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Hilbert College signs agreement to acquire Valley College

Hilbert College hopes to have final acquisition approvals in the spring......»»

Category: topSource: bizjournalsJan 25th, 2023

The University of California invested $4 billion with Blackstone to buy up rental apartments and student housing, which they see as the bright spots in the real estate market this year

Universities are using their massive endowments, boosted by hefty tuition dollars, to invest in commercial real estate as property values fall. UC Berkeley Campanile Clock Tower and Bay Bridge at dusk.Kyle Wolfe/Getty Images The University of California is investing $4 billion with Blackstone to acquire rentals and student housing. The global asset manager set a benchmark annualized return rate of 11.25% for the funds. UC's investment could be a case study for other cash-flush higher ed institutions. The University of California is investing $4 billion in a real estate fund managed by private equity firm Blackstone to acquire rental and student housing, which both entities see as bright spots in the cooling US real estate market. The investment comes at a crucial time for Blackstone's Real Estate Income Trust Inc. fund — also known as BREIT— a $68 billion property investment vehicle. The fund came under fire in December 2022 when Blackstone limited withdrawals after the finance giant received redemption requests that exceeded the company's liquidity limits.While investors have the option to sell their shares of the fund on a monthly basis, the University of California has committed to holding its shares for at least six years, according to a joint statement issued by the parties.  "We consider BREIT to be one of the best positioned, large-scale real estate portfolios in the US, managed by one of the world's top real estate investors," said Jagdeep Singh Bachher, the University of California's chief investment officer. "This is an opportunity that comes only through strong, trusted partnership."Investor interest in student housing developments skyrocketed during the pandemic. According to data from commercial real estate firm CBRE, the sector saw more than $10 billion in sales in 2021 — the most recent year of available data — which is more than twice as much as the asset class witnessed in 2020.  However, California's multifamily market faces an uncertain future as rising interest rates and slowing migration patterns present challenges for homebuilders in the state, according to an economic outlook from the University of Southern California's Lusk Center for Real Estate. According to data from Green Street, a commercial real estate analytics firm, commercial property values in the US declined by 13% year-over-year in November 2022 as high interest rates and the popularity of remote work drove investors away. Since its inception six years ago, BREIT has posted an annualized net return of nearly 13%, according to Blackstone. About 70% of the fund's portfolio is located in sunbelt markets such as Nevada, Texas, and Florida. More than half of BREIT's portfolio is split between rental and industrial properties as well. The University of California's investment could become a model for other universities with large endowment funds — typically in the billions of dollars — that want to invest in real estate investment trusts or commercial real estate assets. BREIT's portfolio includes assets in popular college towns such as Fort Collins, Colorado, where Colorado State University is located, and Baton Rouge, Louisiana, which is home to Louisiana State University, according to the fund's website. As part of the agreement, Blackstone will also contribute more than $1 billion to support a 11.25% annualized return on the university's investment. If returns exceed that amount, Blackstone will be entitled to a 5% incentive fee. Stephen Schwarzman, CEO and Co-Founder of Blackstone, added that the investment comes at an "opportune deployment period for all our investors."Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderJan 3rd, 2023

From the college kid who made millions on a meme stock to Kim Kardashian"s crypto misadventures, here are 7 of the craziest stories from markets in 2022

This year was a doozy for markets. From Razzlekhan to Kim Kardashian's run-in with the SEC, here are the weirdest, wildest stories from 2022. YouTube / Nightly Business Report Markets had a wild ride this year, with volatile swings punctuated by moments of sheer absurdity.  A college kid earning millions on Bed Bath & Beyond, and a Kardashian's run-in with the SEC were only some of the highlights.  Here are seven of the wildest, most absurd, and shocking moments from markets in 2022.  Amid volatility, soaring inflation, and grim prognostications of a looming recession, markets in 2022 were also punctuated by strange, shocking, and absurd occurrences. Meme stocks died a slow death, but at least one of them made some lucky college kid a cool $110 million.A person going by the name Razzlekhan was accused of helping to pull off a massive crypto heist. Elon Musk put us all through agony with his back and forth Twitter saga, which culminated in his tumultuous takeover of the social media company in October. And that's just some of the weirdness that went down in markets this year. Here are seven of the craziest moments from 2022. College kid makes $110 million on Bed Bath and Beyond stockPhoto by Chris Hondros/Getty ImagesCollege student Jake Freeman made a tidy $110 million profit on Bed Bath Beyond this summer when the meme stock skyrocketed and more-than-tripled in price.Freeman purchased a $25 million stake in the struggling home goods retailer, and later sold his shares for $130 million. Shortly after Freeman cashed in, Gamestop CEO Ryan Cohen sold his stake in the company, causing share price to plummet 19%.Though he isn't exactly your average day trader (he's a finance whiz kid who made his first investment when he was 13, and raised millions from friends and family to amass his initial BBBY stake), it was an impressive gain amid an otherwise agonizing year for meme stocks and the Wall Street Bets crowd. Razzlekhan and Dutch are accused of laundering $4.5 billion in cryptoOlivier Douliery/Getty ImagesIlya Lichtenstein (aka Dutch) and Heather Morgan (aka Razzlekhan and the Crocodile of Wall Street) were charged with laundering $4.5 billion in bitcoin and hacking the crypto exchange Bitfinex, pulling off the biggest crypto heist to-date.The NYC couple garnered attention for their bizarre and cringeworthy social media posts, Morgan in particular, rapping under the TikTok pseudonym Razzlekhan. She was also previously a contributor to Forbes, where she once wrote an article on cybercrime protection.Upon arrest, authorities found items like hollowed-out books, hardware wallets, and a bag labeled "burner phone" in their home, leading them to suspect the couple was planning on assuming new identities in Ukraine and Russia. They've been billed as crypto's Bonnie and Clyde, and both Hulu and Netflix have reportedly ordered series based on the activities of the suspected crypto capers. Lichtenstein and Morgan are awaiting trial. 'Big shot' and the LME nickel fiascoClerks work at the London Metal Exchange (LME) in London, July 22, 2011.REUTERS/Paul HackettNickel prices gained 111% in one day and briefly topped $100,000 a ton after western sanctions on Russia led to a short-squeeze on the precious metal, which is known as one of Russia's major exports and is used in a range of high-tech lithium-ion battery applications. As prices soared to atmospheric heights, the London Metal Exchange cancelled all nickel trades for the day, sparking backlash from angry traders. The halt stopped $3.9 billion of nickel trades from going through, leading to an investigation from the Financial Conduct Authority and the Bank of England.In the aftermath, it was revealed that a single Chinese metals tycoon, known in market circles simply as "Big Shot", was one character at the center of the episode. Big Shot is Xiang Guangda, the founder and chairman of Tsingshan Holding Group, a large producer of nickel alloy products. The company had amassed a large short position that was reportedly down about $8 billion at the end of the whole trading fiasco.Kim Kardashian pays $1.26 million for unlawfully pumping crypto on InstagramKim KardashianGettyThe "Keeping Up with the Kardashians" star was charged by the Securities and Exchange Commission this year for touting EMAX tokens on her Instagram. Kim ran afoul of a 1930s securities law, which requires promoters of a security to disclose if, how, and how much they're getting paid, SEC chief Gary Gensler said.The TV reality star's post contained "#ad" - a hashtag used by influencers to signify that a post is an advertisement. But the SEC said it found Kardashian failed to disclose that she was paid $250,000 to publish the post about EMAX tokens. Her post contained a link to the EthereumMax website that had instructions for potential investors to purchase the tokens, the regulator said.Kardashian paid $1.3 million to the SEC, though a class action lawsuit against Kardashian and other celebrity promoters was later dismissed.The entire Elon Musk-Twitter sagaTesla CEO Elon Musk.REUTERS/Hannibal Hanschke/File PhotoBeginning with his announcement that he was amassing a stake in the publicly traded social media firm, Elon Musk formally embarked on his journey to acquire Twitter in mid-April. Musk then spent months trying get out of the deal, proclaiming the site was overrun with spam bots and that he should be allowed to walk away. Twitter executives wouldn't budge, and the saga sent the shares on a rollercoaster ride, often trending well below the $54.20 share price that Musk and Twitter agreed on when they struck the deal. Musk closed the deal not long before the two parties were set to begin a nasty legal fight. As it was unlikely he'd win in court and be allowed out of the agreement, Musk took over Twitter in October. Since then, he's embarked on a controversial revamp of the struggling social media platform, including slashing 70% of its workforce and not paying rent for Twitter's offices. This month, users voted for Musk to step down as the company's CEO in a poll Musk conducted on the site. Though he said he'd abide by the result, he has yet to make any formal moves toward appointing a successor. The west's unprecedented sanctions and weaponization of markets against Russia's economyRussia's President Vladimir Putin chairs a government meeting at the Novo-Ogaryovo state residence outside Moscow, July 30, 2014.Alexei Nikolskyi/RIA Novosti/Kremlin/ReutersRussia shocked the world with its invasion of Ukraine in February. As the west struggled to respond, leaders took some extreme measures which Russian President Vladimir Putin probably wasn't expecting. The US and allies sanctioned Russia's central bank and froze billions of its assets. It also cut some Russian banks off from the SWIFT messaging system, a lynchpin of the global banking network that left Russian financial institutions isolated and unable to conduct normal business. Measures were also put in place to ban anyone in the US from engaging in transactions with Russian institutions, a move meant to spark higher inflation, wreck Russia's purchasing power, and hobble investment. And that was all before the latest round of energy sanctions banned Russian seaborne oil imports to the European Union, capped the price of Russian oil at $60, and severely limited the flows of Russia's natural gas exports. President Vladimir Putin has balked at the sanctions, and hasn't acknowledged any negative effect on the economy. He's also called the price cap on Russian oil "stupid," while former-President Dmitry Medvedev warned the west would "face the wrath of God" for punishing Russia.But the economic isolation and limited trade with allies have already started to hack away at Russia's economy, with the nation's GDP set to contract around 3% this year, according to its central bank.Sam Bankman-Fried's stunning, bizarre downfallSam Bankman-Fried speaks with Andrew Ross Sorkin during The New York Times DealBook Summit in New York City on November 30, 2022.Michael M. Santiago/Getty ImagesCapping off a wild 2022 was the fall of the second-largest cryptocurrency exchange, FTX, helmed by a CEO once thought to be the benevolent face of the whole industry. Amid a run on the exchange's native token (sparked likely by the CEO of FTX's biggest rival, Binance), FTX declared bankruptcy on November 11.Amid restructuring proceedings, it was discovered that the exchange had no in-house accounting department, shelled out millions for Bahamian vacation properties, and had commingled customer funds with Alameda Research, the trading arm of Bankman-Fried's crypto empire.The fallen founder went a bizarre month-long apology tour, often giving rambling, contradictory, and possibly self-incriminating statements about the activities of the exchange and how he didn't knowingly defraud anyone. At the end of December, Sam Bankman-Fried was arrested in The Bahamas, extradited to the US, and has been charged with fraud, money laundering, and conspiracy.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderDec 28th, 2022

Asia"s 2 richest men have multiplied their fortunes since 2020, but they"re known to spend them very differently. Here"s how the tycoons" wealth, businesses, and properties stack up.

Gautam Adani, now the world's third-richest man, is worth $125 billion, while Mukesh Ambani, who's number nine on the list, is worth $89.7 billion. Mukesh Ambani (L) and Gautam Adani (R) have grown their empires for years without competing directly with each other.Debajyoti Chakraborty/NurPhoto via Getty Images and Prodip Guha/Getty Images Two of Asia's moguls now rank among the world's top 10 wealthiest people. Gautam Adani and Mukesh Ambani own giant multi-sector companies in a rapidly developing India. The two moguls may soon butt heads as their empires grow larger. Editor's note: This story was first published in August 2022 and has been updated to reflect the most recent financial figures.Billionaires Mukesh Ambani and Gautam Adani are both central figures in the rapid growth of India's industries.A girl walks past a Reliance Jio store in Kolkata, India, 03 March, 2021.Indranil Aditya/NurPhoto via Getty ImagesMukesh Ambani and Gautam Adani have both seen a meteoric rise in their wealth in the last decade as they've dominated India's energy, infrastructure, retail, and defense development industries.But it's in the last three years that the pair has seen its fortunes roar to heights unprecedented in Asia. Adani, whose personal wealth grew from around $13 billion in 2020 to $110 billion as of December 27, is now the third-richest person in the world, per Bloomberg's Billionaire Index. That puts him and his fortune ahead of Jeff Bezos, Bill Gates, and Warren Buffett.Ambani is currently the world's ninth-richest person, with a net worth of $85 billion as of December 27, per the index. He's still seen a great leap in wealth since 2020, when he was worth around $32 billion.We took a look at each of the two billionaires' business empires, fortunes, and real-estate investments. Representatives for Ambani and Adani did not respond to Insider's requests for comment.NET WORTH: Gautam Adani is the only top 10 billionaire who grew his personal fortune this year.Gautam Adani (R) interacts Chief economic advisor Amit Mitra (L) during sixth edition of Bengal Global Business Summit (BGBS) with industrial stalwarts and representatives from 49 countries at Biswa Bangla Convention Centre, New Town on April 20, 2022 in Kolkata, India.Samir Jana/Hindustan Times via Getty ImagesAmid a rocky economy and a post-COVID slump for most of the world's richest people, Adani is the standout this year. He made $33.8 billion over the last 12 months, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index.That makes him the only top 10 billionaire to post gains this year so far, while high-profile plutocrats like Elon Musk and Jeff Bezos lost $132 billion and $84 billion respectively, per Bloomberg.Once a college dropout, Adani overtook Ambani in February as the richest man in Asia, after his wealth skyrocketed by $12 billion in the first two months of 2022.He was briefly the world's second-richest person in September, behind only Elon Musk's then-$263.9 billion fortune, according to Bloomberg. But he was later knocked down from the spot after Louis Vuitton founder Bernard Arnault enjoyed a post-COVID boost in luxury brand sales.Mukesh Ambani, the second-richest person in Asia, is an energy mogul who recently started dominating India's telecom space.Mukesh Ambani and his family attend the IPL opening celebration in 2010.Prodip Guha/Getty ImagesAmbani is currently worth $85.4 billion, making him the second-richest person in Asia, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index. He nearly tripled his wealth during the pandemic — his net worth was around $36 billion in 2020, per Forbes.Ambani's telecom company, Jio Infocomm, has seen a staggering rise: It claims to have accrued more than 350 million subscribers in the first five years after its launch in 2015. This year, Jio Infocomm was estimated to have around 410 million subscribers, according to the company's latest annual reports.BUSINESS EMPIRE: Adani Group, a powerhouse in energy, logistics, and renewal resources, saw profits soar over the last few years.Wespro, India's largest state-of-the-art coal terminal at the Adani Port in Gujarat, India.Soumik Kar/Getty ImagesThe Adani Group, founded in 1988, is Adani's multi-industry powerhouse firm based in India. Its share price has jumped nearly 20-fold since August 2020, and the company hit $260 billion in market value in September.Adani Group's ports and terminals are its hallmark trade. Adani first developed a port in 1995 in his home province of Gujarat, and it claims to be India's largest private commercial port. It now operates alongside 12 other Adani ports and terminals along India's coast. The organization also has businesses in power-grid distribution, gas, solar, and thermal power, data centers, real estate, airports, water management, retail for fruit and edible oils, and financial services, according to its annual report.Adani's recent success is often attributed to his companies moving in lockstep with India's leadership.The Adani Group made significant gains this year by expanding beyond coal and fossil fuels, investing billions into green energy industries as Prime Minister Narendra Modi also pushes India toward renewable power.Modi has also established a vision for India to boost its defence equipment exports and lower its dependence on foreign military supplies. Meanwhile, Adani Group has started developing UAVs, small arms and ammo, and counter drone technology, helping it secure contracts with the Indian Armed Forces.Ambani's Reliance Industries is a heavyweight in oil and gas. It also owns India's biggest telco.Of the 1,394 petrol pumps that Reliance operates, 518 are company owned and the remaining dealer operated,RIL outperforms industry in petrol, diesel sales from its 1,400-odd outlets, near Kolkata in 2020.Debajyoti Chakraborty/NurPhoto via Getty ImagesAmbani's Reliance Industries started growing exponentially around 2014, according to its annual reports, putting it ahead of the Adani Group in its rise to prominence.In 2020, it became the first Indian company to cross an estimated $200 billion in market value, although the Adani Group also achieved that milestone this year.Reliance Industries has delved into fewer sectors than the Adani Group, focusing instead on several core pillars such as gas production, media and entertainment, digital services, retail stores, and oil refinement — its biggest business, per its 2021-2022 annual report.Its oil refining ventures alone raked in $40 billion in revenue last year, the report states.The 38-year-old company operates India's largest telecom network through Jio Infocomm, which has grown by 120 million subscribers since the pandemic began.Its vast retail network of 15,000 branded stores for toys, jewelry, clothing, and groceries covers at least 41.6 million square feet in total, per its annual report.SPENDING HABITS: Adani keeps his wealth and assets low key, but reports say he owns at least three private jets, travels by chopper, and has a $50 million bungalow.AW-139 model helicopter by Italian-British manufacturer AgustaWestland is seen during the 8th International Helicopter Industry Exhibition HeliRussia 2015, at the Crocus Expo Center, on May 21, 2015, in Moscow, Russia. International helicopter industry exhibition HeliRussia will take place in the comfortable walls of the IEC Crocus Expo on May 21-23, 2015.Sefa Karacan/Anadolu Agency/Getty ImagesLittle of Adani's lifestyle or spending is publicly known. Older news reports, such as a 2011 article from India's Economic Times, say Adani built a helipad in his home and regularly travels via helicopter instead of on the road.The Economic Times reported that one of these choppers is the Agusta Westland A139, a 15-seat twin-engined helicopter that's marketed as both a luxury travel option as well as a vehicle for law enforcement or fire and rescue work. The chopper can cost up to $9.65 million, according to aircraft sales website AVBuyer. In 2012, the outlet reported that Adani owns three private jets — a Canadian Challenger 605, an Embraer Legacy 650, and a Hawker Beechcraft 850XP. NDTV reported in 2020 that Adani purchased a $50 million residential property in New Delhi, citing a bid by his company. But while Ambani has given tours of his luxurious home before, the exact location and features of Adani's home are not publicly known.On social media, Adani shies away from flashy posts. One of the only personal photos he's ever tweeted was of him and his family celebrating his birthday with a cake at home.Ambani's family lives in a 27-floor mansion replete with helicopter pads, a snow room, and a garage for 168 cars.The twenty-seven storey Antilia is seen in Mumbai on October 19, 2010. The 400,000 square foot residence, named after a mythical island in the Atlantic, is expected to be occupied by Ambani, his wife and three children later in the year. The building has three helicopter pads, underground parking for 160 cars, and requires some 600 staff to run.INDRANIL MUKHERJEE/AFP via Getty ImagesAmbani's home, fleet of luxury vehicles, family events, and vacations have been the subject of vast public scrutiny.He and his family live in Antilia, a 400,000-square-foot mansion with 27 floors, three helipads, a 168-car garage, nine elevators, and a snow room, per Architectural Digest.According to The South China Morning Post, it takes around 600 staff to run Antilia and maintain its ballroom, temple, and 50-seat theater.The outlet also reported that Antilia is outfitted with a snow room that pumps artificial snow on demand, as well as its own ice cream parlor.Ambani made international headlines in 2018, when it was said that the wedding of his daughter, Isha Ambani, cost around $100 million. The 600 attendees of the high-profile event included Beyoncé, Hillary Clinton, Bollywood legend Shah Rukh Khan, and Huffington Post founder Arianna Huffington.Ambani also owns more than 170 luxury cars, including a $2 million Rolls-Royce Cullinan with a $128,000 paint job, per Luxury Launches, an Indian lifestyle news website.Recently, Ambani booked his family into suites at Switzerland's luxurious Bürgenstock Resort at around $74,000 per night in July.Ambani and Adani grew their empires separately for years, but in 2022 signs emerged that a momentous clash could be drawing ever closer.Mukesh Ambani stands next to Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi at an event celebrating the launch of 5G services in India.Sonu Mehta/Hindustan Times via Getty ImagesThough they operate in some of the same industries, Adani and Ambani's gigantic multi-sector companies have largely steered clear of direct competition with one another. They dodged a clash over a telecommunications bid in August, when Adani was said to be keen on vying for India's first 5G airwaves — new territory for him, but one of Ambani's main pillars of business. He ultimately declined to challenge the bid, Bloomberg reported.Still, the rapid growth of each billionaire's business territory has given rise to speculation that the two giants will eventually go head-to-head over a massive deal, Bloomberg wrote. Adani and Ambani's companies have been competing for other smaller deals this year, such as when they both tried in November to acquire the beleaguered Future Retail, which was once India's second-largest retail company but defaulted on its loans. Ambani's Reliance landed the purchase, though it later dropped the deal because Future Retail's creditors didn't approve of its $3.4 billion offer.In the same month, Adani's and Ambani's groups both expressed interest in purchasing the same assets from an insolvent energy company, Lanco Infratech.But both backed off from the auction on December 1, citing concerns over a reported violation in the sale process, local media reported.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderDec 27th, 2022

