of the most loved. It has tiny 100% silicone nubs on one side that grab yoga mats and keep yogis from slipping around during the exercise. Having a good towel can make a big difference. It also comes in 19 great colors and gets eco-friendly points. Each Yogitoes towel is made from eight recycled plastic water bottles, and made with dyes free of azo, lead, or heavy metal. A card game that's meant to deepen personal connectionsUrban OutfittersWe're Not Really Strangers Card Game, available at Urban Outfitters, $30This card game, from the popular Instagram account We're Not Really Strangers, is designed to enhance connections between people with different levels: perceptions, connection, and reflection. Not only is it a card game you haven't played before, but it's also a thoughtful activity you can enjoy with your girlfriend.A cooking class from one of the nation's top chefsCozymeal/InstagramGift Card, available at Cozymeal, from $50With a Cozymeal class, you and your girlfriend can learn how to make anything from fresh pasta to Argentinian staple dishes from the nation's top chefs. In addition to cooking classes, Cozymeal offers food tours in various cities (when it's safe to do so). A satin-lined beanieAndrea Bossi / Business InsiderKink & Coil Satin-Lined Beanie, $36Most people with naturally curly hair avoid wearing hats to reduce frizz, but Kink and Coil's satin-lined beanie solves that issue. Just like a silk pillowcase or a bonnet, the inside of the beanie is designed to protect your hair from frizz and damage. On top of that, the pom-pom can be removed, if she'd prefer to wear the hat without it.We spoke with a trichologist to learn more about how satin- and silk-lined beanies can benefit anyone with curly or high-porosity hair. Rihanna's bestselling Fenty skincare setFenty BeautyFenty Skin Start'rs Full-Size Bundle, $75Rihanna's bestselling skincare bundle from her brand Fenty includes everything she'll need to maintain healthy skin. The kit includes a facial cleanser, toner, and two-in-one sunscreen moisturizer. Read our full review of the Fenty skincare set here.A cashmere crew from Everlane that she'll own foreverEverlaneThe Cashmere Crew, available at Everlane, from $120For a closet staple she'll own for years to come, Everlane's $120 Cashmere Crew (available in various colors) is about the safest choice you can make. Everlane has plenty of great gifts (you can find the Everlane basics we wear repeatedly here), so you can't really go wrong. A small cold brew coffee makerAmazonAirtight Cold Brew Iced Coffee Maker, available at Walmart, $34.99This small cold brew maker (available in 1-liter and 1.5-liter options) makes coffee's less acidic, smoother cousin cold brew in 12 hours in the fridge, so there's minimal hassle and always a treat ready in the morning on your girlfriend's way out the door to work. A stylish leather makeup pouch that's thoughtful and easy to travel withDagne DoverHunter Toiletry Bag, available at Dagne Dover, from $40Dagne Dover is quickly becoming one of the best women's handbag companies to know, and its toiletry pouches are a great and relatively affordable gift. The small size holds a handful of go-to toiletries, and the large should have enough space for all of the grooming essentials.A comfy zip-up for the months aheadPatagoniaBetter Sweater, available at Patagonia, from $139Patagonia makes our favorite athleisure options overall, and that definitely includes the Better Sweater. It works in pretty much any environment — in the office, at home, on a hike, or on a casual night out — and has zippered pockets to keep hands warm in the cold months. We're also big fans of the 1/4 Zip option.A new waterproof Kindle Paperwhite for reading anywhereAmazonKindle Paperwhite, available at Amazon, $129.99If your girlfriend is a reader, we'd suggest looking at Amazon's new Kindle Paperwhite; it's the company's thinnest and lightest yet, with double the storage. Perhaps the best features are that it's waterproof and has a built-in adjustable light for the perfect reading environment indoors or outdoors, day or night. If she loves a nice, relaxing bath, pair this with a caddy, bath bombs, and a glass of wine for a relaxing night in that you've already taken care of.A cult-favorite hair towel that reduces damage and cuts drying time by 50%AquisAquis Rapid Dry Hair Towel, available at Anthropologie, from $30Aquis' cult-favorite hair towels can cut the amount of time it takes for her hair to dry in half — a claim we're happy to report holds up. The proprietary fabric also means there's less damage to wet hair while it dries. A fun, unique local dateAirbnb/Business InsiderAirbnb Experiences, available at Airbnb, from $10Airbnb started offering experience programming online. You can book from thousands of experiences that range from workouts with Olympic athletes over Zoom to cooking classes with chefs you'd normally have to hop on a flight to meet. We tested a a tango class and a Moroccan cooking class.It's also an under-utilized part of Airbnb, making it a thoughtful and unusual gift — and one you may keep using with your girlfriend for out-of-the-box