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Berner Draws Huge Crowds In Miami For Cookies" Cannabis Dispensary Launch

Berner drew a huge and adoring crowd Saturday morning at the ribbon cutting ceremony of the new Cookies Miami dispensary where he soaked up some warm Florida affection. read more.....»»

Category: blogSource: benzingaAug 13th, 2022

Candy Maker Mars Wins Lawsuit Against Marijuana Dealers Selling Drug-Infused "Skittles"

Candy Maker Mars Wins Lawsuit Against Marijuana Dealers Selling Drug-Infused 'Skittles' Authored by Isaac Teo via The Epoch Times (emphasis ours), Candy maker Mars Canada Inc. has won a lawsuit against marijuana dealers who sold their cannabis-laced edibles online under the guise of Skittles. Cannabis plants grow inside of Thrive Cannabis' production facility in Simcoe, Ontario, on April 13, 2021. (Tara Walton/The Canadian Press) In a federal court ruling on Aug. 12, three cannabis retailers were ordered to pay Mars a total of $144,600 after they were found infringing the candy maker’s trademarks by marketing and selling THC-infused edibles in Canada with logo and packaging “almost identical” to official Skittles products. The defendants West Coast Supply, Shrooms Online, and Flash Buds must each pay Mars $15,000 for breach of the Trademarks Act, $30,000 in punitive damages, and $3,200 in costs, Justice Patrick Gleeson wrote in his ruling, as first reported by Blacklock’s Reporter. The judge condemned the conduct of the dealers, while noting they have “organized their online activities in a manner that protects their anonymity.” “I agree with the Plaintiff and find the Defendants’ efforts to remain anonymous support the conclusion that they had knowledge of the unlawful nature of their activity,” Gleeson said. “I also find that advertising and offering for sale of a potentially dangerous product using appropriated trademarks that are evidently and obviously attractive to children represents a marked departure from ordinary standards of decent behaviour that deserves to be denounced and deterred.” In addition, Gleeson noted in his ruling that Jay Burgett, a lawyer for Mars, recounted in his affidavit that he first learned of the sale of cannabis-infused Skittles in February 2021 following the “hospitalization of a child in Ontario who mistakenly consumed the Infringing Product.” ‘Copycat’ On May 3, Mars issued a press release announcing it would launch legal action against cannabis retailers who use its trademarks to market and sell THC-infused edibles. The company also clarified that it does not manufacture or sell any products containing THC, the main psychoactive ingredient in marijuana that makes people feel “high.” In April, Health Canada issued an advisory following several cases of serious harm resulting in hospitalization after children accidentally consumed illegal “copycat” edible cannabis products. “Illegal edible cannabis products may be packaged to look like popular brands of candies, snacks, or other food products that are typically sold at grocery stores, gas stations, and corner stores,” Health Canada said on its website. “Examples of copycat illegal edible cannabis can include cereal and snack foods such as chips, cheese puffs, cookies, chocolate bars, and a variety of popular candies in colorful packaging.” “Parents and children may not be able to recognize these products as anything other than their favourite brands of candy or snack foods,” the health regulator added. Tyler Durden Thu, 08/18/2022 - 06:30.....»»

Category: dealsSource: nytAug 18th, 2022

Ascend Wellness rallies on Q2 results, Garden State expansion

Ascend Wellness Holdings Inc. shares jumped 8% on Tuesday after the cannabis company beat revenue targets while posting a wider-than-expected loss. Ascend Wellness said its second-quarter loss narrowed to $21.17 million, or 11 cents a share, from a loss of $44.9 million, or 30 cents a share, in the year-ago quarter. Revenue climbed to $97.5 million from $83.4 million on strength in sales at its Rochelle Park, N.J. dispensary. Wall Street analysts expected Ascend Wellness to lose 5 cents a share on revenue of $90.9 million. Ascend CEO Abner Kurtin told MarketWatch the company plans to continue growth in New Jersey in 2022 with medical sales in its Fort Lee store and the launch of adult use sales in Montclair. The Fort Lee store may also start selling to adult use customers later this year, he said. The company launched adult-use sales at its Rochelle Park dispensary on April 21 and sales climbed as high as $1.25 million in a single week.Market Pulse Stories are Rapid-fire, short news bursts on stocks and markets as they move. Visit MarketWatch.com for more information on this news......»»

Category: topSource: marketwatchAug 16th, 2022

The 50 best places to live in America, ranked

US News ranked the best places to live based on each city's quality of life, value, desirability, and job market. Huntsville, Alabama, was named the best place to live in America in 2022.Rob Hainer/Shutterstock U.S. News & World Report releases a list of the best places to live in America every year. Its 2022 ranking for the best places to live looked at five metrics: job market, value, quality of life, desirability, and net migration. The best place to live in America is Huntsville, Alabama, followed by Colorado Springs, Colorado. When deciding where to put down roots, many factors are in the eye of the beholder, such as climate, politics, or proximity to extended family.Other aspects are desirable to nearly everyone: affordable housing, access to well-paying jobs, a low cost of living, good schools, and quality healthcare. In its ranking of the best places to live in America for 2022, U.S. News & World Report gathered data on these crucial components for more than 100 US cities.U.S. News categorized the data into five indexes for each city — job market, value, quality of life, desirability, and net migration — to definitively rank these major metro areas. You can read U.S. News' full methodology here.Scores for "value," a blend of annual household income and cost of living, and "quality of life," which accounts for crime, college readiness, commute, and other factors, are included below on a 10-point scale, as well as the city's population and average annual salary.Huntsville, Alabama, came out on top, while Colorado Springs trailed close behind.Keep reading to discover the 50 best places to live in America.50. Peoria, IllinoisHenryk Sadura/Getty ImagesPeoria is quickly becoming a place where families comfortably occupy the suburbs while the youth can enjoy new entertainment districts.In the warmer months, festivals pop up around the city each weekend, and nature lovers have access to trails for hiking, hunting, and biking.Population: 403,747Average annual salary: $54,330Quality of life: 6.6 (out of 10)Value index: 8.249. Charleston, South CarolinaCharleston, South Carolina.ShutterstockCharleston's charming, historic, and sophisticated ambiance is exemplary of southern culture. "Not only is the area overflowing with entertainment and good food, but this low country locale is also gorgeous," said a local expert.Tourism is booming in Charleston, creating plenty of jobs, especially in the summer months. Year-round, jobs in tech, sales, marketing, and advertising keep the city's economy strong.Population: 790,955Average annual salary: $50,810Quality of life: 6.4Value index: 6.1 48. Fort Wayne, IndianaFort Wayne, Indiana.Shutterstock/Travis EckertThe Rust Belt hub of Fort Wayne, Indiana, is being revitalized as of late. Manufacturers including General Motors and BAE Systems have brought jobs to the area, while its economy is seeing a spike from young people eager to move downtown from the suburbs."With its low cost of living and quiet neighborhoods, Fort Wayne, Indiana, is an excellent place to buy a house, start a career, launch a business and raise children," a local expert said.Population: 409,419Average annual salary: $48,060Quality of life: 6.4Value index: 8.4 47. Hartford, ConnecticutHartford, Connecticut.Sean Pavone/ShutterstockLocated in the Connecticut River Valley, Hartford was once the home to notable historic figures, including Mark Twain and Harriet Beecher Stowe. Among the city's historic attractions, today it offers nearby entertainment venues, ski slopes, state parks.The aerospace, healthcare, and financial services industries dominate the job market in Hartford, which is home to Aetna Inc., United Technologies Corp., and Hartford Hospital.Population: 1,205,842Average annual salary: $65,750Quality of life: 7.2Value index: 6.1  46. Asheville, North CarolinaAsheville, North Carolina.MilesbeforeIsleep / Shutterstock.comIt's no surprise why the mountain town of Asheville, North Carolina, is beloved by tourists and residents alike. Nestled in between the Blue Ridge and Appalachian mountains, Asheville is a magnet for outdoor lovers as well as fans of music, art, and craft beer.Population: 459,344Average annual salary: $46,310Quality of life: 6.7Value index: 6.7  45. Buffalo, New YorkSkyline of Buffalo, New York.Getty ImagesLocated only 20 miles away from the tourist destination, Niagara Falls, Buffalo offers a more tight-knit community. Residents of Buffalo can enjoy a game of two of their beloved professional sports teams or ski the slopes in the winter.Nearby are the Allegheny National Forest and Letchworth State Park for nature enthusiasts, and art lovers can enjoy cultural attractions as well.Population: 1,129,018Average annual salary: $53,300Quality of life: 6.8Value index: 7.844. Pensacola, FloridaPensacola, Florida.Andrew Zarivny/ShutterstockThis diverse area is home to a 10-day fiesta, gorgeous beaches facing the Gulf of Mexico, and great areas for fishing. Pensacola received high marks for desirability and net migration, meaning more and more people are interested in moving to this beautiful part of the country. Population: 496,278Average annual salary: $45,170Quality of life: 6.6Value index: 6.5 43. Greenville, South CarolinaGreenville, South Carolina.Shutterstock/Sean PavoneOnce a sleepy small town, Greenville has witnessed a cultural revival in recent years, complete with an influx of new restaurants and businesses. Though the summers can get hot, the city's typically mild weather makes it possible to explore downtown on foot any time of the year.An influx of manufacturing jobs has also boosted Greenville's economy, with brand-name companies, such as GE and Michelin, setting up shop in town.Population: 908,680Average annual salary: $47,100Quality of life: 6.1Value index: 8.0  42. Rochester, New YorkRochester, New York skyline.Roland Shainidze Photography/Getty Images.History meets modernity in Rochester as the city has made strides to preserve its roots while updating its downtown to make it more attractive to suburban residents.In the winter, Rochester offers ski slopes and sledding hills while they have access to Lake Ontario during the summer for boating and fishing.Population: 1,071,784Average annual salary: $54,550Quality of life: 7.1Value index: 7.041. Cincinnati, OhioCincinnati, Ohio.Checubus/ShutterstockCincinnati is a city that loves its food, sports, and culture. There's something for everyone in the Midwest's Queen City, from a strong job market to a busy event calendar filled with museums, baseball, and local heritage events.Residents appreciate the city's affordability — housing there is cheaper than the national average, despite Cincinnati being one of the 30 biggest metro areas in the US.Population: 2,214,265Average annual salary: $53,650Quality of life: 6.7Value: 7.8 40. Kalamazoo, MichiganSean Pavone/Getty ImagesThe small-town atmosphere of Kalamazoo calls to anyone intrigued by chili cook-offs and farmers markets. It's a hot spot for lovers of arts and culture.Visitors of the city can enjoy craft breweries, museums, and live music during their time in Kalamazoo.Population: 264,322Average annual salary: $51,480Quality of life: 6.5Value index: 8.039. Tampa, FloridaBusà Photography/Getty ImagesTampa residents can enjoy the laid-back vibes of the beach while maintaining access to a metropolitan area full of entertainment options — including an NFL team.It was once home to the "Cigar Capital of the World" and the Tampa Bay metro area includes the beaches of St. Petersburg.Population: 3,152,928Average annual salary: $51,770Quality of life: 6.9Value index: 5.938. Syracuse, New YorkSyracuse, New York.Denis Tangney Jr/Getty ImagesSyracuse is a haven for lovers of winter, but this central New York city is one of the most affordable metropolitan areas in the US. Wine lovers will delight in its proximity to the Finger Lakes where they can enjoy some of the best wine the region has to offer.The city offers a city center that's only a short distance from surrounding suburbs, and it's only four hours away from New York City.Population: 650,211Average annual salary: $54,890Quality of life: 7.7Value index: 7.037. Myrtle Beach, South CarolinaMyrtle Beach, South Carolina, is a popular vacation destination.ShutterstockPopular vacation destination Myrtle Beach is rife with job opportunities in the hospitality industry thanks to tourism from beachgoers. The tourist hot spot offers recreational activities, quality restaurants, and mild weather.The low income taxes and company incentives make an ideal home for small business owners.Population: 481,489Average annual salary: $39,250Quality of life: 6.0Value index: 6.436. Seattle, WashingtonSeattle, Washington.Asif Islam/ShutterstockSeattle is sandwiched between water and mountains and doesn't get as much rain as you'd think, said one local expert. The city's residents are drawn to the area for its atmosphere of "calm and patience" and its close proximity to nature. Jobs in Seattle are concentrated in tech, healthcare, and maritime industries, but the city is also a huge manufacturing center for companies like Boeing.Population: 3,928,498Average annual salary: $74,330Quality of life: 6.6Value index: 5.4  35. Harrisburg, PennsylvaniaHarrisburg, Pennsylvania.Shutterstock/Jon BilousLocated on the banks of the Susquehanna River and the foothills of the Appalachian Trail, Harrisburg offers residents unlimited access to the outdoors.Many are employed by the state and federal government in Harrisburg, but there's also several large private-sector companies that are top employers, including Hershey's, Rite Aid, and D&H Distributing.Population: 574,691Average annual salary: $52,700Quality of life: 6.9Value index: 7.6 34. Lexington-Fayette, KentuckyLexington, Kentucky.Katie Warren/Business InsiderLexington, Kentucky, is known as the horse capital of the world, and residents are especially proud of their city's reputation for equestrian. On top of world-famous horse parks and racecourses, the area has more than 1,000 horse farms, not to mention streets named after Triple Crown winners and a bevy of horse statues in parks around the city. But love of equestrian activities isn't the only thing Lexington offers.Younger residents move there for its college-town feel and appreciation for local sports and music. And the area is a haven for fans of the outdoors — the nearby Red River Gorge and Cumberland Falls are scenic places for residents to explore their surroundings.Population: 514,273Average annual salary: $48,150Quality of life: 6.9Value index: 7.6  33. Knoxville, TennesseeKnoxville, Tennessee.iStock / Sean PavoneFor sports enthusiasts and outdoor enthusiasts alike, Knoxville, Tennessee, is a great place to call home. Close to the nearby Great Smoky Mountains National Park and Ijams Nature Center, getting outdoors and enjoying nature is a breeze in this Southern city. Population: 861,872Average annual salary: $47,740Quality of life: 6.1Value index: 7.9 32. Dallas-Fort Worth, TexasDallas-Fort Worth, Texas.Philip Lange/ShutterstockA healthy balance of urban and rural, Dallas offers residents "big-city excitement and quiet, suburban living," shared one local expert. There's local bars, retail shops, and plenty of sports spirit to satisfy the huge population. The city — with large employers in business, finance, and education — is teeming with young professionals.Population: 7,451,858Average annual salary: $56,190Quality of life: 6.4Value index: 6.7 31. Hickory, North CarolinaJeff Yount/Getty ImagesLocated just an hour outside of Charlotte, Hickory is garnering attention from young professionals after being home to mostly retirees and families. Residents have access to the mountains of Asheville an hour west and local art around town by way of outdoor sculptures and art galleries. Tech giants Apple and Google each have data centers here.Population: 367,982Average annual salary: $43,630Quality of life: 6.1Value index: 8.930. Charlotte, North CarolinaCharlotte, North Carolina.Sean Pavone/ShutterstockA "melting pot effect" draws all types of people to Charlotte, a place with "equal parts old-fashioned southern charm and high-energy cosmopolitan bustle," touted one local expert. NASCAR and motorsports are a cultural cornerstone of Charlotte.The Queen City houses Bank of America's headquarters and major offices for Wells Fargo, making it one of the largest financial hubs in the country.Population: 2,595,027Average annual salary: $55,330Quality of life: 6.1Value index: 7.1  29. Omaha, Nebraska29. Omaha, Nebraska.Esme/ShutterstockDue to a combination of Omaha's history of cattle ranching and its current landscape of bustling tech startups, the city has earned the nickname "Silicon Prairie." Plus, eight Fortune 500 companies are headquartered in Omaha, including Berkshire Hathaway, Union Pacific Railroad, and Mutual of Omaha.Young professionals and families are attracted to the city primarily for its affordability, safety, and strong economy.Population: 940,163Average annual salary: $53,050Quality of life: 6.6Value index: 7.7  28. Lincoln, NebraskaJohn Coletti/Getty ImagesLincoln is the capital city of Nebraska and home to the Cornhuskers of University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Although the city attracts thousands of college football fans and students in the fall, the low cost of living keeps people around.It's home to large tech companies – such as Hudl and Spreetail – as part of the Midwest "Silicon Prairie."Population: 333,193Average annual salary: $50,240Quality of life: 6.7Value index: 7.727. Minneapolis-St. Paul, MinnesotaSt. Paul, Minnesota.Sam Wagner/ShutterstockThe Twin Cities have "big-city amenities like museums and sports stadiums, but also have an approachable, Midwestern feel," according to a local expert. Residents are accustomed to the area's changing seasons, participating in ice fishing and cross-country skiing in the winter and music festivals and baseball games in the spring and summer.Jobs are available in science-focused fields at companies like Xcel Energy and Medtronic as well as retail corporations like Best Buy and Target.Population: 3,605,450Average annual salary: $62,560Quality of life: 6.7Value index: 7.2  26. Pittsburgh, PennsylvaniaPittsburgh, Pennsylvania.ESB Professional/ShutterstockPittsburgh is taking steps to rehabilitate its industrial reputation with increasing amounts of green spaces and state parks.Local expert Cheryl Werber also explains that more and more companies are also migrating to the Steel City, bringing exciting job opportunities to the area. Housing in Pittsburgh is also more affordable than other major cities, despite rates slowly beginning to rise.Population: 2,234,447Average annual salary: $54,300Quality of life: 6.6Value: 8.325. Nashville, TennesseeNashville, Tennessee.Scott Heaney/ShutterstockHonky-tonk culture and an entrepreneurial spirit define Nashville."A blossoming job market and an exploding entertainment scene [are] fueling an appetite (and thirst) for all things locally sourced and artisanal in craft," a local expert said. Thousands of residents work in healthcare at the area's large hospitals and research centers, small startups, and business accelerator programs.Population: 1,904,186Average annual salary: $52,170Quality of life: 6.1Value index: 6.7 24. Jacksonville, FloridaJacksonville, Florida.ShutterstockJacksonville's beach-adjacent location makes it ideal for outdoor activities. In addition to spending lazy days in the sand, residents can also visit the area's prime golf courses or go hiking, camping, and kayaking in the nearby parks. Jacksonville also continues to grow, with burgeoning art and music scenes, as well as new business development, according to a local expert.Population: 1,533,796Average annual salary: $49,940Quality of life: 6.7Value index: 6.1  23. Salt Lake City, UtahSalt Lake City, Utah.Maciej Bledowski/ShutterstockSalt Lake City might experience some of the snowiest weather in the country, but residents make the most of it through the multitude of ski resorts perched in the city's backyard. In warmer weather, residents can take advantage of Salt Lake's more than 900 acres of public parks and enjoy outdoor performances from the Mormon Tabernacle Choir in Temple Square.Population: 2,522,032Average annual salary: $52,094Quality of life: 6.8Value index: 7.0 22. Portland, OregonPortland, Oregon.Nadia Yong/ShutterstockPortland isn't for everybody — its slogan is "Keep Portland Weird," after all. But one local expert asserts that it's a "well-rounded city with more than just the offbeat shops and events" and a population that has "more academic degrees than the national average."Major employer Intel Corporation calls Portland home, as well as the headquarters for Nike, located about seven miles outside of Portland.Population: 2,472,774Average annual salary: $61,860Quality of life: 6.7Value index: 5.6  21. Albany, New YorkAlbany, New York.Sean Pavone/ShutterstockDespite the snowy winters, living in Albany comes with several advantages. Albany offers a cost of living lower than the national average and the cost of housing sits well below the rest of the US as a whole. In terms of jobs, the city's state government and health care companies are Albany's primary industries for residents there.Albany's downtown is lined with art galleries, wine shops, and churches for visitors to peruse. In keeping with the city's cold climate, hockey is the sport of choice for residents.Population: 880,766Average annual salary: $58,880Quality of life: 6.9Value index: 7.5  20. Melbourne, FloridaMelbourne, Florida.Jesse Kunerth/ShutterstockBetween fishing, boating, and a plethora of bars and restaurants, there's never a shortage of things to do in the Melbourne area. The city's ripe with retirees and "snowbirds" — people who split their time between colder climates in the summer and Florida in the winter — who can enjoy days on one of the many nearby golf courses and nights out exploring the local shops and art galleries.Population: 594,001Average annual salary: $51,740Quality of life: 7.0Value index: 6.6  19. Washington, DCWashington, DC.Sean Pavone/ShutterstockThe District's neighborhoods each give off their own vibe, but across the city residents often "gather for block parties, mingle at dog parks, and converse at coffee shops," explained a local expert. While Washington, DC, is known as a hub for politics, there's also a strong job market for education and health services.Population: 6,250,309Average annual salary: $77,210Quality of life: 7.0Value index: 5.8  18. Boston, MassachusettsBoston, Massachusetts.Sean Pavone/ShutterstockBoston attracts a diverse group of residents, including everyone from recent college graduates to retirees and musicians to engineers. The historical city — often referred to as the "Cradle of Liberty," according to one local expert — also overflows with team spirit for the Red Sox and 2017 Super Bowl champions, the Patriots.Population: 4,854,808Average annual salary: $73,850Quality of life: 7.2Value index: 5.2  17. Madison, WisconsinMadison, Wisconsin.Sean Pavone/ShutterstockWisconsin's capital is a "hotbed of the healthcare, information technology, and manufacturing industries," said a local expert. The area is also home to the University of Wisconsin at Madison, providing hundreds of jobs in education. Madison has a unique food culture that's a blend of fine dining and farmer's markets catering to the city's college students, young professionals, and families.Population: 660,212Average annual salary: $57,680Quality of life: 7.3Value index: 6.8  16. Grand Rapids, MichiganGrand Rapids, Michigan.Suzanne Tucker/ShutterstockGrand Rapids attracts "college students and young families with its healthy job market, affordable housing, and outdoor recreational activities," said a local expert. The self-proclaimed "Beer City USA" has more than 80 breweries as well as dynamic public art and music scenes.Once a hub for furniture production, Grand Rapids' job market is now dominated by education and healthcare, with many opportunities for workers without a college degree.Population: 1,069,696Average annual salary: $49,700Quality of life: 7.1Value index: 8.2  15. Boise, IdahoBoise, Idaho.Charles Knowles/ShutterstockIdaho's capital city is "a recreationalist's paradise," according to one local expert, who also said Boise sits "squarely on the boundary of urban and rural, civilized and wild, refined and raw." The region is home to more than 25,000 Boise State University students and provides jobs at government agencies as well as in tech and healthcare.Population: 730,483Average annual salary:$49,010Quality of life: 7.1Value index: 7.0  14. Des Moines, IowaDes Moines, Iowa.f11photo/ShutterstockDes Moines is drawing millennials and young families alike for its "one-of-a-kind shops, locally-owned restaurants, and hip bars" as well as its historical residences in quiet neighborhoods, said a local expert. Home to more than 80 insurance companies including giants Allied Insurance and Wellmark Blue Cross Blue Shield, the job market is thriving.Population: 690,585Average annual salary: $55,660Quality of life: 6.6Value index: 8.0 13. Austin, TexasMagalie L'AbbT/Getty ImagesThe capital of Texas gains about 150 new residents daily, many seeking out the city's "music, outdoor spaces, and cultural institutions," said a local expert.Austin is beloved for its live music scene and is host to some of the country's biggest music and culture festivals, including South by Southwest and Austin City Limits. The city was nicknamed "Silicon Hills" in the 1990s for its status as "among the top areas for venture capital investment in the country."Population: 2,173,804Average annual salary: $57,830Quality of life: 6.6Value index: 6.3 12. Naples, FloridaShutterstockNaples sits between the Everglades and the shores of the Gulf of Mexico. With its sunny beaches, fine dining, and golf courses, it attracts many older, wealthy residents, including retirees and snowbirds. Tourism and frequent development means jobs in the hospitality and construction industries dominate.Population: 379,345Average annual salary: $50,040Quality of life: 7.4Value index: 5.211. Ann Arbor, MichiganBarry Winiker/Getty ImagesHome to the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor is primarily known as a college town but is attracting more full-time residents downtown and along its outskirts. Born in the mid-1800s, the city is set among hills, with the Huron River running through it.Residents will find plenty to do outdoors throughout the year, from kayaking to ice skating. More than 90% of residents live within 10 minutes of a public park by walk, according to the Trust for Public Land.Population: 368,385Average annual salary: $59,200Quality of life: 8.0Value index: 6.510. San Francisco, CaliforniaSan Francisco, California.Travel Stock/ShutterstockA local expert described San Francisco as "the heart of the bohemian lifestyle, the epicenter of the LGBT rights movement, and the launching point of the technology era." In the last decade, thousands of tech companies have raced to set up shop in the Bay Area, sending the cost of living through the roof.But despite all the focus on the tech and startup scene, the city also has plenty of business jobs available with more than 30 international finance headquarters.Population: 4,709,220Average annual salary: $81,840Quality of life: 6.8Value index: 5.1 9. Sarasota, FloridaSarasota, Florida.Sean Pavone/ShutterstockSarasota boasts "warm temperatures year-round, award-winning beaches, and a thriving arts and cultural scene," said a local expert. The biggest employers in Sarasota are in education, trade, and transportation, and the leisure and hospitality sector touts a low unemployment rate powered by a recent increase in tourism and a flood of new residents.Population: 821,613Average annual salary:$48,180Quality of life: 7.0Value index: 6.2  8. Portland, MainePortland, Maine.Sean Pavone/ShutterstockLocated right on the water at Casco Bay and lined with cobblestone streets, Portland immediately evokes the quaintness of a much smaller town. Between fishing, sailing, cross-country skiing, and exploring the city's buzzing nightlife, there's no shortage of things to do. Seafood lovers can nosh on fresh catches at the city's modern oyster bars and or grab one of Maine's signature lobster rolls.Population: 536,314Average annual salary: $55,790Quality of life: 7.2Value index: 6.6  7. Fayetteville, ArkansasFayetteville, Arkansas.shuttersv/ShutterstockFayetteville sits among the Ozark Mountains and is home to the University of Arkansas' flagship campus. The surrounding area of northwest Arkansas is home to headquarters for seven Fortune 500 companies including Walmart and Tyson Foods.The city has experienced immense growth, according to a local expert, who said the region has evolved "from a small town to a center of higher education, culture, commerce, and entrepreneurialism."Population: 526,101Average annual salary: $50,470Quality of life: 6.8Value index: 8.3 6. Raleigh-Durham, North CarolinaRaleigh, North Carolina.Sharkshock/ShutterstockRaleigh, Durham, and Chapel Hill are collectively known as the Triangle, an area anchored by its foundation in research and tech. The Triangle employs nearly 40,000 residents at companies like IBM, SAS Institute Inc., and Cisco Systems as well as surrounding colleges Duke, North Carolina State, and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.A strong job market coupled with a burgeoning microbrewery and dining scene draws new residents every day, said a local expert.Population: 1,999,253Average annual salary: $59,174Quality of life: 6.8Value index: 7.15. San Jose, CaliforniaSan Jose, California.stellamc / ShutterstockThe sprawling city of San Jose is "as much defined by its suburban neighborhoods and large tech campuses as it is by the high-rises in its business district," said a local expert. Young residents and recent graduates of nearby Stanford and UC Berkeley have no trouble finding jobs in the area, which touts Facebook, Google, and Apple as its largest private-sector employers.Population: 1,985,926Average annual salary: $93,450Quality of life: 7.6Value index: 5.5  4. Boulder, ColoradoShutterstockThere's never a shortage of outdoor fun to be had in Boulder, with more than 60 parks and 155 miles of hiking trails at residents' disposal. Downtown, locals enjoy the prominent arts scene, craft breweries, and farmer's markets. Major employers in Boulder include companies in the technology, aerospace, and bioscience industries.Population: 324,682Average annual salary: $70,450Quality of life: 7.7Value index: 5.1 3. Green Bay, WisconsinJamesBrey/Getty ImagesThe oldest settlement in Wisconsin, Green Bay used to be a key shipping center. Today, it's better known as the home of the Green Bay Packers. Residents can enjoy craft breweries and wineries, boutique shopping, museums and art galleries, and outdoor fun on trails and the Fox River.Some of Green Bay's largest employers include insurance companies like UnitedHealth Group and Humana and shipping firms like Georgia-Pacific.Population: 320,827Average annual salary: $50,020Quality of life: 7.1Value index: 8.5 2. Colorado Springs, ColoradoColorado Springs, Colorado.John Coletti/Getty ImagesColorado Springs is "booming, with new residences popping up alongside quality schools, parks, and cultural attractions," touts a local expert. The city is just an hour's drive from Denver and in close proximity to Aspen and Vail's world-class ski resorts. Military jobs influence Colorado Springs' culture and economy, but jobs are also available in medical innovation and tech.Population: 735,480Average annual salary: $55,540Quality of life: 6.4Value index: 5.7  1. Huntsville, AlabamaHuntsville, Alabama.ShutterstockThe once-sleepy town of Huntsville, Alabama, gained fame in the 1960s when it became a hub for NASA. Now Huntsville is undergoing another renaissance, with tech companies, craft breweries, and artists all flocking to the town in recent years.Huntsville is the fastest-growing city in Alabama, and residents are enjoying an emerging downtown shopping and dining scene even as the city maintains a low cost of living. If you can handle the heat and humidity, you might find yourself at home there.Population: 464,607Average annual salary: $58,730Quality of life: 6.8Value index: 8.5  Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: personnelSource: nytAug 6th, 2022