The Financial Cost Of Scrubbing The Market Of A Bad Brand Ambassador

As a business continues to grow and increase profits, it is essential to expand its brand. They need more people to see the company and its potential for profitability. Marketing a business correctly to attract a large audience is crucial. Many companies turn to brand ambassadors to help them get their products or services seen […] As a business continues to grow and increase profits, it is essential to expand its brand. They need more people to see the company and its potential for profitability. Marketing a business correctly to attract a large audience is crucial. Many companies turn to brand ambassadors to help them get their products or services seen by the public. if (typeof jQuery == 'undefined') { document.write(''); } .first{clear:both;margin-left:0}.one-third{width:31.034482758621%;float:left;margin-left:3.448275862069%}.two-thirds{width:65.51724137931%;float:left}form.ebook-styles .af-element input{border:0;border-radius:0;padding:8px}form.ebook-styles .af-element{width:220px;float:left}form.ebook-styles .af-element.buttonContainer{width:115px;float:left;margin-left: 6px;}form.ebook-styles .af-element.buttonContainer input.submit{width:115px;padding:10px 6px 8px;text-transform:uppercase;border-radius:0;border:0;font-size:15px}form.ebook-styles .af-body.af-standards input.submit{width:115px}form.ebook-styles .af-element.privacyPolicy{width:100%;font-size:12px;margin:10px auto 0}form.ebook-styles .af-element.privacyPolicy p{font-size:11px;margin-bottom:0}form.ebook-styles .af-body input.text{height:40px;padding:2px 10px !important} form.ebook-styles .error, form.ebook-styles #error { color:#d00; } form.ebook-styles .formfields h1, form.ebook-styles .formfields #mg-logo, form.ebook-styles .formfields #mg-footer { display: none; } form.ebook-styles .formfields { font-size: 12px; } form.ebook-styles .formfields p { margin: 4px 0; } Get The Full Walter Schloss Series in PDF Get the entire 10-part series on Walter Schloss in PDF. Save it to your desktop, read it on your tablet, or email to your colleagues. (function($) {window.fnames = new Array(); window.ftypes = new Array();fnames[0]='EMAIL';ftypes[0]='email';}(jQuery));var $mcj = jQuery.noConflict(true); Q3 2022 hedge fund letters, conferences and more   Brand ambassadors have become an increasingly important way to do business. Many Fortune 500 companies, as well as smaller companies, use brand ambassadors because they are effective. The research found that brand ambassadors bring a significant ROI—approximately $6.50 for every dollar the company spends. With those kinds of results, it isn’t hard to see why using a brand ambassador is so popular. However, once a business chooses a brand ambassador, it must prepare itself in case the investment in its brand ambassador goes south. How can businesses prepare to cut ties with a brand ambassador, and what is the financial fallout—not to mention the publicity—if they do? A Brief History of Notable Brand Associations For good reasons, businesses use brand ambassadors to market their companies. Since almost 90% of consumers will trust the recommendation of someone they know over any other marketing form, companies must match their message with the exemplary ambassador before moving forward. Unfortunately, it isn’t hard to find the broken road of company relationships with brand ambassadors that suddenly imploded. A glance at the news will usually divulge a story or two about the problematic associations with brand ambassadors, with the recent example of a bad breakup between a brand ambassador and a company in the Kanye West/Adidas debacle. Kanye West/Adidas Beginning in 2015, Adidas and Kanye West had a very profitable relationship. West agreed to become a brand ambassador for the shoe and sports apparel company and design and market apparel and shoes under the Yeezy brand name at the unheard-of cost of $1.5 billion. However, that profitable relationship that earned billions of dollars soured quickly due to West’s antisemitic remarks in October 2022. The company estimated that severing ties with the rapper and fashion designer would cost them nearly $250 million just to remove his name and products off the shelves. Over the first four years of the partnership, Adidas and West’s clothing and shoes brought in over $500 million in sales, so severing ties with the brand ambassador can be costly. Adidas Is Hardly Alone in Failed Associations However, West isn’t the first brand ambassador to cost a company millions of dollars in lost revenue. Hertz rentals took quite a while to recover from a nearly 20-year partnership with O.J. Simpson. For much of those 20 years, the star athlete and the car rental company reaped the benefits of millions of dollars in sales. Both saw their profiles rise in the minds of consumers. However, when police arrested Simpson for the murder of his ex-wife Nicole and her friend Ronald Goldman, the company had to cut ties quickly, which wasn’t easy. Another example of what can happen with an ambassador is when David Beckham and Brylcreem paired up. The hair-growth product company paid Beckham $6 million to promote the products, which were a big hit with fans. However, when Beckham shaved his hair halfway through his contract, the sales of all products dropped by an astounding 25%. Other businesses that have felt the impact of a bad relationship with a brand ambassador. These include Chris Brown and the Dairy Association’s “Got Milk” campaign, Michael Phelps and Kellogg, plus Lance Armstrong and USPS. In the case of Armstrong, it led to a lawsuit that resulted in him having to pay a $5 million settlement. Even local ambassadors can cause headaches for a company. Dillard’s cut ties with a brand ambassador on its college advisory board. This happened after police arrested her for a racist attack on a student worker at the University of Kentucky. With the considerable rise in marketing on many different platforms, how can businesses ensure that their brand is represented effectively and profitably without risking thousands—or even millions—of dollars in sales? How Businesses Can Take Precautions While there are several bad examples, there are also examples of significantly beneficial relationships between businesses and brand ambassadors. Looking at some examples of successful ambassador programs can help your business develop a list of criteria you may be looking for in your brand ambassador. Know Who You Are First, you need to know who your company is marketed to and choose an ambassador from that same market segment. For example, Red Bull targets its products toward college students and young adults. They use college students and athletes in their brand ambassador program across social media. Not only does the company employ members from its target audience, but it also uses local talent to get its message across. Another excellent example of an ambassador is the Pura Vida Company, which sells sustainable jewelry and other products to brand ambassadors in communities doing environmental or charitable work. Know Your Audience Second, you must develop a marketing strategy between you and a brand ambassador that addresses your target audience and what your brand ambassador should represent. By clearly outlining your goals, your company can choose a brand ambassador that best reflects those goals. Know Your Prospective Ambassadors Third, do your research. Although, in some cases, the relationship between a brand ambassador and a company comes out of the blue. Check for warning signs that a potential brand ambassador may be volatile. Through thorough research, you can also learn who may be a great ambassador in how they represent themselves. Pay Close Attention to Red Flags Kanye West had been a controversial figure for some time. However, Adidas chose to work with him because he was clearly talented in design. He was also a famous rap artist and producer. However, the partnership between West and Adidas existed relatively peacefully for seven years. However, this was before the extreme publicity West garnered through his antisemitic remarks forced the company’s hand. Each company will have to gauge whether garnering the spotlight that comes with obvious talent is worth any risk the spokesperson brings to the table. Automate Your Marketing Campaigns Finally, the best thing you can do before bringing on a brand ambassador is to invest in a trade marketing software that automates processes. Doing so will streamline and speed-up all of your operations, so they run as smoothly as possible. Companies such as Brand Regulator assist brands who focus on consumer goods (like Oakley, CCM) by automating their trade marketing operations in the brick-and-mortar space. This makes it easier for brands to order, distribute and change marketing materials on the fly. By adopting trade marketing software, your brand will have the tools to strip any marketing materials featuring a bad ambassador. This can be done with a click of a button and as little cost and damage to the brand as possible. Tips for Avoiding a Lousy Brand Ambassador Relationship Obviously, not all relationships between brand ambassadors and the companies they represent go bad. If that were the case, companies wouldn’t use this tactic. So, what should a company do when its beautiful and profitable relationship with a brand ambassador sours? Here are some tips for handling a broken brand ambassador relationship. Proactively take precautions to guard against hiring someone you may have to fire later. Use more than one brand ambassador. One of the reasons companies like American Eagle, Pura Vida, and Red Bull can run successful ambassador campaigns is because they use hundreds, even thousands of brand ambassadors around the globe to promote their products. Using more than one brand ambassador keeps costs down. It makes it easier to end a brand-ambassador relationship and remove content when the ambassador makes up only one out of hundreds. Pause to think before you leap into a celebrity endorsement. Many companies find celebrity endorsements are a crucial part of their marketing, especially over social media. However, other companies have seen their profits rise when they use non-celebrities to promote and endorse their products. When you use a celebrity to endorse a business, it raises the cost of doing business. You need to think if the expense is worth the potential profit for the company. For example, on The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills, Lisa Rinna was paid $2 million for a single ad for Depends. That’s a lot of money for what may be a small ROI for a company. Tie significant incentives into performance. Brand ambassadors earn anywhere from a few thousand dollars to hundreds of millions. Often, companies pay their ambassadors through a percentage of sales, bonuses for performance, hourly wages, or stipends for their work. However, if your company is concerned about the payments for a brand ambassador campaign that may not work, tie a more considerable cash incentive into company profits. That way, a brand ambassador makes more money when the campaign is successful and when they represent the brand well. Clearly state your policy on ending a brand ambassador relationship. As with any employee, companies must put into a brand ambassador’s contract what will happen if the company terminates the relationship. Don’t rely on words and a handshake. You will want to get an agreement that covers every aspect of the association in writing in case the unthinkable happens. One prime example is when Pepsi agreed to pay $5 million for the rights to use the “Like a Virgin” video by Madonna…without seeing it first. When the video came out, people began to boycott Pepsi, However, Pepsi still had to pay her for a video they could no longer use. Get help in times of crisis. Suppose you need to terminate a brand ambassador relationship due to public turmoil or outrage. In that case, you may need help from a publicity firm. Pick someone with vast experience dealing with the fallout from a marketing campaign. Some firms specialize in crisis management for corporations. If you don’t have one of these firms in your contact list, it’s time to look for one. Wrapping Up Brand ambassadors are a great way to bring recognition to a company, so long as you engage the process carefully. Between researching and learning about your audience, then pairing up the perfect ambassador(s), your company can make the most of the experience. Article by Deanna Ritchie, Due About the Author Deanna Ritchie is a financial editor at Due. She has a degree in English Literature. She has written 1000+ articles on getting out of debt and mastering your finances. She has edited over 40,000 articles in her life. She has a passion for helping writers inspire others through their words. Deanna has also been an editor at Entrepreneur Magazine and ReadWrite......»»

Category: blogSource: valuewalkDec 5th, 2022

Meet the 24 most promising retail startups revolutionizing how brands operate and customers buy online and in stores

From non-alcoholic DTCs to new mac-and-cheese brands, these 24 retail companies were picked by top venture capitalists as the most promising of 2022. Damir Becirovic of Index Ventures, Meera Clark of Redpoint Ventures, Morad Elhafed of Battery Ventures, and Amy Saper of Accel.Damir Becirovic/Index Ventures, Meera Clark/Redpoint Ventures, Morad Elhafed/Battery Venture, Amy Saper/ Accel, Tyler Le/Insider Insider talked to top VCs and asked them to pick the most promising startups so far in 2022. VCs were asked to list startups in their portfolios and companies they have no financial ties to. The result is a list of up-and-coming startups within the retail industry seen below.  Estimated total funding for each startup is based on reports from PitchBook unless otherwise specified. Some VCs identified in this list recommended multiple startups that cater to the retail industry. Hans Tung, GGV CapitalHans Tung, a managing partner at GGV Capital.GGV CapitalRecommended startup: Frubana Relationship: InvestorTotal startup funding: $353.57 million  What it does: Frubana is an online grocery-shopping platform for restaurants and small retailers in Latin America. The platform allows merchants to source ingredients directly from farmers and manufacturers with no intermediaries.The food-supply challenges during the COVID-19 have helped accelerate the growth outside its home base in Colombia. It works with 87,000 restaurants and small retailers in Colombia, Brazil, and Mexico. Why it's on the list: By cutting off intermediaries like food distributors, Frubana's B2B tech saves money for both producers and buyers. The company initially started as a fruit-and-vegetable distribution venture but has expanded to become "a one-stop-shop for Latin American restaurants," Tung told Insider. "It provides price transparency, reduces waste, facilitates logistics, and generates trust to create a highly efficient and vertically integrated food-supply chain." Mark Fiorentino, Index VenturesMark Fiorentino is a partner at Index Ventures.Index VenturesRecommended startup: CatchRelationship: InvestorTotal startup funding: $30.6 millionWhat it does: Catch allows online shoppers to complete purchases by paying directly from their bank accounts instead of with credit cards. Brands pass on the savings that would normally cover credit-card-processing fees to shoppers in the form of store credit, building loyalty and offering an incentive to shop again.Why it's on the list: As customer acquisition becomes more challenging due to privacy-policy changes and rising ad costs on social media, more brands have begun to emphasize growing the lifetime value of existing customers. Catch allows brands to increase loyalty levels among their existing customer base by incentivizing repeat purchases with store credit. Fiorentino was impressed by the way that Catch combines payments, loyalty, retention, and engagement into one product. "By cutting out the card networks altogether, they allow merchants to pass through those savings to the consumer via loyalty credits, leading to increased engagement and retention from its customer base," he said.Catch counts many direct-to-consumer favorites like Girlfriend Collective, Everlane, and Parade as clients. Other backers in addition to Index Ventures include Forerunner Ventures, Sequoia Capital, SciFi VC, Verity Venture Partners, and BoxGroup.Meera Clark, Redpoint VenturesMeera Clark is a principal at Redpoint Ventures.Redpoint VenturesRecommended startup: Whatnot Relationship: InvestorTotal startup funding: $485.41 millionWhat it does: Whatnot is a livestream-retail marketplace where users can buy and sell collectibles like Funko Pops and trading cards.Why it's promising: Whatnot has raised almost $500 million dollars in funding since its founding, including a $260 million Series D in July. Grant LaFontaine and Logan Head, the founders of Whatnot, continue to expand the categories on the platform and hire more employees at a time where many startups are conducting mass layoffs.The company's business model capitalizes on live-shopping trends already popular outside of the US, especially in Asia. "Whatnot represents a clear category leader for users seeking to buy and sell collectibles ranging from Funko Pops to manga comics and more," Clark said. "Whatnot has established an incredibly strong product market fit in its initial collectibles categories and shows no signs of slowing down as it continues to expand its scope based on the strong pull of its user base."Roger Lee, Battery VenturesRoger Lee is a general partner at Battery Ventures.Battery VenturesRecommended startup: RutterRelationship: No financial interestTotal startup funding: $29.4 millionWhat it does: Rutter provides a universal API that allows e-commerce companies to easily connect with all of the systems they would use to run their business, from the platform hosting their site to the tech they use to processes their payments. Why it's promising: Brands are now reaching customers across a number of different channels, each of which would traditionally require complicated technical work to integrate. Rutter seeks to simplify that work. Lee said that it "acts as the connective tissue" between the e-commerce tools and products that merchants use. It also helps merchants and platforms to look at the data across those tools and products with greater ease. "We believe Rutter provides critical infrastructure to the world of e-commerce — a booming category for 2022 and beyond," he said.Amy Saper, AccelAmy Saper is a partner at Accel.AccelRecommended startup: The ExpertRelationship: No financial interestTotal startup funding: $15 millionWhat it does: The Expert is a digital platform turned e-commerce home-goods site that pairs users with high-end interior designers for one-on-one video consultations about home renovations and decor.Why it's promising: Jake Arnold, an interior designer, founded the Expert was founded in 2021. His reputation attracted an audience of users looking to renovate their living spaces during the pandemic to the startup's services. The company expanded into selling home goods like couches and end tables, an offering called Showroom. "As a design enthusiast in the midst of a home-renovation project, I love the way The Expert is democratizing access to the world's best interior-design talent, '' Saper said. "The past few years have dramatically shifted our perceptions and expectations around our ideal home setup, and The Expert is well poised to capitalize on that persistent trend."Mike Duboe, Greylock PartnersMike Duboe is a general partner at Greylock.Greylock PartnersRecommended startup: ConvictionalRelationship: No financial interestTotal startup funding: $48.9 millionWhat it does: Convictional helps retailers to onboard their vendors — and start selling their products online — much more quickly than more traditional methods. Two former Shopify employees, Chris Grouchy and Roger Kirkness, founded the startup.Why it's promising: It's grown more costly for brands to acquire new customers as Apple's 2021 iOS updates and other consumer-privacy policies have changed the digital-advertising landscape. Because of that, many brands are looking to sell their products on a wider variety of channels, including on marketplaces other retailers run. Convictional automates the process of getting vendors' products on those marketplaces. And by listing products from other brands on their own sites, retailers get a chance to broaden their product assortment without having to invest in additional inventory. "Convictional has streamlined and standardized the way brands 'talk' to retailer and marketplace partners, allowing them to sell through a broader suite of channels without any inventory challenges," Duboe said. "The infrastructure underlying wholesale marketplaces and B2B trade will be an interesting area to watch in 2022 and beyond."Damir Becirovic, Index VenturesDamir Becirovic is a partner at Index Ventures.Index VenturesRecommended startup: KojoRelationship: No financial interestTotal startup funding: $44.6 million, according to Crunchbase.What it does: A platform for construction firms to source and purchase building materials.Why it's promising: Kojo, formerly known as Agora, rebranded earlier this year and aims to help make buying and managing construction materials more efficient through automation. Its mobile app is key to this. With it, construction teams can track existing orders and warehouse inventory in real time. Managers can also reorder materials from previous jobs. Kojo, founded in 2018, is now expanding its service to other sectors of the construction industry, such as mechanical and drywall construction. "Construction is an industry where the two main costs are labor and materials. Procore built a multibillion-dollar business addressing labor efficiency and Kojo is aiming to be the platform that makes material procurement efficient," Becirovic said. "Historically, construction firms used a combination of email and Excel to manage their material workflows and Agora is digitizing and automating this with software. The reception for their product has been strong and their customer count is growing quickly."Katie Stanton, Moxxie VenturesKatie Jacobs Stanton is the founder and a general partner at Moxxie Ventures.Amanda Aude, Shutter Pine PhotographyRecommended startup: Luminai (formerly Digital Brain)Relationship: InvestorTotal startup funding: $25.12 millionWhat it does: Luminai's software automates multi-step processes, such as canceling Shopify orders, for customer-support teams.Why it's promising: Luminai has a "world-class founding team, with a remarkable story of resilience, hustle, and high achievement," Stanton told Insider. The CEO of Luminai, Kesava Kirupa Dinakaran, for instance, worked with cofounder Dmitry Dolgopolov to found what would become Luminai while living off hackathon prize money and pitching to over 100 VCs.The company also has a "laser focus" on helping customer-support teams save money, Stanton said. On average, Luminai's customers see a 16% decrease in average handling time per interaction, as well as a 60% reduction in customer-experience-agent onboarding time.Alex Taussig, Lightspeed Venture PartnersAlex Taussig is a partner at Lightspeed Venture Partners.Lightspeed Venture PartnersRecommended startup: SnackpassRelationship: No financial interest Total startup funding: $93.74 million What it does: Snackpass is a Venmo-inspired app that allows college students to order food for takeout with a social-sharing twist. Like a peer-to-peer payment app, Snackpass lets users share what they are ordering publicly. They can also gift meals to others and earn and share reward points. The startup, whose early investors include Andreessen Horowitz and Y Combinator, targets college towns.Why it's on the list: "With a Venmo-like social feed, users can see and interact with their friends, colleagues, and family," Taussig said. "Beyond the social app, Snackpass has also streamlined the in-store ordering and pick up process so that the consumers no longer need to wait in line for hours to get their favorite food. Snackpass is positioned to lead a new wave of innovation in one of the largest  — $2 trillion in size in 2021 — and most dynamic industry: Food."Laela Sturdy, CapitalGLaela Sturdy is a general partner at CapitalG.CapitalGRecommended startup: CuratedRelationship: InvestorTotal startup funding: $141.5 millionWhat it does: Curated pairs consumers that are considering big-ticket purchases, like baby-strollers or athletic equipment, with knowledgeable subject-matter experts who can advise shoppers on the best products to buy.Why it's on the list: Curated's category experts can monetize their passion or hobby by doling out advice to online shoppers researching specific items. Meanwhile, consumers can outsource research and comparison shopping to someone who actually enjoys it. "Anyone who has ever ventured to choose a baby stroller or the perfect espresso machine knows how confusing and stressful these decisions can be," Sturdy said. "Curated doesn't just take the pain out of choosing these high-consideration purchase decisions — they make it actually fun and delightful."Morad Elhafed, Battery VenturesMorad Elhafed is a general partner at Battery Ventures.Battery VenturesRecommended startup:  Vita MojoRelationship: InvestorTotal startup funding: $57.96 millionWhat it does:  Vita Mojo's platform allows restaurants to manage workflows such as digital-ordering and kitchen operations in one integrated system. The London-based startup serves more than 130 operators across the UK and Europe, including Nando's and Le Pain Quotidien.Vita Mojo's digital-ordering services include in-store kiosks, direct-channel online ordering, and ordering through third-party delivery apps such as Just Eat, Deliveroo, and Uber Eats.  Why it's on the list: The company's founders built the platform by first testing the software in a brick-and-mortar restaurant, billed at the time as the UK's first cashless and digital-only restaurant. By battle-testing the software in the real world, Vita Mojo has been able to refine and perfect its tech platform. "Vita Mojo helps restaurants streamline and automate operations, which is critically important as these businesses strive to recover from the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic amidst ongoing labor shortages and supply-chain issues," Elhafed said.Genevieve Gilbreath, Springdale VenturesGenevieve Gilbreath is a cofounder and general partner at Springdale Ventures.Genevieve GilbreathRecommended startup: GoodlesRelationship: InvestorTotal startup funding: $3.79 millionWhat it does: Goodles is a macaroni-and-cheese brand. It offers four different varieties of dairy-filled mac and cheese as well as a vegan option. Goodles says that its product is healthier than many other household mac-and-cheese brands while still offering a good taste.Why it's on the list: Gilbreath said her group has "never seen market demand like this for a new product" and that celebrity customers and investors range from those in the NFL to Hollywood stars. "They are absolutely crushing velocities and get inbound calls to get on shelf from everyone," Gilbreath said. "I think that Goodles has fully nailed what it takes to build a true household brand. They have an incredible product with really good nutrition, fun, sticky brand, A+ team and they picked one of the biggest, fastest-moving food categories to tackle."Chauncey Hamilton, XYZ Venture Capital and Benjamin Ling, Bling CapitalChauncey Hamilton is a partner at XYZ Venture Capital and Benjamin Ling is the founder and a general partner at Bling Capital.XYZ Venture Capital/Bling CapitalRecommended startup: VehoRelationship: Bling Capital is an investor in Veho. XYZ Venture Capital does not have a financial interest in Veho.Total startup funding: $299.28 millionWhat it does: Veho is a last-mile logistics platform that uses gig-economy drivers to facilitate next-day delivery for brands. The company currently operates in 22 cities across the US.Why it's on the list: Veho steps in at the point in the fulfillment process where retailers have the least amount of control over their products: when products are in transit from warehouses to customers' doorsteps. Veho offers customers more insight into package deliveries by sharing real-time tracking information and allows for last-minute changes like rescheduling, address changes, and delivery instructions. Veho also offers doorstep pickup for returns that don't require labels or packaging, bringing the full delivery loop under its umbrella.Hamilton told Insider that the ability for retailers to personalize the delivery experience and make it "truly an extension of the brand" is advantageous for brands looking to build up customer trust. Ling was impressed with Veho's potential to challenge both national-delivery heavyweights like FedEx and UPS and emerging regional players like Lasership, as well as its fundraising ability. Even as markets became unsettled earlier this year, Veho raised a $170 million Series B in April, which followed a $125 million Series A in December. Michael Brown, Battery VenturesMichael Brown is a general partner at Battery Ventures.Battery VenturesRecommended startup: Blue OnionRelationship: No financial interestTotal startup funding: $8 millionWhat it does: Blue Onion simplifies financial management for e-commerce brands. Its software reconciles transaction data from across multiple systems, including e-commerce platforms like Shopify and payment processors like Klarna, so that finance-and-accounting teams can have a full and accurate picture of their data in one place. Why it's promising: Running an online business means integrating a number of different software systems. Modern brands are connecting with customers in a number of different ways, from their online stores to their social-media channels. Blue Onion helps accounting teams automatically match financial records across systems to make sure every transaction is accounted for. "With the rise of e-commerce, these merchants need a new set of tooling to help run their business across multiple channels, particularly with automating their back-office systems and workflow," Brown said.Buffy and Draper James currently use Blue Onion's services. Entrée Capital, Green Visor Capital, Halogen Ventures, Vinyl Capital, and Y Combinator are all investors.Niki Pezeshki, Felicis VenturesNiki Pezeshki is a general partner at Felicis Ventures.FelicisRecommended startup: Proton.aiRelationship: InvestorTotal startup funding: $20 millionWhat it does: Proton.ai offers artificial-intelligence software to distribution companies that sell to other businesses. The company's goal is to help distributors increase sales.Proton.ai's software has many potential uses, such as coming up with product recommendations for specific businesses and providing data to sales representatives who work for distributors.Why it's promising: "Distribution and supply-chain challenges have been one of the major themes of the last couple of years, and Proton has done an incredible job of helping distributors weather the storm through the use of industry-specific software and AI," Pezeshki told Insider.There's even more opportunity for the company to grow going forward, he added. Roughly 290,000 distribution companies operate in the US, "but the technology in the industry still lacks some of the innovation that we have seen in other verticals.""Proton is changing that," he added. Nicole Johnson, Forerunner VenturesNicole Johnson is a partner at Forerunner Ventures.Forerunner VenturesRecommended startup: CometeerRelationship: No financial interestTotal startup funding: $95.85 millionWhat it does: Cometeer's coffee capsules resemble the pods commonly used in Keurig machines, but there's a key difference: They don't contain any grounds, making them easier to recycle. The coffee is brewed and frozen using Cometeer's proprietary process, which the company says improves the flavor. Cometeer sources its coffee from a variety of roasters around the world, such as North Carolina's Counter Culture and London's Square Mile.Why it's promising: Cometeer's approach makes it popular with consumers, Johnson said. "Customers are obsessed."Cometeer also cultivates a dual relationship with its roasters, which gives it a sales edge, according to Johnson."Cometeer partners with an A-list of roasters from across the country," she said. "They give Cometeer their best beans, Cometeer makes the coffee, and both distribute to their customers."Jimmy Frischling, Branded Hospitality VenturesJimmy Frischling is the founder and a managing partner at Branded Hospitality Venture.Jimmy FrischlingRecommended startup 1: Dexai RoboticsRelationship: No financial interestTotal startup funding: $6.66 millionWhat it does: Dexai Robotics has built a robotic sous chef, "Alfred," that can connect with point-of-sales systems and cook orders automatically by following recipes. The technology also tracks food inventory and keeps staff informed of when they're running out of items. The company says the robotic chef can help protect the food industry from labor shortages by offering an extra set of robotic hands. Addressing labor concerns in restaurants through robotics has become a popular strategy for startups in recent years.Why it's on the list: Frischling said Dexai is "building a new way to prepare meals, and soon robots in the kitchen will be as common as microwaves or dishwashers." "We're looking forward to a future where delicious meals are available for everyone at any hour of the day, prepared quickly, safely, and exactly how you like, by Alfred," he said.Recommended startup 2:  TapRmRelationship: InvestorTotal startup funding: $6.18 million What it does: TapRm is a platform that allows alcohol brands to reach their consumers directly online without having to work with a traditional distributor or retailer. Consumers can get beer and hard seltzer delivered to their doors.Why it's on the list: By bypassing traditional distributors, TapRm makes it easy for any beer or hard-seltzer brand to sell their products online and ship those orders nationwide. In New York, Frischling said the startup can take brands live from contract signing to online in under seven days. The company has an "impressive network of integrated retailers, shippers, and couriers," he said. Since launch, their contracts have grown 21% month over month and have expanded shipping to 45 states. "With thousands of beers and hard-seltzer brands to work with just in the US, TapRm is proud of their platform's success so far, and are looking forward to the next stage of growth," Frischling said. Steve Ahern, KB PartnersSteve Ahern is a partner at KB Partners.KB PartnersRecommended startup 1: TixologiRelationship: Investor Total startup funding: $2.25 millionWhat it does: Tixologi makes blockchain-based ticketing software designed to eliminate the "pain points" of the ticketing experience, Asher Weiss, the CEO and cofounder of Tixologi, told Insider.Why it's on the list: The ticketing industry is due for a refresh. Tixologi and its investors, including KB Partners, think blockchain is the answer. Blockchain is essentially a permanent digital ledger. When used for ticketing, it can prevent counterfeiting by letting fans easily trace back to see if a ticket is authentic. It can also help event companies gather data on fans because in order to accept a ticket, a fan must have a Tixologi account. The account's data can be used to make marketing efforts more targeted and effective. Tixologi's platform also can convert tickets into non-fungible tokens or digital collectibles."In the future, all tickets will be blockchain-based and all will likely be NFTs," Weiss told Insider. "We feel confident we can be the industry leader." The company is nearing its official launch after raising $2.25 million in venture capital. While sports is a natural first market for Tixologi, Steve Ahern, a partner at KB Partners, said there's significant room to expand. "One of the things that's exciting about the ticketing space is there's an application beyond purely sports," he said. "There's a really solid market there. Some of the biggest success stories in sports have been ticketing companies."Recommended startup 2: RealRelationship: No financial interestTotal startup funding: Self-funded, according to the companyWhat it does: A social-sports app designed to connect fans and provide a community where they can discuss live games on a play-by-play level.Why it's on the list: Ever notice a spike in traffic on social media during big events like the Oscars or the Super Bowl? The Real app builds on that phenomenon, but is aimed strictly at sports fans who regularly watch the games of a specific team or the performances of specific players. The app also has a notification system that can alert fans to pivotal moments, such as when bases are loaded in a baseball game. NBA, NFL, NHL, MLB and NCAA men's basketball games are available on the app. Louis and John Antonelli, the cofounder brothers of Real, plan to expand to other leagues and sports, including auto racing and ultimate fighting. "Real has done a very solid job developing a platform that keeps fans engaged around the most exciting moments in sports," Ahern told Insider. "They've quickly found a way to bring Gen Z back to live sports and created an amazing community of sports fans along the way."The company launched in March 2021 and is self-funded. It has 88,000 active members and a 4.9-out-of-5-star rating on the App Store."We're trying to avoid the true venture-capital route," Antonelli said. "If we do need an influx to get us over a gap, we'll probably do a friends-and-family round." Deborah Benton, Willow Growth PartnersDeborah Benton is cofounder and managing partner at Willow Growth Partners.Deborah BentonRecommended startup 1: YouthforiaRelationship: No financial interestTotal startup funding: Self-funded, according to the companyWhat it does: Youthforia makes makeup formulated with plant-based ingredients typically used in skincare products. Founder Fiona Co Chan, a former enterprise-sales executive with no prior beauty-industry experience, wanted to develop a makeup line that didn't require removal at the end of the day, but wouldn't give wearers a breakout or allergic reaction. Why it's on the list: Makeup made with skincare ingredients is a concept that has been growing in popularity for a few years, but Deborah Benton of Willow Growth Partners said Youthforia's "so clean you can sleep in it" approach takes the trend to the next level. As Benton looks at the mid-COVID-makeup landscape, she thinks affordable, multitasking products like Youthforia's TikTok-famous blush oil, which sells for $36, will be especially compelling to consumers looking to get the most out of their purchases. "Clean color with true innovation, functional benefits, and a compelling brand will take more than their fair share of growth," Benton said. "Youthforia represents all of those."Recommended startup 2: De SoiRelationship: InvestorTotal startup funding: $6 million, according to the company. What it does: A brand of nonalcoholic aperitifs, cofounded by Katy Perry and master distiller Morgan McLachlan. Why it's on the list: De Soi's plant-based, nonalcoholic drinks are enhanced with adaptogens — natural plants and mushrooms that help relieve stress and promote a calm feeling. Sales of nonalcoholic beverages soared 33% last year to $331 million, according to Nielsen. The rise of the sober-curious movement, combined with Perry's star power are why Benton is betting the brand will be a hit, she said. "De Soi is able to cut through the noise and bring an elegant alternative to a wider audience," Benton said.Keith Rabois, Founders FundKeith Rabois is a general partner at Founders Fund.Keith RaboisRecommended startup 1: TrabaRelationship: InvestorTotal startup funding: $27.21 millionWhat it does: Traba is a labor marketplace that connects workers with open shifts at warehouses and event venues. Why it's promising: Traba continues to perform despite many tech companies feeling the pressure from the pandemic and inflation. Mike Shebat, the CEO who leads the company, made the Forbes 30 under 30 list this year. Traba was valued at $120 million after raising a $20 million Series A in July. "As online shopping exploded in popularity, supply-chain troubles resulted in a 75% increase in fulfillment-center job openings," Rabois said. "Warehouses relied more on temp labor because of unpredictable order volumes. At the same time, warehouse workers deemed essential during the pandemic began demanding more flexibility, pay transparency, and quality work." Recommended startup 2: HomebaseRelationship: An investment made while at Khosla Ventures. The startup is not in Founders Fund's portfolio.Total startup funding: $109.9 millionWhat it does: Homebase helps automate shift scheduling, timesheets, and communication between employees to reduce administrative tasks for managers. Why it's promising: Homebase raised a $71 million Series C in July 2021, just as automated scheduling became crucial for companies attracting workers that wanted flexible shifts. The startup offers its services across businesses from retail to hospitality and leisure, making hiring, managing payroll, and handling timesheets all accessible through one piece of software. "In a tightening labor market where more people are shifting to flexible work, Homebase makes it easy for small businesses to manage their teams," Rabois said. "There's been so much innovation for knowledge workers in recent years, but hourly workers have largely been left behind. Homebase is changing that."Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderNov 23rd, 2022