date nights in the future. As states and countries slowly begin reopening, Airbnb listings and in-person activities are becoming options again, but you can still participate in online activities from home if you're not ready to travel yet or just want a fun activity. A houseplant that arrives already potted and is easy to care forLeon & GeorgeSilver Evergreen, available at Leon & George, from $149Leon & George is a San Francisco startup that will send beautiful plants — potted in stylish, minimalist pots — to your girlfriend's door. All she has to do is to occasionally add water. Flowers are wonderful, but houseplants have a much longer shelf life, and most of Leon & George's options are very easy to care for. We'd also recommend checking out Bloomscape for small plant trios under $70.  Beautiful earrings she'll own foreverStone and StrandSparkle Diamond Cluster Huggies, available at Stone and Strand, $395They're solid gold, conflict-free, and made locally. Plus, the style is versatile enough that your girlfriend can wear them every day.A membership to a popular skincare and makeup subscription that sends new, cool, and bestselling products once per monthConnie Chen/Business InsiderBirchbox Gift Subscription, available at Birchbox, from $45Birchbox is a skincare and makeup subscription that sends tons of samples of new and cult-favorite products to subscribers so they can find products they love without much commitment or cost upfront. Makeup and skincare products can be expensive, so this is a particularly helpful service. A funny and unique cardLoveFromCo/EtsyYou Take My Breath Away, available at Etsy, from $4.09You can pick up a card from Walgreens on your way to exchange gifts, but it'll mean more if you think just a few days ahead. Etsy has great options for cheap, unique, handmade gifts that are cool and thoughtful. This one is perfect for a couple who appreciates a "The Office" deep cut. A streaming stick that gives you access to hundreds of thousands of movies and TV episodesAmazonRoku Streaming Stick +, available at Best Buy, $44.99Roku's Streaming Stick+ is exceptional for its 4K, HDR, and HD streaming, and long-range wireless receiver. Installing it is an easy process and starts by plugging the stick into his TV.A great foam rollerTB12Vibrating Pliability Roller, available on TB12, $160If your girlfriend is very physically active, a foam roller is a nice gift to aid in her workout recovery and soreness. This one is our favorite because it has four levels of vibration, a pattern that targets muscle groups, and a durable exterior. But, if your budget doesn't fit a $160 foam roller, never fear — we like some under-$20 options too. A subscription to a book club that sends her great hardcovers once per monthBook of the Month Instagram3-Month Subscription, available at Book of the Month, $49.99If she's a bookworm, Book of the Month is an especially thoughtful and unique gift — it's a book club that has been around since 1926, and it's credited with discovering some of the most beloved books of all time ("Gone with the Wind" and "Catcher in the Rye" to name a couple). If you gift her a subscription, she'll receive a hardcover book delivered to her door once a month. Books are selected by a team of experts and celebrity guest judges.If she's really more into audiobooks or e-reading now rather than hardcovers, check out a gift subscription to Scribd (full review here).Fancy popcorn and a movie nightWilliams SonomaAmish Popcorn Gift Set, available at Williams Sonoma, $29.95Make a reservation at a nice outdoor restaurant, stock up on your girlfriend's favorite movie candy and some fun drinks ahead of time (wrap them for an extra wow-factor), and create your own in-house cinema experience. Or, perhaps even better, order a bunch of take-out from your favorite local restaurants.A gift set of a dozen decadent bath bombsAmazonBath Bomb Gift Set, available at Walmart, $34.53This bath bomb gift set comes with 12 handcrafted bath bombs that range from mango-papaya to lavender in scent, and some of which include flower petals. They're a great addition to a long bath, as is a bamboo bathtub tray. A subscription to a coffee service that sends coffees specifically for her taste preferencesDriftaway Facebook3-Month Subscription, available at Driftaway Coffee, from $75If your girlfriend loves coffee, she'll probably love to try Driftaway. It's a gourmet coffee subscription that gets smarter the longer you use it, remembering your preferences and steering you towards increasingly accurate brews for your specific tastes. The first shipment will be a tasting kit with four coffee profiles, which she'll rate online or in the app to start getting personalized options.A book of love letters written by history's great menAmazonLove Letters of Great Men, available at Amazon, $13.95It can be hard to do yourself justice in words — whether they're spoken or written in a card. This compilation of love letters written by great men can help you say it without actually technically saying it. Bonus points if you write your own, or mark the ones in the book that most closely resemble your own feelings.  