OnlyFans CEO Ami Gan Wants to Dispel Misconceptions About the Company

When Amrapali “Ami” Gan became CEO of OnlyFans in December 2021, she wasn’t just stepping into a bigger job than her previous position as chief marketing and communications officer. She was taking the helm of one of the pandemic’s buzziest companies, a creator platform that rose to fame thanks to its liberal content policies and… When Amrapali “Ami” Gan became CEO of OnlyFans in December 2021, she wasn’t just stepping into a bigger job than her previous position as chief marketing and communications officer. She was taking the helm of one of the pandemic’s buzziest companies, a creator platform that rose to fame thanks to its liberal content policies and the flock of adult content creators who migrated to its subscription services during a difficult time. Since its founding in 2016 by former CEO Tim Stokely, OnlyFans says it has paid out over $8 billion to creators—whether they are adult film practitioners, workout coaches, celebrities like Cardi B and Carmen Electra, or any of the other two million people who claim a profile on the platform. OnlyFans says it has 200 million registered users. Unlike other social media platforms, though—where most content is free and the influencers and tech companies behind it make their income through advertisements or sponsored content—OnlyFans has a different approach. Users must pay for individual subscriptions, and OnlyFans takes a 20% cut of those fees. [time-brightcove not-tgx=”true”] That might seem steep, but to Gan, it’s simply the price of doing business in an industry in which the platform must incur high costs to meet safety protocols. Based in London, OnlyFans has more than 1,000 employees, over 80% of whom Gan says are primarily dedicated to content moderation and support. And many of the creators aren’t complaining: more than 1,000 of them have earned over $1 million each, OnlyFans reports. “We’re a unique organization, because we are the most inclusive platform, allowing a range of creators, including adult creators, to have a safe place to share their content,” Gan says. That wasn’t always the case; a year ago, in August 2021, OnlyFans announced a ban on explicit content due to what Stokely said were banking restrictions. That ban was quickly reversed following significant backlash from creators, and Stokely stepped down, making way for Gan soon replace him as CEO. “I’m very proud to represent this community, and to be able to provide opportunities to our creator community that are not available elsewhere,” she says. “I think that we’re still at just the beginning of what this platform is.” Gan spoke with TIME about how the company approaches online safety, misconceptions about the business, and her plans to grow OnlyFans’ streaming platform. (For coverage of the future of work, visit TIME.com/charter and sign up for the free Charter newsletter.) This interview has been condensed and edited for clarity. You came to this position as CEO from a marketing and communications background within OnlyFans. You also previously worked with a cannabis cafe in LA. What’s been the most surprising part of your transition into the CEO role over the past year? My leading the company is just another example of how OnlyFans is a disruptive organization. We’re not a traditional business. I was doing so much behind the scenes before being appointed to this role that internally, everyone was like, ‘Oh, that makes sense.’ I’ll never forget when the executive announcement came out towards the end of December, I don’t think any of us expected it to be as big of news as it was. But we’re OnlyFans; there’s an added spotlight on everything we do. It was just one of the most overwhelming things, where you’re getting this outpouring of positive comments and sentiments. Most importantly, it was our creators, the messages I got from them. I really took everything to heart, because they felt like, Oh, here’s someone that I can identify with who will have my back. You are an unusual leader in tech: you’re a woman of color in a space traditionally run by white men. And you’re leading a company that often works with women who are disenfranchised by traditional industry structures. What did it mean to you to be able to take the helm in this role? I’m someone with a non-traditional background, but someone who also has a very strong point of view. I’ve been passionate about getting to know our community and getting to see how the business has been a disruptor for the creative economy and the adult entertainment industry. How have you addressed ongoing concerns about safety? There’s been a lot of misconceptions publicly about OnlyFans—who we are and who’s running this company. Honestly, most people don’t even know what the business is, because they’re reading tabloid-type headlines. Our business model isn’t the same as big tech companies. It’s very straightforward: we have our 80-20 split, and we’re an 18-and-over creator platform. And ultimately, it’s up to the creator to decide what types of content they feel empowered sharing. As long as they are over 18 and follow our terms of service, we are proud to be an inclusive home for a range of creators, which includes adult creators, glamor models, music artists, sports professionals—really across the board, which I think is so cool. Safety is ultimately the foundation of our entire business, which is a surprise to most people. One of my goals is really to be a leader in online safety. For example, we have no anonymity on the platform; we know who everyone is. That prevents against bots, trolls, some of that noise that you’re getting elsewhere. We also have very robust creator verification; someone that wants to sign up to be a creator has to provide their first and last name, email, social media links, a photo of a valid ID, a photo of themselves holding their ID. They also go through a third party biometric scan and third party ID verification, and in the U.S., you have to provide a W9 form including social security number. All of this is reviewed by a human before someone is approved to be a creator on the platform. A lot of people don’t know this, but over 50% of people who apply are rejected, because we’re asking for so much information. We also have very robust content moderation. Everything on OnlyFans, we see it, we’re able to view it, moderate it, and make sure that everyone is following our terms of service. While we do use some automated technologies to help us prioritize content, ultimately everything on the site is reviewed by a human. Also, we’re subscription based. All content is hidden behind a subscription paywall. We have zero tolerance for bullying, or harassment. It’s very easy for a creator to block someone and report them, making the platform even safer for creators to engage with their fans. And we’ve also launched our safety and transparency center this year. What do people still get wrong about OnlyFans? Adult content was the buzzy topic in the past; have you tried to get people to think past that impression? A lot of people don’t realize that we are a safe platform. But that’s where I strive to be a leader, and also a leader in having an inclusive platform, meaning that I’m very proud to embrace our adult content creators, and also all of our other creators. I’ve been very personally excited to see the range of creators, especially in the past year, that have been able to thrive on OnlyFans and call it home. For example, Carmen Electra—she’s a name everyone has heard throughout the years, and she just turned 50. I thought it was absolutely incredible that her launch with us was this global news story. The way she was talking about OnlyFans, it’s like, Oh, I finally have control of my image. I’m my own boss. Even I was kind of taken aback by that, because here’s someone who’s had multiple decades of a career in the entertainment industry, and they just now feel like they have that control over their image. That’s exceptional. Previously there were influencers, and now everyone’s a creator. And they’ve realized that their content, their personality—that’s what’s valuable. So they’re looking at how they can monetize that and connect directly with their community. That’s where OnlyFans comes in. It was truly a platform before its time. OnlyFans existed before the creator boom, but it really flourished during the pandemic. It was one of a crop of companies, like Zoom, that benefited from the shift to remote work and stay-at-home conditions. Now that most of the world has returned to normal, some of these companies are struggling to keep up momentum. How are you leading OnlyFans through this next era? We actually haven’t seen any sort of slowdown in terms of subscribers or creators. We’re continuing to grow as a business overall. That just shows the power of connection. That’s what OnlyFans is providing, a safe place where you’re not getting the noise of ads and algorithms. There’s a lot of barriers to seeing people’s content these days, but we’re doing it differently. We are part of what’s called the gig economy, but I don’t think of it as the gig economy. I think of it as people finding ways to do something they’re passionate about. I see growth as a priority. I see a lot of global growth; Latin America, for example, is a market that I’m looking at, as a huge opportunity for us. OFTV [OnlyFans TV] is a huge priority I’ve been personally investing time in; it’s a streaming platform, available exclusively to creators to submit content to, and it is widely available on like Apple and Roku smart TVs, and because of that it’s all safe-for-work content. It’s given creators a way to share more about who they are and create their own shows, with a range of content from blogs to cooking shows to workout videos. But we’ve also been developing our own original content, like our OnlyFans Creative Fund: Fashion Edition, which was a reality-style competition. The winner received real prizes and feedback from leaders in the fashion industry, including a mentorship with Rebecca Minkoff. Our biggest announcement recently was a collaboration with the U.K. stars the Sims family; they were on a previous reality TV show [“The Only Way Is Essex”], and they didn’t really have control over what was said about them. They were looking for a new opportunity. That’s where we came in. (For coverage of the future of work, visit TIME.com/charter and sign up for the free Charter newsletter.) What has been the biggest challenge for you during your tenure? What have you learned from it? It’s still the misconception of the business. Or that we don’t embrace our adult creators. Those are two things that I’m actively working to change. The adult community hasn’t necessarily felt that support in the past. I’ve been very outspoken about embracing our adult creators. I have my own personal OnlyFans account that I use to see what the community is doing, follow creators, and most importantly, be able to connect directly with them and send them messages. Other tech platforms have recently gotten into hot water over concerns about privacy and the primacy of algorithmic feeds; just look at Instagram this week. How do you differentiate yourself from other creator platforms? What is the OnlyFans value-add? OnlyFans is the new future of social media because we’re different. First, we’re safety focused. Our business model is a lot different from all these other tech platforms who are making money off of data, ads, things like that. Our business is the 80-20 split. We don’t make money unless our creators make money. And the subscription model takes away the frustrations people feel on these other platforms. I do believe the future is both paid and free social media. But it’s really about creators having control. Other platforms have taken that away from creators. What do you think that you personally have brought to OnlyFans, as a leader and as an individual? I’m a very relatable person. You have business leaders that went to fancy Ivy League schools; they’re not approachable. I’m the exact opposite. Even internally, anyone knows that they can send me a message. I genuinely like meeting our creators; I message tons of them on the platform very regularly. I think that shows......»»

Category: topSource: timeJul 31st, 2022

How Democrats who aren"t named Joe Biden are running for president — without running for president

Democratic politicians have made moves that suggest they're keeping their options open about running for president — just in case Biden decides not to run. President Joe Biden motions while boarding Air Force One at Los Angeles International Airport after attending the Summit of the Americas in Los Angeles on June 11, 2022.AP Photo/Evan Vucci Joe Biden plans to seek reelection in 2024, even though voters are souring on him. Democrats aren't expected to primary Biden, but questions linger about a backup plan. Would-be candidates have been seeking the national spotlight.  President Joe Biden has been clear that he plans to run for a second term in 2024. His political team is even getting ready for a spring reelection announcement, according to the Washington Post. But that hasn't stopped the "will he really?" chatter, particularly after a New York Times poll found that 61% of Democrats said they hoped someone other than Biden would be their nominee in 2024, largely because of his age and job performance.Democratic insiders are questioning whether Biden, 79, can mount a vigorous campaign in 2024 — especially if former President Donald Trump decides to run again.Despite the doubts, Biden is not expected to face a primary challenge given that it would would alienate other people in the party as well as the donor class, said Mark Jones, Rice University political science professor and Baker Institute fellow. "The norm is that you do not challenge a sitting president from your party," Jones said. "That's a major political faux pas. It either isn't done, or if it is done it's done more for political ambition — not to actually win, but to put the spotlight on yourself for other reasons." A key factor helping Biden's staying power is Trump. The New York Times poll found that Biden would be favored to win in another contest against Trump. "The belief is Biden beat Trump before, he can beat him again," Jones said. If a Democrat were to try to primary Biden — and weaken him in the process — then that person would be blamed if a Republican, even Trump, were to win in 2024. But none of these factors rule out politicians' making under-the-radar moves. If Biden somehow reverses his plans, that'll mean the party will need to find a backup. Some ways that candidates begin to test the field through "invisible primaries" are by campaigning for other Democrats to build loyalty, particularly in swing districts. They also may appear at events in potential early voting states and offer noncommittal responses about whether they'll support Biden in 2024, said Shawn Donahue, a University at Buffalo assistant professor of political science.  Other ways are through grabbing headlines through weighing in on national debates, holding leadership roles in the party, and raising huge sums particularly from out-of-staters. In the case of governors interested in the White House, they'll need to crush the opposition if they're up for reelection this year, in November. "There will be a host of people who want to be waiting in the wings so the moment Biden says he's not running they can sort of jump in," Jones said. Even if Biden doesn't change his mind, 2028 isn't much further off. Here are 15 politicians who are taking actions or gaining interest that might position them for a 2024 White House run if Biden changes his mind: Vice President Kamala HarrisVice President Kamala Harris previously was a US senator representing California, and before that, was California's attorney general.Mateusz Wlodarczyk/NurPhoto via Getty ImagesHarris, 57, is the standard-bearer for Democrats if Biden bows out of a 2024 contest. Should Harris win, she would become the first woman and first woman of color to become president. Any Democrats running against Biden, or against Harris, would be perceived as trying to jump ahead of a historic nominee. "It's the rare person that's going to defect on Biden, because if you do that, you're also defecting on Kamala Harris," Jones said. "You're alienating the president of the US and a substantial coalition in the Democratic party: Women and people of color." Harris has leaned into the abortion fight ever since the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade. She also headlined a Democratic fundraiser in South Carolina in June. On top of that, Harris has the blessing of House Majority Whip Jim Clyburn, whose endorsement is key for South Carolina."Right now, I'm for Biden, and second, I'm for Harris," Clyburn told The Wall Street Journal in June. There's also a recent positive data point for a Harris-led ticket. If the Republican nominee is Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis — who's gaining ground on Trump in polls — then Harris has the edge in winning, according to a Harvard-CAPS Harris poll conducted in March. After herself running for president during Election 2020 but withdrawing before the primaries began, Harris has said she expects to run in 2024 — as Biden's running mate. Still, her approval ratings have been lower than Biden's and she has faced criticism, including from Republicans, after media interviews. The White House also handed Harris a contentious set of policy issues that included immigration policy, police reform, and voting rights. Transportation Secretary Pete ButtigiegTransportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg was the former mayor of South Bend, Indiana.Patrick Semansky/AP PhotoBesides Harris, Buttigieg, 40, is the only other Democratic presidential candidate who unsuccessfully ran in the 2020 primary but landed a job in Biden's administration.And serving as Department of Transportation secretary has given Buttigieg loads of visibility with the public — he travels all over the US and holds the purse strings for $500 billion in new spending on roads, bridges, and railways as part of the bipartisan infrastructure package Biden signed into law.Buttigieg frequently participates in national and local media interviews, where he has impressed insiders with his handling of difficult questions. All of his work provides solid groundwork for another future White House run. "He has the advantage that he's doing all that on Biden's behalf," Jones said. "He can essentially have his cake and eat it too, because he can be seen as serving Biden until the day Biden isn't running anymore." Insider reported in October 2021 that Buttigieg's donors from his 2020 presidential bid would like to see him run in 2024. Still, Buttigieg, the first openly gay cabinet secretary to be Senate-confirmed, is relatively inexperienced compared to other potential Democratic candidates.California Gov. Gavin NewsomCalifornia Gov. Gavin Newsom previously was mayor of San Francisco.Rich Pedroncelli/APNewsom, 54, told the San Francisco Chronicle editorial board in May that he had "sub-zero interest" in running for president, and in DC on Wednesday, he told reporters he supported Biden in 2024. At the same time, Newsom, a progressive, has taken several actions that raise his national profile. He has been a leading national voice bashing conservative Republicans, particularly on guns, abortion, and LGBTQ rights. He even called out his own party on abortion. "Why aren't we standing up more firmly, more resolutely?" he said after the Supreme Court struck down Roe. More 2024 speculation rose after his campaign took the unusual move of airing an ad in Florida attacking DeSantis. Back in 2021, he'd gone on "The Late Late Show" with James Corden to attack DeSantis on his coronavirus policies.All of this raises questions about whether he someday expects to face off against DeSantis for the White House. But Newsom also has liabilities, including attending a private dinner at the exclusive restaurant, The French Laundry, even as he discouraged Californians from getting together during the coronavirus pandemic. Curiously, Newsom was once married to attorney Kimberly Guilfoyle, who is now engaged to Trump's son Donald Trump Jr.Newsom survived a recall in September and is expected to get reelected in November. Illinois Gov. J.B. PritzkerIllinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker is a billionaire and heir of the Hyatt Hotels fortune.John O'Connor, File/AP PhotoPritzker, 57, stoked presidential chatter after delivering vociferous speeches, one in support of abortion rights and another in the wake of the mass shooting in Highland Park, Illinois. The speeches gained national coverage given that many Democrats saw the governor delivering the type of passion they believe is necessary for the party heading into the midterms and then into 2024. Pritzker also visited New Hampshire — the first presidential primary state — in June for the state's Democratic primary convention and has donated to other Democratic candidates. He'll be the keynote speaker at a July gala for Florida Democrats in Tampa. That'll put him right in DeSantis' home state. Pritzker is a billionaire and heir of the Hyatt Hotels fortune who has given millions to his own reelection campaign. In November, he'll face off against GOP state Sen. Darren Bailey. Pritzker told CNN's Jake Tapper on Sunday that he would support Biden if he were to run again.Independent Sen. Bernie Sanders of VermontSen Bernie Sanders has run for president twice before.Anna Moneymaker/Getty ImagesSanders, 80, has told CNN he wouldn't primary Biden in a 2024 contest and that would support the president if he runs. But Sanders' aides wrote a memo earlier this year saying he hasn't closed the door on seeking the White House if there's an open primary. Sanders continues to grab headlines on Capitol Hill. He also travels all over the US including a trip to Iowa in June when he rallied support for United Auto Workers who were on strike.Sanders, an independent, has twice sought the Democratic nomination for president and lost, though he stunned Democrats with his performance and grassroots support, and decidedly shifted the party left. Should the third time be the charm for Sanders in 2024, then he would be 83 by Inauguration Day 2025, just a year older than Biden would be.Sanders has overcome murmurings about his health before: He had a heart attack when he ran for president in 2020 but was still the runner up to Biden. Rep. Ro Khanna of CaliforniaRep. Ro Khanna was deputy assistant secretary in the Department of Commerce under then-President Barack Obama.Jacquelyn Martin/AP PhotoProgressives have been pushing for Khanna, 45, to seek the White House if Biden bows out in 2024, according to Politico. Khanna has told CNN that he would not challenge Biden, and he's mostly seen as the standard bearer of the progressive movement who'll come after Sanders. Khanna co-chaired Sanders' 2020 presidential campaign, which allowed him to spend time in early voting states. As a representative, he's been able to help secure tech jobs to some of those same states. He also wrote a book — "Dignity in the Digital Age: Making Tech Work for All of Us" — which handed him high-profile interviews on late night shows. Presidential candidates generally write books about their lives or visions for America as a way to help introduce themselves to the public. Khanna is the son of Indian immigrants. His wife's multimillion-dollar fortune makes him one of the wealthiest members of Congress.Michigan Gov. Gretchen WhitmerGov. Gretchen Whitmer was previously in the Michigan legislature.Chip Somodevilla/Getty ImagesWhitmer, 50, told NBC News in June that she wouldn't weigh in on whether Biden should run for president in 2024 but that she'd back him if he did. She also said it was "flattering" that NBC would ask whether she would consider running for the White House. Whitmer gained a national profile when she fought Republicans in Michigan's state legislature to impose strict coronavirus restrictions. She's been a consistent supporter of the Biden administration. And like several other politicians who've gained prominence in recent weeks, she has taken a forceful approach to protecting abortion rights. Donahue of the University at Buffalo said that, particularly after the Supreme Court decision, Democratic voters were yearning for fighters. "Whitmer has shown she's a really strong fighter on the abortion issue, but she can also say, 'I'm electable,'" he said. Whitmer is up for reelection in November and was considered to be on shortlist for vice president. But not all the coverage she's received has been positive. Whitmer has received blowback for violating the state's coronavirus measures, despite her push for strong regulations.Sen. Amy Klobuchar of MinnesotaSenator Amy Klobuchar has been in the US Senate since 2007.Chip Somodevilla/Getty ImagesKlobuchar, 62, frequently appears on news lists predicting she would have strength in a 2024 Democratic primary.In 2020, she clinched the enviable endorsement of the New York Times editorial page, which passed on Biden in part because of his age. Last March, Klobuchar was featured at a Democratic dinner in New Hampshire. But it's not clear how she might break through against other similar candidates if Democrats in 2024 conducted a wide-open primary. "If you have Whitmer, Klobuchar, and Buttigieg then you have three kind of pragmatic Midwesterners all in one race, so you wonder how that would operate," Donahue said. Sen. Cory Booker of New JerseySen. Cory Booker of New Jersey was formerly the mayor of Newark.AP Photo/Amanda Andrade-RhoadesBooker, 53, didn't get very far when he ran for president in 2020. But having run once before could give him the experience he needs to give it another shot.He hasn't left the national spotlight: Booker was a prominent defender of now-Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson as she was being confirmed to the Supreme Court, and has also partnered with Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer on a sweeping cannabis reform proposal. In December 2021, he headlined a Democratic fundraiser in New Hampshire.Georgia gubernatorial candidate Stacey AbramsStacey Abrams previously served as the Democratic Minority Leader in the Georgia House of Representatives.AP Photo/Akili-Casundria RamsessAbrams, 48, is a Democratic star who has said she "absolutely" has the ambition to be president one day.In an interview with Cosmopolitan, she indicated 2028 would be her year, although earlier this year, Abrams made a cameo on "Star Trek: Discovery" as president of futuristic United Earth. Back in the present, Abrams is widely seen as an effective advocate on voting rights who helped Biden secure a victory in Georgia, as well as a majority in the Senate.Abrams was on Biden's running-mate shortlist before she announced she'd run for governor in Georgia in 2022. If she wins, she'll be the first Black woman governor in the United States.Abrams has a huge out-of-state fundraising base that could help her on the national stage, but first she has to win decidedly in November in her rematch against Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp, a Republican.The race is one of the most hotly contested in the country, and if Abrams loses, it'll be a second high-profile defeat in a row for her, having lost to Kemp in 2018.  North Carolina Gov. Roy CooperNorth Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper has drawn parallels to former President Jimmy Carter.Ben McKeown, file/AP PhotoCooper, 65, has managed to get elected twice in a red state, which tends to be bonus for candidates aspiring to the national stage.While some of Cooper's actions have received national attention — including an executive order on paid parental leave and helping to repeal a transphobic bathroom bill — he hasn't clamored for the spotlight like some other governors have. Still, his job leading the Democratic Governors Association has helped him connect with big donors as he works to help elect Democratic candidates for governor all over the United StatesCooper told reporters in December that he would support Biden's reelection and that he thought a Biden 2024 ticket was in the best interest of the party.   New Jersey Gov. Phil MurphyNew Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy speaks at an international offshore wind conference in Atlantic City, New Jersey, on April 28, 2022.Wayne Parry/AP PhotoMurphy, 64, has tamped down speculation that he'll run for president in an interview with NJ Advance Media."I'm not running," he said. "Jesus, lord, help me."But he's seen as having national aspirations after the launch of Stronger Fairer Forward, a super PAC and nonprofit chaired by his wife. The group is running ads in New Jersey telling Murphy's life's story and promoting his tax relief measures aimed at fighting inflation. Murphy is also poised to lead the Democratic Governor's Association after Cooper, in 2023, and has held the role once before. Murphy logged a major win when he was reelected governor in 2021, but he just squeaked by. Most of his voters also don't think he'd make a good president, according to a Monmouth University Poll released in April.Colorado Gov. Jared PolisColorado Gov. Jared Polis was previously a US House representative.David Zalubowski, File/AP PhotoPolis, 47, recently told the National Journal that he had "no interest" in running for any office aside from the one he has, and told the Denver Post that he wants to stay in Colorado. He'll be up for reelection in November. But Polis has gotten a good deal of national attention. He stands apart from other Democratic governors by rejecting the efficacy of mask mandates as a way to prevent surges in COVID-19. (His team said the national coverage was aimed at stressing the efficacy of vaccines.)Polis founded ProFlowers and is a multimillionaire who has contributed money to his own campaigns. Polis, who is the first openly gay governor of Colorado, has been polling well in his state. While he's often cast a progressive, he's also seen as having unique positions on several issues, given his more hands-off approach to COVID and his calling for ending Colorado's state income tax.Sen. Elizabeth Warren of MassachusettsSen. Elizabeth Warren ran for the 2020 Democratic nomination for president. She's a former professor at Harvard Law School who proposed and helped create the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty ImagesWarren, 73, has already said she's running in 2024 — but for a third term in the Senate. "I'm not running for president in 2024. I'm running for Senate," she said in April on NBC's Meet the Press. "President Biden is running for reelection in 2024, and I'm supporting him."Still, it's no secret that Warren would be interested in becoming president given that she sought the White House in 2020. Warren continues to gain national coverage, including by urging the Biden administration for stronger action. She has pushed Democrats to pass as much of their agenda as they can before November.Most recently she presented a menu of options for officials to consider to protect abortion rights after the Supreme Court overturned Roe. She also continues to have a national network of supporters and donors.  Sen. Sherrod Brown of OhioDemocratic Sen. Sherrod Brown of Ohio has been in the US Senate since 2007.Bill O'Leary/Pool via REUTERSBrown, 69, hasn't gotten the same kinds of questions about running for president as some others on this list, and he hasn't taken any actions that might raise eyebrows about whether he's considering the White House. But Democrats do have their eyes on him because he considered running for president in 2020 and even toured early primary states. Ultimately, however, he decided against joining what turned out to be a crowded field. Brown would face a challenging question should he consider running for president in 2024. That's the year he's up for reelection in Ohio. Should he run and not win the Democratic nomination, it might be difficult for him to jump back into the race to keep his Senate seat. Brown gets a lot of attention for being a successful Democrat in red-shifting Ohio, and he was considered a potential running mate for Hillary Clinton in 2016. Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: personnelSource: nytJul 17th, 2022