Meet the 24 most promising retail tech power players revolutionizing how brands operate and customers buy online and in stores

From non-alcoholic DTCs to new mac-and-cheese brands, these 24 retail companies were picked by top venture capitalists as the most promising of 2022. Damir Becirovic of Index Ventures, Meera Clark of Redpoint Ventures, Morad Elhafed of Battery Ventures, and Amy Saper of Accel.Damir Becirovic/Index Ventures, Meera Clark/Redpoint Ventures, Morad Elhafed/Battery Venture, Amy Saper/ Accel, Tyler Le/Insider Insider talked to top VCs and asked them to pick the most promising startups so far in 2022. VCs were asked to list startups in their portfolios and companies they have no financial ties to. The result is a list of up-and-coming startups within the retail industry seen below.  Estimated total funding for each startup is based on reports from PitchBook unless otherwise specified. Some VCs identified in this list recommended multiple startups that cater to the retail industry. Hans Tung, GGV CapitalHans Tung, a managing partner at GGV Capital.GGV CapitalRecommended startup: Frubana Relationship: InvestorTotal startup funding: $353.57 million  What it does: Frubana is an online grocery-shopping platform for restaurants and small retailers in Latin America. The platform allows merchants to source ingredients directly from farmers and manufacturers with no intermediaries.The food-supply challenges during the COVID-19 have helped accelerate the growth outside its home base in Colombia. It works with 87,000 restaurants and small retailers in Colombia, Brazil, and Mexico. Why it's on the list: By cutting off intermediaries like food distributors, Frubana's B2B tech saves money for both producers and buyers. The company initially started as a fruit-and-vegetable distribution venture but has expanded to become "a one-stop-shop for Latin American restaurants," Tung told Insider. "It provides price transparency, reduces waste, facilitates logistics, and generates trust to create a highly efficient and vertically integrated food-supply chain." Mark Fiorentino, Index VenturesMark Fiorentino is a partner at Index Ventures.Index VenturesRecommended startup: CatchRelationship: InvestorTotal startup funding: $30.6 millionWhat it does: Catch allows online shoppers to complete purchases by paying directly from their bank accounts instead of with credit cards. Brands pass on the savings that would normally cover credit-card-processing fees to shoppers in the form of store credit, building loyalty and offering an incentive to shop again.Why it's on the list: As customer acquisition becomes more challenging due to privacy-policy changes and rising ad costs on social media, more brands have begun to emphasize growing the lifetime value of existing customers. Catch allows brands to increase loyalty levels among their existing customer base by incentivizing repeat purchases with store credit. Fiorentino was impressed by the way that Catch combines payments, loyalty, retention, and engagement into one product. "By cutting out the card networks altogether, they allow merchants to pass through those savings to the consumer via loyalty credits, leading to increased engagement and retention from its customer base," he said.Catch counts many direct-to-consumer favorites like Girlfriend Collective, Everlane, and Parade as clients. Other backers in addition to Index Ventures include Forerunner Ventures, Sequoia Capital, SciFi VC, Verity Venture Partners, and BoxGroup.Meera Clark, Redpoint VenturesMeera Clark is a principal at Redpoint Ventures.Redpoint VenturesRecommended startup: Whatnot Relationship: InvestorTotal startup funding: $485.41 millionWhat it does: Whatnot is a livestream-retail marketplace where users can buy and sell collectibles like Funko Pops and trading cards.Why it's promising: Whatnot has raised almost $500 million dollars in funding since its founding, including a $260 million Series D in July. Grant LaFontaine and Logan Head, the founders of Whatnot, continue to expand the categories on the platform and hire more employees at a time where many startups are conducting mass layoffs.The company's business model capitalizes on live-shopping trends already popular outside of the US, especially in Asia. "Whatnot represents a clear category leader for users seeking to buy and sell collectibles ranging from Funko Pops to manga comics and more," Clark said. "Whatnot has established an incredibly strong product market fit in its initial collectibles categories and shows no signs of slowing down as it continues to expand its scope based on the strong pull of its user base."Roger Lee, Battery VenturesRoger Lee is a general partner at Battery Ventures.Battery VenturesRecommended startup: RutterRelationship: No financial interestTotal startup funding: $29.4 millionWhat it does: Rutter provides a universal API that allows e-commerce companies to easily connect with all of the systems they would use to run their business, from the platform hosting their site to the tech they use to processes their payments. Why it's promising: Brands are now reaching customers across a number of different channels, each of which would traditionally require complicated technical work to integrate. Rutter seeks to simplify that work. Lee said that it "acts as the connective tissue" between the e-commerce tools and products that merchants use. It also helps merchants and platforms to look at the data across those tools and products with greater ease. "We believe Rutter provides critical infrastructure to the world of e-commerce — a booming category for 2022 and beyond," he said.Amy Saper, AccelAmy Saper is a partner at Accel.AccelRecommended startup: The ExpertRelationship: No financial interestTotal startup funding: $15 millionWhat it does: The Expert is a digital platform turned e-commerce home-goods site that pairs users with high-end interior designers for one-on-one video consultations about home renovations and decor.Why it's promising: Jake Arnold, an interior designer, founded the Expert was founded in 2021. His reputation attracted an audience of users looking to renovate their living spaces during the pandemic to the startup's services. The company expanded into selling home goods like couches and end tables, an offering called Showroom. "As a design enthusiast in the midst of a home-renovation project, I love the way The Expert is democratizing access to the world's best interior-design talent, '' Saper said. "The past few years have dramatically shifted our perceptions and expectations around our ideal home setup, and The Expert is well poised to capitalize on that persistent trend."Mike Duboe, Greylock PartnersMike Duboe is a general partner at Greylock.Greylock PartnersRecommended startup: ConvictionalRelationship: No financial interestTotal startup funding: $48.9 millionWhat it does: Convictional helps retailers to onboard their vendors — and start selling their products online — much more quickly than more traditional methods. Two former Shopify employees, Chris Grouchy and Roger Kirkness, founded the startup.Why it's promising: It's grown more costly for brands to acquire new customers as Apple's 2021 iOS updates and other consumer-privacy policies have changed the digital-advertising landscape. Because of that, many brands are looking to sell their products on a wider variety of channels, including on marketplaces other retailers run. Convictional automates the process of getting vendors' products on those marketplaces. And by listing products from other brands on their own sites, retailers get a chance to broaden their product assortment without having to invest in additional inventory. "Convictional has streamlined and standardized the way brands 'talk' to retailer and marketplace partners, allowing them to sell through a broader suite of channels without any inventory challenges," Duboe said. "The infrastructure underlying wholesale marketplaces and B2B trade will be an interesting area to watch in 2022 and beyond."Damir Becirovic, Index VenturesDamir Becirovic is a partner at Index Ventures.Index VenturesRecommended startup: KojoRelationship: No financial interestTotal startup funding: $44.6 million, according to Crunchbase.What it does: A platform for construction firms to source and purchase building materials.Why it's promising: Kojo, formerly known as Agora, rebranded earlier this year and aims to help make buying and managing construction materials more efficient through automation. Its mobile app is key to this. With it, construction teams can track existing orders and warehouse inventory in real time. Managers can also reorder materials from previous jobs. Kojo, founded in 2018, is now expanding its service to other sectors of the construction industry, such as mechanical and drywall construction. "Construction is an industry where the two main costs are labor and materials. Procore built a multibillion-dollar business addressing labor efficiency and Kojo is aiming to be the platform that makes material procurement efficient," Becirovic said. "Historically, construction firms used a combination of email and Excel to manage their material workflows and Agora is digitizing and automating this with software. The reception for their product has been strong and their customer count is growing quickly."Katie Stanton, Moxxie VenturesKatie Jacobs Stanton is the founder and a general partner at Moxxie Ventures.Amanda Aude, Shutter Pine PhotographyRecommended startup: Luminai (formerly Digital Brain)Relationship: InvestorTotal startup funding: $25.12 millionWhat it does: Luminai's software automates multi-step processes, such as canceling Shopify orders, for customer-support teams.Why it's promising: Luminai has a "world-class founding team, with a remarkable story of resilience, hustle, and high achievement," Stanton told Insider. The CEO of Luminai, Kesava Kirupa Dinakaran, for instance, worked with cofounder Dmitry Dolgopolov to found what would become Luminai while living off hackathon prize money and pitching to over 100 VCs.The company also has a "laser focus" on helping customer-support teams save money, Stanton said. On average, Luminai's customers see a 16% decrease in average handling time per interaction, as well as a 60% reduction in customer-experience-agent onboarding time.Alex Taussig, Lightspeed Venture PartnersAlex Taussig is a partner at Lightspeed Venture Partners.Lightspeed Venture PartnersRecommended startup: SnackpassRelationship: No financial interest Total startup funding: $93.74 million What it does: Snackpass is a Venmo-inspired app that allows college students to order food for takeout with a social-sharing twist. Like a peer-to-peer payment app, Snackpass lets users share what they are ordering publicly. They can also gift meals to others and earn and share reward points. The startup, whose early investors include Andreessen Horowitz and Y Combinator, targets college towns.Why it's on the list: "With a Venmo-like social feed, users can see and interact with their friends, colleagues, and family," Taussig said. "Beyond the social app, Snackpass has also streamlined the in-store ordering and pick up process so that the consumers no longer need to wait in line for hours to get their favorite food. Snackpass is positioned to lead a new wave of innovation in one of the largest  — $2 trillion in size in 2021 — and most dynamic industry: Food."Laela Sturdy, CapitalGLaela Sturdy is a general partner at CapitalG.CapitalGRecommended startup: CuratedRelationship: InvestorTotal startup funding: $141.5 millionWhat it does: Curated pairs consumers that are considering big-ticket purchases, like baby-strollers or athletic equipment, with knowledgeable subject-matter experts who can advise shoppers on the best products to buy.Why it's on the list: Curated's category experts can monetize their passion or hobby by doling out advice to online shoppers researching specific items. Meanwhile, consumers can outsource research and comparison shopping to someone who actually enjoys it. "Anyone who has ever ventured to choose a baby stroller or the perfect espresso machine knows how confusing and stressful these decisions can be," Sturdy said. "Curated doesn't just take the pain out of choosing these high-consideration purchase decisions — they make it actually fun and delightful."Morad Elhafed, Battery VenturesMorad Elhafed is a general partner at Battery Ventures.Battery VenturesRecommended startup:  Vita MojoRelationship: InvestorTotal startup funding: $57.96 millionWhat it does:  Vita Mojo's platform allows restaurants to manage workflows such as digital-ordering and kitchen operations in one integrated system. The London-based startup serves more than 130 operators across the UK and Europe, including Nando's and Le Pain Quotidien.Vita Mojo's digital-ordering services include in-store kiosks, direct-channel online ordering, and ordering through third-party delivery apps such as Just Eat, Deliveroo, and Uber Eats.  Why it's on the list: The company's founders built the platform by first testing the software in a brick-and-mortar restaurant, billed at the time as the UK's first cashless and digital-only restaurant. By battle-testing the software in the real world, Vita Mojo has been able to refine and perfect its tech platform. "Vita Mojo helps restaurants streamline and automate operations, which is critically important as these businesses strive to recover from the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic amidst ongoing labor shortages and supply-chain issues," Elhafed said.Genevieve Gilbreath, Springdale VenturesGenevieve Gilbreath is a cofounder and general partner at Springdale Ventures.Genevieve GilbreathRecommended startup: GoodlesRelationship: InvestorTotal startup funding: $3.79 millionWhat it does: Goodles is a macaroni-and-cheese brand. It offers four different varieties of dairy-filled mac and cheese as well as a vegan option. Goodles says that its product is healthier than many other household mac-and-cheese brands while still offering a good taste.Why it's on the list: Gilbreath said her group has "never seen market demand like this for a new product" and that celebrity customers and investors range from those in the NFL to Hollywood stars. "They are absolutely crushing velocities and get inbound calls to get on shelf from everyone," Gilbreath said. "I think that Goodles has fully nailed what it takes to build a true household brand. They have an incredible product with really good nutrition, fun, sticky brand, A+ team and they picked one of the biggest, fastest-moving food categories to tackle."Chauncey Hamilton, XYZ Venture Capital and Benjamin Ling, Bling CapitalChauncey Hamilton is a partner at XYZ Venture Capital and Benjamin Ling is the founder and a general partner at Bling Capital.XYZ Venture Capital/Bling CapitalRecommended startup: VehoRelationship: Bling Capital is an investor in Veho. XYZ Venture Capital does not have a financial interest in Veho.Total startup funding: $299.28 millionWhat it does: Veho is a last-mile logistics platform that uses gig-economy drivers to facilitate next-day delivery for brands. The company currently operates in 22 cities across the US.Why it's on the list: Veho steps in at the point in the fulfillment process where retailers have the least amount of control over their products: when products are in transit from warehouses to customers' doorsteps. Veho offers customers more insight into package deliveries by sharing real-time tracking information and allows for last-minute changes like rescheduling, address changes, and delivery instructions. Veho also offers doorstep pickup for returns that don't require labels or packaging, bringing the full delivery loop under its umbrella.Hamilton told Insider that the ability for retailers to personalize the delivery experience and make it "truly an extension of the brand" is advantageous for brands looking to build up customer trust. Ling was impressed with Veho's potential to challenge both national-delivery heavyweights like FedEx and UPS and emerging regional players like Lasership, as well as its fundraising ability. Even as markets became unsettled earlier this year, Veho raised a $170 million Series B in April, which followed a $125 million Series A in December. Michael Brown, Battery VenturesMichael Brown is a general partner at Battery Ventures.Battery VenturesRecommended startup: Blue OnionRelationship: No financial interestTotal startup funding: $8 millionWhat it does: Blue Onion simplifies financial management for e-commerce brands. Its software reconciles transaction data from across multiple systems, including e-commerce platforms like Shopify and payment processors like Klarna, so that finance-and-accounting teams can have a full and accurate picture of their data in one place. Why it's promising: Running an online business means integrating a number of different software systems. Modern brands are connecting with customers in a number of different ways, from their online stores to their social-media channels. Blue Onion helps accounting teams automatically match financial records across systems to make sure every transaction is accounted for. "With the rise of e-commerce, these merchants need a new set of tooling to help run their business across multiple channels, particularly with automating their back-office systems and workflow," Brown said.Buffy and Draper James currently use Blue Onion's services. Entrée Capital, Green Visor Capital, Halogen Ventures, Vinyl Capital, and Y Combinator are all investors.Niki Pezeshki, Felicis VenturesNiki Pezeshki is a general partner at Felicis Ventures.FelicisRecommended startup: Proton.aiRelationship: InvestorTotal startup funding: $20 millionWhat it does: Proton.ai offers artificial-intelligence software to distribution companies that sell to other businesses. The company's goal is to help distributors increase sales.Proton.ai's software has many potential uses, such as coming up with product recommendations for specific businesses and providing data to sales representatives who work for distributors.Why it's promising: "Distribution and supply-chain challenges have been one of the major themes of the last couple of years, and Proton has done an incredible job of helping distributors weather the storm through the use of industry-specific software and AI," Pezeshki told Insider.There's even more opportunity for the company to grow going forward, he added. Roughly 290,000 distribution companies operate in the US, "but the technology in the industry still lacks some of the innovation that we have seen in other verticals.""Proton is changing that," he added. Nicole Johnson, Forerunner VenturesNicole Johnson is a partner at Forerunner Ventures.Forerunner VenturesRecommended startup: CometeerRelationship: No financial interestTotal startup funding: $95.85 millionWhat it does: Cometeer's coffee capsules resemble the pods commonly used in Keurig machines, but there's a key difference: They don't contain any grounds, making them easier to recycle. The coffee is brewed and frozen using Cometeer's proprietary process, which the company says improves the flavor. Cometeer sources its coffee from a variety of roasters around the world, such as North Carolina's Counter Culture and London's Square Mile.Why it's promising: Cometeer's approach makes it popular with consumers, Johnson said. "Customers are obsessed."Cometeer also cultivates a dual relationship with its roasters, which gives it a sales edge, according to Johnson."Cometeer partners with an A-list of roasters from across the country," she said. "They give Cometeer their best beans, Cometeer makes the coffee, and both distribute to their customers."Jimmy Frischling, Branded Hospitality VenturesJimmy Frischling is the founder and a managing partner at Branded Hospitality Venture.Jimmy FrischlingRecommended startup 1: Dexai RoboticsRelationship: No financial interestTotal startup funding: $6.66 millionWhat it does: Dexai Robotics has built a robotic sous chef, "Alfred," that can connect with point-of-sales systems and cook orders automatically by following recipes. The technology also tracks food inventory and keeps staff informed of when they're running out of items. The company says the robotic chef can help protect the food industry from labor shortages by offering an extra set of robotic hands. Addressing labor concerns in restaurants through robotics has become a popular strategy for startups in recent years.Why it's on the list: Frischling said Dexai is "building a new way to prepare meals, and soon robots in the kitchen will be as common as microwaves or dishwashers." "We're looking forward to a future where delicious meals are available for everyone at any hour of the day, prepared quickly, safely, and exactly how you like, by Alfred," he said.Recommended startup 2:  TapRmRelationship: InvestorTotal startup funding: $6.18 million What it does: TapRm is a platform that allows alcohol brands to reach their consumers directly online without having to work with a traditional distributor or retailer. Consumers can get beer and hard seltzer delivered to their doors.Why it's on the list: By bypassing traditional distributors, TapRm makes it easy for any beer or hard-seltzer brand to sell their products online and ship those orders nationwide. In New York, Frischling said the startup can take brands live from contract signing to online in under seven days. The company has an "impressive network of integrated retailers, shippers, and couriers," he said. Since launch, their contracts have grown 21% month over month and have expanded shipping to 45 states. "With thousands of beers and hard-seltzer brands to work with just in the US, TapRm is proud of their platform's success so far, and are looking forward to the next stage of growth," Frischling said. Steve Ahern, KB PartnersSteve Ahern is a partner at KB Partners.KB PartnersRecommended startup 1: TixologiRelationship: Investor Total startup funding: $2.25 millionWhat it does: Tixologi makes blockchain-based ticketing software designed to eliminate the "pain points" of the ticketing experience, Asher Weiss, the CEO and cofounder of Tixologi, told Insider.Why it's on the list: The ticketing industry is due for a refresh. Tixologi and its investors, including KB Partners, think blockchain is the answer. Blockchain is essentially a permanent digital ledger. When used for ticketing, it can prevent counterfeiting by letting fans easily trace back to see if a ticket is authentic. It can also help event companies gather data on fans because in order to accept a ticket, a fan must have a Tixologi account. The account's data can be used to make marketing efforts more targeted and effective. Tixologi's platform also can convert tickets into non-fungible tokens or digital collectibles."In the future, all tickets will be blockchain-based and all will likely be NFTs," Weiss told Insider. "We feel confident we can be the industry leader." The company is nearing its official launch after raising $2.25 million in venture capital. While sports is a natural first market for Tixologi, Steve Ahern, a partner at KB Partners, said there's significant room to expand. "One of the things that's exciting about the ticketing space is there's an application beyond purely sports," he said. "There's a really solid market there. Some of the biggest success stories in sports have been ticketing companies."Recommended startup 2: RealRelationship: No financial interestTotal startup funding: Self-funded, according to the companyWhat it does: A social-sports app designed to connect fans and provide a community where they can discuss live games on a play-by-play level.Why it's on the list: Ever notice a spike in traffic on social media during big events like the Oscars or the Super Bowl? The Real app builds on that phenomenon, but is aimed strictly at sports fans who regularly watch the games of a specific team or the performances of specific players. The app also has a notification system that can alert fans to pivotal moments, such as when bases are loaded in a baseball game. NBA, NFL, NHL, MLB and NCAA men's basketball games are available on the app. Louis and John Antonelli, the cofounder brothers of Real, plan to expand to other leagues and sports, including auto racing and ultimate fighting. "Real has done a very solid job developing a platform that keeps fans engaged around the most exciting moments in sports," Ahern told Insider. "They've quickly found a way to bring Gen Z back to live sports and created an amazing community of sports fans along the way."The company launched in March 2021 and is self-funded. It has 88,000 active members and a 4.9-out-of-5-star rating on the App Store."We're trying to avoid the true venture-capital route," Antonelli said. "If we do need an influx to get us over a gap, we'll probably do a friends-and-family round." Deborah Benton, Willow Growth PartnersDeborah Benton is cofounder and managing partner at Willow Growth Partners.Deborah BentonRecommended startup 1: YouthforiaRelationship: No financial interestTotal startup funding: Self-funded, according to the companyWhat it does: Youthforia makes makeup formulated with plant-based ingredients typically used in skincare products. Founder Fiona Co Chan, a former enterprise-sales executive with no prior beauty-industry experience, wanted to develop a makeup line that didn't require removal at the end of the day, but wouldn't give wearers a breakout or allergic reaction. Why it's on the list: Makeup made with skincare ingredients is a concept that has been growing in popularity for a few years, but Deborah Benton of Willow Growth Partners said Youthforia's "so clean you can sleep in it" approach takes the trend to the next level. As Benton looks at the mid-COVID-makeup landscape, she thinks affordable, multitasking products like Youthforia's TikTok-famous blush oil, which sells for $36, will be especially compelling to consumers looking to get the most out of their purchases. "Clean color with true innovation, functional benefits, and a compelling brand will take more than their fair share of growth," Benton said. "Youthforia represents all of those."Recommended startup 2: De SoiRelationship: InvestorTotal startup funding: $6 million, according to the company. What it does: A brand of nonalcoholic aperitifs, cofounded by Katy Perry and master distiller Morgan McLachlan. Why it's on the list: De Soi's plant-based, nonalcoholic drinks are enhanced with adaptogens — natural plants and mushrooms that help relieve stress and promote a calm feeling. Sales of nonalcoholic beverages soared 33% last year to $331 million, according to Nielsen. The rise of the sober-curious movement, combined with Perry's star power are why Benton is betting the brand will be a hit, she said. "De Soi is able to cut through the noise and bring an elegant alternative to a wider audience," Benton said.Keith Rabois, Founders FundKeith Rabois is a general partner at Founders Fund.Keith RaboisRecommended startup 1: TrabaRelationship: InvestorTotal startup funding: $27.21 millionWhat it does: Traba is a labor marketplace that connects workers with open shifts at warehouses and event venues. Why it's promising: Traba continues to perform despite many tech companies feeling the pressure from the pandemic and inflation. Mike Shebat, the CEO who leads the company, made the Forbes 30 under 30 list this year. Traba was valued at $120 million after raising a $20 million Series A in July. "As online shopping exploded in popularity, supply-chain troubles resulted in a 75% increase in fulfillment-center job openings," Rabois said. "Warehouses relied more on temp labor because of unpredictable order volumes. At the same time, warehouse workers deemed essential during the pandemic began demanding more flexibility, pay transparency, and quality work." Recommended startup 2: HomebaseRelationship: An investment made while at Khosla Ventures. The startup is not in Founders Fund's portfolio.Total startup funding: $109.9 millionWhat it does: Homebase helps automate shift scheduling, timesheets, and communication between employees to reduce administrative tasks for managers. Why it's promising: Homebase raised a $71 million Series C in July 2021, just as automated scheduling became crucial for companies attracting workers that wanted flexible shifts. The startup offers its services across businesses from retail to hospitality and leisure, making hiring, managing payroll, and handling timesheets all accessible through one piece of software. "In a tightening labor market where more people are shifting to flexible work, Homebase makes it easy for small businesses to manage their teams," Rabois said. "There's been so much innovation for knowledge workers in recent years, but hourly workers have largely been left behind. Homebase is changing that."Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderNov 23rd, 2022