A beautiful diamond necklace she'll have foreverAUrateDiamond Bezel Necklace, available at AUrate, from $320A diamond necklace doesn't have to be thousands of dollars, as fine jewelry startups like AUrate are proving. This necklace is something she can keep and wear forever, and both the solid gold and conflict-free diamonds are of the highest quality. Lush, subtly scented body washNecessaireNecessaire — The Body Wash, available at Sephora, $25New startup Necessaire formulates its body care products with nourishing vitamins and clean ingredients. The subtly scented Body Wash will leave her skin feeling clean, soft, and nourished. Hand sanitizer that smells goodTouchlandTouchland Power Mist Hand Sanitizer, available at Touchland, $9Many of us are using hand sanitizer a lot these days. Why not pick one they'd enjoy using? This version from Touchland is a little moisturizing and doesn't smell like alcohol or make hands sticky. Read our full review here.A stylish weekender to keep her organized on the goCaraa SportCaraa Studio Tote Large, available at Caraa, $250Caraa Sport makes some of the most functional and best-looking gym bags on the market. This one can transition from tote to backpack by adding straps. It also has a hidden shoe compartment and a waterproof and antimicrobial lining.An award-winning at-home facialSephoraDrunk Elephant T.L.C. Sukari Babyfacial, available at Sephora, $80This is an award-winning mask with a big following in the beauty and skincare community. It's $80, but it's an at-home pro-quality facial your girlfriend can use anytime — which is a fraction of the price required for regular facials.Kitchen towels that rate wines by how well they pair with certain foodsUncommon GoodsWine Pairing Towel, available at Wolf & Badger, $19If your girlfriend loves having a nice glass of wine and/or cooking, she'll appreciate the thought behind this unique wine pairing towel. Grab a bottle and some corresponding ingredients for a fun night in for the two of you.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: worldSource: nytDec 8th, 2021

These 9 brands make the best couches and sofas you can buy online in 2021

We talked to interior designers about what makes a great couch. Here's where you can find the best couches and sofas. Prices are accurate at the time of publication.When you buy through our links, Insider may earn an affiliate commission. Learn more.Article; Benchmade Modern; Burrow; Crate and Barrel; West Elm; Alyssa Powell/InsiderA new couch can be a big investment. Whether you're planning to relax, work, or even sleep on your couch, you'll need a sofa that's built for comfort. You'll also want to purchase a couch that is durable enough to survive spills, accidents, and everyday wear and tear. We spoke with Stephen Kuhl, co-founder, and CEO of popular furniture brand Burrow, Beth Wangman, an interior designer of over 25 years who currently works as a senior designer for non-profit Digs with Dignity in addition to running her own design business, and Bailey Li, an interior designer and decorative artist who specializes in commercial and residential design. We compiled their advice to curate a selection of brands that combine striking designs, durable materials, and a great customer experience. Our selection also features brands that cater to various price points, making it easy to find a solid couch no matter your budget. Kuhl, Wangman, and Li also shared advice on shopping for couches on a budget, the best materials to look for when shopping, and how to navigate shopping for a couch online versus in-store.Here's where you can find the best sofas in 2021WayfairWayfair sofaPopular home brand Wayfair offers customers multiple designs and styles, all available at a variety of price points.Typical price range: $200 to $10,000Shipping costs: Orders over $35 qualify for free shipping in the contiguous U.S.Experiencing shipping delays: May experience some pandemic-related delaysAverage shipping time: 1 to 3 weeks for large items In-store pickup: NoReturn policy: 30 days for most itemsRestocking/return fees: Return shipping deducted from return amount Warranty: Protection plans available for an additional cost at time of purchaseFabric swatch samples available: NoFinancing options: Wayfair Credit Card, Affirm, and moreSpecial features: Customer service available daily until midnight ESTIf you're unsure exactly what style couch you're looking for or are working with a tight budget and still want tons of options, you'll want to shop with Wayfair as it offers various styles and unique brands. Some of the brands available at Wayfair include pieces from its sister brand AllModern, as well as from family-owned brand, Novogratz. You can also avoid extreme delays some other retailers are experiencing by shopping with Wayfair. However, if you're looking for a custom-designed sofa, Wayfair may not be the best choice as most of its options are pre-made. Wayfair offers some of the most extensive customer service hours in the industry; its team is available daily until midnight EST, ensuring you'll be able to get in contact with someone if you experience any issues. Assembly varies widely by model, but each product page includes assembly instructions, which we recommend looking through before deciding to purchase. Wangman likes Wayfair for its budget-friendly prices but strongly suggests closely reading reviews prior to making a purchase.What to buy:AllModern Hailee 84'' Genuine Leather SofaBest known for offering modern, contemporary designs, AllModern is a great brand to start with if you’re looking for the mid-century modern style. The Hailee Sofa is constructed of durable, genuine tan leather. The sofa also has removable cushions, which is a rare find in a leather couch. This couch is a great option for those that prefer a firmer seating option.