8 Asian American entrepreneurs share how their immigrant and first-generation backgrounds shaped their businesses and leadership styles

In 2020, six of every 1,000 immigrants started a business. For many entrepreneurs, tapping their immigrant or first-generation roots helped them grow. From left to right: Sandro Roco, Alexandra Dorda, Jake Deleon, Deepika Mutyala, and Vanessa PhamMultiple In 2020, six out of every 1,000 immigrants started a new business in the US. For some entrepreneurs, tapping their immigrant or first-gen roots inspires their leadership style. Insider spoke with 8 Asian American founders about how their backgrounds shaped their businesses. Jake Deleon's earliest memories are of helping his mother and grandmother make Filipino delicacies like lumpia — fried spring rolls. "Food was always equal to love and bonding," Deleon — the 39-year-old founder and CEO of Fila Manila, a line of Filipino simmering sauces inspired by Deleon's parents' recipes — said. "All the great conversations and moments I saw with my family happened around food."Deleon, a first-generation Filipino American based in Philadelphia, recalled these blissful moments during the early days of the pandemic when he read that Filipinos and Filipino Americans made up the largest share of immigrant health-care workers on the frontlines. Inspired by their work, but disappointed by a lack of Filipino food in the consumer packaged-goods space, he launched Fila Manila in 2020 as a way to "ignite Filipino cuisine and our community," he said. While entrepreneurs have launched a record number of new companies in the last two and a half years, immigrants launched a great share of those startups: According to a 2021 report by the entrepreneurial nonprofit Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, six out of every 1,000 immigrants started a new business in 2020. For many entrepreneurs, tapping their immigrant or first-generation roots helped them start and run successful companies. For example, Deleon's approach to entrepreneurship centers on the "work hard and make it happen" mentality that his parents instilled in him. "I got inspired by that immigrant grit growing up and I apply it today, being as scrappy as possible," Deleon, who used his pandemic stimulus check to launch his business, said. "How do you get things done with the least amount of resources?"Insider spoke with eight Asian American entrepreneurs across industries to learn how their unique experiences have contributed to their professional pursuits.Jake Deleon, the founder of Fila ManilaJake Deleon, the founder and CEO of Fila Manila.Fila ManilaThe company said it recently closed an oversubscribed round that included Kraft Heinz and Jing Gao — the founder of the Sichuan-based food brand Fly By Jing — as investors. However, Deleon declined to share how much he raised and how much his company booked in revenue last year. Meanwhile, he's also prioritized giving back: In April 2021, Fila Manila partnered with Project Barkada, a nonprofit focused on supporting the Filipino community and frontline workers."The way we give back, we do more than just a percentage of sales," Deleon said. "We give back with our time and something significant that means something to the community, because they supported us from day one."Sandro Roco, the founder and CEO of SanzoSandro Roco, the founder and CEO of Sanzo.SanzoSandro Roco got his idea for Sanzo — Asian-inspired flavored water — in 2018, when he saw an increased interest in Asian-inspired consumer products and Asian creative works, like the film "Crazy Rich Asians." Meanwhile, the 34-year-old Roco was not impressed with the sparkling-water flavors stocked in his office's fridge and decided to combine his two observations. He launched Sanzo in 2019, tapping the Asian flavors he grew up with like calamansi and lychee.Today, major retailers like Whole Foods and Target sell Sanzo. What's more, Roco has raised a total of $11.3 million, including a $10 million Series A round Circle Up led. Roco declined to share revenue figures. Roco, a first-generation Filipino American, said he internalized the realization that his parents took a big risk when immigrating to the US. "People talk about entrepreneurs taking risks in this country — you leave it all on the line," Roco said. "But as a first-gen, I feel like that's nothing compared to our parents' immigrant experience."Vanessa Pham, a cofounder of OmsomVanessa Pham, a cofounder of Omsom.Deanie ChenVietnamese-American sisters Vanessa and Kim Pham started Omsom, a line of food kits that package together sauces, aromatics, and seasonings for traditional Asian dishes like Thai larb and spicy bulgogi. Vanessa Pham said the duo's motivation for launching the business in May 2020 was to accelerate their ability to shape cultural dialogues."My parents equipped me with a deep commitment to ethics and doing things that are reflective of my innermost values," Vanessa Pham, 28, said of her parents, who moved to the US from Vietnam. "They've always lived their lives that way." As she's scaled Omsom, Vanessa Pham said her personal and professional selves fused. "I realized how my professional aspirations and challenges are so imbued by my personal narratives and they feel one and the same," she said. Since Omsom's launch, the company has sold more than 800,000 packages, sold out of inventory 10 times, and has 55,000 customers, according to the company. Vanessa Pham declined to share revenue figures.  Alexandra Dorda, the founder of Kasama RumAlexandra Dorda, the founder of Kasama Rum.Darya BubenAlexandra Dorda founded Kasama Rum after having two realizations. First, she learned that the Philippines — where her mother grew up — is one of the largest rum-producing countries in the world. Second, she saw that the rum category, compared to other spirits categories in the US, is small and underdeveloped."I realized I had an opportunity to both celebrate my culture and tell the story of the Philippines," Dorda, 30, said. "But also do it in a way that's filling a real gap that I saw in the market."It helped that both of her parents are entrepreneurs: Her father, Tadeusz Dorda, is a cofounder of the Chopin and Belvedere vodka brands, and her mother sold things out of the family's car to put Dorda through school. Additionally, Dorda's maternal grandmother owned bars and clubs in Manila."Seeing determination and being a part of it was something that really influenced me," Dorda said. "That's something specific to being Filipino — women taking the reins and starting these businesses and making things happen for their family."Kasama, which means "together" in Filipino, distills and sells seven-year-old rum from the Philippines. Dorda said Kasama is bootstrapped and did not share revenue figures.Priyanka Ganjoo, the founder of Kulfi BeautyPriyanka Ganjoo, the founder of Kulfi Beauty.Kulfi BeautyGrowing up, Priyanka Ganjoo said she didn't feel beautiful. Born in New Delhi, India, Ganjoo said her South Asian community imposed "a narrow and toxic beauty standard" and further reinforced the belief that wearing makeup was only to lighten the skin or to attract men."We rarely see South Asians represented in beauty," Ganjoo said, adding that there's a lack of products made for South Asian skin tones and undertones. "We grew up thinking that beauty isn't something that could be possibly tailored to our wants and needs."This inspired the 34-year-old Ganjoo to start Kulfi Beauty, a brand of eyeliners that she hopes will show customers there are products for them created by someone who looks like them. She launched the business in February 2021 and declined to share revenue figures. Ganjoo wants the next generation to grow up viewing beauty from a more holistic perspective, she said. She also wants to encourage entrepreneurs to trust their instincts. "When I was pitching Kulfi, many executives told me that South Asian beauty was not aspirational or that I needed a celebrity cofounder to be successful," Ganjoo said. "I've had to unlearn expectations imposed on women of color to not speak up or take risks."Rooshy Roy, the founder and CEO of AavraniRooshy Roy, the founder and CEO of Aavrani.AavraniWhen Rooshy Roy, 32, grew up in Michigan, her household was as "Indian as it could be," she said. Roy's parents wanted their daughter to have the same values, traditions, and morals as they did in Kolkata, India. This deep connection with India, both through visits and the home her parents created, are what led to Roy creating Aavrani in 2018. Her New York City-based skin-care brand draws on ayurvedic South Asian rituals and ingredients that someone from any background can use. To date, Roy has raised $10 million, but declined to share revenue figures.Her company is a huge part of how Roy keeps in touch with her Indian roots, especially because she has lived in the US her whole life and her busy schedule doesn't allow for frequent visits to India. "Aavrani has served as a catalyst for me to keep in touch with my Asian heritage," she said. "It keeps me grounded and in touch with who I am." Lily Liu, the founder and CEO of PiñataLily Liu, the founder and CEO of Piñata.PiñataIn 2020, Lily Liu launched Piñata, a New York City-based software company that helps users manage tasks and goals. Her business understanding comes from watching her father, who had his own small manufacturing business. She and her siblings would help their father wrap and box shipments every single night, which taught her the value of grit when running a business. Liu's family emigrated to the US from Taiwan when she was two years old and she watched her parents establish themselves in a new country. Liu said that the values she learned growing up in an Asian household are what she embodies every day, especially as a CEO."Coming from an immigrant family, there was always an emphasis on education, grit, and community," she said. "I feel like that grit is in everything we do at Piñata."To date, Piñata has raised $13 million in a Series A funding round. Liu declined to share revenue figures. Deepica Mutyala, the founder and CEO of Live TintedDeepica Mutyala, the founder and CEO of Live Tinted.LiveTintedDeepica Matyala grew up in Sugarland, Texas, and didn't feel like she fit in with her peers: As a young Indian girl, she had darker skin than most of her blond-haired and blue-eyed classmates. "Indian beauty standards are generally geared toward women with fairer skin," Mutyala, 32, said. "This led me to hiding from the sun under an umbrella so I would not get darker." Those experiences are why she started the New York City-based company Live Tinted, a vegan and cruelty-free make-up brand that sells products like huesticks and sunscreens for people of all different skin tones. Last year, Live Tinted raised $3 million in seed funding. Mutyala declined to share revenue figures."It was important to me that I created a brand for people who looked like me and to inspire them to embrace their skin as it is a representation of their culture and identity," she said. "That's what makes them beautiful and unique." Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderJul 1st, 2022

8 Asian-American entrepreneurs share how their immigrant and first-generation backgrounds shaped their businesses and leadership styles

In 2020, six of every 1,000 immigrants started a business. For many entrepreneurs, tapping their immigrant or first-generation roots helped them grow. From left to right: Sandro Roco, Alexandra Dorda, Jake Deleon, Deepika Mutyala, and Vanessa PhamMultiple In 2020, six out of every 1,000 immigrants started a new business in the US. For some entrepreneurs, tapping their immigrant or first-gen roots inspires their leadership style. Insider spoke with 8 Asian-American founders about how their backgrounds shaped their businesses. Jake Deleon's earliest memories are of helping his mother and grandmother make Filipino delicacies like lumpia — fried spring rolls. "Food was always equal to love and bonding," Deleon — the 39-year-old founder and CEO of Fila Manila, a line of Filipino simmering sauces inspired by Deleon's parents' recipes — said. "All the great conversations and moments I saw with my family happened around food."Deleon, a first-generation Filipino American based in Philadelphia, recalled these blissful moments during the early days of the pandemic when he read that Filipinos and Filipino Americans made up the largest share of immigrant health-care workers on the frontlines. Inspired by their work, but disappointed by a lack of Filipino food in the consumer packaged-goods space, he launched Fila Manila in 2020 as a way to "ignite Filipino cuisine and our community," he said. While entrepreneurs have launched a record number of new companies in the last two and a half years, immigrants launched a great share of those startups: According to a 2021 report by the entrepreneurial nonprofit Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, six out of every 1,000 immigrants started a new business in 2020. For many entrepreneurs, tapping their immigrant or first-generation roots helped them start and run successful companies. For example, Deleon's approach to entrepreneurship centers on the "work hard and make it happen" mentality that his parents instilled in him. "I got inspired by that immigrant grit growing up and I apply it today, being as scrappy as possible," Deleon, who used his pandemic stimulus check to launch his business, said. "How do you get things done with the least amount of resources?"Insider spoke to eight Asian-American entrepreneurs across industries to learn how their unique experiences have contributed to their professional pursuits.Jake Deleon, the founder of Fila ManilaJake Deleon, the founder and CEO of Fila Manila.Fila ManilaThe company said it recently closed an oversubscribed round that included Kraft Heinz and Jing Gao — the founder of the Sichuan-based food brand Fly By Jing — as investors. However, Deleon declined to share how much he raised and how much his company booked in revenue last year. Meanwhile, he's also prioritized giving back: In April 2021, Fila Manila partnered with Project Barkada, a nonprofit focused on supporting the Filipino community and frontline workers."The way we give back, we do more than just a percentage of sales," Deleon said. "We give back with our time and something significant that means something to the community, because they supported us from day one."Sandro Roco, the founder and CEO of SanzoSandro Roco, the founder and CEO of Sanzo.SanzoSandro Roco got his idea for Sanzo — Asian-inspired flavored water — in 2018, when he saw an increased interest in Asian-inspired consumer products and Asian creative works, like the film "Crazy Rich Asians." Meanwhile, the 34-year-old Roco was not impressed with the sparkling-water flavors stocked in his office's fridge and decided to combine his two observations. He launched Sanzo in 2019, tapping the Asian flavors he grew up with like calamansi and lychee.Today, major retailers like Whole Foods and Target sell Sanzo. What's more, Roco has raised a total of $11.3 million, including a $10 million Series A round Circle Up led. Roco declined to share revenue figures. Roco, a first-generation Filipino American, said he internalized the realization that his parents took a big risk when immigrating to the US. "People talk about entrepreneurs taking risks in this country — you leave it all on the line," Roco said. "But as a first-gen, I feel like that's nothing compared to our parents' immigrant experience."Vanessa Pham, a cofounder of OmsomVanessa Pham, a cofounder of Omsom.Deanie ChenVietnamese-American sisters Vanessa and Kim Pham started Omsom, a line of food kits that package together sauces, aromatics, and seasonings for traditional Asian dishes like Thai larb and spicy bulgogi. Vanessa Pham said the duo's motivation for launching the business in May 2020 was to accelerate their ability to shape cultural dialogues."My parents equipped me with a deep commitment to ethics and doing things that are reflective of my innermost values," Vanessa Pham, 28, said of her parents, who moved to the US from Vietnam. "They've always lived their lives that way." As she's scaled Omsom, Vanessa Pham said her personal and professional selves fused. "I realized how my professional aspirations and challenges are so imbued by my personal narratives and they feel one and the same," she said. Since Omsom's launch, the company has sold more than 800,000 packages, sold out of inventory 10 times, and has 55,000 customers, according to the company. Vanessa Pham declined to share revenue figures.  Alexandra Dorda, the founder of Kasama RumAlexandra Dorda, the founder of Kasama Rum.Darya BubenAlexandra Dorda founded Kasama Rum after having two realizations. First, she learned that the Philippines — where her mother grew up — is one of the largest rum-producing countries in the world. Second, she saw that the rum category, compared to other spirits categories in the US, is small and underdeveloped."I realized I had an opportunity to both celebrate my culture and tell the story of the Philippines," Dorda, 30, said. "But also do it in a way that's filling a real gap that I saw in the market."It helped that both of her parents are entrepreneurs: Her father, Tadeusz Dorda, is a cofounder of the Chopin and Belvedere vodka brands, and her mother sold things out of the family's car to put Dorda through school. Additionally, Dorda's maternal grandmother owned bars and clubs in Manila."Seeing determination and being a part of it was something that really influenced me," Dorda said. "That's something specific to being Filipino — women taking the reins and starting these businesses and making things happen for their family."Kasama, which means "together" in Filipino, distills and sells seven-year-old rum from the Philippines. Dorda said Kasama is bootstrapped and did not share revenue figures.Priyanka Ganjoo, the founder of Kulfi BeautyPriyanka Ganjoo, the founder of Kulfi Beauty.Kulfi BeautyGrowing up, Priyanka Ganjoo said she didn't feel beautiful. Born in New Delhi, India, Ganjoo said her South Asian community imposed "a narrow and toxic beauty standard" and further reinforced the belief that wearing makeup was only to lighten the skin or to attract men."We rarely see South Asians represented in beauty," Ganjoo said, adding that there's a lack of products made for South Asian skin tones and undertones. "We grew up thinking that beauty isn't something that could be possibly tailored to our wants and needs."This inspired the 34-year-old Ganjoo to start Kulfi Beauty, a brand of eyeliners that she hopes will show customers there are products for them created by someone who looks like them. She launched the business in February 2021 and declined to share revenue figures. Ganjoo wants the next generation to grow up viewing beauty from a more holistic perspective, she said. She also wants to encourage entrepreneurs to trust their instincts. "When I was pitching Kulfi, many executives told me that South Asian beauty was not aspirational or that I needed a celebrity cofounder to be successful," Ganjoo said. "I've had to unlearn expectations imposed on women of color to not speak up or take risks."Rooshy Roy, the founder and CEO of AavraniRooshy Roy, the founder and CEO of Aavrani.AavraniWhen Rooshy Roy, 32, grew up in Michigan, her household was as "Indian as it could be," she said. Roy's parents wanted their daughter to have the same values, traditions, and morals as they did in Kolkata, India. This deep connection with India, both through visits and the home her parents created, are what led to Roy creating Aavrani in 2018. Her New York City-based skin-care brand draws on ayurvedic South Asian rituals and ingredients that someone from any background can use. To date, Roy has raised $10 million, but declined to share revenue figures.Her company is a huge part of how Roy keeps in touch with her Indian roots, especially because she has lived in the US her whole life and her busy schedule doesn't allow for frequent visits to India. "Aavrani has served as a catalyst for me to keep in touch with my Asian heritage," she said. "It keeps me grounded and in touch with who I am." Lily Liu, the founder and CEO of PiñataLily Liu, the founder and CEO of Piñata.PiñataIn 2020, Lily Liu launched Piñata, a New York City-based software company that helps users manage tasks and goals. Her business understanding comes from watching her father, who had his own small manufacturing business. She and her siblings would help their father wrap and box shipments every single night, which taught her the value of grit when running a business. Liu's family emigrated to the US from Taiwan when she was two years old and she watched her parents establish themselves in a new country. Liu said that the values she learned growing up in an Asian household are what she embodies every day, especially as a CEO."Coming from an immigrant family, there was always an emphasis on education, grit, and community," she said. "I feel like that grit is in everything we do at Piñata."To date, Piñata has raised $13 million in a Series A funding round. Liu declined to share revenue figures. Deepica Mutyala, the founder and CEO of Live TintedDeepica Mutyala, the founder and CEO of Live Tinted.LiveTintedDeepica Matyala grew up in Sugarland, Texas, and didn't feel like she fit in with her peers: As a young Indian girl, she had darker skin than most of her blond-haired and blue-eyed classmates. "Indian beauty standards are generally geared toward women with fairer skin," Mutyala, 32, said. "This led me to hiding from the sun under an umbrella so I would not get darker." Those experiences are why she started the New York City-based company Live Tinted, a vegan and cruelty-free make-up brand that sells products like huesticks and sunscreens for people of all different skin tones. Last year, Live Tinted raised $3 million in seed funding. Mutyala declined to share revenue figures."It was important to me that I created a brand for people who looked like me and to inspire them to embrace their skin as it is a representation of their culture and identity," she said. "That's what makes them beautiful and unique." Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderJul 1st, 2022

Isiah Thomas on building an international corporation, convincing the auto industry to trade plastic for hemp, and the evolution of the NBA

NBA Hall of Famer Isiah Thomas spoke to Insider about a series of developments within his international holding company, Isiah International. Isiah Thomas.Rey Del Rio/Getty Images NBA Hall of Famer Isiah Thomas spoke to Insider in a wide-ranging interview tied to a recent expansion of his utility vegetation management business. Thomas discussed the venture alongside other developments in his international holding company, and reflected on the evolution of the NBA since his playing days. Last week, Insider spoke to NBA Hall of Famer Isiah Thomas about a series of developments within his international holding company, Isiah International.In a phone interview tied to a recent expansion of his utility vegetation management business, Gre3n LLC, which earlier this month won a bid to work with the Dixie Electric Membership Corporation (DEMCO), Thomas discussed how his ownership of Cheurlin Champagne led to his broader entry into the agricultural space as well as the cannabis industry.A two-time NBA champion with the Detroit Pistons, Thomas also reflected at length, following the 2022 NBA Finals, on the evolution of professional basketball relative to his playing days of the '80s and '90s.This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.What does this deal with DEMCO mean for the progression of Gre3n LLC on the ground, and from a high level?Well it gives us the opportunity to continue to expand our footprint nationwide, and what we've successfully been able to do is we've won the trust of several utility companies, starting with Entergy, our first onboard. Now we're working with DEMCO. We've worked with Southern Companies. And so as we continue to expand our footprint in the south, in Louisiana, Texas, Mississippi, moving into Georgia, the goal is to continue to expand and move to the East Coast, Midwest region. But DEMCO, this bid definitely solidifies our safety record and also, I would say, let the business community know in the veg. management space that we're a real player.I wanted to ask sort of a background question. Your father was the first Black supervisor at International Harvester in Chicago. Ah, yes.How did that element of your background inform your broader business sense, and in particular lead you into utility vegetation management?You know, when you're a kid, you don't realize the influence that your parents are having on you, and the things that they say around the house, the things that you watch but you don't realize that you're learning. So seeing my father, particularly during those times in the '60s, watching him move up the ladder, and then understanding the social times and the political times during that era. He definitely had a huge influence on my business understanding and also how to navigate in some difficult spaces, racially. So his influence was huge. But again, at the time you didn't know it. You had no idea the impact that he was truly having, with his words and also his work ethic.What led you into the cannabis and hemp industry in 2020, and what have you made of the progression of One World Products to this point?You know, it was a series of things. It wasn't just one thing. So being in the vegetation management space, and also being in the champagne space, at that time, I didn't realize that I was in the agricultural space. The champagne space, where we cultivate and grow in Champagne, and we have 200 acres over in the Aube region of Champagne, which is the oldest region. Why is champagne called champagne? Because it comes from that region, and you have a certain amount of soil, and the sun and the climate gives excellent growing opportunities for the grapes that makes the champagne. Now fast forward, in the vegetation management space, and you're still understanding agriculture, tree trimming, how it works with the utilities. And believe it or not ... And I know this is a long winded answer to the cannabis space [laugh], but believe it or not, my Detroit Edison safety stuff came into play on the veg. management space also.But then, when I ventured into the cannabis space, that really came from my son and my daughter, who, as you know, the younger generation fully understood the benefits of cannabis, and didn't see it as a class one felony drug, the way it had been marketed. And the more research that I started doing around the plant itself, connecting it to the agricultural space, then I started seeing the benefits of not only what the plant has for working with our body, in terms of our endocannabinoid system that's present in every human being, and your CB1 and CB2 receptors that's present in every human being, that works specifically with this plant.It's almost as if Mother Nature put this plant here for us to use. And then I started looking at, "Okay, how did this plant affect the environment?" And that's when you got into carbon reduction, and the uses of it replacing plastics, and how at one time in our country's history, hemp was the food product. It was the fuel product. It was the environmental product. It was the textile product. And before plastics, it was the plastics product. So, you know, Mother Nature now is saying, "Hey, time's up for the synthetic things that we've been using." And now she's asking for us to use the bio-friendly products and plants that she's put on the earth.What has the reception of the automobile industry been toward the move on your part to have hemp be a plastic replacement?Unbelievably enthusiastic. It's like if you put the Silver Dome, the Palace, Joe Louis Arena, and Little Caesars Arena together. If you put all those crowds in one building, that's how enthusiastic they've welcomed and wanted it. And why? Because like every industry and every business, everyone's looking to reduce their carbon footprint and be friendly to the environment. Stellantis is the first group that jumped on board with us, and we started piling in the program. And since then, we've had significant conversations with GM and Ford also. So, my five-year business plan that I laid out quickly morphed into a five-month business plan. [Laugh].[Laugh].That's how receptive they've been to what we are moving.You know, as the manager of an international corporation, how do you handle that day-to-day delegation, being so diversified in your portfolio, and to what extent are you hands-on and active in the individual companies?So I am an owner-operator, and I am a CEO of all the entities internationally. Fortunately enough, for myself, being in sports and entertainment and playing with the Detroit Pistons has given us an international platform that we can move across the globe with name recognition. So operating in France and in Europe, Latin America, and here domestically in the United States, and also in Africa, has given us a unique perspective, not only of the world culturally and socially, and the business environment on each continent and sometimes in each country varies so differently.But having a sports and entertainment background and having traveled to these places gives you a unique understanding of how you can continue to bring people together. So my involvement is very extensive. Thus, you know, the company, Isaiah International. Now, delegation. How do I delegate? Of course, you have to sign good managers in in each place, and you delegate responsibilities. You hold them accountable, you set goals, you make sure that the values of the company is always presented and represented internationally, and thus far we've been successful in doing that.Isiah Thomas and Magic Johnson in 1989.Andrew D. Bernstein/NBAE via Getty ImagesYou were at games throughout this year's Finals. Does a part of you wish you had come up as a player at this time, this more guard-centric time, or what have you made evolution of the game?Absolutely. [Laugh]. When I came into the game, a scoring point guard like myself, a small scoring point guard that scored and assisted, was really unheard of. Now, Magic Johnson was accepted as a big guard at 6'9. And if you remember, when I came in, all the point guards were, you know, 6'7, 6'8, 6'9, because everyone was replicating what Magic had done. When I came in as a small guard, we were supposed to pass the ball to the big man in the post and go stand in the corner. Joe, Vinnie, and I said, "Okay, well, we can shoot." [Laugh].[Laugh].So, small guys scoring a basketball, shooting jump shots, playing from the perimeter and winning from the perimeter. At that time, the Pistons, we went so against the grain, because you were supposed to throw it to the big guys inside and let them do all the work. Fast forward, now today, the game has totally flip flopped. Small guards are expected to score, and not only are they expected to score, but they've changed all the rules to benefit the small guard so he can score and shoot more. And had I come along in this era, I definitely would've had ... you know, I had success in my era, but I definitely would've had more success in this era.Thomas following the Pistons' championship in 1990.NBAE/Getty ImagesIn addition to my great appreciation for you as a lifelong Pistons fan, I have to thank you for teaching me the cutting power of a smile.[Laugh].The strength of it, and what it can convey. How has that element of your disposition allowed you to succeed in business in the way you have?So, I would give that to my mom. Again, you don't realize how you're being impacted, until you get older and you realize the gifts that your mom and dad gave you. And my mom, for as poor as we were, in as difficult of times that we were having as a family, she was always, always positive and found a way to find humor, laughter, and song in all of our sadness. And so throughout my life, I really just have always had a positive and happy disposition. And I remember when I was in ... well, I don't remember what grade I was in, but when I was younger, my mom gave me a little piece of paper and it said, "Love conquers all." And I still use it and remember it to this day.So I just try to be happy, and the life that I'm leading now, hell, I didn't even know this life existed when I was young. You know? So I didn't know, I couldn't even dream of the life that I'm leading now, because we were so poor. So to have a refrigerator full of food, I can pay my bills on time, and if I needed to get in the car and drive somewhere, I can do that. And I got a place to live. Really that's all I ever wanted. And, you know, my wife teases me sometimes because still, today, I'll open up the refrigerator, and I'll just stand there and look at it and be like, "We got a lot of food." [Laugh].[Laugh].So I give that to my mom.In closing here, as the international LLC expands, what do you look forward to out of the progression of your portfolio?The first thing is to uplift my family out of generational poverty. And, as you can see, it's a family-owned business. We've been in business since the early '80s, but officially, starting in '90. But there's so much poverty in my family, nieces, nephews, who are still below the poverty line. And we were so below the poverty line, we wasn't even counted by the Census Bureau. So the goal is to continue to educate nieces, nephews, keep our family business going, but also in spreading out internationally, connect different communities, different cultures, different races, different people, politically, socially, and continue the dialogue.I would say that's the most unique gift that I've been been blessed with and given, operating in this space, where you in the US, Latin America, Africa, and Europe, where now you're connecting the dots politically and socially and having meaningful conversation, and realizing that in all of these places, you know, we all really do have the same problems. We all have the same problems with our kids. We all have the same problems individually. No one is really a hundred percent whole. Everybody's got some type of flaw, and working through those flaws is what I found most rewarding. So what do I hope to accomplish? You know, educate my family, and continue to connect the world, and hopefully make it a better place.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderJun 28th, 2022