Donald Trump just launched yet another bid for presidency. Here"s his life through the years in photos.

Former President Donald Trump, 76, launched his highly-anticipated 2024 presidential campaign. These photos show his life up until now. President Donald Trump.Chip Somodevilla/Getty ImagesDonald Trump made his long-awaited announcement about his 2024 bid for president.The businessman and hotel mogul became a household name through his reality show, "The Apprentice."The former president faces a litany of lawsuits and investigations into his businesses and role in the Capitol riot. Former President Donald Trump made his long-awaited announcement that he will run for president in 2024. After a failed bid for re-election in 2020, which he still falsely claims was "stolen" from him, Trump has teased his 2024 decision for months. Meanwhile, he and his family still face a litany of lawsuits and investigations into his business, his role in the Capitol riot and attempts to overturn the election, and the classified federal documents found at Mar-a-Lago.While certainly controversial, Trump has lived a unique life. Here is a look at the president's life journey, from the New York Military Academy to the Oval Office and beyond.Donald John Trump was born to Fred and Mary Anne Trump in Queens, New York on June 14, 1946. He is the second-youngest of five children.A photo of US President Donald Trump's late father Fred Trump sits behind him as he gives an interview with Reuters in the Oval Office at the White House.Jonathan Ernst/ReutersRead more: Meet Donald Trump's siblings, the oldest of whom just retired as a federal judgeAs a teen, the president was enrolled at the New York Military Academy where he briefly served as a captain during his senior year.Donald Trump in the New York Military Academy's 1964 yearbook.Business Insider via ClassmatesSource: Washington PostHe graduated from Wharton School of Finance at the University of Pennsylvania with a bachelor's in economics in 1968. He then started his career at his father's real estate development company, E. Trump & Son.Donald Trump with his father, Fred, left, at his graduation from the Wharton School of Finance.Donald Trump/FacebookAs someone who loves the art of negotiation, Trump was able to negotiate New York City to provide a 40-year tax abatement for the Grand Hyatt Hotel — the first ever granted to a commercial property.Gov. Hugh Carey, accompanied by Trump, points to an artist's conception of the hotel that will be built on the site of the former Commodore Hotel on June 28, 1978.APSource: The Trump OrganizationAn early win was when Trump offered to renovate decrepit areas in need, such as a long-closed ice-skating rink, at no profit to himself, after the city's renovation effort went through five years of delays and more than double the original cost estimate.Here, Donald Trump poses with New York City's Parks Commissioner, Henry Stern, holding a pair of ice skates that are intended for use at the Wollman Rink in Central Park on August 7, 1986.Paul Burnett/APSource: APTrump's enterprise also stretched out into sports, where he was the original owner of the New Jersey Generals of the United States Football League.Donald Trump shakes hands with Herschel Walker in New York after an agreement on a four-year contract with the New Jersey Generals USFL football team on March 8, 1984.Dave Pickoff/APTrump owns a fleet of luxury helicopters, and a private plane that was often a backdrop at his 2016 presidential campaign events.Donald Trump in front of one of three Sikorsky helicopters at the Port Authority's West 30 Street heliport on March 22, 1988.AP Photo/Wilbur FunchesTrump also enjoys tennis — he even played a round, wearing his traditional suit, against the legendary Serena Williams.Donald Trump talks with his former wife, Ivana Trump, during the men's final at the US Open.Mike Blake/ReutersTrump was notorious for befriending supermodels. His first wife, Ivana, a Czech-American, was a member of the social elite.Donald Trump and his former wife, Ivana, pose outside the federal courthouse after she was sworn in as a US citizen in May 1988.ReutersTrump had three kids with Ivana: Donald Jr., Ivanka, and Eric.Family portrait of, from left, socialite Ivana Trump, her son Eric Trump, her former husband businessman Donald Trump, and her daughter Ivanka Trump as they sit at a table at the Mar-a-Lago estate, Palm Beach, Florida, 1998.Davidoff Studios/Getty ImagesHe divorced Ivana in a public split in 1992, and married Marla Maples in 1993.Donald Trump watches as his ex-wife, Marla Maples, gets a kiss from Earl Sinclair of TV's "Dinosaurs" during lunch at the Trump Plaza Hotel on November 2, 1992.Henry Ray Abrams/ReutersTrump and Marla had one daughter, Tiffany, in 1993.Happy parents Marla Maples, left, and Donald Trump greet the press with their newborn daughter, Tiffany, as they leave St. Mary's Hospital in West Palm Beach, Fla., on Thurs., Oct. 14, 1993.Hans Deryk/APAs a self-proclaimed family man, Trump attended many public events and television shows with his family over the years.Donald Trump and his daughter, Ivanka, peek over the crowd as they take in a tennis match during the US Open in New York.Roh Frehm/APSource: OprahTrump loved showing off his wealth with lavish spending, and once paid the sultan of Brunei $30 million for a nearly 300-foot yacht.Donald Trump waves to reporters with his former wife, Ivana, as they board their luxury yacht, The Trump Princess, in New York City.Marty Lederhandler/APSource: APTrump first started showing signs of interest for a possible bid for the US presidency with the formation of a presidential exploratory committee ahead of the 2000 election.Donald Trump talks with host Larry King after taping a segment of King's CNN talk show in New York.ReutersSource: ReutersTo test the political waters, the potential Reform Party presidential candidate traveled to several areas to address party leaders.Donald Trump makes an appearance for the media atop a Beverly Hills, California, hotel on December 6, 1999.Chris Pizzello/APSource: APIn 2005, Donald Trump married fashion designer and model Melania Trump.Donald Trump and Melania Trump leave Hollinger International's annual meeting at the Metropolitan Club in New York on May 22, 2003.Peter Morgan/ReutersSource: PolitiFactThe two had one son, Barron, in 2006.Donald Trump, Barron Trump and Melania Trump leave Trump Towers to attend the 16th Annual Bunny Hop at FAO Schwartz to benefit the Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center March 13, 2007 in New York City.Peter Kramer/Getty Images/for MSKCCAs no stranger to the political process, Trump was even acquainted with members of the judicial branch. Here he is greeting Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas at the Daytona 500.US Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, serving as the grand marshal for the Daytona 500, speaks to Donald Trump on the starting grid at the Daytona International Speedway.ReutersHe also became the owner of the infamous Miss Universe beauty pageant for many years.Donald Trump and Miss Connecticut, Erin Brady, pose onstage after Brady won the 2013 Miss USA pageant.AP Photo/Jeff Bottari, FileTrump loves to golf. He owns 17 courses. The president has spent time at one of his golf courses during at least 266 days of his presidency so far.Donald Trump takes a swing on the 11th green of the Ocean Trails Golf Club in Rancho Palos Verdes, California.Damian Dovarganes/APRead more: 23 celebrities, professional athletes, and politicians Trump has golfed with as presidentSource: CNNHis reality TV show "The Apprentice" made Trump a household name. Everyone knew him for his classic catchphrase, "You're fired!" Trump himself was fired as host of "The Celebrity Apprentice" by NBC in 2015 after he made derogatory comments about immigrants during his campaign.Donald Trump attends the Universal Studios Hollywood Apprentice Casting Call on March 10, 2006 in Universal City, California.Frazer Harrison/Getty ImagesSource: CBS NewsSome of the president's projects, like Trump University, were mired in lawsuits that Trump lost or had to settle. Others he may have made a profit on, but declared bankruptcy, and partners he worked with accused him of not paying them.Marita Luna (C) and Miriam Ramos (2nd R) joins other union members from UNITE HERE Local 54 as they rally outside the Trump Taj Mahal Casino in Atlantic City, New Jersey on October 24, 2014.ReutersRead more: The New York Times rates 61 of Donald Trump's business deals, concludes 40% failedIn June 2015, Trump famously launched his presidential campaign by coming down an escalator in Trump Tower.Donald Trump.Christopher Gregory/Getty ImagesAs the fog of the political battlefield cleared on the Republican side, Trump prepared to take on presumptive Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton.Donald Trump looks out at the construction site of his 92-story tower along the Chicago river during a visit to his Chicago offices on April 10, 2006. Trump acknowledged that because of security concerns after the events of September 11, he abandoned plans for it to be the world's tallest building at 150 stories.Charles Rex Arbogast/APTrump made his final appeal to voters in swing-states as the contentious campaign drew to a close.Donald Trump campaigns in New Hampshire.Scott Eisen/Getty ImagesWhile Trump won the electoral votes needed to secure the presidency, he lost the popular vote to Hillary Clinton by nearly three million votes.Donald Trump in New York on election night.Joe Raedle/Getty ImagesSource: The New York TimesTaking his oath of office on January 20, 2017, Trump officially became the 45th President of the United States.Supreme Court Justice John Roberts (2L) administers the oath of office to President Donald Trump (L) as his wife Melania Trump holds the Bible and son Barron Trump looks on, on the West Front of the US Capitol.Drew Angerer/Getty ImagesTrump signed 90 executive actions during his first 100 days in office. Some of his more controversial orders, like the travel ban, drew hundreds of thousands of people to protest. That action was ultimately held up by the Supreme Court.Evan Vucci/APRead more: Trump signed 90 executive actions in his first 100 days — here's what each one doesAfter taking office, Trump's administration faltered under a series of scandals and missteps. One of these was his firing of FBI director James Comey, who was leading an investigation into Russia's meddling in the US election.President Donald Trump (L) shakes hands with James Comey, then-director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, during an Inaugural Law Enforcement Officers and First Responders Reception in the Blue Room of the White House on January 22, 2017 in Washington, DC.Andrew Harrer-Pool/GettyThe special counsel Robert Mueller was appointed to oversee the investigation. Nearly two years later, he closed the probe in May 2019 — after charging several of Trump's associates with crimes, concluding Russia interfered in the 2016 election to benefit Trump, and outlining several instances that the president failed at obstructing justice.President Trump and special counsel Robert S. Mueller III.Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post via Getty Images; Win McNamee/Getty ImagesRead more: Mueller outlines key Trump-Russia contacts and potential instances of obstruction of justice in final reportAs a businessman who prides himself as a seasoned dealmaker, Trump has had mixed success interacting with world leaders as president. With some, he's had sparkling relationships. With others, things have been more frosty.Thomson ReutersAs the commander-in-chief of the armed forces, Trump observed the sacrifices made by US service members on Memorial Day.President Donald Trump lays flowers on the grave of Secretary of Homeland Security John Kelly's son at Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington, Virginia. US Marine Corps Lt. Robert Kelly was killed in 2010 while leading a patrol in Afghanistan.Aaron P. Bernstein/Getty ImagesTrump's first foreign trip as president began in Saudi Arabia and ended in Italy in May 2017. In Riyadh, Trump was photographed with the infamous glowing orb that took social media by storm.Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sissi, Saudi King Salman, and President Donald Trump visit a new Global Center for Combating Extremist Ideology, in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.Saudi Press AgencyAt his first presidential college commencement, Trump addressed the graduating class of Liberty University. "What imprint will you leave in the sands of history?" he asked them. "What will future Americans say we did in our brief time right here on earth? Did we take risks? Did we dare to defy expectations? Did we challenge accepted wisdom and take on established systems? I think I did, but we all did and we're all doing it."Getty Images/Chip SomodevillaSource: TIMETrump often received criticism during his time in office, like when he threw paper towels into a crowd in Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria wreaked havoc on the region.Trump tosses rolls of paper towels like basketballs to victims of Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico.Evan Vucci/APOther times in his presidency were more lighthearted. On the White House front lawn, Trump and the first lady presided over the Easter egg roll, one of many holiday traditions.President Donald Trump, joined by the Easter Bunny and first lady Melania Trump, speaks from the Truman Balcony of he White House in Washington, Monday, April 2, 2018, during the annual White House Easter Egg Roll.Carolyn Kaster/APIn some of the more lighthearted moments, Trump entertained athletic champions at the White House with his favorite items from fast-food restaurants.With fast food meals from Domino's, Wendy's, McDonald's, and Burger King, Trump entertains the Clemson Tigers football team after their 2018 playoffs national championship win.Susan Walsh/APHis presidency witnessed multiple mass shootings including ones at the Las Vegas Strip, at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, and at Pulse Nightclub in Orlando, Florida. Trump has fiercely defended the Second Amendment.Thomas Gunderson fights his fresh gunshot wound to the leg to stand and shake Trump's hand.Thomas Gunderson via FacebookSource: Business InsiderThe Trumps joined the living presidents and first ladies to attend the funeral of former President George H.W. Bush in December 2018.U.S. President Donald Trump, first lady Melania Trump, former President Barack Obama, Michelle Obama, former President Bill Clinton, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, and former President Jimmy Carter listen as former Canadian Prime Minister Brian Mulroney speaks during a State Funeral at the National Cathedral, Wednesday, Dec. 5, 2018, in Washington, for former President George H.W. Bush.Alex Brandon/Pool via REUTERSFrom December 2018 through January 2019, the federal government was shut down for a record 35 days when he and lawmakers couldn't get spending bills passed over disputes related to funding for his long-promised border wall.Trump gives his first Oval Office address on Day 18 of what would become the longest federal government shutdown in US history.CNNSource: Business InsiderTrump successfully saw Justice Brett Kavanaugh confirmed to the Supreme Court despite the controversy surrounding his appointment and a heated confirmation hearing in the Senate. The president ushered in three conservative justices, including Neil Gorsuch and Amy Coney Barrett.President Donald Trump shakes hands with Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh, before a ceremonial swearing-in in the East Room of the White House in Washington, Monday, Oct. 8, 2018.Susan Walsh/APSource: Business InsiderThe president was impeached by the House of Representatives on December 18, 2019, on charges of abusing his power and obstructing Congress. The inquiry was sparked after a whistleblower filed a report over a phone call the president held with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky in July 2019. Trump is the third president to be impeached in US history.President Donald Trump addresses his impeachment during a Merry Christmas Rally at the Kellogg Arena on December 18, 2019 in Battle Creek, Michigan. While Trump spoke at the rally the House of Representatives voted to impeach the president, making Trump just the third president in U.S. history to be impeached.Scott Olson/Getty ImagesSource: Business InsiderThings turned out alright for the president, however, when he was acquitted by the Republican-controlled Senate on February 5 by a vote of 52-48. Utah Sen. Mitt Romney was the only Republican to vote to convict the president.President Donald Trump speaks in the East Room of the White House, Thursday, Feb. 6, 2020, in Washington.AP Photo/ Evan VucciSource: Business InsiderThe Trump Administration was tasked with handling the COVID-19 pandemic, which first reached the US in January. Some 400,000 Americans died from the disease caused by the novel coronavirus during Trump's time in office. The president received sharp criticism for his administration's handling of the pandemic.President Donald J. Trump delivers remarks Tuesday, May 5, 2020, at Honeywell International Inc. in Phoenix.Official White House Photo by Shealah CraigheadSource: Associated PressThe president also received criticism for his handling of nationwide protests about racism in US police forces. At a press conference in June, Trump threatened to deploy the military to end nationwide unrest. Meanwhile, a crowd of peaceful protesters was tear-gassed outside of the White House to make way for Trump to walk to a nearby church for a photo-op.US President Donald Trump holds a Bible while visiting St. John's Church across from the White House after the area was cleared of people protesting the death of George Floyd June 1, 2020, in Washington, DC.BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP via Getty Images)Source: Business Insider   Trump celebrated his 74th birthday less than five months before the 2020 general election. At the time, the president was planning to resume his campaign rallies, which were paused due to COVID-19.President Donald Trump in the Oval Office.Mandel Ngan/AFP/Getty ImagesSource: Business InsiderTrump returned from a Tulsa rally in which he called for the US to slow its COVID-19 testing when the country had about 2.3 million cases and almost 120,000 deaths.President Donald Trump walks on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington as he returns from a campaign rally in Tulsa, Oklahoma on June 21, 2020.Patrick Semansky/APSource: Business InsiderTrump attended his first debate against Joe Biden in September 2020. It was later revealed by Trump's former chief of staff Mark Meadows that the president tested positive for COVID-19 three days before debating Biden in person.President Donald Trump holds up his face mask during the first presidential debate with Joe Biden in Cleveland, Ohio on September 29, 2020.Julio Cortez/APSource: Business InsiderTrump nominated Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court following the death of Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Coney Barrett was confirmed by the Senate and sworn in just eight days before the 2020 election.President Donald Trump and Amy Coney Barrett stand on the Blue Room Balcony after Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas administered the Constitutional Oath to her on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington, Oct. 26, 2020.Patrick Semansky/APSource: Business InsiderTrump spoke to his supporters on January 6, 2021, repeating his debunked claim that the election was stolen from him. Shortly thereafter, the MAGA mob stormed the Capitol.In this Jan. 6, 2021, file photo with the White House in the background, President Donald Trump speaks at a rally in Washington.Jacquelyn Martin/APSource: Business InsiderTrump became the only president to be impeached twice following the Capitol insurrection. He was later acquitted by the Senate in a 57-43 vote.President Donald Trump boards Air Force One upon arrival at Valley International Airport, Tuesday, Jan. 12, 2021, in Harlingen, Texas, after visiting a section of the border wall with Mexico in Alamo, Texas.Alex Brandon/APSource: Business InsiderTrump left the White House early on January 20, 2021, and skipped President Joe Biden's inauguration, breaking a time-honored tradition that had held for 152 years.President Donald Trump gestures as he boards Marine One on the South Lawn of the White House, Wednesday, Jan. 20, 2021, in Washington. Trump is en route to his Mar-a-Lago Florida Resort.Alex Brandon/APSource: Business InsiderIn June 2021, Trump held his first rally since leaving office, reciting many of his debunked claims about election fraud.Former President Donald Trump speaks at a rally at the Lorain County Fairgrounds, Saturday, June 26, 2021, in Wellington, Ohio.Tony Dejak/APSource: Business InsiderTrump skipped the 9/11 20-year anniversary memorials attended by Presidents Biden, Obama, Bush, and Clinton. Instead, Trump did an unannounced photo-op with New York police and firefighters before going to Florida to give commentary on a boxing match.Former President Donald Trump salutes cheering fans as he prepares to provide commentary for a boxing event in Hollywood, Florida, on Sept. 11, 2021.Rebecca Blackwell/APSource: Business InsiderTrump endorsed dozens of candidates in the 2022 midterms, many of whom – like Mehmet Oz – later lost their elections.Pennsylvania Senate candidate Mehmet Oz, left, accompanied by former President Donald Trump, speaks at a campaign rally in Greensburg, Pa., Friday, May 6, 2022.Gene J. Puskar/APSource: Business InsiderTrump attended the funeral of his first wife, Ivana Trump, alongside his family in July 2022.Donald Trump, Melania Trump, Barron Trump, Jared Kushner, Kimberly Guilfoyle, Ivanka Trump, Donald Trump Jr. and Eric Trump are seen at the funeral of Ivana Trump on July 20, 2022 in New York City.Jose Perez/Bauer-Griffin/GC ImagesSource: Business InsiderTrump has remained the focus of the House Select Committee investigating the January 6 attack. The committee subpoenaed Trump, whose legal team filed suit to block his testimony.A January 6 video of Former President Donald Trump telling his supporters to go home, is seen on screen during a hearing by the House Select Committee to investigate the January 6th attack on the US Capitol in Washington, DC, on July 21, 2022.Saul Loeb/AFP via Getty ImagesSource: Business InsiderRead the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: dealsSource: nytNov 16th, 2022