$1800.00 FROM WAYFAIROriginally $2550.00 | Save 29%Novogratz Brittany 81.5" Round Arm SleeperFounded by a husband and wife duo, Novogratz offers smartly designed sofas that are both durable and unique. The Brittany Sleeper is beautifully designed and comes in eight bold shades. It’s also constructed for sleeping; the back of the sofa reclines to accommodate comfortable sleeping positions. $409.99 FROM WAYFAIROriginally $622.00 | Save 34%BurrowBurrowIf you're looking to avoid the typical challenges associated with purchasing furniture online, Burrow offers a seamless shopping experience, speedy delivery, and durable sofas and couches.Typical price range: $795 to $4,295Shipping costs: Free on all ordersExperiencing shipping delays: Slight delays due to increased demand and the pandemic Average shipping time: 6 to 8 weeks In-store pickup: NoReturn policy: Within 30 days of receipt Restocking/return fees: 10% return shipping fee, 20% fee for returns without original packaging, fee is capped at $250Warranty: 1-year manufacturer warranty, 3 or 5-year warranty available through third party service Fabric swatch samples available: YesFinancing options: AffirmSpecial features: Free design consultations, AR viewer, Showroom in NYCWhen creating Burrow, its founders sought to address the pain points of shopping for large furniture, including poor delivery experiences, unfair warranties, subpar quality, and high prices. Burrow offers "very simple elegant solutions to designing furniture so that it can be shopped more easily, delivered more conveniently, and be more functional and durable in people's homes," said Kuhl.The brand uses a direct-to-consumer (DTC) model to offer high-quality, customized sofas at a fraction of the cost of traditional retailers and is also very open about its production process, which includes rigorous testing. As "Burrow is meant to be the evolution of furniture" said Kuhl, it offers many modular sofas designed to grow with you as your seating needs change over time.This feature persuaded Insider Reviews' senior editor Lauren Savoie to purchase a Burrow model after a lengthy search. "One concern was how we were even going to get a sofa up our staircase (the previous tenants had to take a chainsaw to their couch to get it out!). When I saw Burrow's Nomad sofa comes apart in chair-sized sections, I was sold," she says. "I love that it's not going to be a nightmare to move, and that we can add or remove sections to suit whatever apartment we end up in next."All Burrow couches are equipped with built-in USB ports, and offer easy, tool-free assembly. Each is designed to prioritize comfort, with a layered foam design. Customers can customize their couch in several ways, such as choosing fabrics and colors, leg finishes, and arm shape. Add-ons are also available, including matching chaises, ottomans, and pillows depending on the design of the sofa. Read our full review of the Burrow Nomad Sofa here.What to buy:Burrow Nomad SofaOwned by senior editor, Lauren Savoie, and one of Burrow’s bestsellers, the fabric Nomad Sofa offers a modern design at a great price point. The sofa can comfortably seat three people and is made with stain- and scratch-resistant olefin fabric. The design is modular, so you can add or remove sections or chaises to accommodate your changing space and needs.$1495.00 FROM BURROWBurrow Field 6-Piece Sectional Double LoungerBurrow's newest sofa line, the Field collection features Burrow's signature modular design but with a sleek, minimalist design that suits a variety of different styles. Like Burrow's other sofas, you can add or remove sections on the Field collection to fit changes to your needs and space over time. $2785.00 FROM BURROWBurrow Range 2-Piece SofaIf you’re looking for a smaller sofa that still offers some customization, the Range Sofa should be your top choice. The sofa’s arm panels can swap sides for more variety and the couch can be added on to in the future if you ever need a larger seating arrangement.