The Economics of Legal Weed Don’t Work

The legal cannabis business has been hampered by regulation and competition Ten years ago Colorado became the first state in the U.S. to fully legalize the recreational use of cannabis. Many other states followed, and several others already had sufficiently lax medical marijuana legislation, that now an estimated 40% of American adults can legally buy cannabis. Musicians, actors and sports stars have quickly jumped into the market with their own brands of weed, hoping to lure people who want to get high with a high-end product. Some of these—Willie Nelson, Snoop Dogg, Seth Rogen—are unsurprising. Others are less likely weedpreneurs, including Bella Thorne, Jaleel White—the actor who played Steve Urkel in Family Matters—and former NBA star Al Harrington. The newly legal industry was predicted to be a multibillion dollar business and a big tax revenue win for the states. [time-brightcove not-tgx=”true”] But it hasn’t been that simple, according to the authors of the new book Can Legal Weed Win?: The Blunt Realities of Cannabis Economics. The two economists from the University of California, Davis’s Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics found that the future of the legal cannabis business, hampered by regulation, competition and standard agricultural issues, is a bit hazy. TIME spoke to the authors, Daniel Sumner—who is also a former assistant secretary of economics at the U.S. Department of Agriculture—and Robin Goldstein, who is also the author of a controversial bestselling guide to wine, The Wine Trials. This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity. Not quite half of American adults can now buy weed legally. How’s business going? Daniel Sumner: It’s been tough. There’s still a whole lot of illegal weed out there available to that same group of consumers, and most of them choose the illegal product because it’s half the price. Also, they have been consuming the product for the last 20 to 40 years; they’ve been dealing with this guy who knows a guy and they’re reasonably happy with the product. Why is legal weed more expensive? Sumner: To get a license to start with in most states you hire a consultant to help you through the regulation maze. And then you wait. In Vermont [which legalized recreational cannabis in 2018], for example, you’ve hired your consultants, you’ve gotten your venue for your retail store, you’ve purchased a greenhouse or rented one as your cannabis growing facility, and you’re still waiting. It’s been four years. Nobody has got an adult-use weed license in Vermont. Robin Goldstein: In many states, the agencies are understaffed and the process is very lengthy, time-consuming and difficult for people to get through. So it can take years and years and in the meantime, they have investors, they’re burning cash and a lot of people have lost their money just by waiting. Sumner: And at the farm level, the illegal producers really are, for the most part, off the grid. They’re not paying attention to labor regulations or pesticide regulations or other things that are the same for every farmer, not just for cannabis. That is a cost disadvantage for the legal guy. And that’s one where almost everybody would say, “We really ought to enforce that.” I wish we could figure out a way to enforce it on the illegal guys, but we haven’t figured that out yet. Have we not seen an influx of customers who wanted to try weed but who were turned off by the criminal aspect? Goldstein: Yes, but it’s a small percentage. In many of these states that have legalized, the penalties weren’t that harsh already for the buyer. People who wanted to try it could try it. Evidence from around the world, from places like the Netherlands that have had forms of legalization well before the U.S., suggests that you don’t see a big increase in the total amount of weed smoking just because you legalize it. Read More: Why There are So Many Different Names for Weed So what’s happened to the medical marijuana industry as a result of legalization? Goldstein: In some states there was legal medical weed for many years and it was more or less unregulated. And now with all these new rules, some of those people are breaking the laws. We don’t think it was the intention of the voters generally to make more weed criminals. [In states where weed is legalized] there’s not really that much reason for people to continue getting their medical recommendations. Once anyone can just walk into a dispensary and buy it, then what’s the reason to pay a doctor to get this recommendation? There have been some states where the medical system has survived, including Colorado, and Massachusetts, because they’ve got much bigger tax exemptions for the medical patients. A lot of people think that weed is a growth industry and states like Colorado are riding this new product to economic prosperity. Is this not true? Sumner: There are companies that have done well and there are lots of companies that have not done well at all. There are growers that are doing OK and there are lots of farms that are not doing OK at all. Now, that’s true for other farms too. I’ve been looking at farm industries for a very long time, and that’s the nature of agriculture. But cannabis is in this state of flux. It’s been a gold rush and a few people have found some gold and a lot of people haven’t. What I like to say is the company that made a lot of money in the California Gold Rush was Levi’s. It was making jeans for the guys digging for gold. And so there are some companies that have done OK in supplying the cannabis business with things that it needs as it modernizes. What about the investors? You mention in your book that former Republican congressmen and legalization opponents, Tom Daschle and John Boehner are involved in the industry. Is there any money being made on the VC or investor front? Sumner: Those two are among the consultants, for example, the lobbyists and the like, who may be doing OK. Goldstein: The ones that are probably making the safest money are probably the ones who were taking flat fees. You can’t not make money taking big consulting fees. But folks who took their compensation in the form of shares in these big cannabis holding companies, those stocks have not done well on the whole. One of the hopes of the legalizing movement was that people who had been most injured by its criminalization would have a head start in taking advantage of that market. Has that happened? Sumner: A lot of people who have been in the business for a long time and knew how to grow the crop thought that that would be enough to allow them to really boom when it was made legal. What they didn’t know is how to run a legal business and that was a real eye-opener for them. Take somebody who’s been a small time criminal. You say, “Go to your banker and get a loan for a half a million dollars so that you can build a modern greenhouse. Come and fill out all the forms and keep very clear records because there’s a computerized track-and-trace system that you have to implement…” Goldstein: Yeah, and “Go to your city council, or your county board of supervisors and get the local approval.” This is just a skill set that these people didn’t have. Access to capital is part of it and access to political capital is another part of it. In many cases they didn’t have either. No matter how many well-meaning, good faith equity programs there are, having the resources to get into this business is way more than just no longer being officially considered a criminal. Is there not a weed billionaire somewhere? Sumner: Probably not, but there certainly are weed millionaires. The people that are trying to build it as an ongoing profit-making business—the honest ones—say we’ve got years to go here. Is one of them going to become Amazon? Probably not, but is one of them generating a regular few hundred million dollars a year from a dozen stores scattered around? Probably, yes. Can we tell yet if the problems are those of scaling and efficiency that are common to startups and small businesses, or problems where the regulation and the way the market is set up are never going to be solved? Goldstein: One of the problems with scaling is that it’s all state-by-state at the moment. So, you have to basically craft a strategy within a state based on that state’s regulation and taxation system, and so forth. Expanding to multiple states is less like scaling up a business nationally and more like starting a whole new business in every state. If I were advising a cannabis company, I’d say try to try to compete on price. Everyone wants to create their own fancy weed brand backed by a celebrity. That’s a really tough market to compete in. Sumner: People say this is a $100 billion industry. Robin and I are skeptical of that, but there could be a $10 billion industry, which is a lot of money if shared among a few players. But we don’t have any companies that are dominant in the market. There’s nothing like a Reynolds Tobacco that has the brands and does the manufacturing. We’ve seen nothing like the consolidation yet where the really big money could be coming. We haven’t even seen an indication that it’s going that direction. You mentioned Vermont, which in principle legalized, but in practice has no legal weed-dealers. Are there some states that are doing it better? Goldstein: Legal weed producers and sellers in Washington and Colorado have a better chance at capturing market share than they do in other states. That’s not just because of lower taxes and regulations. It’s also because those two states have been open for recreational and adult use the longest. Over time, companies get more efficient at regulations, and regulators and legislatures adjust things over time, learning from early mistakes. Read More: The Environmental Downside of Cannabis Cultivation What industry is weed most like? Alcohol? Sumner: There are parallels but there are really big differences as well, partly because weed has been illegal longer than it was legal, and alcohol was legal almost forever and then became illegal for a little while. There are other big differences: you can put a million dollars worth of weed in your station wagon and still have room for the kids. Moving illegal weed around is so easy compared to manufacturing and moving illegal alcohol. Goldstein: I don’t think there’s any other industry that it’s really that much like and that’s one reason we thought it was worth writing a book about it, because it’s so unique and weird. You can draw parallels from alcohol, you can draw parallels from food and agriculture, you can draw parallels from tobacco, but there are so many huge differences. The value per ounce of this stuff is just through the roof, unlike any other product that’s legal. It’s more expensive than white truffle or saffron or beluga caviar. Are you proposing less regulation? There are a lot of people who would argue for more regulation around something that alters brain function. Sumner: We understand that. But you can [have so many rules that you] make sure that you have this very heavily regulated pure product that no one buys, and all those people buy the illegal product. We’ll let all these kids go out and buy illegal weed and let that industry prosper. For example there’s a rule that says in California, you can’t buy it after 10 p.m., which is when lots of people are just starting to party. Why would you close the legal store at 10 o’clock? Goldstein: The point certainly isn’t that it should be unregulated completely; no product is unregulated. The point is it’s a cost benefit analysis, every additional rule you put on, you have to ask how much is this going to take away from the legal market and shift to the illegal market, where you don’t have any safety standards at all. Every rule you pass, you need to think about that balancing test. How do you balance lowering the barriers to entry with the concern that an increase in the uptake of weed is not necessarily a public good? Sumner: The evidence that legalization has caused increased overall consumption in society is not at all conclusive. But when we see the price of cannabis coming down for the average consumer, it’s a legitimate question to ask: Is that a good thing for society? There are questions when it comes to something that’s having psychological effects. What can you do about it through regulation and government action? It’s not clear what you can do to be effective, given you’ve got this parallel industry that’s illegal. That’s a real challenge and we acknowledge it. Wouldn’t one way to resolve this be not to make legal weed less regulated but make illegal weed more so? Goldstein: Then you have an enforcement problem. The intent of the voters was, Let’s keep people out of jail for marijuana offenses. And let’s stop punishing people for doing something that we don’t believe should be illegal anymore and if the result is, you end up with much more criminal crackdowns and more drawing more people in jail than you did before, you risk frustrating the purpose that voters had, or that legislatures had in legalizing it. With weed, you have this 80-year history of the stuff being produced in incredibly large quantities and distributed all over the world illegally and at low prices with high quality already. This pre-existing illegal market is so robust that to come in and try to just bust that up, it’s a logistical nightmare for law enforcement. Sumner: Society has signaled over and over again that we feel uncomfortable throwing millions of young black men and young brown men in jail for what seemed to be relatively minor offenses in terms of violence. However, I will tell you that there are individual growers or retailers who say “What the hell? I’m complying with all these regulations. And then there’s a kid standing on the corner in front of my store selling weed at half the price. Why don’t you arrest him?” So there are retailers and farmers who are very frustrated. But even most of them don’t say, “Hey, bust my brother-in-law.”.....»»

Category: topSource: timeJun 22nd, 2022

High Tide Reports Second Quarter 2022 Financial Results Featuring a 98% Increase in Revenue and Ninth Straight Quarter of Positive Adjusted EBITDA

Same-store Sales Increased 23% Sequentially Compared to the Previous Quarter This news release constitutes a "designated news release" for the purposes of the Company's prospectus supplement dated December 3, 2021 to its short form base shelf prospectus dated April 22, 2021. CALGARY, AB, June 14, 2022 /PRNewswire/ - High Tide Inc. ("High Tide" or the "Company") (NASDAQ:HITI) (TSXV:HITI) (FSE: 2LYA), a leading retail-focused cannabis company with bricks-and-mortar as well as global e-commerce assets, filed its financial results for the second fiscal quarter of 2022 ended April 30, 2022, the highlights of which are included in this news release. The condensed interim consolidated financial statements for the three and six months ended April 30, 2022 and the accompanying management's discussion and analysis can be accessed by visiting the Company's website at www.hightideinc.com, and its profile pages on SEDAR at www.sedar.com, and EDGAR at www.sec.gov. Second Quarter 2022 – Financial Highlights: Revenue increased to $81.0 million in the second quarter of 2022 compared to $40.9 million in the same quarter last year. Sequentially, revenue increased by 12% compared to the previous quarter. This represents the second-highest quarterly revenue figure generated by a Canadian cannabis company reporting in Canadian dollars. Gross profit increased by 51% to $22.7 million in the second quarter of 2022 compared to $15.0 million in the same quarter last year. Gross profit margin in the three months ended April 30, 2022, was 28% compared to 32% in the previous quarter ended January 31, 2022. The drop in gross profit margin is attributed to an increased share of total revenue coming from the bricks-and-mortar retail side of the Company's business, as a result of continued easing of pandemic restrictions across North America, and the rapid organic and inorganic bricks-and-mortar expansion in Canada. Adjusted EBITDA1 for the three months ended April 30, 2022, was $2.4 million compared to $3.0 million in the previous quarter ended January 31, 2022. This can be attributed to retail seasonality, as the previous quarter included the holiday season. Cabanalytics data sales were $5.1 million in the second quarter of 2022 compared to $2.9 million for the same quarter last year. Sequentially, Cabanalytics data sales increased by 10% compared to the previous quarter. For locations operational throughout the second quarter of 2022 and 2021, same-store sales increased by 23%. Since the launch of the discount club model in October of 2021, daily same-store sales have increased by 48%. The Company has continued to experience same-store sales growth since the end of the quarter. Geographically in the second quarter of 2022, revenue of $63.5 million was earned in Canada, $15.9 million was earned in the United States and $1.6 million was earned internationally. Compared to the second quarter of 2021, revenue increased by 81% in Canada, 181% in the United States, and 864% internationally. Segment-wise in the three months ended April 30, 2022, $80.0 million of revenue was generated by Retail, $1.0 million by Wholesale, and an immaterial amount by Corporate. Cash on hand as of April 30, 2022, totaled $15.0 million. _______________________________ 1 Adjusted EBITDA is a non-IFRS financial measure. "Once again, I can proudly report that High Tide continues to see consistent and significant growth year-over-year and sequentially with every passing quarter, despite a persistently challenging macro environment and the state of the capital markets. Since its launch, the ongoing growth of our innovative discount club model has resulted in a 48% increase in daily same-store sales, contributing to our 98% revenue growth over the same quarter last year. While we aggressively gain retail market share in Canada ahead of our peer group, we have remained adjusted EBITDA positive for the ninth straight quarter. Although we are pleased with our EBITDA of $2.4 million this quarter, we highlight that, as the only pure-play cannabis retailer trading on Nasdaq, direct ongoing costs incurred associated with our Nasdaq listing amounted to approximately $750,000 this quarter. Our continued EBITDA positivity is a critical point for us, as we are steadily growing at the same time when many of our publicly-traded and private peers are facing fierce challenges and slowing down," said Raj Grover, President and Chief Executive Officer of High Tide. "We also continue to be the acquirer of choice, as many independents see compelling value in joining the High Tide family in this highly competitive retail landscape. Our recently-launched Cabana Cannabis Co. products will further contribute to healthy margin increases, since we expect our house-branded products to represent a 20-30% share of our total bricks-and-mortar sales over the long term. We are currently sitting at 126 stores across Canada, and remain confident that we will reach our goal of 150 stores by the end of the 2022 calendar year. Last quarter, we became the second-largest revenue-generating Canadian cannabis company that reports in Canadian dollars, and we are now on an annualized revenue run rate trajectory of approximately $325 million. I am lazer-focused on ensuring that High Tide's growth trajectory will bring us to that coveted number one position in Canada. I want to give a huge shout out and thanks to the entire High Tide team for consistently producing industry-leading results," added Mr. Grover. Second Fiscal Quarter 2022 – Operational Highlights: Organic retail store expansion continued with 5 new Canna Cabana locations: 3 in Alberta and 2 in Ontario. Cabana Club membership increased to over 550,000 members as of today, from 245,000 at the launch of the Company's discount club model, representing a 124% increase over the past 8 months. Following the success of its discount club model, the Company celebrated the milestone of 420,000 Cabana Club members by launching an exclusive car giveaway contest, which was the first of its kind in North America and will be an annual event going forward. The Company was recognized as one of the top 10 performing diversified industries stocks in the 2022 TSX Venture 50™, which comprises the top 50 companies from over 1,600 listed on the TSX Venture Exchange. The Company closed the acquisition of Bud Room Inc. on February 10, 2022, securing ownership of Fastendr™ retail kiosk and smart locker technology. Fourteen Canna Cabana locations have been equipped with Fastendr™ technology, which is helping to further differentiate the Company's already-unique retail concept. The Company launched cannabis delivery on demand through select Canna Cabana locations in Ontario, Manitoba, and Saskatchewan on February 22, 2022, and in Alberta on March 8, 2022. On March 3, 2022, the Company announced that it had entered into an agreement to acquire four established retail cannabis stores, operating as Crossroads Cannabis, in Stratford, Woodstock, Hanover, and Markdale, Ontario. On April 27, the Company closed the acquisition of the three Crossroads Cannabis stores in Stratford, Hanover, and Markdale. The Company's subsidiary, Fab Nutrition, LLC., operating as 'FAB CBD,' launched a Subscribe-and-Save discount program in the United States on March 7, 2022. The Company's subsidiary, Enigmaa Ltd., operating as 'Blessed CBD,' launched online sales of its premium hemp-derived CBD products in Germany on March 9, 2022. On March 30, 2022, the Company announced that it had entered into an agreement to acquire two established retail cannabis stores, operating as Bud Heaven, in Bracebridge, Ontario. On April 1, 2022, the Company announced that it had entered into an agreement to acquire two established retail cannabis stores, operating as Boreal Cannabis, in Slave Lake and St. Paul, Alberta. On April 22, 2022, the Company announced that it had closed the acquisition of Boreal Cannabis, adding the two stores to the Canna Cabana network. On April 18, 2022, the Company entered into a letter of intent with ConnectFirst Credit Union for CAD$30 million in non-dilutive credit facilities. These facilities consist of CAD$15 million of term debt and CAD$15 million in a mergers and acquisitions revolving master line. The Company expects to close the credit facilities in the month of July. Subsequent Events: The Company organically opened one new store in Alberta, one in Saskatchewan, and one in Ontario. The Company's total store count as of today is 126 across Canada. The Company completed the acquisition of the final Crossroads Cannabis store in Woodstock, Ontario. The Company completed the acquisition of Bud Heaven, adding two established cannabis retail stores in Bracebridge, Ontario. The Company's President and Chief Executive Officer, Raj Grover, received the Cannabis Person of the Year Award at the O'Cannabiz Industry Awards Gala on June 1, 2022. On June 13, 2022, the Company announced the launch of its Cabana Cannabis Co. line of house-branded products in Saskatchewan, with anticipated launches in Ontario and Manitoba within the coming weeks, pending listing approval. Selected financial information for the three and six months ended April 30, 2022: (Expressed in thousands of Canadian Dollars) Three months ended April 30 Six months ended April 30 2022 2021 Change 2022 2021 Change $ $ $ $ Revenue 81,031 40,868 98 % 153,249 79,187 94 % Gross Profit 22,694 14,998 51 % 45,676 29,766 53 % Gross Profit Margin 28 % 37 % (9 %) 30 % 38 % (8 %) Total Operating Expenses (30,272) (19,509) 55 % (59,401) (36,322) 64 % Adjusted EBITDA (1) 2,402 4,720 (49 %) 5,357 9,322.....»»