Generational Poverty: How To Break The Cycle Of Poverty

Are you familiar with escape rooms? The only way you can escape is to solve a complicated problem. But what happens if you fail to escape the room on time? Having lost, you are then “imprisoned” in the room. OK, not literally. However, you will not be able to leave the room until a staff […] Are you familiar with escape rooms? The only way you can escape is to solve a complicated problem. But what happens if you fail to escape the room on time? Having lost, you are then “imprisoned” in the room. OK, not literally. However, you will not be able to leave the room until a staff member enters the room and shows you the clues you missed, walks you through the solution, and escorts you safely outside. .first{clear:both;margin-left:0}.one-third{width:31.034482758621%;float:left;margin-left:3.448275862069%}.two-thirds{width:65.51724137931%;float:left}form.ebook-styles .af-element input{border:0;border-radius:0;padding:8px}form.ebook-styles .af-element{width:220px;float:left}form.ebook-styles .af-element.buttonContainer{width:115px;float:left;margin-left: 6px;}form.ebook-styles .af-element.buttonContainer input.submit{width:115px;padding:10px 6px 8px;text-transform:uppercase;border-radius:0;border:0;font-size:15px}form.ebook-styles .af-body.af-standards input.submit{width:115px}form.ebook-styles .af-element.privacyPolicy{width:100%;font-size:12px;margin:10px auto 0}form.ebook-styles .af-element.privacyPolicy p{font-size:11px;margin-bottom:0}form.ebook-styles .af-body input.text{height:40px;padding:2px 10px !important} form.ebook-styles .error, form.ebook-styles #error { color:#d00; } form.ebook-styles .formfields h1, form.ebook-styles .formfields #mg-logo, form.ebook-styles .formfields #mg-footer { display: none; } form.ebook-styles .formfields { font-size: 12px; } form.ebook-styles .formfields p { margin: 4px 0; } Get The Full Ray Dalio Series in PDF Get the entire 10-part series on Ray Dalio in PDF. Save it to your desktop, read it on your tablet, or email to your colleagues (function($) {window.fnames = new Array(); window.ftypes = new Array();fnames[0]='EMAIL';ftypes[0]='email';}(jQuery));var $mcj = jQuery.noConflict(true); Q3 2022 hedge fund letters, conferences and more   Find A Qualified Financial Advisor Finding a qualified financial advisor doesn't have to be hard. SmartAsset's free tool matches you with up to 3 fiduciary financial advisors in your area in 5 minutes. Each advisor has been vetted by SmartAsset and is held to a fiduciary standard to act in your best interests. If you're ready to be matched with local advisors that can help you achieve your financial goals, get started now. What if the moderator never arrived and you were stuck waiting for your kids to figure the puzzle out? During your wait, all you have is what you brought into the room. As a result of generational poverty, it is as if you are locked in a room full of puzzles. In addition, you only have a limited time to escape before you are permanently imprisoned. As another way of putting it, generational poverty is the opposite of generational wealth. Instead of learning about finance and gaining a leg up in life, kids grow up living hand to mouth. In the United States, millions of people are affected by it. But is it possible to break the cycle of generational poverty? Well, let’s find out. What is Poverty? First, we must understand poverty overall in order to understand generational poverty. Poverty is a state of economic hardship. More specifically, it is a situation where people lack certain commodities that they need for their lives, such as money and material goods. As a result, poverty encompasses social, economic, and political aspects. Poverty is derived from the French word “poverté.” If you’re case, this translates to poor. Poverty is a complex concept. The reason? This is due to the many factors that influence it, such as geography, inequality, lack of education, or economic conditions. Listed below are some quick facts about poverty provided by Poverty USA: The poverty threshold for an individual is approximately $13000 per year, and for a family of four, it is roughly $26000 per year. The poverty rate in America is 11.4%, which corresponds to some 37 million people living in poverty. Poverty affects over 11 million children. The number of Americans living in deep poverty is 3 million. Nearly 93 million Americans live in poverty. In terms of poverty, there is a racial disparity. Approximately 20% of black families live in poverty, 17% of Hispanic families, and 10% of white and Asian families. families. Native Americans have the highest rate of poverty, at 25%. Moreover, in terms of social, economic, and political factors, there are many ways to identify poverty: Absolute poverty Poverty, which includes the lack of basic foods, clean water, health, shelter, education, and information, is also referred to as extreme poverty or abject poverty. In absolute poverty, there is a high death rate among children from preventable diseases like malaria, cholera, and water-borne diseases. In developed countries, absolute poverty is rare. Absolute poverty was introduced in 1990 to measure absolute poverty by the standards of the poorest countries in the world. The World Bank reset it to $1.90 a day in October 2015. Due to the controversy surrounding this number, each nation has its own measure of absolute poverty. As of 2022, the poverty threshold for individuals in the United States is $13,590. This amounts to $27,750 per year for a family of four. As defined by Robert McNamara, who was the president of the World Bank from 1968-1981, “It is a condition so limited by malnutrition, illiteracy, disease, squalid surroundings, high infant mortality, and low life expectancy as to be beneath any reasonable definition of human decency.” Relative poverty In social terms, it is the standard of living compared to those living in the surrounding area. In other words, it measures income inequality. An example of being poor is not having the money for vacations, buying presents for the kids at Christmas, or sending them to college. In general, relative poverty is measured as the portion of the population with incomes below a certain median income level. Furthermore, developed nations with wealth use it to assess poverty rates. In European Union, the “relative poverty measure is the most prominent and most–quoted of the EU social inclusion indicators.” Situational poverty This type of poverty occurs as a result of adverse events such as environmental disasters, job losses, and serious health problems. Even a small piece of assistance can make a difference since this type of poverty comes from unfortunate events. Generational poverty Individuals and families inherit it from one generation to the next. Since the people are trapped in the cause, there is no escape since they cannot access the tools needed to escape. “Generational poverty occurs in families where at least two generations have been born into poverty,” Eric Jensen writes in Teaching with Poverty in Mind. “Families living in this type of poverty are not equipped with the tools to move out of their situation.” Rural poverty Typically, it occurs in rural areas with populations below 50,000. Compared to other parts of the country, these areas have fewer job opportunities, fewer services, and less support for people with disabilities. In the surrounding areas, most people depend on farming and menial labor. “Most of the world’s poorest live in rural areas,” writes Homi Kharas, Constanza Di Nucci, Kristofer Hamel, and Baldwin Tong for Brookings. A total of 400 million rural people live in extreme poverty, which is greater than the combined numbers of Americans and Canadians living in extreme poverty. Approximately half of that population (approximately 200 million) lives in cities. Urban poverty Usually, it occurs in metropolitan areas with a population of over 50,000. Among the major challenges facing the urban poor are: There is limited access to health care and education. A lack of adequate housing and services. Due to overcrowding, the environment is violent and unhealthy. There are few or no mechanisms for social protection. “According to the World Poverty Clock’s projections, rural poverty is expected to decline by 100 million (or 26 percent) from 395 million to 293 million over the next decade, largely due to economic growth and rural-urban migration that is reducing the absolute size of the rural population in many countries,” the authors adds. “Urban poverty, on the other hand, is not expected to decline very much (from 203 million today to 200 million), due to the expected increase in urbanization over the next decade, especially in Africa.” Generational Poverty: A Closer Look The phrase ‘extreme poverty’ is usually associated with generational poverty: poor parents, poor children, and poor grandchildren. Like genetics, poverty seems to be passed down from generation to generation in this situation. As a result, these families tend to be trapped in poverty until an external influence can help them escape poverty. A family that has lived in poverty for at least two generations is considered impoverished, according to Urban Ventures. In many cases, families facing generational poverty have lived in poverty for a much longer period of time. When a particular change in life results in a reduction of income and support, such as losing a job, getting divorced, or losing a parent, a person or family can experience situational poverty. Situational poverty can have a domino effect, but families tend to remain hopeful, knowing it will only last a short time. With generational poverty, this is typically not the case. Key Factors Associated with Generational Poverty Hopelessness Generally, poverty is defined as being unable to meet basic living needs, explains Urban Ventures. As a result of generational poverty, families are also challenged by three other types of poverty: Educational Poverty Parental Poverty Spiritual Poverty Generational poverty sometimes results in the most damaging outcome – a perpetual sense of hopelessness made worse by the cumulative effects of these different types of poverty. One generation follows another in a cycle of hopelessness. In the absence of hope and the belief that life can be better, motivation and energy are insufficient to break the cycle. Surviving vs. Planning Generational poverty traps people in the cycle of survival. Their attention is focused on today’s issue/challenge. A person may need money for food, a place to live, help with family issues, or unresolved health problems. Every day presents a new problem. However, there is an air of urgency surrounding all of this. Most individuals don’t plan, unfortunately, in part because they believe they have sufficient control over their lives. Values and Patterns In contrast to those who have grown up middle class, those caught in generational poverty have very different values. There will be a greater focus on survival and short-term outcomes in generational poverty. The values of the middle class are generally those of education and work. They are also regarded as productive citizens. As a result of generational poverty, counterproductive traditions like low educational emphasis may also be passed down. What Causes Generational Poverty? It is often assumed that poor people are responsible for their own circumstances. Their limited budget is spent on junk food, cigarettes, and alcohol. Perhaps they could dig themselves out of poverty and provide a better future for their children if they saved that money. Or maybe they just need to work harder. Then again, saving anything you can is a good idea, but it won’t help them pay for college or buy a house if they save twenty dollars every week. It is more difficult to accept reality, however, because it involves acknowledging the systemic policies that perpetuate generational poverty. It’s true that some of those systems have given some of us an edge, but they’ve also limited some options for others. A society that prizes rugged individualism can make it hard to acknowledge all the support that helped us succeed. Examples include tax breaks, parental support, or even not having to overcome unconscious biases regarding race and gender. In short, generational poverty is caused by a number of factors. It is a multifaceted issue that is influenced by everything from racism to financial policies. However, generational poverty is heavily influenced by the following three factors. Inadequate education. Education determines a household’s wealth and well-being. Therefore, a lack of appropriate knowledge and skills is the primary reason why so many families cannot escape poverty. As an example, literacy, an essential skill for higher-paying jobs, is still absent in many remote and challenging regions of the world. In fact, UNESCO states that “about 124 million children today do not go to primary and lower-secondary school. Almost 2 in 5 who do finish primary school have not learned how to read, write or do simple arithmetic.” Furthermore, chronic absenteeism, defined as missing more than 10% of the school year, is higher in low-income areas. “The most alarming part is that multiple studies across various states show kindergartners to have the highest rate of absenteeism outside of high school students,” Marc Cutillo writes in Education Week. “Educators and policymakers have known for years that falling behind before 3rd grade has a high correlation not just with high school dropout rates, but with incarceration rates as well.” “Children this young are not playing hooky or uninterested in learning—five minutes alone with any 1st grader yields more questions than you can answer without jumping on Wikipedia,” he adds. “The reasons these children stay home can all be traced to poverty.” As a child falls behind in school, they have a greater likelihood of dropping out of school, being incarcerated, earning less in the future, or living in poverty later in life. Resources are not available Generational poverty is often characterized by psychological issues related to finances. For parents to make ends meet, they often work multiple jobs. This behavior is also a part of “the scarcity mindset.” This is a mental shift due to the perception of scarce resources, which traps people in a cycle of insecure thinking and struggle to obtain short-term goals. As a result of perceptions of scarce resources, this behavior is associated with “the scarcity mindset,” which traps people in a cycle of fear and insecurity. Since they are focused on surviving for the next few days or weeks, people trapped in poverty are unable to think about the future. A mindset like this doesn’t allow adults or kids to think about college, careers, or higher achievements. Whatever dreams they do have, they often feel unreachable, and their lot in life is just to survive. Additionally, this mindset and environment lead to a shortage of resources. Those who live in underserved areas may encounter difficulties when it comes to generating income. In addition, living in constant worry about money can cause toxic stress, which can affect learning, behavior, and overall health. There is a lack of determination As opposed to the previous two factors, this last one refers to an internal characteristic that determines why poverty persists through generations. The majority of people afflicted by generational poverty lack determination and have a rather pessimistic and passive outlook on poverty. “Perhaps more damaging in the long term are the findings on how people feel about themselves when they’re in poverty,” Dawn Foster writes in The Guardian. “They are less confident in their ability to succeed, leading to decreased professional and educational attainment, depression, and anxiety.” They also reported a ‘negative self-stereotyping effect, whereby people living in poverty absorbed media stereotypes of those on benefits or unemployed as lacking warmth and competence. “Believing themselves to be fundamentally flawed, any achievement is tempered by a lack of confidence and subconscious self-loathing.” A child raised in such an environment is at risk of developing “a condition in which children feel as if they have no power to change or control their circumstances,” notes Matt Repka in the Chicago Policy Review. “Children growing up in poverty find themselves in surroundings characterized by chaos, an absence of structure, and a perceived lack of control. Helplessness is then conditioned by continued exposure to uncontrollable, unpredictable stimuli.” Even so, stress and external factors may push people into a state of hopelessness and devastation. As a result of poverty and financial concerns, a 2017 study proved that cognitive function can be affected by these concerns: poor financial management, insensitive parents, and less efficient employees are among the counterproductive behaviors caused by poverty and finance concerns. How to Break the Poverty Cycle Cultivate an abundance mindset Changing a scarcity mindset is perhaps the biggest hurdle to overcoming generational poverty. You experience drained brain activity in your prefrontal cortex (the area of the brain associated with decision-making), like a computer attempting to handle too many tasks simultaneously. Decision-making takes longer, and stress and low confidence are more common. Planning for the long term becomes too demanding as well. Similarly, scarcity on a larger scale can influence mindsets and decision-making. In recent years, the ability to make decisions quickly has been weakened by events such as the 2008 financial crisis. In addition, the Coronavirus pandemic and economic uncertainty may have exacerbated the situation. The solution? Cultivating an abundance mindset If we adopt the opposite mindset, a growth mindset, we will experience increased performance and more flexibility in the brain, among other benefits. As soon as we take risks and successfully complete them, our brains release dopamine. This primes us to seek out more dopamine by increasing those growth behaviors that initiated the release of dopamine. That’s all well and good. What are the best ways to accomplish this? Here are some strategies you might find useful. Acceptance When you do this, you stop fighting where you are now with your precious limited resources. Taking stock of where you’ve been will help you know where you’re going. Self-compassion Regardless of what you have done in life up to this point, you should be proud of yourself for making it this far. Every habit or mindset you have today that you want to change once had a purpose or reason for existing. In short, be kind to yourself. It’s all about finding that one thing Don’t have enough money? There may be a great deal of love in your life, whether it comes from a spouse, parent, or friend. Your life is likely to include at least one abundant thing, regardless of how small it may be. Set your own definition of abundance. Everyone has a different definition of abundance and an abundance mindset. Depending on your perspective, abundance might be perceived as scarcity by another. Without knowing what you’re aiming for, it’s hard to get into the mindset of abundance. Start small Change your mindset, thereby making small changes. Have you been feeling the pinch on your bank account lately? Identify areas where you can save money by creating a budget. Getting rid of your Netflix subscription could save you $10 a month. Even if it seems small, it adds up. Mindfulness The scarcity mindset gets ingrained in our minds for obvious reasons. To survive, they constantly analyze what needs to be done. This takes us out of the present. Mindfulness can help us think more clearly by slowing down our brains through meditation or simply paying attention to the present moment. Journaling The act of journaling may help you identify areas where you are abundant and areas where you would like to become more abundant if you are struggling with defining abundance. Make education a priority In order to overcome poverty, you need an education. Do your best to succeed in school, but do not feel responsible for doing it alone. If you have a teacher, a tutor, a guidance counselor, an administrator, a mentor, friends, or family members who are interested in helping you achieve your educational goals, you should accept their assistance. You can develop your note-taking, studying, and test-taking skills with the help of teachers and other supportive individuals. You may be able to get accommodations or extra assistance if you struggle in certain areas, such as reading or math. Make a commitment to completing your high school education The greater your education, and, especially your diploma — the more likely you are to rise out of generational poverty. It isn’t necessary to complete a high school diploma as your ultimate educational goal. But it is certainly a good place to start. There is a significant difference in average lifetime earnings between people with high school diplomas and those without. It may be a good idea to set another goal, such as earning a college scholarship, depending on your situation. Or, you might set a goal to enter a trade school or apprenticeship program. Identify your post-educational goals and set them in action Due to the struggles they’re facing today, people stuck in a cycle of poverty often find it difficult to plan for or even think about their future. You can, however, navigate yourself out of poverty by planning for the future and setting goals. Again, education is vital here, as it both encourages you to think about the future and allows you to explore it. Think about how you want your life to be in 5, 10, or 20 years. Next, list both the obstacles and what you will need to do to succeed. Describe your future goals to those who can help you, such as teachers, coaches, or community mentors. Increase your financial literacy “When there is a financial crisis, you should always stop the bleeding of money,” writes Deanna Ritchie in a previous Due article. Buying a cup of coffee every morning or not packing a lunch. When left unchecked, these little everyday expenses can add up. “Of course, there are also much bigger problems than enjoying a daily latte,” says Deanna. “And that’s because you may not have basic money management skills.” For instance, you may not know where your money goes or curb unnecessary expenditures. The good news is that there are many tools and resources available to help improve your financial literacy. The best part? The majority of these are free. A number of financial blogs, such as Due, offer expert advice on everything from debt management to retirement planning. Besides blogs, you can also connect with others in similar situations by joining financial forums. Visit your local library and read books like You’re So Money: Live Rich, Even When You’re Not by Farnoosh Torabi or The Index Card: Why Personal Finance Doesn’t Have to Be Complicated by Helaine Olen and Harold Pollack.” Podcasts such as Bad With Money With Gaby Dunn and DIY Money provide useful personal finance information. Subscribe to Debt Free Millennials on YouTube if you’re a visual learner. When you have the time, you can also enroll in a financial course. FYI, Khan Academy offers 100% free personal finance classes. In addition, you can try a number of free online budgeting tools. You can use these tools to track your spending, automate savings, and reach your financial goals. You can even have some devices make intelligent suggestions, find better utility rates, and cancel unnecessary expenses. Leverage community resources Shifting your mindset and educating yourself are both excellent starting points. Let’s be honest, though. You can only go so far with these. At some point, it’s all about the opportunity. As comedian Trevor Noah says in his book Born a Crime, “People love to say, ‘Give a man a fish, and he’ll eat for a day. Teach a man to fish, and he’ll eat for a lifetime.’ What they don’t say is, ‘And it would be nice if you gave them a fishing rod.'” In order to achieve mindset change, you need tools and support. Fortunately, your local community has resources to help you in this situation. Are you looking for financial advice or more active assistance? Would you like to learn how to start investing or understand your taxes? Need assistance in another area of finance? Rather than struggling alone, take advantage of the resources available to you. Even though reading books or articles can be great, it can sometimes be helpful to interact with people in person. The following places offer free or low-cost help: Nonprofit organizations, such as United Way or Home of Hope. The IRS Tax Assistance Center provides tax assistance specifically. Public libraries or schools. Community centers and churches. A number of these organizations provide tax preparation services, financial literacy education, and help with finding legitimate financial products. Sometimes they even provide one-on-one coaching in addition to hosting financial speakers. You might also consider hiring a certified financial educator, counselor, or advisor, who could assist you in improving your financial situation. Invest without fear It’s no secret that many people are afraid to invest. However, some populations are more affected than others. Among African Americans, for example, Prudential’s African American Financial Experience study found most people focus on debt reduction and household management. In addition, they may not be comfortable discussing topics such as investing and wealth transfer. Unfortunately, much of what is offered in financial literacy training is focused on budgeting and debt relief. Obviously, having a good grasp of these topics is essential for financial success. To build wealth, however, and to pass it from generation to generation, investing is a crucial component. So, how can you get over your fear of investing? To start, make every effort to live within your means. You can then use the money you’re saving to pat down debt or build an emergency fund. After that? Invest it. “I know that investing can give some of you a panic attack,” says Jeff Rose, founder of Good Financial Cents. “But, there are plenty of low-risk investment options out there. Some of my favorites include;” High-yield savings account. In addition to being federally insured, these savings accounts pay higher interest rates than the average savings account. Short-term bonds. In a short-term bond fund, investments are made in securities that are due within one‌ ‌to‌ ‌three‌ ‌years. ‌A commercial paper, a certificate of deposit, or a government security can be included in this category. TIPs. This a type of U.S. Treasury bond ‌that protects against‌ ‌inflation. Dividend-paying stocks. ‌With dividend stocks, you can generate another income source and gradually build your wealth. Preferred stocks. A preferred stock protects shareholders and gives dividends priority. Annuities. Once you’ve maxed out your other retirement accounts, buying an annuity offers a guaranteed lifetime income. With a rider, you can pass any remaining assets to your beneficiaries. Online real estate. Real estate can be purchased on these platforms for commercial or residential use. “Also, you can use robo-advisors to automate investments, such as Betterment, M1 Finance, or Wealthfront,” adds Jeff. Stimulate your mind and body You might feel like wasting your time on hobbies when you’re struggling just to get by. Children, teens, and young adults benefit most from activities that stimulate their minds and improve their moods — especially those that make them think and improve their moods. Crossword puzzles or free or low-cost activities like cooking, photography, or foreign language classes offered after school or at local community centers might be a good idea. When you’re struggling with poverty, spending money on fresh fruit and vegetables or taking time out to run may seem wasteful. However, in order to change your circumstances, you will need to strengthen your physical, mental, and emotional health. Utilize any before- or after-school food programs and school lunches available to you as a student. Getting advice on healthy food options from cafeteria staff, school nurses, or nutritionists is never a bad idea. Your food budget should be spent on fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and lean proteins first, then fewer healthy options if necessary. When possible, take advantage of food assistance programs and farmer’s markets to save money. You don’t need to spend a fortune on exercise. For instance, a 30-minute brisk walk five times a week can have a significant health impact. Steer clear of predatory payday lenders From the name alone, a payday loan sounds like a one-day loan, doesn’t it? Getting sucked into the cycle of payday loans, however, can lead to years of paying off those loans. Payday loans are used by 12 million American adults each year. Annually, borrowers take out eight $375 loans and spend $520 in interest. As far as I’m concerned, those math equations just don’t add up. According to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, payday loans can cost you $10 to $30 per $100 borrowed. To put that another way, a two-week payday loan at a fee of $15 per $100 borrowed would result in a 400% Annual Percentage Rate (APR). For a sense of perspective, credit card APRs range from 12-30%. But are there any alternatives to credit or credit cards if you do not have access to credit? Paycheck advance Employees are often given the opportunity to receive their earnings before their paychecks are due. It may be possible for a company to pay an employee for seven days of work if the next paycheck is five days away. This is not a loan. Rather, at the end of the month, it will be deducted from your next paycheck. Borrow from family or friends. To get yourself out of trouble, borrowing money from friends or family is often the fastest and least expensive option. If you are going to take out a business loan, you would expect to pay a lower interest rate and have a longer payback period than two weeks. However, make sure this is a business deal that benefits both parties. Make sure the loan terms are clearly spelled out in the agreement to avoid any bad blood. Credit counseling Various nonprofit agencies offer free advice on setting up a budget and chipping away at debt, including InCharge Debt Solutions. InCharge credit counselors can connect you with resources in your area that can help with food, clothing, rent, and utility bills. Debt management plans Credit counseling agencies, such as the previously mentioned InCharge, offer debt management plans to reduce credit card debt for a monthly fee. Depending on your agreement, the creditor may offer the agency a lower interest rate. As a result of the agency paying the creditors, you have more money to pay your bills and reduce the amount of debt you owe. Debt settlement As a debt-relief option, debt settlement can be helpful if you’re struggling to keep up with unsecured debt (credit cards, hospital bills, personal loans). If you settle your debt, you will pay less than you owe, but it will damage your credit report and score greatly. Local charities and churches The number of charities and churches that are willing to offer free assistance when you hit a bump in the road is surprising. If you need help with a few hundred dollars, organizations like the United Way, Salvation Army, and church-sponsored ministries such as the St. Vincent de Paul Society may be able to help. Community banks and credit unions Local banks and credit unions are allowed to make smaller loans on easier terms than large regional or national banks. Comparing interest rates could save you 10%-12% as opposed to 400%-500% on payday loans. Peer-to-Peer Lending Check out peer-to-peer lending websites if you’re still having trouble finding a lender. Interest rates might be closer to 35% than 6% for those with great credit. At the same time, 35% remains better than the 391% from payday lenders. Find a mentor Take steps to overcome generational poverty by seeking help from a mentor. After all, fixing your finances doesn’t have to be a one-man show. Having a mentor can be extremely beneficial in finding a job that pays better and setting you on a path that is more lucrative. In terms of your career and finances, it is not easy to take the next step. It is even harder to see yourself as a successful person. But mentors can assist you in moving forward. You can transform your own life with the help of a mentor who can provide you with educational and informational resources. One organization that aims to provide career training and mentorship is Management Leadership for Tomorrow. Mentorship can help you learn from those who have come before you and get a leg up. As you improve your finances and take the next steps to grow your wealth, it can greatly shorten the learning curve. Keep your credit score in mind “Credit scores and history play a critical role in an individual’s ability to achieve economic security and build wealth in the U.S., but that opportunity is not easily attainable for communities of color,” states a report by CFSI. In the long run, having bad credit can cost you a lot of money, no matter who you are. Why? Poor credit can increase interest rates, car insurance costs, and make it difficult for you to borrow money. Additionally, credit problems could cost you more than just money. It can even affect your ability to qualify for certain jobs in many states. Approximately 95% of companies check potential employees’ backgrounds, according to a 2018 HR.com report. Also, 16% of companies pull credit or financial checks on all job candidates, and almost one-third do so for some candidates. Therefore, building your credit responsibly is one of the best ways to break the cycle of poverty. Depending on your situation, you can establish or rebuild your credit in several ways, such as: Pay all of your bills on time. This includes rent, utilities, and credit cards. If you have a credit card, try to pay more than the minimum payment. Don’t use more than 30% of your credit. For example, if you have a card with a $1,000 credit limit, you should never carry a balance over $300. Don’t open more than one credit account at a time. Avoid applying for a new credit card if you don’t think you’ll be approved. Use your credit cards at least once a year to avoid your accounts being closed for inactivity. Don’t give up hope When you grow up in generational poverty, you develop a fatalistic attitude. In other words, this is a mindset of “that’s just how it is” and “it will never change.” In some cases, you may even believe that poverty is your fault — if only you had worked harder, tried harder, and so on. But, holding these beliefs limits your ability to see an escape from poverty unnecessarily. Many people blame poverty solely on themselves. However, others blame others, such as the wealthy or the government. Some people do both. But, it won’t help you overcome poverty if you decide who to blame. Accept the fact that poverty is the result of a wide range of social, economic, environmental, political, and individual factors rather than assigning blame. When we understand why poverty exists, we can recognize potential ways out. Frequently Asked Questions About Generational Poverty Why does poverty still exist? For those born into poverty, breaking free from the cycle is nearly impossible. Poverty still exists for a number of reasons. Economics, cost of living, education, wages, health insurance, housing, transportation, and mental health all have an impact. What is generational poverty? Worldwide, millions of families live in poverty due to generational poverty. In general, poverty affects multiple generations when it becomes a family pattern for at least two generations. Generational poverty is different from situational poverty, in which a family experiences poverty briefly due to a crisis. Because of its intergenerational nature, people affected by it lack any means to change their situation for themselves or their children. How is poverty defined? In many cases, poverty is used as a relative term. A low-income family in America may be considered a middle-class family by the standard of living in another country, depending on that country’s economic environment and minimum wage. But globally, the standard definition of poverty is earning less than $1.90 per day. Living on this wage is extremely difficult. Yet surviving below the $1.90 per day poverty line is a reality for hundreds of millions of people around the world. Poverty isn’t just about economics Income alone does not determine global poverty or generational poverty. There are three dimensions to poverty, according to the Oxford Department of International Development: Health. Education. Living standards. Poverty can be caused by a lack of access to health care, education opportunities, affordable housing, nutritious food, clean water, or social services such as food stamps or Medicaid. It is rare for someone to be affected by only one of these dimensions of poverty. It is especially difficult to escape generational poverty due to its multidimensional nature. After all, there are still many obstacles standing in the way of someone even if they can overcome one dimension. It is also possible for generational poverty to perpetuate itself. When the parent of a low-income family struggles to make ends meet, the child knows only hardship. Often, it seems impossible to imagine a different future, and hope is smothered. What causes generational poverty? Poverty does not occur overnight. Many factors contribute to its development over time. Resources or education are lacking Education is the process by which people acquire the skills they need to pursue a profession, as described by Horace Mann as “the great equalizer.” Individuals cannot obtain the knowledge and training required for a well-compensated and fulfilling occupation without access to high-quality educational resources. Geography Sub-Saharan Africa is home to 27 of the world’s poorest countries, where 30% or more of the population lives in poverty. Compared to high-income countries, living in a low-income country presents its own set of obstacles. Social safety nets may not be provided to families in low-income countries, for example. The challenges of growing up in a high-income country are also significant. A report from the National Center for Children in Poverty notes that among Americans who were low- to middle-income in their youth, 12% to 13% remain in poverty in their twenties. Being unable to earn a living wage When families earn a livable wage, they can afford basic, everyday living expenses without relying on government assistance. Family members are unable to take advantage of opportunities to improve their circumstances if a livable wage is hard to come by. Minimal or no capital The term capital refers to wealth or assets that can be invested, produced, or used to generate income. In order to make money, you must first have money. Income growth is prevented, and generational poverty is perpetuated when there is no capital to begin with. A vulnerability to natural disasters. Environmental catastrophes like earthquakes, hurricanes, tornados, and flooding can strike anywhere in the world. The devastation of natural disasters is intensified in some regions due to poor government, bad infrastructure, high population density, and unequal living conditions. And the poor often pay the highest price. When families live in poverty, natural disasters rob them of what they have, making recovery difficult and advancement difficult. As a result, generational poverty is perpetuated. Are Americans who experience poverty now better off than a generation ago? “Material deprivation is not as widespread in the United States as it was 30 or 40 years ago,” write Nancy K. Cauthen and Sarah Fass for the NCCP. “For example, few Americans experience severe or chronic hunger due in large part to public food and nutrition programs, such as food stamps, school breakfast, and lunch programs, and WIC (the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children).” Over time, Social Security contributed significantly to the reduction of poverty and economic insecurity among the elderly. With increased wealth and technological advances, ordinary families can afford larger homes, televisions, computers, cell phones, stereo equipment, air conditioning, and multiple cars. There is some debate as to whether or not a family with air conditioning or a DVD player is poor. The majority of Americans, however, consider cars, computers, TVs, and other technologies to be normal rather than luxury items. You need a car to commute to work and a computer for your children to keep up with their education. Remember Hurricane Katrina’s devastating effects as well. “Prior to the hurricane, New Orleans had one of the highest child poverty rates in the country — 38 percent (and this figure would be much higher if it included families with incomes up to twice the official poverty level),” the authors add. “One in five households in New Orleans lacked a car, and eight percent had no phone service.” In addition to the widespread social and economic isolation, displaced families and children suffered devastating effects from the hurricane as well. Often, families ignore the other types of resources they need to provide their children with a decent life, such as safe homes, good schools, good jobs, basic services, and life skills. Article by John Rampton, Due About the Author John Rampton is an entrepreneur and connector. When he was 23 years old, while attending the University of Utah, he was hurt in a construction accident. His leg was snapped in half. He was told by 13 doctors he would never walk again. Over the next 12 months, he had several surgeries, stem cell injections and learned how to walk again. During this time, he studied and mastered how to make money work for you, not against you. He has since taught thousands through books, courses and written over 5000 articles online about finance, entrepreneurship and productivity. He has been recognized as the Top Online Influencers in the World by Entrepreneur Magazine and Finance Expert by Time. He is the Founder and CEO of Due......»»