$1070.00 FROM BURROWBenchmade ModernBenchmade ModernWhile custom-made sofas can take several months to arrive, Benchmade Modern offers custom options constructed in about five weeks.Typical price range: $2,600 to $3,200Shipping costs: $99 contactless curbside delivery with options to upgrade to white glove delivery for an additional $295Experiencing shipping delays: May experience some pandemic related delays Average shipping time: 5 weeks to make, and about 7 to 15 days to ship depending on locationIn-store pickup: NoReturn policy: 100-day return periodRestocking/return fees: None Warranty: Lifetime frame warranty, 1-year manufacturer warranty Fabric swatch samples available: YesFinancing options: AffirmSpecial features: Sofa printouts available to ensure perfect sofa fitBenchmade Modern specializes in furniture for those looking to purchase custom on a tight timeline. Compared to the industry standard of waiting 14 weeks to receive your handcrafted sofa, Benchmade Modern takes a shorter amount of time, while maintaining high quality.The brand also prioritizes creating sofas that are made to be lived on and enjoyed, so it uses durable family-friendly, and pet-friendly performance fabrics. It also offers a wide color and fabric selection, allowing you to choose from bold pops of color or more neutral tones. You can also customize legs and cushion type depending on whether you'd prefer to fluff your cushions frequently or not. As for assembly, most of Benchmade Modern's furniture is shipped fully assembled and only requires a quick leg assembly. Although the brand specializes in fast construction, it is currently experiencing some pandemic-related delays, so we strongly recommend paying close attention to estimated delivery timelines if you're in a crunch.What to buy:Benchmade Modern OG Couch Potato SofaDesigned to represent relaxation, the OG Couch Potato Sofa offers medium support and a slight recline, which is perfect for movie nights or impromptu naps. The couch is available in multiple sizes including a two-seater size and a wide variety of colors.$3027.00 FROM BENCHMADE MODERNOriginally $3561.00 | Save 15%Benchmade Modern Catwalk SofaThe Catwalk Sofa has a subtle mid-century design, good support, and a lowered seat height for comfortable lounging. Aside from fabric and cushion customizations, the sofa also has two leg finish options.$2580.00 FROM BENCHMADE MODERNOriginally $3035.00 | Save 15%ZinusZinusPopular mattress brand Zinus also offers affordable sofas, all priced under $500.Typical price range: $370 to $480Shipping costs: Free on all items Experiencing shipping delays: May experience some pandemic-related delays Average shipping time: Typically 5 to 12 days In-store pickup: NoReturn policy: 100-day trial periodRestocking/return fees: Free returns Warranty: 1-year limited warranty Fabric swatch samples available: NoFinancing options: Affirm Special features: Generous trial periodWhile splurging on a couch is an option for some, many of us are working on a tighter budget, making Zinus' affordable sofa selection the best place to start shopping. While most of the brand's best-selling items are priced under $500, you'll still be getting something solidly built. The sofas are pre-made, but the brand offers unique designs that you likely won't find elsewhere at a similar price. All of Zinus' couches have a no-tool assembly and take less than 30 minutes to fully assemble. Each model's product page includes assembly instructions just in case you misplace them, as well as care and cleaning instructions. The brand also offers a generous 100-day trial period on all of its products.What to buy:Zinus Mikhail Mid-Century SofaThe Mikhail Sofa has a unique, modern design and eye-catching red fabric color. Its fabric is designed to be easily cleaned in the case of spills or other messes. The sofa also comes in a smaller size, which is perfect for those looking to furnish small spaces.$588.00 FROM ZINUSZinus Jackie Classic SofaA classic design that’s available in four neutral colors, the Jackie Sofa is likely to stay in style for a long time. Although the sofa has two cushions, it can comfortably seat three people and is made with supportive foam. $567.00 FROM ZINUSCrate & BarrelCrate and BarrelCrate & Barrel offers structurally unique couches that can be customized to your liking.Typical price range: $799 to $6,000+Shipping costs: Dependent on cost and weight of item purchased Experiencing shipping delays: Yes, dependent on fabrics and models ordered Average shipping time: Typically 7 to 10 days, longer for custom itemsIn-store pickup: Yes, dependent on availability Return policy: 30 days on pre-made furniture, no returns on custom furnitureRestocking/return fees: Customer's responsibility to handle any return costs Warranty: Reach out to customer service if you experience any issuesFabric swatch samples available: YesFinancing options: Available through Crate & Barrel Credit CardSpecial features: Can go see items in-store, View In Your Room Feature, Free design servicesIf you're looking to add a high-quality piece to your living area, Crate & Barrel offers several options. The brand has more than ten sofa collections, each available in different fabric colors. Many of its models are made of sustainably-sourced materials such as chenille, velvet, and polyester. It also offers full fabric breakdowns, which can be found by simply hovering over each fabric option on the website, and includes information on the fabrics origin and durability. Although on the pricier side, the quality is unmatched, making