Category: earningsSource: benzingaJun 14th, 2022

High Tide Reports Second Quarter 2022 Financial Results Featuring a 98% Increase in Revenue and Ninth Straight Quarter of Positive Adjusted EBITDA

Same-store Sales Increased 23% Sequentially Compared to the Previous Quarter This news release constitutes a "designated news release" for the purposes of the Company's prospectus supplement dated December 3, 2021 to its short form base shelf prospectus dated April 22, 2021. CALGARY, AB, June 14, 2022 /CNW/ - High Tide Inc. ("High Tide" or the "Company") (NASDAQ:HITI) (TSXV:HITI) (FSE: 2LYA), a leading retail-focused cannabis company with bricks-and-mortar as well as global e-commerce assets, filed its financial results for the second fiscal quarter of 2022 ended April 30, 2022, the highlights of which are included in this news release. The condensed interim consolidated financial statements for the three and six months ended April 30, 2022 and the accompanying management's discussion and analysis can be accessed by visiting the Company's website at www.hightideinc.com, and its profile pages on SEDAR at www.sedar.com, and EDGAR at www.sec.gov. Second Quarter 2022 – Financial Highlights: Revenue increased to $81.0 million in the second quarter of 2022 compared to $40.9 million in the same quarter last year. Sequentially, revenue increased by 12% compared to the previous quarter. This represents the second-highest quarterly revenue figure generated by a Canadian cannabis company reporting in Canadian dollars. Gross profit increased by 51% to $22.7 million in the second quarter of 2022 compared to $15.0 million in the same quarter last year. Gross profit margin in the three months ended April 30, 2022, was 28% compared to 32% in the previous quarter ended January 31, 2022. The drop in gross profit margin is attributed to an increased share of total revenue coming from the bricks-and-mortar retail side of the Company's business, as a result of continued easing of pandemic restrictions across North America, and the rapid organic and inorganic bricks-and-mortar expansion in Canada. Adjusted EBITDA1 for the three months ended April 30, 2022, was $2.4 million compared to $3.0 million in the previous quarter ended January 31, 2022. This can be attributed to retail seasonality, as the previous quarter included the holiday season. Cabanalytics data sales were $5.1 million in the second quarter of 2022 compared to $2.9 million for the same quarter last year. Sequentially, Cabanalytics data sales increased by 10% compared to the previous quarter. For locations operational throughout the second quarter of 2022 and 2021, same-store sales increased by 23%. Since the launch of the discount club model in October of 2021, daily same-store sales have increased by 48%. The Company has continued to experience same-store sales growth since the end of the quarter. Geographically in the second quarter of 2022, revenue of $63.5 million was earned in Canada, $15.9 million was earned in the United States and $1.6 million was earned internationally. Compared to the second quarter of 2021, revenue increased by 81% in Canada, 181% in the United States, and 864% internationally. Segment-wise in the three months ended April 30, 2022, $80.0 million of revenue was generated by Retail, $1.0 million by Wholesale, and an immaterial amount by Corporate. Cash on hand as of April 30, 2022, totaled $15.0 million. _______________________________ 1 Adjusted EBITDA is a non-IFRS financial measure. "Once again, I can proudly report that High Tide continues to see consistent and significant growth year-over-year and sequentially with every passing quarter, despite a persistently challenging macro environment and the state of the capital markets. Since its launch, the ongoing growth of our innovative discount club model has resulted in a 48% increase in daily same-store sales, contributing to our 98% revenue growth over the same quarter last year. While we aggressively gain retail market share in Canada ahead of our peer group, we have remained adjusted EBITDA positive for the ninth straight quarter. Although we are pleased with our EBITDA of $2.4 million this quarter, we highlight that, as the only pure-play cannabis retailer trading on Nasdaq, direct ongoing costs incurred associated with our Nasdaq listing amounted to approximately $750,000 this quarter. Our continued EBITDA positivity is a critical point for us, as we are steadily growing at the same time when many of our publicly-traded and private peers are facing fierce challenges and slowing down," said Raj Grover, President and Chief Executive Officer of High Tide. "We also continue to be the acquirer of choice, as many independents see compelling value in joining the High Tide family in this highly competitive retail landscape. Our recently-launched Cabana Cannabis Co. products will further contribute to healthy margin increases, since we expect our house-branded products to represent a 20-30% share of our total bricks-and-mortar sales over the long term. We are currently sitting at 126 stores across Canada, and remain confident that we will reach our goal of 150 stores by the end of the 2022 calendar year. Last quarter, we became the second-largest revenue-generating Canadian cannabis company that reports in Canadian dollars, and we are now on an annualized revenue run rate trajectory of approximately $325 million. I am lazer-focused on ensuring that High Tide's growth trajectory will bring us to that coveted number one position in Canada. I want to give a huge shout out and thanks to the entire High Tide team for consistently producing industry-leading results," added Mr. Grover. Second Fiscal Quarter 2022 – Operational Highlights: Organic retail store expansion continued with 5 new Canna Cabana locations: 3 in Alberta and 2 in Ontario. Cabana Club membership increased to over 550,000 members as of today, from 245,000 at the launch of the Company's discount club model, representing a 124% increase over the past 8 months. Following the success of its discount club model, the Company celebrated the milestone of 420,000 Cabana Club members by launching an exclusive car giveaway contest, which was the first of its kind in North America and will be an annual event going forward. The Company was recognized as one of the top 10 performing diversified industries stocks in the 2022 TSX Venture 50™, which comprises the top 50 companies from over 1,600 listed on the TSX Venture Exchange. The Company closed the acquisition of Bud Room Inc. on February 10, 2022, securing ownership of Fastendr™ retail kiosk and smart locker technology. Fourteen Canna Cabana locations have been equipped with Fastendr™ technology, which is helping to further differentiate the Company's already-unique retail concept. The Company launched cannabis delivery on demand through select Canna Cabana locations in Ontario, Manitoba, and Saskatchewan on February 22, 2022, and in Alberta on March 8, 2022. On March 3, 2022, the Company announced that it had entered into an agreement to acquire four established retail cannabis stores, operating as Crossroads Cannabis, in Stratford, Woodstock, Hanover, and Markdale, Ontario. On April 27, the Company closed the acquisition of the three Crossroads Cannabis stores in Stratford, Hanover, and Markdale. The Company's subsidiary, Fab Nutrition, LLC., operating as 'FAB CBD,' launched a Subscribe-and-Save discount program in the United States on March 7, 2022. The Company's subsidiary, Enigmaa Ltd., operating as 'Blessed CBD,' launched online sales of its premium hemp-derived CBD products in Germany on March 9, 2022. On March 30, 2022, the Company announced that it had entered into an agreement to acquire two established retail cannabis stores, operating as Bud Heaven, in Bracebridge, Ontario. On April 1, 2022, the Company announced that it had entered into an agreement to acquire two established retail cannabis stores, operating as Boreal Cannabis, in Slave Lake and St. Paul, Alberta. On April 22, 2022, the Company announced that it had closed the acquisition of Boreal Cannabis, adding the two stores to the Canna Cabana network. On April 18, 2022, the Company entered into a letter of intent with ConnectFirst Credit Union for CAD$30 million in non-dilutive credit facilities. These facilities consist of CAD$15 million of term debt and CAD$15 million in a mergers and acquisitions revolving master line. The Company expects to close the credit facilities in the month of July. Subsequent Events: The Company organically opened one new store in Alberta, one in Saskatchewan, and one in Ontario. The Company's total store count as of today is 126 across Canada. The Company completed the acquisition of the final Crossroads Cannabis store in Woodstock, Ontario. The Company completed the acquisition of Bud Heaven, adding two established cannabis retail stores in Bracebridge, Ontario. The Company's President and Chief Executive Officer, Raj Grover, received the Cannabis Person of the Year Award at the O'Cannabiz Industry Awards Gala on June 1, 2022. On June 13, 2022, the Company announced the launch of its Cabana Cannabis Co. line of house-branded products in Saskatchewan, with anticipated launches in Ontario and Manitoba within the coming weeks, pending listing approval. Selected financial information for the three and six months ended April 30, 2022: (Expressed in thousands of Canadian Dollars) Three months ended April 30 Six months ended April 30 2022 2021 Change 2022 2021 Change $ $ $ $ Revenue 81,031 40,868 98 % 153,249 79,187 94 % Gross Profit 22,694 14,998 51 % 45,676 29,766 53 % Gross Profit Margin 28 % 37 % (9 %) 30 % 38 % (8 %) Total Operating Expenses (30,272) (19,509) 55 % (59,401) (36,322) 64 % Adjusted EBITDA (1) 2,402 4,720 (49 %) 5,357 9,322 (43 %).....»»

Category: earningsSource: benzingaJun 14th, 2022

Jushi Q1 Revenue Grows 48.5% YoY, Revises 2022 Revenue And EBITDA Guidance

Jushi Holdings Inc. (OTCQX:JUSHF), (CSE:JUSH) released its financial results for the first quarter 2022 ended March 31, 2022, revealing revenue of $61.9 million, an increase of 48.5% year-over-year. Q1 2022 Highlights Adjusted gross profit of $25.5 million, an increase of 33.1% year-over-year Net loss of $14.3 million Adjusted EBITDA of $1.1 million, or 1.7% of revenue Cash and cash equivalents were $76.2 million as of the quarter end Q1 2022 Operational Highlights Completed the acquisition of The Apothecarium in Las Vegas, Nevada, an operating adult-use and medical retail dispensary Debuted a series of cannabis brands and product launches in Massachusetts, beginning with the launch of flower brands The Bank and Sèchè Closed a non-brokered private placement, for total proceeds of approximately $13.7 million Placed on The Globe and Mail’s Third-Annual Women Lead Here benchmark of executive gender diversity Jim Cacioppo, CEO, chairman, and founder, purchased 66,800 class B subordinate voting shares of ...Full story available on Benzinga.com.....»»

Category: earningsSource: benzingaMay 25th, 2022

Jushi Holdings Inc. Reports First Quarter 2022 Financial Results

First Quarter 2022 Revenue Increased 48.5% to $61.9 million as Compared to the First Quarter of 2021 Established Fourth Vertically Integrated State-Level Operation in Nevada with the Completion of the Acquisition of The Apothecarium(2) dispensary in Las Vegas BOCA RATON, Fla., May 25, 2022 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Jushi Holdings Inc. ("Jushi" or the "Company") (CSE:JUSH) (OTCQX:JUSHF), a vertically integrated, multi-state cannabis operator, is pleased to announce its financial results for the first quarter 2022 ("Q1 2022") ended March 31, 2022. All financial information is provided in U.S. dollars unless otherwise indicated. First Quarter 2022 Highlights Total revenue of $61.9 million, an increase of 48.5% year-over-year Adjusted gross profit(1) of $25.5 million, an increase of 33.1% year-over-year Net loss of $14.3 million Adjusted EBITDA(1) of $1.1 million, or 1.7% of revenue Cash and cash equivalents were $76.2 million as of the quarter end First Quarter 2022 Operational Highlights Completed the acquisition of The Apothecarium(2) in Las Vegas, Nevada ("Apothecarium Nevada"), an operating adult-use and medical retail dispensary Debuted a series of cannabis brands and product launches in Massachusetts, beginning with the launch of flower brands The Bank and Sèchè Closed a non-brokered private placement (the "Offering"), for total proceeds of approximately $13.7 million Placed on The Globe and Mail's Third-Annual Women Lead Here benchmark of executive gender diversity Announced that Jim Cacioppo, Chief Executive Officer, Chairman, and Founder, purchased 66,800 Class B Subordinate Voting Shares of the Company in the open market for an approximate amount of $220,000 Recent Developments Awarded a provisional medical marijuana dispensary license in Ohio, establishing the Company's fifth vertically integrated state-level operation Expanded the Company's vertically integrated footprint in Nevada with the completion of the NuLeaf, Inc. ("NuLeaf") acquisition, adding a 27,000 sq. ft. cultivation facility, 13,000 sq. ft. processing facility, and three adult-use and medical retail dispensaries in the state Launched the Company's first line of solventless cannabis extracts in the Pennsylvania market under its award-winning The Lab brand, comprised of high-quality live rosin vapes and concentrates Opened the 32nd retail location nationwide and 3rd BEYOND / HELLO™ dispensary in California Closed on the purchase of land adjacent to the Company's Toledo Ohio grow facility which will allow Jushi to significantly expand its cultivation footprint at the Ohio grow facility, subject to regulatory approvals Management Commentary "Despite the seasonal weakness in the first quarter and a series of challenges including the loss of store hours due to Omicron, snowstorms, and the Pennsylvania distillate cartridges recall, I am pleased with our first quarter performance and the progress we have made in positioning our business for the long term," said Jim Cacioppo, Chief Executive Officer, Chairman, and Founder of Jushi. "We remain focused on investing in our businesses, including building out our store base, significantly expanding our cultivation and processing facilities in both Pennsylvania and Virginia, scaling our wholesale channel in Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, and Virginia, and integrating our two recently acquired businesses in Nevada. At the same time, we have taken decisive steps to manage our costs across all operating units and are encouraged by the initial results. I am confident that our investments into the business and the cost savings measures we have recently implemented position us to achieve accelerated growth and profitability through the balance of the year." Jim Cacioppo concluded, "I am very encouraged by what we have accomplished to date and remain confident that we are creating one of the most robust and exciting platforms to capitalize on the growth in the U.S. cannabis industry. I am incredibly proud of our people and their contributions and look forward to scaling our operations in 2022 and beyond." (1) See "Reconciliation of Non-IFRS Financial Measures" at the end of this press release for more information regarding the Company's use of non-IFRS financial measures.(2) The Apothecarium is used under license with an affiliate of TerrAscend Corp. Financial Results for the First Quarter 2022 The following is a tabular summary and commentary of revenue, gross profit, adjusted gross profit, net income (loss), and net income (loss) per share for the three-month periods ended March 31, 2022, December 31, 2021, and March 31, 2021.         ($ in millions, except per share amounts)    Quarter EndedMarch 31,2022 Quarter EndedDecember 31,2021 % Change Quarter EndedMarch 31,2022 Quarter EndedMarch 31,2021 % Change Revenue $ 61.9   $ 65.9   (6.1 )% $ 61.9   $ 41.7   48.5 % Gross profit $ 27.9   $ 20.9   33.8 % $ 27.9   $ 20.1   39.1 % Adjusted gross profit(1) $ 25.5   $ 26.4   (3.1 )% $ 25.5   $ 19.2   33.1 % Net income (loss) $ (14.3 ) $ 7.5     $ (14.3 ) $ (26.6 )   Net income (loss) per share - basic $ (0.08 ) $ 0.04     $ (0.08 ) $ (0.18 )   Net loss per share - diluted $ (0.08 ) $ (0.15 )   $ (0.08 ) $ (0.18 )   Revenue in Q1 2022 increased 48.5% to $61.9 million as compared to $41.7 million in the first quarter of 2021 ("Q1 2021"), driven by the expansion of our retail footprint from 17 to 29 stores, the acquisition of Nature's Remedy of Massachusetts, and increased wholesale sales at our Pennsylvania and Virginia grower-processor facilities. On a sequential quarterly basis, revenue declined 6.1% from $65.9 million in the fourth quarter of 2021 ("Q4 2021"). The 6.1% sequential decrease in revenue was driven primarily by a seasonal slowdown in activity, industry headwinds, such as continued inflationary pressures on consumer spending, regulatory delays impacting the expansion and sale of product offerings in select states, and temporary store closures related to the pandemic and snowstorms. Adjusted gross profit(1) in Q1 2022 was $25.5 million, or 41.3% of revenue, compared to $26.4 million, or 40.0% of revenue, in Q4 2021. The increase in gross margin was primarily driven by margin improvement in Pennsylvania, partially offset by an increase in promotional activity at retail in Illinois and Massachusetts and pricing compression in wholesale as the Company continues to build out its brands across state markets. Q1 2022 net loss was $14.3 million, or $0.08 per basic share and net loss of $0.08 per diluted share, compared to net income of $5.2 million, or $0.04 per basic share and net loss of $0.15 per diluted share, in Q4 2021. The net loss of $0.08 per diluted share in Q1 2022 was primarily due to the infrastructure and headcount investments that were completed in 2021 that are expected to have a transitional impact on our 2022 results. Adjusted EBITDA(1) in Q1 2022 was $1.1 million, a decrease of $0.4 million as compared to $1.5 million in Q4 2021 and a decrease of $3 million compared to the $4 million in Q1 2021. The decrease in Adjusted EBITDA(1) on a sequential quarterly basis was driven by lower revenues and gross profit. Balance Sheet and Liquidity As of March 31, 2022, the Company had $76.2 million of cash and cash equivalents, including proceeds from the Offering closed in Q1 2022. The Company paid approximately $29 million in capital expenditures during Q1 2022, of which $10 million was paid for capital expenditures accrued at year end 2021. The Company expects to incur approximately $40 to $60 million of new cash capital expenditures for the full year 2022, subject to market conditions and regulatory changes. As of March 31, 2022, the Company had approximately $147 million in principal amount of total debt, excluding leases and property, plant, and equipment financing obligations. As of May 25, 2022, the Company's Acquisition Facility had $60 million of available capacity, including the $25 million accordion feature. As of May 25, 2022, the Company's issued and outstanding shares were 194,542,278 and its fully diluted shares outstanding were 281,438,589. Outlook Mr. Cacioppo commented, "Looking ahead to the remainder of the year, we expect to open an additional four dispensaries and continue to build-out the grow rooms in our Pennsylvania and Virginia grower-processor facilities, which will increase our margins and substantially grow our wholesale sales in 2022 and beyond." Mr. Cacioppo added, "We are modestly revising our fourth quarter 2022 annualized revenue to be between $340 to $380 million, and our 2022 annualized Adjusted EBITDA to be between $60 to $80 million on an IFRS basis. The slight reduction in revenue and Adjusted EBITDA guidance was driven by (1) weakening in the macro environment; (2) ongoing regulatory delays; and (3) supply chain issues. We want to be conservative in regard to our projected revenue ramp through the remainder of the year. By the end of 2022, we are targeting 50 retail licenses across seven markets, including 36 operating retail locations and approximately 330,000 sq. ft. of cultivation and processing capacity." Mr. Cacioppo concluded, "We are putting in significant work, optimizing our resources, and making important investments where needed, to execute on our strategic initiatives and build out our business for long-term, sustained growth for our shareholders." The Company's MD&A and consolidated financial statements for the first quarter ended March 31, 2022, will be filed in May. The Company's previous public filings may be found on SEDAR at www.SEDAR.com. Conference Call and Webcast Information The Company will host a conference call to discuss its financial results for the first quarter 2022 at 9:00 a.m. ET today, Wednesday, May 25, 2022. Event: First Quarter 2022 Financial Results Conference Call Date: Wednesday, May 25, 2022 Time: 9:00 a.m. Eastern Time Live Call: +1-833-646-0490 (U.S. Toll-Free) or +1-918-922-6617 (International) Conference ID: 6827238 Webcast: Register For interested individuals unable to join the conference call, a dial-in replay of the call will be available until June 24, 2022, and can be accessed by dialing +1-855-859-2056 (U.S. Toll-Free) or +1-404-537-3406 (International) and entering replay pin number: 6827238. Consolidated Financial StatementThe financial information reported in this press release is based on unaudited management prepared financial statements for the three months March 31, 2022. These financial statements have been prepared in accordance with IFRS. This release contains certain preliminary financial results for first quarter 2022, including, but not limited to, Cost of goods sold; Gross profit; Income tax (expense) benefit; Net loss; Inventory, net; Goodwill, net; Deferred taxes, contingent consideration and accrued expenses. The Company expects to file its unaudited consolidated financial statements for the first quarter 2022 ended March 31, 2022, on SEDAR in May. Accordingly, such financial information may be subject to change. All financial information contained in this press release is qualified in its entirety with reference to such financial statements. While the Company does not expect there to be any material changes between the information contained in this press release and the consolidated financial statements it files on SEDAR, to the extent that the financial information contained in this press release is inconsistent with the information contained in the Company's financial statements, the financial information contained in this press release shall be deemed to be modified or superseded by the Company's filed financial statements. The making of a modifying or superseding statement shall not be deemed an admission for any purposes that the modified or superseded statement, when made, constituted a misrepresentation for purposes of applicable securities laws. Further, the reader should refer to the additional disclosures in the Company's unaudited financial statements for the first quarter ended March 31, 2022. About Jushi Holdings Inc.        We are a vertically integrated cannabis company led by an industry-leading management team. In the United States, Jushi is focused on building a multi-state portfolio of branded cannabis assets through opportunistic acquisitions, distressed workouts, and competitive applications. Jushi strives to maximize shareholder value while delivering high-quality products across all levels of the cannabis ecosystem. For more information, visit jushico.com or our social media channels, Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. Forward-Looking Information and Statements        This press release contains certain "forward-looking information" within the meaning of applicable Canadian securities legislation and may also contain statements that may constitute "forward-looking statements" within the meaning of the safe harbor provisions of the United States Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Such forward-looking information and forward-looking statements are not representative of historical facts or information or current conditions but instead represent only the Company's beliefs regarding future events, plans or objectives, many of which, by their nature, involve estimates, projections, plans, goals, forecasts, and assumptions that may prove to be inaccurate. As a result, actual results could differ materially from those expressed by such forward-looking statements and such statements should not be relied upon. Generally, such forward-looking information or forward-looking statements can be identified by the use of forward-looking terminology such as "plans," "expects" or "does not expect," "is expected," "budget," "scheduled," "estimates," "forecasts," "intends," "anticipates" or "does not anticipate," or "believes," or variations of such words and phrases or may contain statements that certain actions, events or results "may," "could," "would," "might" or "will be taken," "will continue," "will occur" or "will be achieved". The forward-looking information and forward-looking statements contained herein may include but are not limited to, information concerning the expectations regarding Jushi, or the ability of Jushi to successfully achieve business objectives, and expectations for other economic, business, and/or competitive factors. By identifying such information and statements in this manner, the Company is alerting the reader that such information and statements are subject to known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors that may cause the actual results, level of activity, performance, or achievements of the Company to be materially different from those expressed or implied by such information and statements. In addition, in connection with the forward-looking information and forward-looking statements contained in this press release, the Company has certain expectations and has made certain assumptions. Among the key factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from those projected in the forward- looking information and statements are the following: the ability of Jushi to successfully and/or timely achieve business objectives, including with regulatory bodies, employees, suppliers, customers and competitors; changes in general economic, business and political conditions, including changes in the financial markets; changes in applicable laws; and compliance with extensive government regulation, as well as other risks and uncertainties which are more fully described in the Company's Management, Discussion and Analysis for the three and twelve months ended December 31, 2021, and other filings with securities and regulatory authorities which are available at www.sedar.com. Should one or more of these risks, uncertainties or other factors materialize, or should assumptions underlying the forward- looking information or statements prove incorrect, actual results may vary materially from those described herein as intended, planned, anticipated, believed, estimated, or expected. Although the Company believes that the assumptions and factors used in preparing, and the expectations contained in, the forward-looking information and statements are reasonable, undue reliance should not be placed on such information and statements, and no assurance or guarantee can be given that such forward-looking information and statements will prove to be accurate, as actual results and future events could differ materially from those anticipated in such information and statements. The forward-looking information and forward-looking statements contained in this press release are made as of the date of this press release, and the Company does not undertake to update any forward-looking information and/or forward-looking statements that are contained or referenced herein, except in accordance with applicable securities laws. All subsequent written and oral forward-looking information and statements attributable to the Company or persons acting on its behalf is expressly qualified in its entirety by this notice. Not for distribution to United States newswire services or for dissemination in the United States. For further information, please contact: Investor Relations Contact:Michael PerlmanExecutive Vice President of Investor Relations561-281-0247investors@jushico.comMedia Contact:Ellen Mellody570-209-2947ellen@mattio.com JUSHI HOLDINGS INC.CONDENSED UNAUDITED INTERIM CONSOLIDATED STATEMENTS OF OPERATIONS AND COMPREHENSIVE LOSS (in thousands of U.S. dollars, except share and per share amounts)     Three Months Ended     March 31,2022 (1)   December 31,2021   March 31,2021 REVENUE, NET   $ 61,888     $ 65,892     $ 41,675   COST OF GOODS SOLD     (42,014 )     (46,181 )     (22,934 ) GROSS PROFIT BEFORE FAIR VALUE CHANGES   $ 19,874     $ 19,711     $ 18,741   Realized fair value changes included in inventory sold     (148 )     (2,892 )     (4,783 ) Unrealized fair value changes included in biological assets     8,217       4,059       6,135   GROSS PROFIT  .....»»