Category: blogSource: valuewalkOct 11th, 2022

Sustainability Focus Drives Barrick"s Performance

Second Quarter 2022 ResultsAll amounts expressed in US dollars TORONTO, Aug. 08, 2022 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- A stronger Q2 performance across the portfolio has kept Barrick on course to achieve its annual gold and copper production guidance while continuing to progress its key growth projects. Gold production for the quarter was higher than Q1 at 1.04 million ounces — driven mainly by Carlin and Turquoise Ridge in Nevada, Veladero in Argentina, and Bulyanhulu and North Mara in Tanzania — and is expected to grow further in the second half of the year. Copper production came to 120 million pounds. Operating cash flow was $924 million and free cash flow1 was $169 million for the quarter. Net earnings per share were $0.27 and adjusted net earnings per share2 were $0.24. A dividend of $0.20 per share was declared for the quarter on the back of the strong operating performance and net cash of $636 million.3 During the quarter, Barrick repurchased $182 million in shares under the $1 billion share buy-back scheme introduced earlier this year. It also repatriated the balance of Kibali's surplus cash from the Democratic Republic of Congo. In the Dominican Republic, the Pueblo Viejo expansion project advanced with the commencement of the public consultation process and the selection of a preferred site for the new tailings storage facility, subject to the completion of an environmental and social impact assessment. The massive project has the potential to extend the mine's life to 2040 and beyond with an estimated minimum average annual production of 800,000 ounces.12 In Nevada, the public review period of the Goldrush project has started with the record of decision expected in the first half of 2023, when the production timetable will be confirmed. The definitive agreements underlying the framework agreement between Barrick and the governments of Pakistan and Balochistan on the Reko Diq project are being finalized. Once this process has been completed and the necessary legalization steps have been taken, Barrick will update its feasibility study on what is one of world's largest undeveloped copper-gold deposits, with first production expected in 2027/2028. Barrick is continuing to expand its global exploration footprint with a strengthened team. In North America the search has extended from Nevada to active projects in Canada. The intensified exploration drive in Latin America led to an entry into the Guiana Shield, and in Africa & the Middle East, new projects have been initiated in Zambia, Tanzania and Egypt. A new Asia Pacific team is making progress at Reko Diq, as well as Japan, while also looking for fresh opportunities elsewhere in this region. Reviewing the quarter, president and chief executive Mark Bristow said the critical scrutiny of ESG and sustainability disclosures was intensifying in a climate of skepticism about so-called greenwashing. Against this background, Barrick's annual Sustainability Scorecard, an industry first, continues to report the group's performance transparently and objectively against a wide range of standard metrics. "We've taken the leadership in integrating the various aspects of ESG and managing these complex issues in a measured and holistic manner," he said. "There are challenging times ahead, but Barrick faces them with strong and agile leadership, a robust balance sheet, solid Life of Mine plans, a reliable cash flow and a strategy focused on sustainability and value creation." KEY PERFORMANCE INDICATORS Financial and Operating Highlights Financial Results Q2 2022 Q1 2022 Q2 2021   Realized gold price4,5 ($ per ounce) 1,861 1,876 1,820   Net earnings($ millions) 488 438 411   Adjusted net earnings2 ($ millions) 419 463 513   Net cash provided by operating activities($ millions) 924 1,004 639   Free cash flow1 ($ millions) 169 393 (19 ) Net earnings per share($) 0.27 0.25 0.23   Adjusted net earnings per share2($) 0.24 0.26 0.29   Attributable capital expenditures6,7($ millions) 587 478 518   Operating Results Q2 2022 Q1 2022 Q2 2021   Gold       Production5 (000s of ounces) 1,043 990 1,041   Cost of sales (Barrick's share)5,8 ($ per ounce) 1,216 1,190 1,107   Total cash costs5,9 ($ per ounce) 855 832 729   All-in sustaining costs5,9 ($ per ounce) 1,212 1,164 1,087   Copper       Production5 (millions of pounds) 120 101 96   Cost of sales (Barrick's share)5,8 ($ per pound) 2.11 2.21 2.43   C1 cash costs5,10 ($ per pound) 1.70 1.81 1.83   All-in sustaining costs5,10 ($ per pound) 2.87 2.85 2.74   Best Assets Stronger Q2 performance across the portfolio keeps Barrick on track to achieve 2022 production targets Goldrush Notice of Availability published in Federal Register starting the public comment period Significant progress made with the Pueblo Viejo expansion project and additional tailings storage facility Copper portfolio delivers with growing prospectivity Continued focus on brownfields and greenfields exploration, driven by energized new leadership, delivers results Leader in Sustainability Launched sustainability-linked credit facility Progress made with newly developed Scope 3 emissions reduction roadmap North Mara received award for the best community health outreach program in Tanzania Public hearings completed for Pueblo Viejo's new tailings storage facility Year-on-year improvement in water reuse and recycling Seamless leadership succession underpins Barrick's management bench strength Delivering Value Operating cash flow of $924 million and free cash flow1 of $169 million for the quarter Net earnings per share of $0.27 and adjusted net earnings per share2 of $0.24 for the quarter Remaining surplus cash balance repatriated from Kibali Net cash of $636 million3 supports a $0.20 per share dividend for Q2 2022 ~$182 million of shares repurchased under our $1 billion buy-back program11 Q2 2022 Results PresentationWebinar and Conference Call President and CEO Mark Bristow will host a virtual presentation on the results today at 11:00 EDT, with an interactive webinar linked to a conference call. Participants will be able to ask questions. Go to the webinar US and Canada (toll-free), 1 800 319 4610 UK (toll-free), 0808 101 2791 International (toll), +1 416 915 3239 The Q2 2022 presentation materials will be available on Barrick's website at www.barrick.com and the webinar will remain on the website for later viewing. QUARTERLY DIVIDEND OF $0.20 PER SHARE MAINTAINED Barrick today announced the declaration of a dividend of $0.20 per share in respect of performance for the second quarter of 2022. The dividend, which is unchanged from Q1, is consistent with the Company's Performance Dividend Policy announced at the start of the year. The Q2 2022 dividend will be paid on September 15, 2022 to shareholders of record at the close of business on August 31, 2022.13 "On the back of our strong operating performance, we are once again able to provide a leading dividend yield to our shareholders, whilst still maintaining a strong balance sheet," says senior executive vice-president and chief financial officer Graham Shuttleworth. "We believe this continues to show the benefit of the dividend policy that we announced in February 2022, including the guidance it provides to our shareholders on future dividend streams." NGM BUILDING NEW GROWTH OPPORTUNITIES Three years after establishing the joint venture that created the world's largest gold mining complex, Nevada Gold Mines ("NGM") is stepping out on its next phase by identifying new opportunities for discoveries and additions. In one of the largest and most complex mergers in the history of the industry, assets, operations, systems, people and cultures were combined successfully to build a business that will unlock the full potential of the region and create value for all stakeholders, deliver real jobs and be a key partner to Nevada. Its workforce of more than 7,000 already makes it one of the state's largest employers. In its short life, NGM has produced 10 million ounces of gold15 and generated significant free cash. Greatly improved knowledge of the orebodies support robust 10-year plans and increased the pre-merger life of mine substantially. At the existing operations, brownfields exploration is replacing reserves depleted by mining and identifying new targets while the greenfields team is hunting further afield for a new Tier One14 discovery in North America to further augment the existing NGM portfolio. NGM's journey to its next growth phase is being guided by a strengthened management team, led by Christine Keener, who joined Barrick earlier this year as chief operating officer of its North America region. Peter Richardson has been appointed incoming executive managing director of NGM, replacing Greg Walker who retires at the end of the year. A new North America organizational structure, incorporating NGM, has been designed to integrate and strengthen mineral resource management, operational and project leadership to drive continued performance improvements and support regional growth. NGM continues to invest in people, both current and future employees, through education partnerships and training programs. It supports the College of Southern Nevada and the Clark County School District, where high school students can get certificates in industrial maintenance or diesel technology, and has renewed its partnership with Discovery Education® for the Nevada Department of Education's outreach program. It is also working with the University of Nevada and the Great Basin College in Elko to develop mining-centered programs. Internally, NGM has established training mines and facilities for underground and surface mining, and process operations. During the first half of the year, NGM posted and improved operational performance at all of its sites apart from Cortez, which is transitioning from Pipeline to Cortez Pits and the next phase of Crossroads. Going forward, the Goldrush project will drive further improvements at Cortez. BARRICK EXTENDS GLOBAL EXPLORATION REACH Barrick continues to expand its global exploration footprint as a renewed and re-energized team hunts down opportunities across an expanding global footprint. In North America, the search has expanded from Nevada to active projects in Canada. The intensified exploration drive in Latin America led to an entry into the Guiana Shield, and in Africa & the Middle East, new projects have been initiated in Zambia, Tanzania and Egypt. A new Asia Pacific team is making progress towards the reconstitution and restart of Reko Diq in Pakistan, as well as Japan, while also looking for other fresh opportunities. President and chief executive Mark Bristow said in pursuit of Barrick's global growth strategy, significant changes have been made in the senior management of the exploration team, led by Joel Holliday. Three of the four regional exploration teams – Latin America, Africa & Middle East and Asia Pacific – are now being managed by new vice-presidents, two of whom were internal appointments. In Canada, the recently created positions of exploration manager and new opportunities manager were filled and a dedicated growth manager for the Latin America and Asia Pacific regions has been appointed. "Our geological teams now have strength in depth and we're building a pipeline of high-potential managers and technical specialists. The highly experienced new appointees are already driving significant change and this renewed energy and focus is already delivering robust results," Bristow said. The exploration strategy is designed to: deliver short to medium term projects that will support improvements in mine plans; make new discoveries for Barrick's Tier One gold and copper portfolio; optimize the value of major undeveloped projects; and identify and secure emerging opportunities early in their value curve. PUEBLO VIEJO EXPANSION PROJECT CONTINUES TO ADVANCE Pueblo Viejo's conversion into a long-life mine is progressing after discussions with the Dominican Republic's government identified a site for the new tailings storage facility and the terms of reference for the environmental and social impact assessment were published. The mine was heading for closure because its vast resources could not be converted to reserves due to limitations on its current tailings storage facility. The massive integrated expansion has the potential to extend the mine's life to 2040 and beyond with an estimated minimum average annual production of 800,000 ounces.12 This means that Pueblo Viejo, long the country's largest corporate taxpayer, will be able to continue delivering value to its Dominican stakeholders for generations to come. In line with Barrick's partnership philosophy, it is engaging with the local communities and authorities to keep them informed about the project. In spite of a contractor workforce of 3,500 being added to the mine's 2,700 permanent employees, Pueblo Viejo is maintaining an exemplary safety record. At the end of this year's second quarter, the project had been injury free for 5 million hours or 10 months. BARRICK BUILDS ON TRANSFORMED TANZANIAN ASSETS Barrick has been recognized as the largest contributor to Tanzanian government revenue in 2021, confirming its position as a key partner in the socio-economic development of the country. Since the company took control of North Mara and Bulyanhulu in September 2019, its total in-country investment has totaled $1.995 billion.15 In the first half of this year, it has paid $158 million in taxes, royalties and levies, $42 million in distributions to the Government of Tanzania in the form of dividends and shareholder loans as well as $210 million to local suppliers. It has also now paid $140 million of its $300 million settlement with the government. Barrick has committed $6 for every ounce of gold sold by the two mines to improving healthcare, education, infrastructure and access to potable water in their communities. A further $70 million has been allocated to investment in value-adding national projects, including mining related training and scientific facilities at Tanzanian universities. "When we took over these mines they were a moribund burden on the government and their investors. In a very short time, we redesigned and re-engineered them, creating what are in effect two new mines. They are well placed to deliver their annual production guidance and have the potential to achieve a combined Tier One status in Barrick's portfolio, meaning that they are capable of producing at least 500,000 ounces of gold annually for more than 10 years at the lower end of the cost spectrum as a combined complex," president and chief executive Mark Bristow says. "We are continuing to replace resources depleted by mining and we are targeting new opportunities as well, increasing our footprint around Bulyanhulu through the acquisition of six highly prospective licences. We're also updating the geological models in the North Mara region and identifying potential targets elsewhere in Tanzania." Bulyanhulu now has a life of more than 20 years and continues to deliver a significant growth in reserves over and above depletion. Development of its new Deep West extension is scheduled to start this quarter. North Mara's open pit has been successfully ramped up and the new Gena pushback is planned for the second half of the year. An investment of $65 million in water treatment and management has reduced the volume in North Mara's tailings dam from 7 million m3 to less than 800,000 m3, returning it to its designed and legislated capacity. In July, Bristow met with the elected Chairmen of the 11 villages around North Mara, as well as elders, officials, the District Commissioner and the local Member of Parliament, following a similar meeting in March. The Chairmen made constructive suggestions on solidifying the relationship and reaffirmed their satisfaction with Barrick's sustainability and partnership policies and practices. During the past quarter, Bulyanhulu was named the overall winner of the Tanzanian OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Authority) award for 2022 while North Mara received the award for the best community health outreach program. An investment in a landmark potable water project, scheduled for completion in October, will benefit more than 30,000 people in four villages around North Mara. In line with Barrick's policy of local employment, Tanzanian nationals now account for 96% of the two mines' workforces and 64% of their senior management are Tanzanians. The mines are also driving the increased employment of women in a traditionally male-dominated industry through targeted recruitment and development programs. AFTER 25 YEARS OF DELIVERING VALUE TO MALI BARRICK CONTINUES TO INVEST IN THE FUTURE Barrick continues to invest in creating value for all stakeholders and in supporting the communities that host its mines, through among other things, the commissioning of the Gounkoto underground mine and the Gara West open pit, the continuing replacement of reserves, the extension of the solar power plant and the further strengthening of local partnerships as instances of the company's long-term commitment to the country. "In the first half of the year we've contributed $337 million to the Malian economy in the form of taxes, royalties, dividends, salaries and payments to local suppliers, taking the lifetime contribution of Barrick, previously Randgold, to $8.5 billion. We're particularly proud of the fact the Gara West pit is being mined for us by two Malian contractors we have mentored," says Barrick president and chief executive Mark Bristow. At the halfway mark of the year, the complex is on track to meet its production guidance for 2022, replace annual reserve depletion to further extend its mine life, and maintain its exemplary safety record, with no lost time injuries or major environmental events during the past quarter. It continues to invest in sustainable economic community projects, establishing a motel, a farm for Kenieba women and three water supply systems during the quarter. The Loulo agricultural college, designed as the foundation of a sustainable regional agribusiness, has already trained 21 women and 143 men and created 30 farms. Since the opening of the mine, Loulo-Gounkoto has built 20 schools in its neighboring villages, taking student enrollment from 500 to more than 5,000. Seventy-eight of them are currently benefiting from the complex's bursary program and Loulo-Gounkoto is also supporting teachers' salaries. "First as Randgold and now as Barrick, we've been operating in Mali for 25 years and we plan to be here for at least as long again. The strong and mutually rewarding partnerships we have forged with the government, local business partners and our host communities are the key to our success and an example to Africa's other mining countries," Bristow says. REKO DIQ ALLIANCE BETWEEN PAKISTAN AND BARRICK SET TO CREATE LONG-TERM VALUE Pakistan's finance minister Miftah Ismail and Barrick president and chief executive Mark Bristow said after their meeting in Islamabad that they shared a clear vision of the national strategic importance of the Reko Diq copper-gold project and were committed to developing it as a world-class mine that would create value for the country and its people through multiple generations. Reko Diq is one of the world's largest undeveloped copper-gold deposits. An agreement in principle reached between the government of Pakistan, the provincial government of Balochistan and Barrick earlier this year provides for the reconstitution and restart of the project, which has been on hold since 2011. It will be operated by Barrick and owned 50% by Barrick, 25% by the Balochistan Provincial Government and 25% by Pakistani state-owned enterprises. The definitive agreements underlying the framework agreement between Barrick and the governments of Pakistan and Balochistan are being finalized. Once this has been completed and the necessary legalization steps have been taken, Barrick will update the original feasibility study, a process expected to take two years. Construction of the first phase will follow that, with first production of copper and gold expected in 2027/2028. "During the negotiations the federal government and Barrick confirmed that Balochistan and its people should receive their fair share of the benefits as part of the Pakistan ownership group," Bristow said. "At Barrick, we know that our long-term success depends on sharing the benefits we create equitably with our host governments and communities. At Reko Diq, Balochistan's shareholding will be fully funded by the project and the Federal Government, allowing the province to reap the dividends, royalties and other benefits of its 25% ownership without having to contribute financially to the project's construction or operation. It's equally important that Balochistan and its people should see these benefits from day one. Even before construction starts, when the legalization process has been completed we will implement a range of social development programs, supported by an upfront commitment to the improvement of healthcare, education, food security and the provision of potable water in a region where the groundwater has a high saline content." Finance minister Ismail said the development of Reko Diq represented the largest direct foreign investment in Balochistan and one of the largest in Pakistan. "Like Barrick, we believe that the future of mining lies in mutually beneficial partnerships between host countries and world-class mining companies. The Reko Diq agreement exemplifies this philosophy and also signals to the international community that Pakistan is open for business," he said. Subject to the updated feasibility study, Reko Diq is envisaged as a conventional open pit and milling operation, producing a high-quality copper-gold concentrate. It will be constructed in two phases, starting with a plant that will be able to process approximately 40 million tonnes of ore per annum which could be doubled