Crate & Barrel worth the splurge.While assembly varies by sofa, Crate & Barrel offers white-glove assembly for an additional fee. The brand is currently experiencing delays across its wide selection, but offers stock color options that are ready to ship if you don't want to wait for a custom couch.What to buy:Crate & Barrel Axis 2-Piece Sectional SofaAssociate travel editor Hannah Freedman purchased this two-piece sofa when she moved last year and loves its custom nature, comfortability, and stain resistance. Due to its custom construction, the couch did take a few months to arrive, but was definitely worth the wait. The sofa’s deep seats and low back cushions are optimal for comfortable lounging. $2998.00 FROM CRATE & BARRELCrate & Barrel Pershing Curved-Arm 79" SofaOffering a unique design, the Pershing sofa will give a modern pop to your home. The design is a Crate & Barrel exclusive and is constructed with comfortable foam and down.$1699.00 FROM CRATE & BARRELWest ElmWest ElmWell known for its modern, stylish designs, you're sure to find a stunning couch while shopping at West Elm.Typical price range: $500 to $5,000Shipping costs: Dependent on cost and weight of item purchased, white glove service available at an additional cost Experiencing shipping delays: Yes, dependent on model and fabrics purchasedAverage shipping time: 4 to 5 days for in-stock items, up to 12 weeks for customIn-store pickup: Yes, depends on store availabilityReturn policy: 30 days on most items, no returns on custom productsRestocking/return fees: Customers may be responsible for return shipping and processing costs Warranty: Covers against manufacturer's defects only, reach out to customer service if you experience any issues Fabric swatch samples available: YesFinancing options: West Elm Credit Card, Affirm Special features: Free design services, AR room planner West Elm is another must-shop brand if you're looking for a modern, conversation-starting couch. The brand specializes in quality furniture and iwith options to customize size, fabric, color, and more. Assembly varies by item, and instructions, as well as care instructions, are listed on the site, with some couches even having care instruction videos. While the retailer is currently experiencing delays on certain models, it has many options that are in stock and ready to ship. We recommend reading estimated ship times carefully before purchasing. As some customers have experienced issues with certain West Elm sofas, we also strongly recommend reading the reviews of any you're interested in to ensure you'll receive the best quality.What to buy:West Elm Leon Wood Frame Leather SofaAvailable in two size options and 18 leather colors, the Leon Sofa combines modern and antique design. The couch is also available in regular top-grain leather or animal-friendly vegan leather depending on your preference. Although the couch is made of leather it’s also very plush.$1499.00 FROM WEST ELMWest Elm Haven Loft SofaThe Haven Loft Sofa is available in custom materials and colors as well as three ready-to-ship fabric color options. The sofa has deep, plush seating with reversible cushions. A fun feature of the Haven Sofa is its adjustable leg levelers that can fit to different floor levels. $1299.00 FROM WEST ELMArticleArticleArticle provides customers with long-lasting furniture at a fair price point.Typical price range: $899 to $4,300Shipping costs: $49 for orders under $999, free shipping on orders over $999Experiencing shipping delays: May experience some pandemic-related delays Average shipping time: Will receive shipping estimate when placing orderIn-store pickup: NoReturn policy: 30 days on all ordersRestocking/Return fees: $49 return shipping fee, free exchanges, $50 restocking fee for returns without original boxWarranty: Basic manufacturer warranty, reach out to customer service if you experience any issuesFabric swatch samples available: YesFinancing options: Affirm Special features: Sofa Finder featureArticle uses a DTC model to offer its stylish furniture at prices up to 30% cheaper than traditional retailers. The brand has a mix of pre-made ready-to-ship models as well as customizable sofas. Article's designs are both modern and vintage influenced, making it easy for customers to find unique couches that will complement their living spaces. Many of the brand's options are modular and can be arranged to be left- or right-facing depending on your preferences. With few exceptions, Article's sofas either don't require assembly, or have a simple assembly that should take under 15 minutes. Article is also Wangman's top retailer for purchasing a quality couch online; she said she loves the brand's great pricing, high quality, and fair return policy.What to buy:Article Sven Green Velvet Left SectionalThe ultimate statement couch, Article's Sven sofa series comes in fabric, leather, or colorful velvet and you can choose from a left-hand or right-hand sectional. Like many of Article's sofas, this one features 5-minute assembly.