Category: earningsSource: benzingaMay 25th, 2022

Are Putin And Xi "Gray Champions"? Part 1

Are Putin And Xi 'Gray Champions'? Part 1 Authored by Jim Quinn via The Burning Platform blog, “Long, long may it be, ere he comes again! His hour is one of darkness, and adversity, and peril. But should domestic tyranny oppress us, or the invader’s step pollute our soil, still may the Gray Champion come”  - Nathaniel Hawthorne, The Gray Champion “Who is this gray patriarch? That stately form, combining the leader and the saint…could only belong to some old champion of the righteous cause, whom the oppressor’s drum had summoned from his grave.”  - Nathaniel Hawthorne There is a misunderstanding regarding the Gray Champion of this Fourth Turning. The misunderstanding revolves around thinking there is only one Gray Champion, they are hugely popular, always do the right thing, and are universally admired for their leadership traits. Nothing could be further from the truth. In previous Fourth Turnings, there have always been multiple Gray Champions, often at war with each other, who were not popular or necessarily good men. What they always are is single-minded, tenacious, ruthless, and intent on winning at any cost. Their followers are inspired, and their enemies despise them. There is no middle ground when it comes to opinions about Gray Champions. They generally don’t fight the battles, but shape the strategy, inspire the troops, or mobilize the citizenry to action. The Awakening Prophet Generation firebrands during the American Revolution included Sam Adams and Ben Franklin. Adams organized and led the Boston Tea Party, lighting the fuse of revolution. Franklin provided the wisdom and guidance for the younger firebrands like John Adams and Thomas Jefferson. These Prophet Generation leaders were the inspirational lightning rods for a revolution where failure meant the gallows for them and their fellow rebels. This nation wouldn’t exist without the leadership of Adams and Franklin. Gray Champions during the Civil War Fourth Turning included Abraham Lincoln, William Tecumseh Sherman, Jefferson Davis, and Robert E. Lee. These four Transcendental Prophet Generation men were the driving force during the four-years of slaughter, where 700,000 men (10% of male population between the ages of 18 and 60) were killed in a brutal war of brother versus brother. The War Between the States certainly marked an hour of darkness, adversity, and peril. Lincoln rose from obscurity to lead the northern states in a scorched earth effort to suppress the Confederate states, greatly expanding the reach of the Federal government, instituting a mandatory draft, introducing an income tax, suspending the right to habeas corpus, and flaunting the Constitution when he deemed necessary. He did this without a mandate from the people, as he won the presidency in 1860 with only 39.8% of the popular vote, in a four-man race. He was determined to win the war at any cost. And his personal cost was bullet to the head and death before victory. Sherman was a take no prisoners general who implemented a new and far more violent form of war. He conducted war against soldiers and civilians alike, believing he could destroy the will of the enemy by using his terrible swift sword and wreaking destruction upon every city he passed through during his march to the sea. Ultimately, Grant and Sherman’s strategy of wearing down their opponents through superior manpower and armaments worked. Sherman is despised to this day by Southerners. Jefferson Davis had been a U.S. Senator prior to becoming president of the Confederate States of America. Just as the founding fathers would have been hung for treason if they had failed, Davis risked the same fate and ultimately spent a couple years in a federal prison after his defeat. His personality deficiencies and inability to convince Britain to support the Confederate cause, were a major factor in the South’s defeat. Meanwhile, the inspirational leadership of Robert E. Lee is probably the single biggest factor in the Confederacy lasting as long as it did. His daring, strategic brilliance, inspiring presence on the battlefield and tenaciousness won many improbable victories and even in defeat he escaped annihilation by his sheer guile and determination. It takes a certain type of man to give an order that will surely result in the deaths of thousands as he did on the 3rd day at Gettysburg, and Pickett made his fateful charge. At Antietam and Gettysburg his opponents could have destroyed his army and ended the war, but they were psychologically unable to do so, fearing Lee was setting a trap for them. His honorable surrender at Appomattox set a tone of reconciliation that helped bring the country back together as well as it could be done at that time. Lee is still considered an icon in the South, and the destruction of his statues by the low IQ ignorant BLM terrorists and their corrupt Democrat politician cucks is a disgrace to a great man and our rich history. The Great Depression/World War II Fourth Turning saw the Missionary Prophet Generation produce another four historical figures who will never be forgotten: Franklin Delano Roosevelt, Douglas MacArthur, Winston Churchill, and Joseph Stalin. It is reasonable to say these men had immense egos, were ruthless in achieving their objectives, were more hated then loved, fought against all odds, committed criminal acts, and ultimately cooperated enough to attain victory in World War II. Roosevelt changed the country from rural to urban, implemented his New Deal that began the social welfare state, tried to stack the Supreme Court, and imprisoned Japanese citizens for being Japanese. FDR accumulated such dictatorial power during his four terms in office, Congress implemented a two-term limit on all future presidents. MacArthur disobeyed orders from his superiors when he decided his path was better. But his strategy in the Pacific proved effective and his humane reign while overseeing the occupation of Japan from 1945 until 1951 paved the way for democracy and stability in Asia. Churchill had many more failures than successes during his life in the military, government office and politics, before ascending to prime minister at a point of maximum peril for the UK. A lesser man probably would have sued for peace, as his troops were cornered at Dunkirk and bombs obliterated London on a nightly basis. His inspirational speeches kept the spirits of his people up, and once Hitler turned his attention towards Russia, Churchill was able to focus on prodding FDR for help and angling to get the U.S. into the war. Churchill was cruel and ruthless when it came to fighting the war. He, along with FDR, decided firebombing Dresden and other German cities was a valid tactic in winning the war. Lying to allies in order to achieve his aims was a common occurrence by Churchill, but he also saw Stalin for who he really was, and immediately realized the Soviets would not be allies after the war was won. His own people booted him out of office at the war’s end, showing he wasn’t loved. Essentially, Churchill oversaw the last days of the British Empire. Despite being a psychopath who murdered and starved in excess of 1 million of his citizens during the 1930s, Joseph Stalin was a Gray Champion during the last Fourth Turning. He was a dictator who bore the brunt of Hitler’s armed forces and ultimately repelled the Germans and had his armies take Berlin. Generals who failed were executed. His sheer willpower and unwillingness to admit defeat were essential to achieving victory in World War II. He bullied and prodded his allies – FDR and Churchill – to open a second front and provide him with tanks and arms to defeat the Germans. He never considered himself a friend of the UK or US. They were useful pawns to help him achieve victory. He was an evil man running a despotic regime who became an immediate enemy upon victory in 1945. He is the ultimate example of a Gray Champion not being a noble, moral, well-liked person. Anyone with a true grasp of history would acknowledge all these men had monumental personality defects, huge egos, a determination to win by any means necessary (including breaking the law and flaunting the Constitution), and ability to mobilize forces to accomplish their goals. Their names and deeds are in the history books. Hundreds of biographies have been written about each, trying to capture their true essence. But one thing is certain. They fought for what they believed, shaped the future of their countries, didn’t back down from taking responsibility and making tough decisions, and sent millions to their deaths by their actions. Gray Champions are not wallflowers, quiet, or unassuming. They lead. They are willing to act, make decisions and fail or succeed on their own merits. When the Prophet archetype arrives at old age, it heralds a new constellation of generations, which happens every 80 years – marking the arrival of another Fourth Turning. As we are propelled through the fourteenth year of this Fourth Turning, Gray Champions have arrived on the scene and are propelling us towards a frightful climax, which will happen within the next several years. The intensification is being driven by these figures, who will ultimately be judged in history books based upon their success or failure in leading their nations through this Crisis period. Anyone who can’t see the world being pushed towards the brink of world war and on the verge of economic collapse, is either willfully ignorant, too dumbed down and distracted by their electronic bread and circuses, or just focused on profiting from war, chaos, and destruction. Neil Howe, one of the authors of The Fourth Turning, made a statement in January 2021 which clarified for me those who currently fit the mold of a Gray Champion. “Gray champions are made, not born. The persona of a gray champion is to focus on one big thing, not 17 little things.” As this Fourth Turning was ignited by the 2008 financial collapse, brought about by Wall Street bankers, Ben Bernanke and his central banker co-conspirators, corrupt politicians, and feckless government apparatchiks, I was trying to seek out the Gray Champion who would lead the country through this Crisis. I realize now, my view was too narrow. There seems to be multiple Gray Champions with differing agendas, often at conflict with the agendas of other Gray Champions and leading the world into a global conflict. Their one commonality is they are all Boomer Generation Prophets, with a single-minded ambition to lead their followers down the path they are sure will attain success for themselves and their followers. But we know for sure, some will lose and possibly all will lose if one or more is reckless enough to initiate nuclear Armageddon. With his improbable 2016 election I thought Trump might be the single Gray Champion, acting as a lightning rod for the conflict which always arises during a Fourth Turning. I now realize there are several Prophet Generation leaders who are leading competing factions both domestically and internationally. Even though Trump was removed from office in an ultimately successful Deep State coup in 2020, he continues to have a huge following, drawing massive crowds at rallies, and giving every indication he intends to run for president again in 2024. There is a major segment of the population which will follow him anywhere he leads. He most certainly is a Gray Champion, whose Deep State sanctioned adversary Hillary Clinton, also fits the mold of Gray Champion – albeit an evil she-devil Gray Champion intent on destroying what remains of civil society in America while instigating Russia into a world war. As a main figure in the plot to overthrow the man who defeated her in 2016, she continues to throw bombs and insinuate she might run again in 2024, as the dementia ridden pathetic shell of a corrupt politician Biden will be lucky to live until 2024 and the low IQ cackling hyena of a vice president will be cast aside by the Deep State as unelectable. Clinton has ratcheted up the war rhetoric and will always have the left-wing pussy hat wearing lunatic fringe as her base. She is a dangerous, vile human being, but so was Stalin. Being a malevolent hateful shrew does not disqualify you from being a Gray Champion during a Fourth Turning. She will attempt to rally her malicious forces of wickedness, with the full support of her Deep State puppet-masters and lapdog compliant corporate legacy media, to accelerate our downward spiral into a techno-communist, globally controlled, dystopian hellscape. This Fourth Turning will not end well if she and her globalist billionaire cronies emerge victorious. Another globalist billionaire, who cavorted with and did business with convicted pedophile Jeffrey Epstein, did not appear on my radar as a Gray Champion until he, Klaus Schwab, Fauci, Big Pharma, and the bought off medical industrial complex, created a worldwide pandemic using a Wuhan lab produced flu with a 99.7% survival rate. Bill Gates, a software geek who fancies himself a medical expert, used his immense wealth to push for the mandatory injection of an untested, unproven, dangerous, DNA altering gene therapy created by criminal pharmaceutical firms, into the bodies of everyone on earth. Gates has funded the vaccine propaganda campaign and funnels millions to the mainstream media to push falsehoods about the safety and effectiveness of these toxic concoctions. He has inexplicably bought up farmland, while promoting bugs as a future food source for the unwashed masses. He is a major player in the Great Reset Build Back Better WEF demonic plan to enslave the masses in poverty in a techno-gulag where we will own nothing and told to be happy, or else. He and his fellow pedophile satanic billionaire cultists will own everything and be really happy. His investments in vaccines, farmland, and the media most certainly makes his motivations suspect. His immediate negative reaction to Elon Musk’s takeover of Twitter reveals his authoritarian censorship principles and belief he and his small cohort of wealthy totalitarian oligarchs should be the arbiters of truth and gatekeepers of what the plebs can say on social media. Suppression of those voicing dissent from the approved State narrative is essential for Gates and his ilk in propagandizing the ignorant masses. The first amendment and the Constitution are nothing more than annoyances to men like Gates who can buy and sell the world to implement their warped agenda. Like Clinton, if this Gray Champion succeeds, the people of this world will never recover their liberties and freedoms. This brings us to two men who weren’t in my thought process during the first thirteen years of this Crisis as potential Gray Champions. I suffer the same myopia as many others, viewing the world through the lens of living within the American Empire. Of course, America is no longer the shining city on the hill, if it ever was. We have been an empire since 1945, forged in war and sustained through currency dominance, intimidation, and bribing others to do as they are told. It seems both Vladimir Putin and Xi Jinping are from the Boomer Prophet Generation and may be playing the dominant roles in the denouement of this increasingly violent Fourth Turning. As I’ve stated previously, there are no unequivocal good guys who can be counted upon to do what is in your best interest. These Gray Champions have immense egos, grand visions of worldly achievements and often a lack of self-awareness. They all believe their actions are morally right and guided by a higher authority. Living within the echo chamber of a declining empire drowning in debt and flailing about wildly as its last vestiges of military and economic domination crumble, makes it difficult to understand how the rest of the world views the big bully on the block getting his comeuppance. Those pulling the strings behind the scenes, who installed a doddering, decrepit gaffe machine in the oval office as their Trojan horse, anticipated using this pliable dupe to initiate the final destruction of a nation originally built on agreed upon community standards, a strong work ethic, thrift, religious freedom, self-reliance, and a spirit of independence and freedom. I don’t think they anticipated the pathetic weakness displayed by this ancient fossil, which has empowered Putin and Xi to take advantage of his frailty and intellectual decline. The question must be asked. Would Putin have invaded Ukraine if Trump was still president? Putin, as the evil Hitler demagogue character, portrayed by the Deep State controlled mass media mouthpieces, is entirely false. The characterization of Putin’s Operation Z as unprovoked and initiated as part of his plan to take over Eastern Europe is a canard, and the U.S. military and political operatives know it. Putin didn’t invade on a whim. His intelligence agency showed him proof the Ukraine was going to launch a NATO backed offensive against the Russian backed rebels in Donbas. Putin called their bluff and derailed their plans. This entire Ukrainian charade, where Pelosi, Schiff, Boris Johnson, Trudeau, Bono and now Jill Biden drop into a “dangerous hot war zone” for photo ops and a virtue signaling meetings with the U.S. puppet president B level actor/comedian Zelensky is a propaganda farce. I’m waiting for a “We Are the World” concert to break out at any moment. The entire narrative surrounding the conflict in the Ukraine, pushed by Biden, Soros, NATO, and their obedient media lackeys, is knowingly fabricated and built upon misinformation. The CIA Soros funded coup against the democratically elected president in 2014 set this entire farce in motion. No Ukrainians were being killed before the U.S. coup. Now we are using the Ukrainian people as cannon fodder in our proxy war against Russia. Putin has also uncovered the secret biological weapons labs the U.S. has been funding in the Ukraine. No wonder the extreme reaction by Biden, Nuland, and the rest of his neo-con lackeys. It has been U.S. and NATO provocation which has forced Putin’s hand since the 2014 coup. His annexation of Crimea and military support for Russian friendly rebels in Donbas were reactions to the blatant U.S. incitement in their sphere of influence. NATO, completely under the control of the U.S. Empire, has steadily pushed eastward towards Russia since agreeing in 1990 to not do so. The U.S. purposely told Zelensky to act as if the Ukraine was going to seek NATO membership. Zelensky and his Ukraine Nazi forces have been bombing Russian speaking civilians since 2014 and were planning a major offensive in Donbas which Putin pre-empted with his attack. It has been the U.S. led NATO and Ukraine instigating Putin. They continue to do so, with Finland and Sweden being incentivized to join NATO by the U.S.  “Not an inch of NATO’s present military jurisdiction will spread in an eastern direction.”  - Memorandum of conversation between Mikhail Gorbachev and James Baker in Moscow, Feb 9, 1990 Vladimir Putin, a serious man, rising to the highest levels of the KGB, tenacious in accomplishing his agenda, and a nationalist at heart, cannot be intimidated by the likes of a feeble-minded pervert like Biden or any of the EU lackeys taking their orders from the U.S. Empire. Do you think he will be cowed by empty threats from a babbling Biden, cackling Kamala, effeminate Blinken, or gay pride promoting Austin? The U.S. propaganda machine continuously flogs the narrative of Ukraine winning, while Russians commit atrocities. Both are blatant falsities. As a Gray Champion, Putin understands victory goes to the one who refuses to back down or admit defeat when facing adversity. In Part 2 of this article, I will examine the traits of Putin and Xi which will make them the dominant Gray Champions during the final years of this Fourth Turning, and possibly the final years of modern life on this planet. *  *  * The corrupt establishment will do anything to suppress sites like the Burning Platform from revealing the truth. The corporate media does this by demonetizing sites like mine by blackballing the site from advertising revenue. If you get value from this site, please keep it running with a donation. Tyler Durden Mon, 05/16/2022 - 16:25.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeMay 16th, 2022

The Top 10 Most-Lucrative Markets for Real Estate Investment

The real estate market expanded as the COVID-19 pandemic progressed, leaving many with terrible financial problems. Still, homeowners and real estate investors benefited from the hard economic conditions. According to CoreLogic, homeowners with mortgages in the United States increased their equity by $1 trillion between September 2019 and September 2021. COVID-19 caused rising prices and… The post The Top 10 Most-Lucrative Markets for Real Estate Investment appeared first on RISMedia. The real estate market expanded as the COVID-19 pandemic progressed, leaving many with terrible financial problems. Still, homeowners and real estate investors benefited from the hard economic conditions. According to CoreLogic, homeowners with mortgages in the United States increased their equity by $1 trillion between September 2019 and September 2021. COVID-19 caused rising prices and homes to spend less time on the market, which has had a significant impact on the current state of real estate. That said, there are many metro regions that remain great places to invest in property due to continuous population and economic growth, especially in the current situation. Here;s a look at the top 10 most-lucrative markets to invest in real estate: Raleigh/Durham, North Carolina The Raleigh/Durham region is one of the best investment opportunities in rental real estate in the future with the high-tech employment in the area’s Research Triangle. Although one-third of Americans rent their homes, Raleigh and Durham have a 43% and 52% rental rate, respectively—due in part to the huge student population, but also to the younger generation that comes here for work. More reasons to invest in Raleigh/Durham are: Raleigh and Durham’s median home prices are $340,303 and $304,217, respectively, and have climbed significantly in the recent year. The Research Triangle offers a wide range of job opportunities; in fact, Raleigh is only second to Austin in terms of technology job opportunities. Austin, Texas Austin’s housing market is a prescription for success, with low availability, rising prices, high demand and a burgeoning job sector. Samsung, Tesla and Apple have all benefited greatly from the city’s tax incentives for enterprises that migrate here, either completely relocating (Tesla) or creating big operations (Apple). Austin has seen a 45% decrease in relocations since 2020, yet Texas continues to recruit new residents. Austin has a 4.2% unemployment rate, which is much lower than the national average. The cost of living in Austin is much lower than in San Francisco. Although rents are steadily rising, the typical monthly rent remains affordable at $1,431. Austin’s real estate market is a strong long-term investment, with property values up more than 90% since 2012. Tampa, Florida If you want to buy a home for less than the national average, remarkably any city in Florida is a decent bet, but Tampa is at the top of the list considering the amount of employment growth the Tampa urban area experienced last year. Despite COVID-19, the Tampa Bay area managed to gain over 30,000 jobs last year, fueling high home demand. The Tampa Bay area also has several tourist attractions such as Busch Gardens, an aquarium, a zoo and the Tampa Riverwalk, as well as immediate vicinity to the beach and year-round pleasant weather. Additionally, Florida has no state income tax, enabling citizens to keep more of their hard-earned money each year. Nashville, Tennessee  Nashville has consistently placed in the top 10 metro areas for job creation and economic growth in recent years and is noted for having occupations in a wide range of industries, including health care, manufacturing, tourism and music. The Wall Street Journal placed Nashville second in metro region job growth (after Austin, Texas) and first in the country for the lowest unemployment rate in early 2020. Nashville is noted for its fantastic restaurants, music scene, entertainment and nightlife, in addition to work prospects, yet the standard of living is higher in Nashville than in other metro regions such as Atlanta, Georgia, and Charlotte, North Carolina. Still, homeownership— and a happy lifestyle—is within reach for young professionals with a median income of at least $85,000, making it rare among major metro areas with interesting features. Nashville is also one of the hottest spots for young professionals, making it ideal for real estate investors looking to get into the rental market. Cleveland, Ohio Low availability is pushing average asking prices in Cleveland properties above $300,000, however, the data show that Cleveland is still reasonably inexpensive. The average selling price is substantially lower, nearly $180,000. Cleveland’s pricing may appeal to first-time homebuyers as more enterprises move to the cloud. Jobs, income and population are all increasing in Cleveland, but the fact that over half of the city’s residents are renters is particularly relevant for real estate investors. With inexpensive property prices, Ohio would appeal to both novice and experienced investors, but with a 20%+ increase in home values over 2020, those who wish to buy should do so before the end of 2022 to take advantage of developing home equity. Las Vegas, Nevada During the Global Recession, the Las Vegas property market was erratic, with the worst falls in the country. The nation’s recovery has been quick, thanks to a variety of factors such as no state taxes, low cost of living and a diverse business climate. It’s also a straightforward shift for Californians who are able to work from home. Las Vegas is seeing unprecedented population growth. According to the most recent census, its population has increased by 14.53% since 2010. The metro area has a population of roughly 2 million. In the United States, Las Vegas is now one of the most active seller’s markets. Phoenix, Arizona Home values in Phoenix have increased by almost $100,000 over the past year, from $350,000 in January 2020 to $457,00 in January 2021. This rise is largely due to a surge in demand from remote employees and retirees looking for more space for their money. “While housing prices are slightly higher than the national average, Pay scale data reveals that the cost of living in Phoenix is 5% lower than the national average, implying that your money will go further,” says Joshua Blackburn of Evolving Home. Phoenix is on the list of “top trending” real estate markets because of a six-figure price increase, but the state’s largest city has a lot to offer its inhabitants. With a growing number of tech employment, restaurants and nightlife, it’s clear to see why so many people choose to relocate to Phoenix. Dallas, Texas One of Dallas’ economic strengths is its diverse economy, which generates work for people of all income levels. Renting is more inexpensive than owning, and rental demand has surged considerably in recent years. It has one of the lowest homeownership rates in the country. Dallas’ population is booming; in fact, Frisco, roughly 20 minutes north of Dallas, is listed No. 6 on WalletHub’s ranking of the fastest-growing regions in the U.S. 9 percent of city residents rent their apartments or homes, compared to the national average of 33 percent. The average monthly rent in Dallas is $1,276, which is up 2% over the previous year. Charlotte, North Carolina Charlotte’s population and job growth have been fueled by the finance and technology industries. The city’s 25 colleges and universities also contribute to the city’s youthful population. Property taxes are lower here than in other IT clusters, making it easier to buy a home. Despite a 16.4% increase in the last year, the median house price of $302,570 remained affordable. The median apartment rent has risen by 6% to $1,259 per month. It is the single most influential banking center in the United States, after New York City, and its financial prowess draws IT investment. Denver, Colorado Denver saw a tremendous population explosion following the legalization of cannabis, and it is currently growing at a rate of over 2% per year. While the housing market is extremely competitive all through the pandemic, Colorado home prices just hit new highs in February 2021, thanks in part to the city’s lowest supply ever. Even though COVID-19 has a significant impact on the city’s employment rates, this inventory issue is one of the factors why Denver will outperform the national average for house value growth. However, if you’re willing to rent, work from home full-time or compete in a rising market, Denver is well valued the move, consistently rating at the top of multiple “best cities to live in” lists. Grant McDonald has more than three decades of experience in the real estate industry and more than a decade in the real estate finance space. He is currently Vice President—Corporate Development at 14th Street Capital. The post The Top 10 Most-Lucrative Markets for Real Estate Investment appeared first on RISMedia......»»

Category: realestateSource: rismediaMay 12th, 2022

Goodness Growth Holdings Announces First Quarter 2022 Results

– First quarter GAAP revenue of $15.6 million increased 18.2% compared to 2021 – – Excluding discontinued operations, first quarter revenue increased 34.5% YoY – MINNEAPOLIS, May 11, 2022 /PRNewswire/ -- Goodness Growth Holdings, Inc. ("Goodness Growth" or the "Company") (CSE:GDNS) (OTCQX:GDNSF), a physician-led, science-focused cannabis company and IP incubator, today reported financial results for its first quarter ended March 31, 2022. All currency figures referenced in this press release reflect U.S. dollar amounts. "Our first quarter results reflected continued growth across all of our markets besides Arizona, where we have been working through the loss of biomass related to weather impacts we've discussed previously," said Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Kyle Kingsley, M.D. "The recent launch of flower sales in Minnesota's medical market is going exceptionally well for our Green Goods retail stores in the state, and we also expect the recent transition to adult-use sales in New Mexico to contribute to stronger sales growth throughout the remainder of this year. Our business will continue to benefit from these recent regulatory transitions in our markets, and we also believe it's possible that adult-use sales could begin in New York sometime during the second half of 2022." Kingsley continued, "First quarter results were also impacted by an inventory adjustment in Arizona and impairments of long-lived assets in Arizona and Maryland. Given our pending transaction with Verano Holdings Corp. and the license overlaps in these markets, we've revised our operating plans. We recently wound down operations at the outdoor farm in Amado, Arizona, and will no longer pursue the phase two expansion in Massey, Maryland. We are continuing to focus on our expansion in New York, and expect the pending transaction with Verano to close sometime during the fourth quarter."   Summary of Key Financial Metrics Three Months Ended US $ in millions March 31, 2022 2021 Variance GAAP Revenue $15.6 $13.2 18.2% Revenue (excl. OH and AZ dispensary) $15.6 $11.6 34.5% GAAP Gross Profit $2.5 $5.6 -55.4% Gross Profit Margin 15.9% 42.6% -2,670 bps SG&A Expenses $9.3 $8.0 16.3% SG&A Expenses (% of Sales) 59.6% 60.6% -100 bps Adjusted EBITDA (non-GAAP) ($2.6) ($1.8) NM Adjusted EBITDA Margin (non-GAAP) (16.7%) (13.5%) -320 bps   First Quarter 2022 Financial Summary Total revenue in the first quarter was $15.6 million, an increase of 18.2 percent as compared to Q1 2021. Excluding contributions from Ohio and Arizona retail, total revenue increased 34.5 percent and reflected growth in each of the Company's other markets. Retail revenue excluding Arizona increased 40.3 percent to $12.4 million in Q1 2022. Wholesale revenue, excluding Ohio increased by 17.3 percent to $3.2 million, reflecting strong growth in Maryland, New York, and Minnesota, partially offset by a decline in the Arizona market. Gross profit was $2.5 million, or 15.9 percent of revenue, as compared to gross profit of $5.6 million or 42.6 percent of revenue in Q1 last year. The decline in gross profit margin was driven primarily by an inventory valuation adjustment of $3.4 million related to write downs of Arizona inventory to net realizable value as compared to the prior-year quarter. Excluding inventory valuation adjustments, gross margins were relatively flat. Total operating expenses in the first quarter were $10.2 million, a reduction of $0.2 million as compared to $10.4 million in the first quarter of 2021. The decline in total expenses was attributable to a decrease in stock-based compensation of approximately $1.4 million, partially offset by an increase in general and administrative expenses of $1.2 million which was driven by professional fees related to the pending Verano transaction, and increased salaries. Total other expenses were $8.5 million during Q1 2022, compared to other expense of $0.5 million in Q1 2021. The variance in other expenses was primarily attributable to a loss on impairment of long-lived assets of $5.3 million driven by write-offs in Maryland and Arizona, and increased interest expense related to the Company's credit facility. EBITDA, as described in accompanying non-GAAP reconciliation, was a loss of $10.7 million during Q1 2022, compared to a loss of $3.5 million in Q1 2021. Adjusted EBITDA was a loss of $2.6 million in Q1 2022, as compared to a loss of $1.8 million in Q1 2021. Please refer to the Supplemental Information and Reconciliation of Non-GAAP Financial Measures at the end of this press release for additional information. Net loss in Q1 2022 was $14.6 million, as compared a loss of $6.9 million in Q1 2021. The variance compared to the prior year was driven by the write-down of Arizona inventory to realizable value, the impairment of long-lived assets and increased interest expenses. Other Events On February 1, 2022, the Company announced that it has entered into a definitive arrangement agreement with Verano Holdings Corp. pursuant to which Verano will acquire all of the issued and outstanding shares of the Company in an all-share transaction valued at the time of announcement of approximately US $413 million on a fully-diluted basis. Under the terms of the Arrangement Agreement, each holder of Goodness Growth subordinate voting shares will receive 0.22652 of a Verano Class A subordinate voting share for each Goodness Growth subordinate voting share held and each holder of Goodness multiple voting shares and Goodness Growth super voting shares will receive 22.652 Verano Shares for each Goodness Growth multiple voting share and Goodness Growth super voting share held, respectively. The transaction is subject to the approval of shareholders; the approvals of the Supreme Court of British Columbia; receipt of U.S. regulatory approvals and New York State regulatory requirements; and other customary conditions of closing. On March 1, 2022, the Company began the sale of smokeable cannabis flower in Minnesota's medical cannabis program. At launch, the Company had six strains of flower available at all eight of its Green Goods™ dispensaries in Minnesota, and today it is producing approximately 25 strains of cannabis for patients. Select strains of the Company's smokeable cannabis flower are also available for purchase at all other registered medical cannabis dispensaries in the state to help ensure that all Minnesotans have access to cannabis flower. On April 1, 2022, the Company began adult-use sales in New Mexico. The Company's cultivation facility in the state is now producing approximately 30 strains of cannabis for patients and customers, and its four Green Goods™ dispensaries in Albuquerque, Gallup, Las Cruces, and Santa Fe are now selling both medical and adult-use products including whole flower, vapes, pre-rolls, beverages and extracts. Balance Sheet and Liquidity As of March 31, 2022, the Company had 128,111,328 equity shares issued and outstanding on an as-converted basis, and 159,693,031 shares outstanding on an as-converted, fully diluted basis. As of March 31, 2022, total current assets were $38.8 million, including cash on hand of $8.6 million. Total current liabilities were $20.5 million. About Goodness Growth Holdings, Inc. Goodness Growth Holdings, Inc., is a physician-led, science-focused holding company whose mission is to bring the power of plants to the world. The Company's operations consist primarily of its multi-state cannabis company subsidiary, Vireo Health, and its science and intellectual property incubator, Resurgent Biosciences. The Company manufactures proprietary, branded cannabis products in environmentally friendly facilities and state-of-the-art cultivation sites, and distributes its products through its growing network of Green Goods® and other retail locations and third-party dispensaries. Its team of more than 500 employees are focused on the development of differentiated products, driving scientific innovation of plant-based medicines and developing meaningful intellectual property. Today, the Company is licensed to grow, process, and/or distribute cannabis in seven markets and operates 18 dispensaries across the United States. For more information about Goodness Growth Holdings, please visit www.goodnessgrowth.com. Additional Information Additional information relating to the Company's first quarter 2022 results will be available on EDGAR and SEDAR on May 11, 2022. Goodness Growth refers to certain non-GAAP financial measures such as Earnings Before Interest, Taxes, Depreciation and Amortization (EBITDA) and adjusted EBITDA (defined as earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization, less certain non-cash equity compensation expense, one-time transactions, and other non-recurring non-cash items. These measures do not have any standardized meaning and may not be comparable to similar measures presented by other issuers. Please see the Supplemental Information and Reconciliation of Non-GAAP Financial Measures at the end of this news release for more detailed information regarding non-GAAP financial measures.   Contact Information Investor Inquiries:       Media Inquiries: Sam Gibbons          Amanda Hutcheson Vice President, Investor Relations     Corporate Communications samgibbons@goodnessgrowth.com         amandahutcheson@goodnessgrowth.com   (612) 314-8995       (919) 815-1476   Forward-Looking Statement Disclosure This press release contains "forward-looking information" within the meaning of applicable United States and Canadian securities legislation. To the extent any forward-looking information in this press release constitutes "financial outlooks" within the meaning of applicable United States or Canadian securities laws, such information is being provided as preliminary financial results and the reader is cautioned that this information may not be appropriate for any other purpose and the reader should not place undue reliance on such financial outlooks. Forward-looking information contained in this press release may be identified by the use of words such as "should," "may," "continue," "expect," "outlook," "will," "believe," "subject to," "plans," and "pending," or variations of such words and phrases. These statements should not be read as guarantees of future performance or results. Forward-looking information includes both known and unknown risks, uncertainties, and other factors which may cause the actual results, performance, or achievements of the Company or its subsidiaries to be materially different from any future results, performance, or achievements expressed or implied by the forward-looking statements or information contained in this press release. Financial outlooks, as with forward-looking information generally, are, without limitation, based on the assumptions and subject to various risks as set out herein and in our Annual Report on Form 10-K filed with the Securities Exchange Commission. Our actual financial position and results of operations may differ materially from management's current expectations and, as a result, our revenue, adjusted EBITDA, and cash on hand may differ materially from the values provided in this press release. Forward-looking information is based upon a number of estimates and assumptions of management, believed but not certain to be reasonable, in light of management's experience and perception of trends, current conditions, and expected developments, as well as other factors relevant in the circumstances, including assumptions in respect of current and future market conditions, the current and future regulatory environment, and the availability of licenses, approvals and permits. Although the Company believes that the expectations and assumptions on which such forward-looking information is based are reasonable, undue reliance should not be placed on the forward-looking information because the Company can give no assurance that they will prove to be correct. Actual results and developments may differ materially from those contemplated by these statements. Forward-looking information is subject to a variety of risks and uncertainties that could cause actual events or results to differ materially from those projected in the forward-looking information. Such risks and uncertainties include, but are not limited to, risks related to the timing of adult-use legislation in markets where the Company currently operates; current and future market conditions, including the market price of the subordinate voting shares of the Company; risks related to the COVID-19 pandemic; federal, state, local, and foreign government laws, rules, and regulations, including federal and state laws in the United States relating to cannabis operations in the United States and any changes to such laws; operational, regulatory and other risks; execution of business strategy; management of growth; difficulty to forecast; conflicts of interest; risks inherent in an agricultural business; liquidity and additional financing; the timing of adult-use sales in New York; the Company's ability to meet the demand for flower in Minnesota; risk of delay in consummation of or failure to consummate the transaction with Verano; and risk factors set out in the Company's Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2021, which is available on EDGAR with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission and filed with the Canadian securities regulators and available under the Company's profile on SEDAR at www.sedar.com.   The statements in this press release are made as of the date of this release. Forward-looking statements in this press release, other than the statements regarding the proposed arrangement with Verano, do not assume the consummation of such proposed arrangement unless specifically stated otherwise. Except as required by law, we undertake no obligation to update any forward-looking statements or forward-looking information to reflect events or circumstances after the date of such statements. Supplemental Information The financial information reported in this news release is based on unaudited financial statements for the fiscal quarters ended March 31, 2022 and March 31, 2021. All financial information contained in this news release is qualified in its entirety with reference to such financial statements. To the extent that the financial information contained in this news release is inconsistent with the information contained in the Company's audited financial statements, the financial information contained in this news release shall be deemed to be modified or superseded by the Company's audited financial statements. The making of a modifying or superseding statement shall not be deemed an admission for any purposes that the modified or superseded statement, when made, constituted a misrepresentation for purposes of applicable securities laws.   GOODNESS GROWTH HOLDINGS, INC CONSOLIDATED BALANCE SHEETS AS OF 3/31/22 AND 12/31/21 (Amounts Expressed in USD, Unaudited and Condensed).....»»