in five years following first production from phase one. With its unique combination of large scale, low strip and good grade, Reko Diq will be a multi-generational mine with a life of at least 40 years. During peak construction the project is expected to employ 7,500 people and once in production it will create 4,000 long-term jobs. Barrick's policy of prioritizing local employment and suppliers will have a positive impact on the downstream economy. KIBALI DRIVES SUSTAINABLE VALUE CREATION The Kibali gold mine's investment in the Democratic Republic of Congo now exceeds $4 billion and it has created a thriving regional economy in a remote part of the country through partnering with and mentoring local entrepreneurs, uplifting host communities and upgrading essential infrastructure. Kibali is not only Africa's largest gold mine, it is also a global leader in automation, sustainability initiatives, clean energy and skills training. "Thanks to Barrick's policy of local employment and advancement, 94% of Kibali's workforce, including its management, are Congolese nationals. It is now also driving the employment of women in the traditionally male-dominated mining industry through targeted recruitment campaigns and development programs designed to equip them for rewarding careers at all levels of the organization," says Barrick president and chief executive Mark Bristow. Kibali is on track to meet its full-year production guidance and has again posted an injury-free quarter. Its three world-class hydropower stations are mitigating the impact of higher fuel prices and significantly reducing the mine's carbon footprint. Bristow said the stations were built well before climate change became a priority issue, demonstrating Barrick's long-standing commitment to sustainability in all its activities. Kibali's gold reserves have grown net of depletion for three successive years, and ongoing conversion drilling is expected to continue this trend, despite producing in excess of 5.7Moz of gold to date.15 Ongoing exploration is delivering new growth opportunities with the potential to grow the mineral resource base beyond the original feasibility study. Local sustainability projects include the construction of a world-class aquaponics farm and the erection of a vocational and technical training center to promote capacity building in the community. Implementation of the cahier des charges mechanism has started, following its approval by the government. This will add to the current commitment of investing 0.3% of revenue in community projects identified in consultation with the mine's community development committees. Kibali also continues to invest in the future of Africa's biodiversity through its support for the Garamba National Park which has seen a substantial increase in the giraffe population and the near-elimination of elephant poaching. It is also sponsoring a project for the re-introduction of white rhino into the park, critical in the long-term campaign to protect this endangered species. "Kibali's journey has created enormous value for all its stakeholders and it's a standout example of what mutually beneficial partnerships can achieve. Its great gold endowment means that it has a long future ahead as an engine for economic growth and community development," Bristow says. BARRICK EXTENDS REVOLVING CREDIT FACILITY AND ESTABLISHES SUSTAINABILITY-LINKED METRICS Barrick has completed an amendment and restatement of the company's undrawn $3.0 billion revolving credit facility, including an extension of the termination date by one year to May 2027, replacement of LIBOR with SOFR as the floating rate mechanism related to the interest rate for any US dollar funds drawn down, and the establishment of sustainability-linked metrics. The sustainability-linked metrics incorporated into the revolving credit facility are made up of annual environmental and social performance targets directly influenced by Barrick's actions, rather than based on external ratings. The performance targets include Scope 1 and Scope 2 greenhouse gas emissions intensity, water use efficiency (reuse and recycling rates), and Total Recordable Injury Frequency Rate (TRIFR).16 Barrick may incur positive or negative pricing adjustments on drawn credit spreads and standby fees based on its sustainability performance versus the targets that have been set. Senior executive vice-president and chief financial officer Graham Shuttleworth said, "The extension of the termination date of our undrawn credit facility, combined with our strong balance sheet, highlights the current strength of Barrick's liquidity, while the establishment of sustainability-linked metrics, along with Barrick's recently released 2021 Sustainability Report, continues to show Barrick's commitment to ESG." Barrick's long-term credit is currently rated BBB+ and Baa1 by S&P Global Ratings and Moody's Investors Service, respectively. Appendix 12022 Operating and Capital Expenditure Guidance GOLD PRODUCTION AND COSTS   2022 forecastattributable production(000s oz) 2022 forecast costof sales8 ($/oz) 2022 forecast totalcash costs9 ($/oz) 2022 forecast all-insustaining costs9($/oz) Carlin (61.5%)17 950 - 1,030 900 - 980 730 - 790 1,020 - 1,100 Cortez (61.5%)18 480 - 530 970 - 1,050 650 - 710 1,010 - 1,090 Turquoise Ridge (61.5%) 330 - 370 1,110 - 1,190 770 - 830 930 - 1,010 Phoenix (61.5%) 90 - 120 2,000 - 2,080 720 - 780 890 - 970 Long Canyon (61.5%) 40 - 50 1,420 - 1,500 540 - 600 540 - 620 Nevada Gold Mines (61.5%) 1,900 - 2,100 1,020 - 1,100 710 - 770 990 - 1,070 Hemlo 160 - 180 1,340 - 1,420 1,140 - 1,200 1,510 - 1,590 North America 2,100 - 2,300 1,050 - 1,130 740 - 800 1,040 - 1,120           Pueblo Viejo (60%) 400 - 440 1,070 - 1,150 670 - 730 910 - 990 Veladero (50%) 220 - 240 1,210 - 1,290 740 - 800 1,270 - 1,350 Porgera (47.5%)19 — — — — Latin America & Asia Pacific 620 - 680 1,140 - 1,220 700 - 760 1,040 - 1,120           Loulo-Gounkoto (80%) 510 - 560 1,070 - 1,150 680 - 740 940 - 1,020 Kibali (45%) 340 - 380 990 - 1,070 600 - 660 800 - 880 North Mara (84%) 230 - 260 820 - 900 670 - 730 930 - 1,010 Tongon (89.7%) 170 - 200 1,700 - 1,780 1,220 - 1,280 1,400 - 1,480 Bulyanhulu (84%) 180 - 210 950 - 1,030 630 - 690 850 - 930 Africa & Middle East 1,450 - 1,600 1,070 - 1,150 720 - 780 950 - 1,030           Total Attributable to Barrick20,21,22 4,200 - 4,600 1,070 - 1,150 730 - 790 1,040 - 1,120           COPPER PRODUCTION AND COSTS   2022 forecastattributable production(Mlbs) 2022 forecast costof sales8 ($/lb) 2022 forecast C1cash costs10 ($/lb) 2022 forecast all-insustaining costs10($/lb) Lumwana 250 - 280 2.20 - 2.50 1.60 - 1.80 3.10 - 3.40 Zaldívar (50%) 100 - 120 2.70 - 3.00 2.00 - 2.20 2.50 - 2.80 Jabal Sayid (50%) 70 - 80 1.40 - 1.70 1.30 - 1.50 1.30 - 1.60 Total Attributable to Barrick21 420 - 470 2.20 - 2.50 1.70 - 1.90 2.70 - 3.00           ATTRIBUTABLE CAPITAL EXPENDITURES         ($ millions)       Attributable minesite sustaining6 1,350 - 1,550       Attributable project6 550 - 650       Total attributable capital expenditures7 1,900 - 2,200       2022 OUTLOOK ASSUMPTIONS AND ECONOMIC SENSITIVITY ANALYSIS   2022 GuidanceAssumption Hypothetical Change Impact on EBITDA23 (millions) Impact on TCC andAISC9,10 Gold price sensitivity $1,700/oz +/- $100/oz +/- $580 +/- $5/oz Copper price sensitivity $4.00/lb +/- $0.25/lb +/- $60 +/- $0.01/lb Appendix 2Production and Cost Summary - Gold   For the three months ended   6/30/22 3/31/22 % Change 6/30/21 % Change Nevada Gold Mines LLC (61.5%)a           Gold produced (000s oz attributable basis)                        462 459 1% 452 2% Gold produced (000s oz 100% basis)                        751 747 1% 735 2% Cost of sales ($/oz)                     1,171 1,169 0% 1,111 5% Total cash costs ($/oz)b                        856 820 4% 717 19% All-in sustaining costs ($/oz)b                     1,238 1,118 11% 1,014 22% Carlin (61.5%)c           Gold produced (000s oz attributable basis)                        243 229 6% 190 28% Gold produced (000s oz 100% basis)                        394 373 6% 309 28% Cost of sales ($/oz)                     1,042 1,015 3% 1,043 0% Total cash costs ($/oz)b                        862 829 4% 852 1% All-in sustaining costs ($/oz)b                     1,192 1,139 5% 1,310 (9)% Cortez (61.5%)d           Gold produced (000s oz attributable basis)                          97 115 (16)% 110 (12)% Gold produced (000s oz 100% basis)                        158 187 (16)% 178 (12)% Cost of sales ($/oz)                     1,168 1,113 5% 1,167 0% Total cash costs ($/oz)b                        850 784 8% 793 7% All-in sustaining costs ($/oz)b                     1,538 1,150 34% 1,029 49% Turquoise Ridge (61.5%)           Gold produced (000s oz attributable basis)                          75 67 12% 78 (4)% Gold produced (000s oz 100% basis)                        122 109 12% 128 (4)% Cost of sales ($/oz)                     1,289 1,436 (10)% 1,131 14% Total cash costs ($/oz)b                        928 1,030 (10)% 752 23% All-in sustaining costs ($/oz)b                     1,195 1,281 (7)% 904 32% Phoenix (61.5%)c           Gold produced (000s oz attributable basis)                          26 23 13% 28 (7)% Gold produced (000s oz 100% basis)                          43 37 13 % 45 (7)% Cost of sales ($/oz)                     2,114 2,253 (6)% 1,864 13% Total cash costs ($/oz)b                        895 835 7% 279 221% All-in sustaining costs ($/oz)b                     1,152 1,027 12% 401 187% Long Canyon (61.5%)           Gold produced (000s oz attributable basis)                          21 25 (16)% 46 (54)% Gold produced (000s oz 100% basis)                          34 41 (16)% 75 (54)% Cost of sales ($/oz)                     1,280 1,093 17% 691 85% Total cash costs ($/oz)b                        450 342 32% 168 168% All-in sustaining costs ($/oz)b                        459 366 25% 191 140% Pueblo Viejo (60%)           Gold produced (000s oz attributable basis)                        105 104 1% 117 (10)% Gold produced (000s oz 100% basis)                        175 174 1% 195 (10)% Cost of sales ($/oz)                     1,154 1,077 7% 904 28% Total cash costs ($/oz)b                        724 682 6% 533 36% All-in sustaining costs ($/oz)b                     1,024 948 8% 723 42% Loulo-Gounkoto (80%)           Gold produced (000s oz attributable basis)                         140 138 1% 143 (2)% Gold produced (000s oz 100% basis)                         175 172 1% 179 (2)% Cost of sales ($/oz)                      1,093 1,088 0% 993 10% Total cash costs ($/oz)b                         730 721 1% 610 20% All-in sustaining costs ($/oz)b                      1,013 982 3% 1,073 (6)% Kibali (45%)           Gold produced (000s oz attributable basis)                           81 76 7% 91 (11)% Gold produced (000s oz 100% basis)                         180 168 7% 202 (11)% Cost of sales ($/oz)                      1,164 1,137 2% 1,038 12% Total cash costs ($/oz)b                         738 744 (1)% 645 14% All-in sustaining costs ($/oz)b                         946 996 (5)% 894 6% Veladero (50%)           Gold produced (000s oz attributable basis)                           58 46 26% 31 87% Gold produced (000s oz 100% basis) 116 92 26% 62 87% Cost of sales ($/oz)                      1,369 1,348 2% 1,231 11% Total cash costs ($/oz)b                         861 847 2% 774 11% All-in sustaining costs ($/oz)b                      1,461 1,588 (8)% 1,698 (14)% Porgera (47.5%)e           Gold produced (000s oz attributable basis)                            — — —% — —% Gold produced (000s oz 100% basis)                            — — —% — —% Cost of sales ($/oz)                            — — —% — —% Total cash costs ($/oz)b                            — — —% — —% All-in sustaining costs ($/oz)b                            — — —% — —% Tongon (89.7%)           Gold produced (000s oz attributable basis) 41 35 17% 48 (15)% Gold produced (000s oz 100% basis) 46 39 17% 53 (15)% Cost of sales ($/oz)                      2,025 2,036 (1)% 1,446 40% Total cash costs ($/oz)b                      1,558 1,667 (7)% 1,045 49% All-in sustaining costs ($/oz)b                      1,655 1,803 (8)% 1,162 42% Hemlo           Gold produced (000s oz) 36 31 16% 42 (14)% Cost of sales ($/oz)                      1,698 1,727 (2)% 1,603 6% Total cash costs ($/oz)b                      1,489 1,503 (1)% 1,314 13% All-in sustaining costs ($/oz)b                      1,804 1,982 (9)% 1,937 (7)% North Mara (84%)           Gold produced (000s oz attributable basis) 66 56 18% 63 5% Gold produced (000s oz 100% basis) 79 66 18% 75 5% Cost of sales ($/oz)                      1,060 852 24% 975 9% Total cash costs ($/oz)b                         756 709 7% 816 (7)% All-in sustaining costs ($/oz)b                         957 874 9% 952 1% Buzwagi (84%)f           Gold produced (000s oz attributable basis)       19   Gold produced (000s oz 100% basis)       22   Cost of sales ($/oz)       1,315   Total cash costs ($/oz)b       1,244   All-in sustaining costs ($/oz)b       1,242   Bulyanhulu (84%)           Gold produced (000s oz attributable basis) 54 45 20% 35 54% Gold produced (000s oz 100% basis) 65 53 20% 42 54% Cost of sales ($/oz)                      1,163 1,216 (4)% 1,164 0% Total cash costs ($/oz)b 836 847 (1)% 776 8% All-in sustaining costs ($/oz)b                      1,094 984 11% 916 19% Total Attributable to Barrickg           Gold produced (000s oz)                      1,043 990 5% 1,041 0% Cost of sales ($/oz)h                      1,216 1,190 2% 1,107 10% Total cash costs ($/oz)b                         855 832 3% 729 17% All-in sustaining costs ($/oz)b                      1,212 1,164 4% 1,087 11% These results represent our 61.5% interest in Carlin (including NGM's 60% interest in South Arturo up until May 30, 2021 and 100% interest thereafter, reflecting the terms of the Exchange Agreement with i-80 Gold to acquire the 40% interest in South Arturo that NGM did not already own in exchange for the Lone Tree and Buffalo Mountain properties and infrastructure, which closed on October 14, 2021), Cortez, Turquoise Ridge, Phoenix and Long Canyon. Further information on these non-GAAP financial performance measures, including detailed reconciliations, is included in the endnotes to this press release. On September 7, 2021, NGM announced it had entered into an Exchange Agreement with i-80 Gold to acquire the 40% interest in South Arturo that NGM did not already own in exchange for the Lone Tree and Buffalo Mountain properties and infrastructure. Operating results within our 61.5% interest in Carlin includes NGM's 60% interest in South Arturo up until May 30, 2021, and 100% interest thereafter, and operating results within our 61.5% interest in Phoenix includes Lone Tree up until May 31, 2021, reflecting the terms of the Exchange Agreement which closed on October 14, 2021. Includes Goldrush. As Porgera was placed on care and maintenance on April 25, 2020, no operating data or per ounce data is provided. With the end of mining at Buzwagi in the third quarter of 2021, we have ceased to include production or non-GAAP cost metrics for Buzwagi from October 1, 2021 onwards. Excludes Pierina, Lagunas Norte up until its divestiture in June 2021, and Buzwagi starting in the fourth quarter of 2021. Some of these assets are producing incidental ounces while in closure or care and maintenance. Gold cost of sales per ounce is calculated as cost of sales across our gold operations (excluding sites in closure or care and maintenance) divided by ounces sold (both on an attributable basis using Barrick's ownership share). Production and Cost Summary - Copper   For the three months ended   6/30/22 3/31/22 % Change 6/30/21 % Change Lumwana           Copper production (Mlbs) 75 57 32% 56 34% Cost of sales ($/lb) 2.01 2.20 (9)% 2.36 (15)% C1 cash costs ($/lb)a 1.68 1.86 (10)% 1.72 (2)% All-in sustaining costs ($/lb)a 3.28 3.16 4% 2.92 12% Zaldívar (50%)           Copper production (Mlbs attributable basis) 25 25 0% 22 14% Copper production (Mlbs 100% basis) 50 51 0% 44 14% Cost of sales ($/lb) 2.88 2.85 1% 3.56 (19)% C1 cash costs ($/lb)a 2.17 2.15 1% 2.68 (19)% All-in sustaining costs ($/lb)a 2.65 2.64 0% 3.15 (16)% Jabal Sayid (50%)           Copper production (Mlbs attributable basis) 20 19 5% 18 11% Copper production (Mlbs 100% basis) 40 38 5% 36 11% Cost of sales ($/lb) 1.45 1.30 12% 1.47 (1)% C1 cash costs ($/lb)a 1.09 1.10 (1)% 1.27 (14)% All-in sustaining costs ($/lb)a 1.19 1.17 2% 1.39 (14)% Total Attributable to Barrick           Copper production (Mlbs attributable basis) 120 101 19% 96 25% Cost of sales ($/lb)b 2.11 2.21 (5)% 2.43 (13)% C1 cash costs ($/lb)a 1.70 1.81 (6)% 1.83 (7)% All-in sustaining costs ($/lb)a 2.87 2.85 1% 2.74 5% Further information on these non-GAAP financial performance measures, including detailed reconciliations, is included in the endnotes to this press release. Copper cost of sales per pound is calculated as cost of sales across our copper operations divided by pounds sold (both on an attributable basis using Barrick's ownership share).  Appendix 3Financial and Operating Highlights   For the three months ended   For the six months ended    6/30/22 3/31/22 % Change   6/30/21 % Change   6/30/22 6/30/21 % Change Financial Results ($ millions)                     Revenues 2,859   2,853   0 %   2,893   (1)%   5,712   5,849   (2)% Cost of sales 1,850   1,739   6 %   1,704   9 %   3,589   3,416   5 % Net earningsa 488   438   11 %   411   19 %   926   949   (2)% Adjusted net earningsb 419   463   (10)%   513   (18)%   882   1,020   (14)% Adjusted EBITDAb 1,527   1,645   (7)%   1,719   (11)%   3,172   3,519   (10)% Adjusted EBITDA marginc 53 % 58 % (9)%   59 % (10)%   56 % 60 % (7)% Minesite sustaining capital expendituresb,d 523   420   25 %   452   16 %   943   857   10 % Project capital expendituresb,d 226   186   22 %   203   11 %   412   334   23 % Total consolidated capital expendituresd,e 755   611   24 %   658   15 %   1,366   1,197   14 % Net cash provided by operating activities 924   1,004   (8)%   639   45 %   1,928   1,941   (1)% Net cash provided by operating activities marginf 32 % 35 % (9)%   22 % 45 %   34 % 33 % 3 % Free cash flowb 169   393   (57)%   (19 ) 989 %   562   744   (24)% Net earnings per share (basic and diluted) 0.27   0.25   8 %   0.23   17 %   0.52   0.53   (2)% Adjusted net earnings (basic)b per share 0.24   0.26   (8)%   0.29   (17)%   0.50   0.57   (12)% Weighted average diluted common shares (millions of shares) 1,777   1,779   0 %   1,779   0 %   1,778   1,779   0 % Operating Results                     Gold production (thousands of ounces)g 1,043   990   5 %   1,041   0 %   2,033   2,142   (5)% Gold sold (thousands of ounces)g 1,040   993   5 %   1,070   (3)%   2,033   2,163   (6)% Market gold price ($/oz) 1,871   1,877   0 %   1,816   3 %   1,874   1,805   4 % Realized gold priceb,g ($/oz) 1,861   1,876   (1)%   1,820   2 %   1,868   1,798   4 % Gold cost of sales (Barrick's share)g,h ($/oz) 1,216   1,190   2 %   1,107   10 %   1,203   1,090   10 % Gold total cash costsb,g ($/oz) 855   832   3 %   729   17 %   844   723   17 % Gold all-in sustaining costsb,g ($/oz) 1,212   1,164   4 %   1,087   11 %   1,188   1,052   13 % Copper production (millions of pounds)g 120   101   19 %   96   25 %   221   189   17 % Copper sold (millions of pounds)g 113   113   0 %   96   18 %   226   209   8 % Market copper price ($/lb) 4.32   4.53   (5)%   4.40   (2)%   4.43   4.12   8 % Realized copper priceb,g ($/lb) 3.72   4.68   (21)%   4.57   (19)%   4.20   4.32   (3)% Copper cost of sales (Barrick's share)g,i ($/lb) 2.11   2.21   (5)%   2.43   (13)%   2.16   2.26   (4)% Copper C1 cash costsb,g ($/lb) 1.70   1.81   (6)%   1.83   (7)%   1.75   1.71   2 % Copper all-in sustaining costsb,g ($/lb) 2.87   2.85   1 %   2.74   5 %   2.86   2.48   15 %    As at 6/30/22 As at 3/31/22 % Change   As at 6/30/21 % Change         Financial Position ($ millions)                     Debt (current and long-term) 5,144   5,144   0 %   5,152   0 %         Cash and equivalents 5,780   5,887   (2)%   5,138   12 %         Debt, net of cash (636 ) (743 ) (14)%   14   (4,643)%         Net earnings represents net earnings attributable to the equity holders of the Company. Further information on these non-GAAP financial performance measures, including detailed reconciliations, is included in the endnotes to this press release. Represents adjusted EBITDA divided by revenue. Amounts presented on a consolidated cash basis. Project capital expenditures are included in our calculation of all-in costs, but not included in our calculation of all-in sustaining costs. Total consolidated capital expenditures also includes capitalized interest of $6 million and $11 million, respectively, for the three and six month periods ended June 30, 2022 (March 31, 2022: $5 million and June 30, 2021: $3 million and $6 million, respectively). Represents net cash provided by operating activities divided by revenue. On an attributable basis. Gold cost of sales per ounce is calculated as cost of sales across our gold operations (excluding sites in closure or care and maintenance) divided by ounces sold (both on an attributable basis using Barrick's ownership share). Copper cost of sales per pound is calculated as cost of sales across our copper operations divided by pounds sold (both on an attributable basis using Barrick's ownership share). Consolidated Statements of Income Barrick Gold Corporation(in millions of United States dollars, except per share data) (Unaudited) Three months ended June 30,   Six months ended June 30,      2022       2021       2022       2021   Revenue (notes 5 and 6) $ 2,859     $ 2,893     $ 5,712     $ 5,849   Costs and expenses (income)         Cost of sales (notes 5 and 7)   1,850       1,704       3,589       3,416   General and administrative expenses   30       47       84       85   Exploration, evaluation and project expenses   100       77       167       138   Impairment (reversals) charges (notes 9b and 13)   3       2       5    .....»»