$2599.00 FROM ARTICLEArticle Ceni Fresh White SofaA modern twist on the classic mid-century design, the Ceni Sofa provides flexibility through its detachable cushion seats, backrests, and armrests. The sofa is available in six fabric colors and two size options and doesn’t require any assembly. $1149.00 FROM ARTICLERaymour & FlaniganRaymour & FlaniganRaymour & Flanigan has been providing quality furniture at various price points for several decades, and is well trusted by many consumers.Typical price range: $500 to $5,000Shipping costs: Dependent on cost and weight of item purchasedExperiencing shipping delays: May experience some pandemic-related delaysAverage shipping time: 5 to 10 days In-store pickup: Select items available in storeReturn policy: Only items labeled "Free Shipping" are eligible for returns, if item arrives damaged reach out to customer serviceRestocking/return fees: 15% restocking feeWarranty: Covers against manufacturer's defects, protection plans available for purchaseFabric swatch samples available: Yes Financing options: Custom-fit financing and lease-to-own financing options, 6-month layaway program Special features: Free showroom pickup available on select items, price matching, free design consultations, 7-day deliveryRaymour & Flanigan is a well-known option for furniture shopping due to its wide variety of durable, high-quality furniture. Search the site by your preferred back style, color, fabric, reclining features, and more to find the sofa of your dreams. The retailer is great for those looking for classically designed models that will remain in style as home design trends shift. The brand is one of the few in this guide that offers in-person shopping, with some products available for pickup directly from its showrooms, which quickly eliminates long waiting times. Each couch requires different levels of assembly, with instructions available on each product page.What to buy:Raymour & Flanigan Skye Microfiber Power Reclining SofaArguably the best choice for movie nights, the Skye Sofa provides “cloud soft comfort” and seats that recline at the simple press of a button. The couch is also made of stain-resistant materials, which is great news for messy theater snacks. $1529.95 FROM RAYMOUR & FLANIGANOriginally $1699.95 | Save 10%Raymour & Flanigan Glendora Microfiber SofaPerfect for minimalists, the Glendora Microfiber Sofa is simply designed and available in two neutral shades. The sofa features a foam and spring construction for plush comfort. The sofa’s legs are also removable.$1169.95 FROM RAYMOUR & FLANIGANOriginally $1299.95 | Save 10%Interior DefineInterior DefineInterior Define allows customers to create a totally unique custom sofa completely from scratch.Typical price range: $995 to $5,000Shipping costs: $149 flat rate (includes white glove service)Shipping delays: Experiencing some pandemic-related delays Average shipping time: 18 to 22 weeks due to custom nature of sofasIn-store pickup: NoReturn policy: 30 days for in-stock items, 60 days for custom itemsRestocking/return fees: 15% for in-stock items 50% for custom items deducted from total refund amountWarranty: 10-year frame warranty Fabric swatch samples available: YesFinancing options: Affirm Special features: AR app, free design services, option to buy throw pillows and sofa legs separately, Quick Ship page features items that ship within 2 to 3 weeksIf you're looking for a full custom experience, Interior Define specializes in offering its customers total control when designing their sofas. You can choose fabric type and color, legs, couch size, couch depth, seat cushions, and cushion fill for thousands of possible combinations. The brand also offers short clips of people of varying height sitting on each sofa, so that you can get a feel for its true fit. The brand has several different types of performance fabrics available including performance velvet, performance basketweave, performance tweed, and more. These fabrics are key to a durable and stain-resistant sofa. Interior Define also offers options for those who don't want to wait for a custom product to be constructed, with its Quick Ship page featuring items that usually ship within 2 to 3 weeks.What to buy:Interior Define Caitlin by The Everygirl Fabric SofaStunningly designed, the Caitlin Sofa is sure to grab attention no matter what fabric color you end up choosing. The sofa is made for soft seating and will match both minimal and modern decor styles.$1795.00 FROM INTERIOR DEFINEInterior Define Sloan Fabric 2-Seat SofaThe Sloan Sofa has a more structured design while also offering supportive comfort. It features a layered cushion for that extra soft feel. $1395.00 FROM INTERIOR DEFINEFAQsAlyssa Powell/InsiderWhat are the differences between sofas and couches?While many designers prefer to use the word "sofa" to indicate luxury or higher quality, the terms "sofa" and "couch" can be used interchangeably and refer to the same item, so search both while shopping.What are the best materials for couches and sofas? If you're spending hundreds or even thousands of dollars on a new sofa you'll want to make sure your investment will last through everyday wear and tear, spills, and other accidents that are bound to happen. You'll also