Category: earningsSource: benzingaMay 11th, 2022

Recreational Marijuana Sales Just Started in New Jersey, And Buyers Are Excited

Dozens of people lined up before dawn for opening day of recreational marijuana sales in New Jersey BLOOMFIELD, N.J. — Michael Barrows wore his Grateful Dead T-shirt and Jerry Garcia face mask for opening day of recreational marijuana sales in New Jersey on Thursday, one of dozens of people who lined up before dawn to join the celebratory scene. “It’s pretty amazing, exciting and if I get pulled over on the way home and I’m ever asked if I have any drugs in the car now I’m allowed to say only this,” Barrows said, holding up the canister of marijuana flower he had just purchased. Possession of cannabis is legal now in New Jersey, though driving under the influence is still prohibited. [time-brightcove not-tgx=”true”] Barrows, 60, joined a steady stream of other novelty seekers, longtime marijuana users and medical patients at RISE in Bloomfield, near the state’s biggest city, Newark, and not far from New York City. With soul music blaring, free doughnuts in the parking lot, a steel drum and a balloon arch at the entrance, New Jersey’s cannabis kickoff for people 21 and older had the feel of a fair more than a store opening. Hagan Seeley, 23, said he had just found out a day earlier that recreational sales were starting and decided to see what the scene looked like. He was impressed with the venue, decorated with an old train station-style tote board and long wooden tables featuring products under glass globes. “It feels right. It feels safe. It feels like everything you’d want it to be rather than anything you could get anywhere else,” Seeley said. The start of the recreational market comes a week after Democratic Gov. Phil Murphy announced that state regulators had cleared the way for recreational sales at seven “alternative treatment centers” that had already offered medical cannabis. The seven centers operate 13 facilities across the state. Murphy, who has long backed recreational marijuana legalization and signed the bill the set up the marketplace, appeared at ZenLeaf in Elizabeth for its first day of recreational sales. The governor said he wouldn’t be trying any marijuana, saying earlier this week it’s not his “thing,” and that he prefers Scotch. Murphy said he would be pushing for a “federal fix” for marijuana as well, though it was unclear whether he was referring to recreational legalization, national decriminalization or something else. Hadi Battice, 47, is a Navy veteran and medical marijuana card holder for his post-traumatic stress disorder. He’s a regular at ZenLeaf and said he’s never seen the location as busy as it was Thursday. New Jersey’s recreational cannabis law gives priority status to people of color, a fact that will help knock down “brick walls” people faced for years during the war on drugs, Battice said. “It’s about time that minorities, people of color, Black people, brown people actually have a chance to get into the business.” Read More: Here’s the Real Reason We Associate 420 With Weed Charles Pfeiffer stood in line for about 2.5 hours and said he believed he was the first recreational customer to make a purchase at the ZenLeaf location. He cheered loudly and pumped his hands in the air when he was first let into the shop. He bought cannabis flower and candy for about $140 and joked about how quickly he’d need to return to buy more. “I’ll be back tomorrow,” he said. “I’m kidding, probably within a week.” ZenLeaf employee Destiny Pimentel said she came to realize the “benefits of responsible cannabis use” after her older brother died. “When I consume cannabis I am not as anxious and I can focus,” she said. She’s committed to showing people it’s possible to use cannabis and have a successful career, she added. New Jersey is among 18 states, plus the District of Columbia, with legalized recreational marijuana markets. Thirty-seven states, including New Jersey, have legalized medical marijuana. New Jersey is first among its closest neighbors to begin recreational sales. New York is moving forward with a recreational market but sales are not expected to start until the end of the year, state officials have said. Neighboring Pennsylvania has medical cannabis but not recreational. Legislation to permit recreational marijuana in Delaware was defeated in March. Ben Kovler, of Green Thumb Industries, which operates the Bloomfield dispensary, was at the opening Thursday. He said he expects demand to grow since news of the start of sales had only been known by the public for a week. “It’s a moment in time in American history where prohibition 2.0 is lifted,” he said before the opening. To get regulatory approval, the facilities told regulators they would not interrupt access for medical marijuana patients. Ziad Ghanem, of TerrAscend, said the centers would initially have a “narrower menu” for recreational users in order to accommodate patients. The centers also are required to meet social equity standards, such as providing technical knowledge to new marijuana businesses, especially social equity applicants — those located in economically struggling parts of the state or people who have had cannabis-related offenses. New Jersey’s tax revenues are expected to climb, but it’s not clear by how much. Murphy’s fiscal year 2023 budget is pending before the Legislature and estimates revenues of just $19 million in a nearly $49 billion budget. Legislation governing the recreational market calls for the 6.625% sales tax to apply, with 70% of the proceeds going to areas disproportionately affected by marijuana-related arrests. Black residents were likelier — up to three times as much — to face marijuana charges than white residents. Towns can also levy a tax of up to 2%. In a memo to law enforcement officers across the state, acting Attorney General Matt Platkin reminded police that unregulated marijuana continues to be an illegal substance. State regulators say dispensaries are allowed to sell up to the equivalent of 1 ounce of cannabis, which means an ounce of dried flower, or 5 grams of concentrate or 1,000 milligrams of edibles, like gummies. Perishable items like cookies and brownies are not available......»»

Category: topSource: timeApr 22nd, 2022

Cannabis company Ascend Wellness draws a buy rating at Viridian Capital

Viridian Capital on Tuesday initiated coverage of Ascend Wellness with a buy rating and a $5.15 price target as a beneficiary of adult cannabis sales in New Jersey starting on Thursday. Analyst Jonathan DeCourcey said Ascend Wellness trades at a discount to other cannabis multi-state operators (MSOs) partly because its stock debut in May, 2021 came after the market peak for cannabis stocks; also because of its legal dispute over its acquisition of MedMen's business in New York State. "Ascend is a leading mid-sized MSO with a position in several key markets that should be the envy of most in the industry through its vertically integrated flagship dispensary model," DeCourcey said. "We are confident that execution over the next years will translate to meaningful share gains and outperforming profitability longer term." Shares of Ascend Wellness rose 0.9% on Tuesday. The stock is down 48.5% so far in 2022, compared to a 30% drop by the AdvisorShares Pure US Cannabis ETF . Market Pulse Stories are Rapid-fire, short news bursts on stocks and markets as they move. Visit MarketWatch.com for more information on this news......»»