want a couch that continues to feel comfortable over time. Kuhl recommends looking for products made with olefin yarn as "it's sustainable, it's super durable and soft." What type of couch or sofa should I buy if I have kids or pets?If you have children or pets, you should look for fabrics labeled as "performance." Performance fabric has been treated to be more durable against spills and heavy usage. You can find performance versions of your favorite fabrics including velvet, linen, microsuede, chenille, tweed, and more. Parents and pet parents might want to look for sofas with removable covers that can be washed or replaced as needed. Our experts also recommend parents choose a couch with fewer cushions, as cushions will eventually show signs of heavier use.Where do I start when looking for a sofa online?Start your process by establishing a realistic budget that will ensure quality while also allowing you to avoid overpaying. "Sofas are definitely a category where you get what you pay for, for the most part," said Kuhl. You'll also want to think about the main functions you desire from your sofa. Whether you're looking for a couch based on aesthetic, design, comfort, or durability, you'll want to establish these factors prior to shopping. After you've determined the key functions you're looking for, you'll want to seek out brands that offer those features and go from there. Do some research and become familiar with the brand's return and warranty policies and make sure you have a clear way to contact customer service in the case that any issues arise. Pay close attention to reviews, as they will quickly help you determine quality, comfort, and even if there are any major design flaws. Li suggests ordering swatches of any materials you're interested in as they are a great indicator of true color, quality, and durability. How do I choose the best sofa size and proportions for my space?In addition to taking accurate measurements, it's important to consider size, scale, and proportion when purchasing a new sofa. Wangman recommends that customers sketch out a floor plan of their space that includes the length and width of the room as well as the ceiling height. If you're not comfortable drawing a floor plan out by hand, she also recommends using free floor plan software programs such as SketchUp, SmartDraw, or Draft It.What does a good couch cost?Type of couchBudgetMid-pricedHigh-pricedCustom2-seater$500+$1,000+$2,000+$1,5000+3-seater$800+$1,500+$2,500+$3,000+4-seater$1,000+$2,000+$3,000+$3,500+Sectional$2,000$3,000+$4,000+$4,000+How can I afford a couch on a budget? Many brands currently offer financing through third-party partners such as Affirm, or through opening a store credit card. Many of these options include a 0% APR time period that can last anywhere from 12 to 18 months depending on the price of the items purchased. However, if you don't pay off the entire balance by the end of the 0% APR time period you'll be stuck paying off high amounts of interest. If you don't have a huge budget but are in need of a new sofa, you have a few options. First, consider shopping with more budget-friendly retailers such as Wayfair and Zinus. You can also wait for sales, which typically occur during the summertime and during major sale events like Black Friday. A great way to save money while shopping is to find out if any of the brands you're interested in have a retail outlet. "If you are willing to do a little research and possibly a minor repair here and there, you can score a quality sofa for 30% less than the MSRP by locating the retail outlets of some of your favorite manufacturers," said Li.Our experts recommend, if you can, spending more money initially to ensure you'll purchase a piece that will last you a long time versus having to constantly replace cheaper-made furniture every few years. Another tip is to buy modular furniture (Burrow is a popular option) that can be added on to and adjusted over time, allowing you to slowly expand your seating as your budget increases. You can also purchase a smaller sofa with a chaise, which will allow for additional seating space at a lower price.Should I purchase a pre-made or custom couch?When deciding whether to purchase a pre-made or custom couch, you should consider two main factors: budget and timeframe. While custom products allow you to choose the fabric, style, and even the legs, you'll also have to wait several weeks to months for the couch to arrive. Custom also typically comes at a higher price. While pre-made couches don't allow customers as much design flexibility, they are available in many designs and fabrics, typically have a lower price point, and offer faster shipping times. Overall, if you have time to wait and a higher budget, a custom couch can be a unique fixture in your home and better match the rest of your decor.Check out more furniture guidesArticle; Fully; IKEA; Union & Scale; Gilbert Espinoza/InsiderThe best futonsThe best bed framesThe best outdoor furnitureThe best desksThe best online interior design serviceRead the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: dealsSource: nytDec 7th, 2021