Category: topSource: marketwatchApr 19th, 2022

Transcript: Luana Lopes Lara

     Transcript: Luana Lopes Lara The transcript from this week’s, MiB: Luana Lopes Lara, Kalshi, is below. You can stream and download our full conversation, including the podcast extras on iTunes, Spotify, Stitcher, Google, Bloomberg, and Acast. All of our earlier podcasts on your favorite pod hosts can be found here. ~~~ RITHOLTZ: This… Read More The post Transcript: Luana Lopes Lara appeared first on The Big Picture.      Transcript: Luana Lopes Lara The transcript from this week’s, MiB: Luana Lopes Lara, Kalshi, is below. You can stream and download our full conversation, including the podcast extras on iTunes, Spotify, Stitcher, Google, Bloomberg, and Acast. All of our earlier podcasts on your favorite pod hosts can be found here. ~~~ RITHOLTZ: This week on the podcast, I have an extra special guest, Luana Lopes Lara is a co-founder of Kalshi. They are a derivatives trading marketplace, where you can go and trade event contracts on such disparate occurrences such as COVID-19, economic outcomes, interest rates, Federal Reserve, politics, climate and weather, culture, the Oscars, the Grammys, science and technology, all sorts of really fascinating places. They are the only such marketplace that has been approved for the sort of events trading by the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, the CFTC, which makes them both fascinating and — and unique. There’s nothing else like them. This provides a way for individuals and institutions to hedge all sorts of really interesting events. And as opposed to having think about, well, if this happens, what’s the ramification in gold, or oil, or inflation, or interest rates, you can actually bet on that exact event and hedge your business or your portfolio. It’s really quite fascinating. I thought this was really interesting conversation, and I think you will also. So with no further ado, my conversation with Kalshi Co-Founder, Luana Lopes Lara. ANNOUNCER: This is Masters in Business with Barry Ritholtz on Bloomberg Radio. RITHOLTZ: My special guest this week is Luana Lopes Lara. She is the co-founder of Kalshi, one of the only derivative trading marketplaces that allows the trading of event contracts in order to hedge against major business and political events. Kalshi is the only marketplace to receive approval from the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, who regulates the trillion-dollar derivatives industry. Luana Lopes Lara, welcome to Bloomberg. LARA: Thank you so much. I’m very happy to be here. RITHOLTZ: So — so let’s start just with that unusual intro, you’re the only CFTC-approved way to trade on the outcome of events. Explain that a little bit. LARA: Right, exactly. Kalshi is a financial exchange that allows people to trade on the outcome of a lot of different events. So things from, will inflation keep going as high as it is right now, will the Fed raise rates to like, well, 2020 with the hottest year on record? And what really sets us apart is that we’re the only — the first and only ones regulated by the CFTC to do this in the United States. RITHOLTZ: So — so let’s talk about that because I love the story about you guys. You and your co-founder, you start calling attorneys, and one day, you end up calling like 60 or 70 lawyers in a single day. And pretty much every one of them said, “People have been trying to do this since the 1980s. It’s never been approved. Just forget about it, it’s not happening.” Tell us about that. LARA: Right. So we really wanted to build Kalshi the right way. So to view the exchange that is sustainable and — and can be a pillar of the financial world, we wanted to make this really big, get the right partners on board, and really try to build something that’s going to outlast CME. You know, like, CME is around there for like 150 years. RITHOLTZ: Right. LARA: And the way to do that, for us, was to build a proper financial exchange, to build this right. And we knew that getting regulated was the first step and like figuring out how to do it right. But obviously, me and my co-founder were both computer scientists, we knew nothing about regulation. So we sat down and put on a spreadsheet the names and — and emails of – of 65 different lawyers that we thought maybe could be related to this, and we called one by one. I think we split who was going to call who. And all of them were just like, “That’s not going to happen. The CFTC won’t allow this. It has already — they already said no to this in the past.” But because of a friend of a friend of a friend, we ended up getting to Jeff Bandman, who works with us till today. He’s an ex-official of the CFTC, and he really understood the Commission and – and helped us — started — helping us start navigating the entire situation. And yeah, it was two years of — of — of that entire engagement and iteration of the CFTC with all their core principles and concerns that they had, to address them and — and really ended up getting regulated in November 2020. RITHOLTZ: So it sounds like it wasn’t so much that the CFTC was against the idea of event contracts in order to hedge on these circumstances. They just didn’t like what was presented them previously, over the previous 40 years, or — or did something change that they suddenly said, “Oh, we used to think this was a bad idea. Now, we think it’s a good idea.” LARA: I think it was — it’s more of the first. I think it was about presenting to them why we thought event contracts were so important, and how they could really be used for hedging. And every day hedging like — like retail, and Americans every day can hedge things like inflation, like rates, risks that we see and read about like in the news or on TV every day. And it was really like presenting to them and getting them to comfort with how these markets work, how they weren’t easy to manipulate, how the rules could — could operate. So really getting them to comfort with how the exchange, the markets, and all of our contracts could — could operate, and that’s what took that long. It wasn’t — in my opinion, it was more like explaining what we wanted to do. They were fantastic from the beginning to really listening and working with us. It wasn’t that they were just like, “No, we’re never going to do this.” RITHOLTZ: I — I think it’s interesting that it took people from outside of the world of finance to bring an idea into finance from a technology perspective and say, “Whatever the logistical hurdles we have to meet in order to receive regulatory approval,” that wasn’t like an ideological problem. To you, it was a, “Well, this is a logistical problem that we have to solve. And once we solve it, we can get this going.” So how long did the back and forth with the CFTC take to get approval? LARA: Yeah. No, it was two years or two years and a half. RITHOLTZ: Wow. LARA: And yeah, we used to say it’s like we were climbing a very high mountain, and then as we started climbing more, we would see it’s actually twice as high and it would keep – and it would keep multiplying. Because the thing is we would go to them and — and they would have concerns and issues, so we would go back and solve the issues. A lot of it, as you mentioned, was related to technology. We did analysis on similar markets on what we could do, and viewed the surveillance systems and all of those things, and going back to them, and then they were like, “Okay, that’s fine.” But we have all these other issues now, and then we would go back and — and figure them out and — and — and do that one by one. It was like walking in the desert a little bit. We didn’t know where — where the end was. But it ended up working out. RITHOLTZ: So — so let’s talk a little bit about your platform. This is unlike futures and it’s unlike derivatives, and that when you are purchasing a contract, you are putting up the full dollar amount. It’s not like where you’re putting up 10 cents on the dollar, or one cent on the dollar. If you’re making a $1,000 bet, you are posting a $1,000. How much did that factor influenced the CFTC that this wasn’t just going to be reckless speculation and — and people fooling around, this was really hedging? LARA: Right. So we are fully cash collateralized. So every — as you said, every dollar that you can lose or every dollar that you — you trade, you have to have it with us before. And I think this really helps with the safety of the platform and it really started from us. We really want to start in a way that is very safe for everyone, and we can really understand the system before going like too far ahead. And we really see this as very important. So all the funds are fully cash collateralized. But obviously from — from the CFTC perspective, it adds to their comfort to the fact that there can’t be like leverage or margin or more risk added to the system, that all the money is collateralized, and the retail is protected because of that. RITHOLTZ: So equities, you can put up half the – the dollar amount, 2 to 1, futures or something like 10 to 1. Options, if you go out of — out of the money and far enough into the future, it’s — it’s a 100 to 1. Is there ever a plan to move away from the 1 to 1, dollar for dollar, maybe not option 100 to 1? But certainly, margin and equity market seems to be pretty reasonable at 2 to 1. LARA: At the moment, we’re really focused on retail and fully cash collateralization — fully cash — being fully cash collateralized. But at — in the future, I think our goal is to be like the New York Stock Exchange for events. So having — being really the — the central place of the ecosystem, and having like different brokers and institutions, hedge funds, market makers plugged into us, the exchange. At that point, it would make sense to start considering something like that. But right now, we’re completely focused on retail and having it fully cash collateralized as well. RITHOLTZ: Right. So once — once it becomes a big institutional exchange, then — then you can explore that. LARA: Right. RITHOLTZ: So since it’s retail, let’s talk a little bit about retail. Gamification is a real big issue. We’ve seen Robinhood do this. We’ve seen a number of other sports gambling platforms doing this. What are your thoughts about gamification when it comes to events trading? LARA: Yeah. I think the gamification question is a very interesting one, because I think it’s less about the asset class and more about the actual platform and the mechanics. So for example, you can trade equities on Robinhood, or Charles Schwab. The conversation about gamification is a lot more on Robinhood than on Charles Schwab, even though the underlying like is the same, you’re trading equities. So we really believe event contracts are — have a very big economic purpose and can be used for hedging and all of those things that we — we talked about. And the gamification would come only in the platform. But we’re very, very focused on building a platform that’s safe, easy to understand and to use, but not — not gamified. RITHOLTZ: So let’s go over some of the type of events that you guys trade. You could — you can make bets on COVID-19 and vaccination, on economics, inflation, mortgage rates, politics, climate and weather, world culture, science and technology. Let — let’s — let’s take some examples from this. I’d love the idea, will the 30-year fixed rate mortgage be above 3.9% on April 15? In other words, if I’m buying a house and closing on it, and concerned that rates might rise, I could take a trade against that and hedge that position. And I don’t have to be a billion-dollar hedge funds. I could just be someone buying a house. LARA: Exactly. I think all of our contracts have economics purpose, and they can really be used for hedging. For example, all of our COVID markets, during the Omicron wave, you could really see like even before the news started reporting it, the amount that it was taking up of. And then we’ve talked to the users, and they are, “Oh, wow, like I — I might not be able to go back to school. I want to hedge like that — that situation and all of that.” So a lot of the contracts I’m very interested in, for example, is the half point rate hike for — for March. I think it’s — it’s a market that went up a lot during, I think, one of the — there was some news that that it was going to go up … RITHOLTZ: Right. LARA: … by that. And then it went down again. And — and other ones are GDP and inflation, really just getting into the economic situation we have nowadays. RITHOLTZ: Number of Americans — so these are all “yes or no” contracts that — that’s … LARA: Right. RITHOLTZ: … pretty clearly determined. It’s black and white. Will 254 million Americans be vaccinated by May 1st? But I saw a contract, will America achieve herd immunity by September 1st? Who is the determiner of whether or not herd immunity — how do you define those terms? LARA: Yeah, that’s a great question. All of our markets are like legal binding documents. So they’re like 40 pages determining what the real rules are, to really make sure that there’s no room for indeterminacy or anything of the sort. So this market, specifically, I’m not exactly sure. I think it’s definitely the CDC or some number around there. But if you – like, all of our rules, if you go to our rulebook, it has very specifically defining where — which number we’re using, how we’re using, which target, if it has to be above or below a certain number, and it ends up being very determined. But for COVID markets, we’re using CDC numbers for — for some of our sources. RITHOLTZ: So I mentioned world culture, that’s kind of interesting. Is there a lot of activity in who’s going to win Best Picture or who’s going to be the Best Actress at the Oscars? How — is that a seasonal thing when — each year or how does that trade? LARA: Yeah. Launching the Oscar markets were – it was very important for us because they were the very – very first regulated derivatives, I guess, in the entertainment industry and Academy Awards. We have traded more than 150,000 contracts … Ryan Wyrtzen: Really? LARA: … in the Oscars so far. RITHOLTZ: Wow. LARA: … and it’s only been a couple of weeks. And we really expect the — the trading there to — to be a lot higher, closer to — to the ceremony … RITHOLTZ: Right. LARA: … or during the ceremony. But it’s interesting, a lot of people say that the Oscars are — are dead or irrelevant. But the movie industry is so big too nowadays, that there’s so much — so many people that are so impacted by the results of these awards, and things of that sort. And yeah, on the seasonality point, I think that the interesting thing about the entertainment industry is that you have awards, for example, like the Oscars or the Grammys, and we also have markets on. But you have weekly things, for example, album, sales numbers … RITHOLTZ: Right. LARA: … Billboard charts, and things like that, that we offer markets on every week and have a lot of room for like modeling and alpha, and things of that sort. RITHOLTZ: So — so I know studios spend a lot of money on marketing and promoting, leading up to the Oscars. Because if a — let’s say a small independent film wins Best Oscar, it seems a huge — it gets a huge uptick in subsequent box office and — and other sales or streaming rights. I’m wondering if part of their marketing plan is going to include hedging on Best Oscar. They can not only spend, you know, a million dollars on promotion, they could buy a contract that offsets not winning Best Oscar. LARA: Yeah, that’s our goal, is to get all of them to come and really hedge all this risk that they have. RITHOLTZ: So — so where’s the volume today? Where are you seeing the most amount of activity? Is it — is it inflation and Fed activity? Is it GDP? What — where — where’s all the money flowing in on your platform? LARA: Right. It’s actually interesting, because when we launched, we really expected it to be category specific or concentrated in specific categories or economics, entertainment, transportation, technology. But it really is about what — what the news are. So what’s top of the New York Times? What’s in the newspaper the whole day? And what’s in the news? And right now, as you mentioned, the Fed March meeting is — is very — is a very — it’s a market with a lot of … RITHOLTZ: It’s live. It’s hot. LARA: Right. It’s very hot. Yeah, for sure. But for us, we’ve — we’ve seen this, like news-based activity lot, like the Omicron wave, as I told you. When the infrastructure bill was passing, there was a lot of activity over there; or when Jay Powell was going to get renominated, there was a lot of activity in that market. So it’s really about what’s in the news and what people see their risks associated with, and where they think there’s most room to make money. And right now, the Fed rates, people are really disagreeing on that. And there’s a lot of volume and volatility on that market. RITHOLTZ: So — so you guys didn’t exist when Brexit had come up. That was before your time. But you have been around with Russia and Ukraine, and I noticed there’s not a lot of activity there. Why not do a futures contract on will Russia — it’s obviously too late today. But in January or December, you could have done a “Will Russia invade Ukraine by February 1st, March 1st, April 1st?” LARA: Right. We avoid any contract that’s related to war, terrorism, assassination or — or violence of any kind. We don’t want to have those — those markets on our platform. But we do have markets that are adjacent to that. So for example, markets on the price of ruble or — or the price of oil, natural gas in the U.S. and Europe. So we have markets that are adjacent. We just don’t want to have markets directly related to war, terrorism, assassination, or those things. RITHOLTZ: Makes sense. You don’t want to incentivize anybody to misbehave. LARA: Right. Exactly. RITHOLTZ: In the past, I’ve heard futures described as a marriage between hedgers and speculators. So if you’re an airline, you want to hedge the price of oil. But someone got to be on the other side of that trade, so incomes speculators. Are you seeing that same sort of relationship amongst Kalshi clients? LARA: Yeah. I think Kalshi is one of the most pure forms of exactly this hedging and speculation match. I think one – a very simple example to understand this, if you think of rain in New York City, right? Like, you can have like an ice cream truck buying – an ice cream truck will be really — really hit if — if it rains for like a lot of days, because people will buy less ice cream. So they can buy a “yes” contract to really hedge that offset that they have. On the other side, there can be someone that is going to speculate, and seeing there’s a forecast for 20% rain in the next couple of days and they are willing to take the — the “no” side because they think that there’s only a 20% chance it’s going to rain and — and it seems like they can make money. So then you can really have a match of like people that actually need to have a contract for hedging, almost like insurance, and people who – who because of forecasting and probability and — and what they think the fair value is, is going to take the other side. And then at the settlement, for example, if it does rain, it ends up being that everyone is happy because the speculator makes money, because they were correct. No. RITHOLTZ: Right. LARA: Right. RITHOLTZ: The — the hedger is protected against the event. LARA: Right. Yes. Right. RITHOLTZ: And the speculator won the trade. LARA: Right. Exactly. And exactly, you — you got it totally right. RITHOLTZ: So — so let – that raises a really interesting question. Who are your clients? Are they hedge funds and institutions? Are they retail investors, or is it a whole spectrum of people? LARA: We really focus now on — on retail. And our — our biggest amount of users right now is the traditional option trader, like informed retail options traders. But the way that we see this — this growing is we want to keep growing within the retail trading and options trading community. And then our next step is getting brokerages on board so that you can now go and trade on event contracts through your interactive brokers or e-trade account. And then after that, building enough liquidity to start bringing more prop shops in and — and smaller firms and then hedge funds and — and then institutions, and maybe we can have maybe a Burger King hedging, I don’t know, price of plastic straws or something like that. RITHOLTZ: So — so the platform eventually becomes an exchange? LARA: Exactly, exactly. I think we — we see it as a buildup of liquidity from — from retail that’s like smaller amounts, but — but — but higher velocity to — to hire bigger and bigger institutions, all the way to become like a full-fledged financial exchange like the New York Stock Exchange or CME. RITHOLTZ: So let’s talk a little bit about how you guys, you and your co-founder, created Kalshi. You kind of were the opposite of Facebook. You know, Mark Zuckerberg famously said, “Move fast and — and break things.” Companies like you and Coinbase and BlockFi spent a lot of time getting approval from the regulators. Tell us a bit about why you took that approach as opposed to moving fast and breaking things. LARA: Yeah. I think a lot of times people are making the short-term trade-off for speed. And in finance, I think it’s different. You can – obviously, you go to market faster if you choose the unregulated route. But with finance, there’s been like a lot of historical examples of unregulated platforms getting meaningful volume and then being shut down by regulators, because they weren’t properly regulated and doing things right from the start. We really think that the opportunity really shrinks if — if you don’t take regulation into account, because then you can’t get real money in the platform. You can’t get real good partners, as we just talked about brokers, market makers, hedge funds onboard. Sometimes you can’t even offer products to U.S. customers. It really boxes into something small, very quickly. And that’s — for us to be the New York Stock Exchange for events, because that’s our goal, the only way to do that was to do it right from the start, going through the regulated path, and — and eating on the cost of the two years and a half waiting, but — but making sure that we’re set for success. RITHOLTZ: So your — your co-founder, Tarek Mansour, he was an equity derivatives intern at Goldman Sachs in 2016. The same year you were a quantitative trader at Citadel Securities. So you guys both had a pretty bright career path. Had you not decided to go out and launch this whole new platform? Tell us what motivated you to say, “Goldman, Citadel, that looks too easy. Let’s — let’s launch a — a new startup.” LARA: Well, that — that’s funny because actually most of our MIT time, we were both very focused on just getting finance jobs and never even thought about starting a company. But yeah, we were both very interested in math, financial history, finance from — from the very start of — of our school years and — and we worked with various financial firms. As you mentioned, Tarek worked at Goldman. I worked at Bridgewater, Five Rings Capital, which is a small prop shop, and then Citadel Securities. At those internships, we really saw the behavior that we say is the Kalshi behavior over and over again. It’s like firms making trading decisions based on events. As we think the European Central Bank is going to raise rates, let’s take this massive position, or really find the structure to make that work. But the idea really crystallized in our heads when we were working, both together, at Five Rings. And there, we were playing this game almost the whole day. It’s called the “maker market” game that people — that everyone would be putting like bids and offers in the probability of something. And then the other person could only tighten the spread or — or trade against you. And there was a single — there was a day that we were just trading — playing this game the entire day. And then I — I don’t remember exactly what market it was, but I took a massive position on Trump doing something. I don’t remember exactly what it was. And everyone thought I was crazy and debated me a lot on that. But I ended up being right. And then when I was — we were walking back to — to where the interns were staying, it was stuck in my head, like why isn’t there a place for people to do this? Like, we love doing this? We do this the whole day. Like, we see in every place we work at, like very big positions, people are trading based on events. Like, why is there no place to do this? And then I sat down and started talking to Tarek about it. Like, why isn’t there — why don’t — why don’t we do it? And we stayed the whole night up talking about it. And it was just something we were so passionate about from the finance side, the product side, everything we always loved. And if there was going to be someone to figure it out, it was going to be us. It just then leaves us the idea for another six months, up until we were like, OK, like, this is a calling, we have to do it. RITHOLTZ: So — so when you say your desks are – and you guys are trading back in 2016, trading events, you couldn’t credibly bet any sort of volume on events like Kalshi does today. You had to go to secondary or tertiary markets. So you’re betting on gold if you’re thinking about inflation. LARA: Exactly. RITHOLTZ: You’re betting on oil if you’re concerned about war. It’s – it’s always once removed, which raises the issue. Even if you’re right, you may not express itself in a market the same way that the bet was supposed to go. LARA: Right. Exactly. I think that in the beginning of COVID, you had this exact thing happening with — with the economy and how you would think about the S&P. And the beauty about event contracts is that it’s direct exposure in what you think. There’s not like a lot of variables for you to keep track of or — or think about of things that can go wrong. That’s why we also think it’s very – it’s the most like natural way of investing, especially if you think for retail. They can’t like keep track or have full desks of people trying to understand what’s going on. It’s a lot easier to do when you have one opinion, and you have a very clear way to get exposure on what you believe in being right or wrong. RITHOLTZ: So — so you’ve spoken about the gambling industry and how incentives are somewhat cloudy. How does your platform correct for that? LARA: Right. The key part about gambling is that the house takes a position in the bets. So the house has an interest on the outcome of — of the bet or — or the market, if you want to call it that, but it’s more just the bet. We are just a financial exchange. So we — you can think of Kalshi a matching agent. We match people that believe something will happen with people that believe something will not happen. If they have equivalent prices, we match them. So we have no interest in whether the market will go away a certain way. We do have an affiliate trader that’s there to provide liquidity so that people can trade, especially as we start the exchange. But the exchange doesn’t take any positions ever. We’re simply matching other participant orders. So there’s no conflict of interest between us and our members. RITHOLTZ: So — so when you look at a racetrack and the odds are set on horses, those odds don’t quite add up and the shortfall is the house take. So it’s never quite 50/50. What does it cost to trade on this platform? What — what’s the — so in other words, if I’m betting a $100 that something is going to happen and I win, do I get $200 back or how — how does that work? LARA: Right? So — so the way that it works is that the “yes” and the “no” prices are from 1 to 99 cents, and whoever is right gets $1. So let’s say I’m buying a “yes” for 40 cents, it means there’s someone buying a “no” for 60 cents. And if I am correct, I make $1, which means I’m profiting 60 cents which is from my counterparty, RITHOLTZ: Right. What – what’s the cost of that trade? Meaning, how does Kalshi make money, and I assume since it’s fully collateralized, there’s a float. That’s going to be a good source of revenue over time. LARA: We don’t make money on float. All of our — our — all of them, user member funds are in a fully regulated CFTC Clearinghouse, which is FTX derivatives, the U.S. derivatives, they are clearinghouse. And we make money on a transaction fee. So we have a small transaction fee that varies on the price of the contract. RITHOLTZ: But what is it averaged ballpark? What does that cost? LARA: I think it’s less than 1%. RITHOLTZ: All right. So, we will have a conversation after we’re done, and I will show you that – I think it was Schwab. When they moved to free trading, their float became 57% of the revenue. So we’ll have a conversation. We’ll see if we can help raise your — your revenue target and – and we’ll go from there. Because especially — it’s one thing if you’re looking at events that are days and weeks out. But if you’re making bets on will 2020 be the hottest year in history, hey, you’re sitting with that money for 12, 11, 10 months. There’s a lot of top line to be gained from — from a little float. We’ll — we’ll work that out with the CFTC. That will be — that will be easy. You guys raised $36 million in a Series A. Sequoia Capital was the lead, probably the most storied venture capital firm in Silicon Valley. Charles Schwab, not the entity I was talking earlier about Charles Schwab in the float. But Mr. Charles Schwab was an investor. Henry Kravis is an investor. Silicon Valley Angel is one of the early investors. And were you with Y Combinator when you were first launching? LARA: Yeah. RITHOLTZ: So — so that’s quite an esteemed list of — of people who said, “Hey, there’s some value here.” Tell us a little bit about the experience at Y Combinator and then doing an A round with some really boldface names. LARA: Yeah. Our experience at Y Combinator was actually very different from most of the other startups. Like, we were measuring regulatory traction, and other startups are measuring user growth, or revenue or — or things — things of that sort. Yeah, and about the Series A, getting a DCM was — was a key part of — of that Series A. I think Kashi is really one of those asymmetric type of investments. We are going to face obviously a lot of challenges and — but we — if we execute against those challenges, we’re going to have massive outlier potential. And we were really trying to find partners and investors that really understood the long-term vision of the company, and share that obsession that we have with event contracts and — and building this entire trading ecosystem. So Alfred from Sequoia is one of those people. He — he did a PhD in these types of markets. He really, really understands it and sees the potential. And obviously, it’s — it’s a Sequoia Sequoia, as you said. RITHOLTZ: Right. LARA: So that was – that was definitely something we thought about. But — but Alfred, specifically, has historically invested in a lot of like paradigm shifting companies like Airbnb and DoorDash. So we really thought it was a good — it was a good fit. And then after Sequoia was our lead investor, we were really trying to fill the round of – with Wall Street investors that could really help us navigate this industry. So yeah, Tarek, my co-founder, he’s obsessed with barbarians at the gate. So — so when … RITHOLTZ: Hence, Henry Kravis. LARA: Right. So when — when one of our seed investors, Ali Partovi, said he could intro and — and we could talk to Henry, I think Tarek was just like absolutely fascinated. And they had a fantastic conversation. He was very interested from — from the very beginning. And with — with Charles Schwab, it was something similar. It was also Ali Partovi introing us to — to him, also very interested in from the start, and he actually told us that our early days at Kalshi looked very similar to his early days starting Charles Schwab. So that was very exciting. And — and yeah, they help us so much till today so it’s fantastic. RITHOLTZ: The funny thing about Schwab is people don’t realize the guy you see with the gray hair in commercials, that’s Charles Schwab. That’s not an actor. LARA: Right. RITHOLTZ: He really exists and has been running the company. Now, I think he’s chairman. But that was really him for — for a long time. So — so let’s talk a little bit about event hedging. And I like this quote, “These markets are a little like an aggregator of public opinion in real time.” So — so what are the implications of this? And is that the sort of stuff your lead investor at Sequoia was studying when he went to school? LARA: Right. Yeah, this is a very important part of our vision. Over time, we really want Kalshi to become the source of truth for forecasting these events that we have markets on. Because of the prices at Kalshi go from 1 to 99 cents, they directly translate to the probability of the event happening. So let’s say the market might be saying there’s a 20% chance there’s a recession this year. It means that 20 cents means that there’s a 20% chance that the market believes there’s a 20% chance … RITHOLTZ: Right. LARA: … that there will be a recession this year. And the amazing thing is that there’s a lot of theoretical and empirical evidence that they are the most effective and most accurate ways of forecasting the future. They’re way better than polls, way better than like pundits on — on the news, trying to say what’s going on. And it’s mainly for two reasons. I think the first one is because when people put money where their mouth is, they are more — more likely to say what they really think and actually do research and everything. And the second one is that markets really aggregate the wisdom of the crowds. You’re getting a lot of different people’s opinions, when they put money behind their opinion, and really aggregating data, and which makes this a very powerful tool. And I mean, any market lover understands what I’m saying. And yeah, making — and — and part of our — our vision and what we really want to do long — long term is make these forecasts core to people’s lives. It’s really part of our mission. With — with event contracts becoming more widespread, we really hope that people will use data in their lives to prepare better for the future, address uncertainty, inform themselves better, and like try to address a little bit of the very biased world and not very data-driven world that we live in nowadays. So we’re trying to get started with that. We’re really trying to get — we have market tickers like any other equity or things like that. We have tickers for all of our markets. So we’re trying to have tickers and prices to be used by news and things of that sort. So we really try to get this very important data, that we believe is very important data out there. But for Alfred specifically, I think he was doing more than like mathematical and like research. He was doing a stats PhD, so somewhat related to this, but not really on the — on the — on this side, but yeah. RITHOLTZ: So — so let’s — let’s talk a little bit about prediction markets that are out there. Historically, they’ve only done a so-so job, partly because they’re not very broad. They’re not that very deep, and the dollar amounts that are traded had been modest. I saw an overlay of about half a dozen different prediction markets before the Russian invasion of Ukraine. And you would think they would all be kind of similar, but they weren’t. They were all over the map. Do you have to get to a certain scale that will fix that problem of prediction markets being kind of thin and easily — I don’t want to say manipulated, but one big trade really has an impact on — on how those markets trade. LARA: Right. Exactly. I think we need a — a base level of liquidity and — and volume for — for the forecast to really work and be really useful. And a lot of these like other prediction markets out there, as — as we talked about, they’re unregulated. They have — they’re very new. They just pop up, especially the crypto ones every other day. And it’s hard to build liquidity and real proper volume like that. But we really think that prediction markets are the way to go to have these — these very good forecasts of — of events, but it needs liquidity and needs volume, and that’s what we’re working on. RITHOLTZ: Really kind of interesting, which raises the question, how are you going to scale this up? How are you going to get to 100 million and then a billion, and then who knows what from there? LARA: Right. We have a lot of ways to — to scale the exchange. It’s kind of what we talked about with — with building up liquidity. Right now, we’re really focused on retail. So getting — we have a lot of option traders, or like what we call informed retail traders in the platform, trying to go in more – deeper into different communities, and trying to get them in to test the platform, things of that sort. And then the next step for us is getting brokers in to offer our markets in their platform, so e-trade, interactive brokers, all of those. And then bringing up the volume, we can bring up like actual liquidity providers, prop shops, hedge funds, and then up until, I guess, insurance companies even offloading some risk or — or like actually big institutions, natural hedgers, bringing them in. So the way that we’re seeing it is really starting to build of retail with getting more and more of the current users that we have, which are option traders, and having more retail as we go to the — to the, I guess, brokers. RITHOLTZ: So — so how big can this get? I mean, is this ever a billion dollars a month? How — how large can this sort of event hedging scale up to? LARA: Right. So event contracts are a lot more like tangible, relatable and — and more direct, as we talked about, then all these other assets that — that preceded it. So we really think when we actually plug it in the financial ecosystem, it can properly scale. Obviously, it takes a lot of time to get there because we need to view the entire ecosystem around events. RITHOLTZ: Right. LARA: It’s a completely new thing. But once it’s properly plugged in the financial system, I can give you some numbers to give some idea, right? I think you mentioned that in the beginning of the CFTC regulating a trillion-dollar industry, like grain futures are $7 trillion industry. RITHOLTZ: Wow. LARA: Commodities, 20 trillion. Interest rate swaps are around, I think, $500 trillion. So not exactly how big the market is, but I think as we expand event contracts, it definitely has a potential to be one of these. RITHOLTZ: Right. Interest rate swaps are $500 billion or trillion? LARA: Trillion. RITHOLTZ: Really? LARA: Right. RITHOLTZ: That’s the notational, nothing is going to get offered? LARA: Right. Yes. You got that point. RITHOLTZ: That — that’s a giant amount of money. LARA: Right. RITHOLTZ: So — so really, startups have a tendency to have this defining moment in their lifespans, where they sort of either pivot or just a moment of clarity, and you could see the whole roadmap laid out. Did you guys have that sort of defining moment at Kalshi? LARA: I would say the biggest — the earliest defining moment we had was actually — before we really started the company, we went to a Y Combinator hackathon. Because before we were like fascinated by it, but we didn’t think it was like going to work. It’s like — it seems so complicated, and like, are we crazy? I think that was the big question in our head, like are we going crazy over here? Then we went to Y Combinator for a hackathon. And there were like these teams with like bunch of servers, crazy computers like — and it was just me and Tarek with our like Macbooks, like try to — to code like a demo of what we were talking about. And then we first presented to Michael then, the CEO of YC and he really didn’t like what we were saying from the beginning. He cut us. Like the first five seconds, he’s like that, like “This is illegal,” like, “What are you doing?” And then we will get very upset. We went in like we – I think we — Tarek even started drinking beer. He’s like, “There’s no way we’re going to be in the Top 10,” which had to present again. And we ended up being in the Top 10. We presented again, and then we ended up being in the Top 3, which were the winners of the hackathon. And I remember that night, when we were going back to — to our friend’s place where we were staying in San Francisco for the hackathon, we were like, “Wow, like maybe we aren’t crazy. Like, we should — like maybe like people believe in what we’re doing.” And it was a very like happy moment for us. And I think right after that, we actually got into the Y Combinator batch. And it was one of the happiest moments we’ve — we’ve had — we’ve had of the company. So that was really like motivating and encouraging, because as I told you, we never thought about being founders. We thought about being like he was going to be — we were both going to be traders full time. So it was like a big shift for us. So that was a very exciting moment. RITHOLTZ: Really interesting. Let me throw a couple of curveballs at you. You and your co-founder, Tarek, both were named to the Forbes 30 Under 30 list in — in the finance category. Tell us a little bit about that. What was that experience like? LARA: Yeah. No, it was very excited. We were very honored to be — to be — to be nominated, especially being like the head up of the — of the finance category. We were really excited after all the work we’ve done. And actually, a funny story is that because of the Forbes 30 Under 30, I went viral in Brazil for a little bit, because the Brazilian Forbes wrote a — wrote a piece about how a Brazilian was in the American Forbes 30 Under 30 and that — because it’s very rare to have Brazilians in the list here. So that was — that was — that was a funny story. But yeah, because of the Forbes 30 Under 30, we also ended up ringing the opening bell at the NASDAQ, which was very exciting. RITHOLTZ: Interesting. LARA: Yeah. RITHOLTZ: And one more — one more curveball. You were a ballet dancer with the Bolshoi. You studied ballet. Tell us about that. LARA: Right. So very different from what I do now, for sure. But I’m from Brazil, originally, and I just came to the U.S. for college. And most of my life before college, I was split between ballet and school. What — what I really loved about ballet was intensity of it all. It was extremely hard to get to the top. It’s extremely competitive. And there’s nowhere to hide, you need to be completely on, you need to give it your all. And yeah, and I — I studied at the Bolshoi Ballet School and it was extremely intense. And — and we had to be extremely disciplined, like measuring our food down to like a four puffs of strawberry before this rehearsal, to be able to get there. But that was –that was one part. And the other part, my — my parents are both engineers and have stem backgrounds. So I was surrounded by that outside of ballet, doing like Math Olympiad and all of that, I also had to get 100 on everything on the math and science side. So I used to do like normal school, I guess, from like 7:00 a.m. because Brazil school’s hours are different. so 7:00 a.m. to like 1:00 p.m., and then ballet from 1 – like 1:30 p.m. to like 9:00 – 10:00 p.m. And then I would actually go study. So that was a very intense part of my life, but I think it really set me up for — for being able to go to MIT and — and — and enjoy everything there. And it’s something that Tarek is very similar to me, he was actually a professional skier before going to college. And — and we have very similar backgrounds. And I think that level of intensity and — and discipline is really what helped us get through the regulatory process and be where we are today. So tough times, but it’s good now. RITHOLTZ: I — do the same thing. I measure my food input down to the quarter strawberry. And you could see it’s how I maintain my girls. So — so we only have certain amount of time left. Let me jump to my favorite questions that I asked all of our guests, starting with what kept you entertained during lockdown? What were you streaming, watching or — or listening to? LARA: Right. I listened to all and — and I’m very into American politics nowadays. So I’m finishing up the 10 American Presidents podcast. But on TV, I think I’m more mainstream. So I just love Succession, House of Cards, West Wing, and so on. RITHOLTZ: Let’s talk about your mentors who helped shape your career. LARA: Right. So I think at MIT, I had two professors that were very impactful in my career and to me. I think the first one was Patrick Winston. He was my advisor and professor, a lot of artificial intelligence classes. He really helped me navigate MIT and set me up to — and set my mindset to where I wanted to be, to like really psychology. And the other great mentor was Peter Kempthorne. He’s also professor of stats, and really, I started being interested in finance in his glasses. And funnily enough, he’s actually one of directors of — of Kalshi nowadays, because we kept very close contact. And we talk a lot to him about like the dynamics of markets and all the stuff we talked about. And since we started the company, I think our biggest mentors have been Michael, the CEO of YC. Up until today, he’s helped us so much. And Ali Partovi, who’s — who runs Neo, he’s one of our seed investors. And they have been really instrumental in like making us better founders, not just like making the company succeed, but better founders and how to like deal with employees, growing — like growing pains, negotiation, all of those things that, you know, like MIT nerds didn’t really know what to do. RITHOLTZ: So let’s talk about books. What are some of your favorites and what are you reading right now? LARA: Right. Some of my favorite – my favorite book is this book called “Americana,” but it’s not the novel. It’s actually the 400-year history of American capitalism. But whenever I say Americana, everyone thinks is the novel. And the other one is this book called predict — “Predictably Irrational,” which is … RITHOLTZ: Dan — Dan Ariely? LARA: Right. Yeah. And it’s — it’s very — some — it has a lot to do with what Kalshi does and I think it’s one of the early books I read on — on prediction markets and decision-making, and I thought it was a fantastic book. And at the moment, I’m finally — Tarek will be very happy to hear this. I’m finally reading “Barbarians at the Gate” after he told me for years that I should, but I barely started, so yeah. RITHOLTZ: And Americana is a Bhu Srinivasan, am I pronouncing it right? LARA: Right. He’s that. RITHOLTZ: He was a guest here a couple of years ago. I love that book. That book is just amazing. LARA: That’s book is fantastic. Yeah, it – yeah. RITHOLTZ: Those people think that, oh, all these companies were, you know, freestanding. It was a public private partnership … LARA: Right. RITHOLTZ: … for a long time. That — that is a fascinating book and I’m surprised someone, as young as you, has found it. It’s sort of off the beaten path. LARA: Yeah. No. It’s — it’s a fascinating book. It made me — especially not being American, I think it made me understand the country and how it works so well, I think, way better. RITHOLTZ: So — so this is the first time I’m going to ask this question of somebody who is so recently out of college, but you’re 25 now, is that right? LARA: Right. RITHOLTZ: So what sort of advice would you give to a college student or a recent college grad who is interested in a career in either startups and technology, or finance and derivative training? LARA: Right. I think the finance industry is very — there’s a very traditional path that people can take. And what really helped me and — and Tarek understand and — and really come up with the Kalshi idea and — and — and understand it and work on it was that we got a lot of exposure to a lot of different types of firms and a lot of different types of roles as well, like we did. I did more of the engineering side, then a little bit of the trading, then a bit of research. And Tarek did like all types of different trainings, because he also worked at Citadel, and Five Rings, and Goldman. And I think that giving yourself a lot of breadth, especially when you’re in college is very important to just understand the industry as a whole, understand when there are gaps, and — and seeing — like finding patterns, like how we found the Kalshi behavior. So I really think it’s about putting yourself out there, trying to learn different things, do different things and — and trying to get a global vision of — of what the industry is and why you want to do, and — and not be too tied to like the traditional path of like entering as like this level and then going up in a big firm and — and things like that. RITHOLTZ: And our final question, what do you know about the world of trading, and hedging, and investing today that you didn’t know, what do I say, four years ago when you guys were first starting out? You’ve been doing it since 2016, so let’s call it six years ago. LARA: Right. Yeah. So what we’re really doing is — is enabling trading and investing. But if I were an investor, what I think I would have liked to know a couple of years ago is that bold bets are — I would take a lot of bold bets. I think generally that’s – the bets that seem ridiculous at first and there’s a lot of debate, then there’s no way that it’s going to work, are usually the ones that are achieved, like the large outlier results. Definitely, I’m biased because Kashi is hopefully one — is going to be one of those bets for a lot of our investors. But I really think it’s about seeing what the world can be in the future and — and taking bold bets to get there. I think a couple years ago, I’ll be very — if I were an investor a couple years ago, I would be very scared to do that. But now, I would think that’s the way to go to really do meaningful investing. RITHOLTZ: Quite fascinating. We have been speaking to Luana Lopes Lara. She is the co-founder of derivatives trading marketplace, Kalshi. If you enjoy this conversation, be sure and check out any of our previous 400 interviews we’ve done over the past eight years. You can find those at iTunes, Spotify, wherever you get your podcast fix. We love your comments, feedback, and suggestions. Write to us at mibpodcast@bloomberg.net. You can sign up for my daily reads at ritholtz.com. Follow me on Twitter @ritholtz. I would be remiss if I did not thank the crack staff that helps put these conversations together each week. Sean Russo is my research assistant. Mohamad Rimawi is my audio engineer. Paris Wald is my producer. Atika Valbrun is our project manager. I’m Barry Ritholtz. You’ve been listening to Masters in Business on Bloomberg Radio.   ~~~   The post Transcript: Luana Lopes Lara appeared first on The Big Picture......»»

Category: blogSource: TheBigPictureApr 19th, 2022

McDonald"s workers explain how they"re bracing for the return of Szechuan sauce after it previously ignited chaos in stores

Customers showed a huge demand for Szechuan sauce the last time it was available, and workers say they hope to be better prepared this time. Hollis Johnson/Business Insider McDonald's is bringing Szechuan sauce back to menus for a limited time.  Five workers told Insider how they're preparing for eager customers. Customers showed a huge demand for the sauce last time it was available in 2017 and 2018. McDonald's is bringing back its Szechuan sauce for a limited time on March 31, but not everyone is excited. Five McDonald's workers in five states told Insider that they're anticipating a busy launch day with potentially demanding customers.  They remain anonymous to protect their employment, but their identities are known to Insider. The dipping sauce famously appeared in an episode of "Rick and Morty" and drew in crowds of fans last time it was available in 2017 and 2018, leading to long lines, crowds, and angry customers who weren't able to try it thanks to a limited supply. This time around, workers aim to be ready."I hope to be prepared for these die hard 'Rick and Morty' fans," a cashier in North Carolina told Insider. He learned from the popularity of the BTS meal that fans rush in for the offerings "like the sauce heals the sick," he told Insider. Another McDonald's worker in Florida said that he expects launch day to be busy, but less extreme than previous releases."I expect some bad apples and 'Rick and Morty' zealots," he told Insider. He expects the sauce's launch to bring heavier Friday traffic on a Thursday, but he believes his crew can handle it.Workers in Pennsylvania and Virginia each told Insider that their stores were receiving just a few boxes of the sauce, which they worried might not last."They could be gone in a single shift," the Pennsylvania worker said. In some locations, employees take the sauce very seriously."The Szechuan sauce packets are locked in a closet that only I and my general manager can access," one California shift manager told Insider. The North Carolina worker says he and his coworkers plan to keep close tabs on remaining stocks of Szechuan sauce, and remain strict about the order limits imposed by McDonald's. McDonald's did not immediately respond to Insider's request for comment about the sauce's rollout.The Szechuan sauce will be available exclusively through the McDonald's app, where customers can purchase up to five a la carte containers, the chain said in a statement. The sauce is the latest example of McDonald's pandemic-era strategy to draw customers in with limited-time promotions that don't add complexity to the supply chain or workers' jobs.Do you have a story to share about a retail or restaurant chain? Email this reporter at mmeisenzahl@businessinsider.com.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderMar 31st, 2022