Category: earningsSource: benzingaAug 8th, 2022

Point72"s internship could land a dream gig at Steve Cohen"s $24 billion fund. Here"s what you need to know.

Today's biggest story on Wall Street dissects the internship at Point72, often a precursor for a lengthy career at the hedge fund. It involves rotations across 25 teams and interns get to practice pitching their ideas. Hi. Aaron Weinman here. Let's talk about interns, specifically the rigorous program on offer at Steve Cohen's $24 billion hedge fund Point72.And of course, there's our Banker of the Week!Shall we?If this was forwarded to you, sign up here. Download Insider's app here.Steve Cohen runs Point72 Asset ManagementLucy Nicholson/Reuters1. Here's how to stand out among the pack for Steve Cohen. The hedge-fund manager and New York Mets owner founded the $24.4 billion fund Point72, and its internship is one of the most sought after on Wall Street.Importantly, a summer internship is often a precursor to the Point72 Academy — a 10-month training program for college graduates and early-career folks looking to carve out a living as an investment analyst.The firm gets about 16,000 applications a year for Point72 Academy, but only 40 or so people make the cut each year. Therefore, impressing as an intern is one of the best ways to nab a spot.The chosen ones go through rotations across Point72's 25 investment teams, and they also get to hone their ideas with priceless pitching skills. And who knows, maybe the interns might get to learn pitching skills with some of Cohen's Mets aces, like Jacob deGrom and Edwin Díaz.Insider's Alyson Velati chatted with two portfolio managers and a program director at Point72, who shared the most impressive traits among the firm's summer interns.And here's some other reporting about the hiring uncertainty on Wall Street and how early-career folks can progress:Here's everything we know about banks' belt tightening and how it will impact jobs and compensationInside Goldman Sachs' plans to bring back the dreaded performance reviewTwelve career counselors reveal the industries where hiring is still hotWall Street is racing to turn the tide on its war for tech talent against Silicon ValleyIn other news:Stefanie Keenan, Tolga TEZCAN, picture alliance, fotograzia/Getty; Airbnb; Anna Kim/Insider2. Here's how Airbnb and its bankers at Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley scrambled to take the company public as the pandemic hit. This story is an excerpt from Insider Chief Finance Correspondent Dakin Campbell's new book "Going Public: How Silicon Valley Rebels Loosened Wall Street's Grip on the IPO and Sparked a Revolution."3. Media dealmaking continues to boom despite the market uncertainty. Meet 16 private-equity players investing in Hollywood, from Apollo to TPG.4. Flying private has become more popular as commercial carriers struggle with high traffic. But with few private jets available, charter firms are inundated with customers. Go inside the frenzy for private planes as the rich flock to European charters.5. The GameStop frenzy put payment for order flow on the hot seat. Here's how FTX US and Public.com plan to profit without it.6. Robinhood Chief Executive Vlad Tenev says the company is equipped to stay independent. The app-based brokerage is more focused on its most active users, Tenev told Bloomberg in an interview.7. Working from home is taking a toll. Companies are ditching their offices and it is set to get worse for the $2.5 trillion office-space market.8. This beach house owner's revenues from rent jumped more than $100,000 after ditching a management company for Airbnb. Here's the exact changes Anissa Branch made for her Oregon property.9. JetBlue won the battle for Spirit Airlines after Frontier and Spirit canceled a merger deal. The David Neeleman-founded JetBlue reached a $3.8 billion agreement for Spirit, but now it must win over President Joe Biden's Justice Department. Goldman Sachs advised JetBlue, Shearman & Sterling was its legal counsel. Barclays and Morgan Stanley advised Spirit, and Debevoise & Plimpton, and Paul, Weiss were legal counsel.Dipanjan 'DJ' Deb, co founder and CEO of Francisco PartnersFrancisco Partners10. And here's our Friday Banker of the Week. Meet Dipanjan "DJ" Deb. He's the co-founder and chief executive at Francisco Partners.The private-equity firm has just raised $17 billion in new capital, and Deb told Insider he's eyeing a bunch of assets throughout the tech space from adtech to healthtech.Check out the full story here, and learn about Deb and his decision to leave one of the most well-known investment firms to start his own shop.Done deals:Carlyle's credit platform led the debt financing to support Clayton, Dubilier & Rice's acquisition of Atalian and OCS Group. The debt package includes a so-called unitranche loan, which comprises a mixture of loans that sit on various parts of a company's capital structure.Ardian, Groupe Casino, Bpifrance, and Tikehau Capital will acquire a majority stake in GreenYellow, a French energy company. Ardian's infrastructure team led proceedings.Sign up now: Ready for the next step? Whether you feel the need to get that promotion, pivot industries or simply just want to shake things up, Morning Brew offers a career Accelerator to get you where you want to go. Get all the details here.Curated by Aaron Weinman in New York. Tips? Email aweinman@insider.com or tweet @aaronw11. Edited by Hallam Bullock (tweet @hallam_bullock) in London.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderJul 29th, 2022

Transcript: Graham Weaver

     The transcript from this week’s, MiB: Graham Weaver, Alpine Investors, 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. ~~~ ANNOUNCER: This is Masters in Business… Read More The post Transcript: Graham Weaver appeared first on The Big Picture.      The transcript from this week’s, MiB: Graham Weaver, Alpine Investors, 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. ~~~ ANNOUNCER: This is Masters in Business with Barry Ritholtz on Bloomberg Radio. BARRY RITHOLTZ, HOST, MASTERS IN BUSINESS: This week on the podcast, I have an extra special guest. Graham Weaver is the founder and partner at Alpine Investors, a private equity firm, focusing on software and services. Graham has a really interesting background, both engineering at Princeton and essentially launching a PE firm while he was a graduate student at Stanford. Everybody knows the story about Michael Dell launching a computer business out of his dorm room in Texas. This could be the first PE firm I’m familiar with, that got started in a dorm room. What makes Graham so interesting is while everybody else in the world of private equity is focused on the analytics and crunching numbers and creating econometric models that will tell you where to invest, I think they’ve found a very different model that has been extremely successful for them, where the key focus is on talent. How do we find the best talent, put them in place running our investment companies and allow them to generate the sort of returns that you don’t really generate by just looking at a model? I found our conversation absolutely fascinating and I think you will also. With no further ado, my discussion with Alpine Investors’ Graham Weaver. Let’s jump right into this, starting with your background. When I hear someone has an engineering degree, I tend to think of venture capital, not private equity. Tell us a little bit how you went the PE route instead of the VC route. GRAHAM WEAVER, FOUNDER AND CEO, ALPINE INVESTORS: Well, I actually started in private equity right out of undergrad. I really didn’t know the difference between private equity or consulting, or anything. I had zero knowledge of that. And I was fortunate to end up in Morgan Stanley’s private equity group, I loved it and I’ve kind of been at it ever since. RITHOLTZ: Really interesting. So is it from Princeton to Morgan Stanley, and then Stanford, or am I getting the order right? WEAVER: Yeah. When I was at Princeton then I went to Morgan Stanley in their private equity, then I worked at a firm called American Securities for a couple years, and then went to went to business school after that. RITHOLTZ: And somewhere in the middle of this, there’s a pig farm in Missouri that I am having a hard time figuring out what a pig farm has to do with private equity. WEAVER: So the very first deal I worked on, so I come out of school, I’m wearing my Cross pen and my lapel, and I’m like wearing a tie and — RITHOLTZ: All buttoned down. WEAVER: Exactly. And I think I’m a big shot being on Wall Street, and I get shipped out to this pig farm in Missouri which was a deal Morgan Stanley had invested in. They’ve invested a total of a billion, almost a billion dollars of debt and equity, and then suffice to say was not going well. So not that I was going to go save it as a 22-year-old analyst, but I’ve got shipped out. I lived in a CFO’s basement for about five months, and we did everything we could, but it turned out not to be a great investment. RITHOLTZ: So there’s not big money in pigs? WEAVER: Well, it turns out hog prices are wildly cyclical. And you know, there’s the expression, how does a six-foot man drowned in a river that averages five feet? You know, it’s because there’s parts of the river that are deeper. Well, you know, we build our whole model on hog prices being $47 and when we then — RITHOLTZ: And that’s what they average, right? WEAVER: That’s what they average. RITHOLTZ: But that doesn’t tell you how much they swing up and down. WEAVER: It turns out — yeah, they went to $18 and we had $700 million of debt, and that didn’t — RITHOLTZ: $18? WEAVER: That didn’t go well. So yeah. RITHOLTZ: That’s the old joke. It’s not the price, it’s the volatility. WEAVER: Yeah, it was rough. But it was a — that was my introduction to the glamorous business of private equity. RITHOLTZ: And you didn’t turn around and say, “I want nothing to do with this?” WEAVER: I had the time of my life. RITHOLTZ: Really? WEAVER: It was so fun. RITHOLTZ: How was — how was sleeping in the CFO’s basement — was his house on the pig farm? WEAVER: It was. Yeah, it was. The whole entire town smelled like a pig farm and everyone — RITHOLTZ: Which was not especially delightful? WEAVER: It’s not. No, it turns out. And pretty much everyone in the town worked and had some affiliation with the pig farm. The CFO was also a Morgan Stanley guy, and he was probably 27. So neither of us had any idea — RITHOLTZ: So many years, years of experience over you? WEAVER: Yeah, yeah. Exactly. Neither of us had any clue what we were doing. But it really wouldn’t have mattered when your revenue gets cut by like 80%, there’s just not a lot you’re going to do to turn that around. RITHOLTZ: So there’s a cliche about tech firms being started in dorm rooms. How does a private equity firm start in a dorm room? WEAVER: So I show up at Stanford, and I’m in my first week of class. And then similar as today, you have to take these core classes in your first year, which are just not that — you know, they’re just fundamental. They’re not that exciting. So the first class I sit down, and there’s this 25-year-old who’s never worked a day in his life. He’s a PhD student. He’s never taught before, and he’s kind of just reciting out of this strategy book. And I just thought to myself, oh, my God, what have I signed up for? So I had this idea that I was going to go try to buy a business. And I had — you know, in your first three years as an analyst, you basically build a financial model. But I had the confidence of someone I thought I was much more — much better than I was. So I convinced an owner — I started cold calling companies in a sector that I had looked at previously, and I convinced this owner to sell me his business, and then I had to go raise the money, most of which was debt and the little bit of equity that was needed. I financed with credit cards. So that was literally how I started, not your typical private equity founding story. RITHOLTZ: How did that initial PE transaction work out? WEAVER: I did a total of three labeled deals with some add-ons, lost money on one, made money on — or lost a little bit of money on — loss — made a little bit of money on the second one. And then the third one was a total homerun, which actually just sold this year, 20 years later. So that that one turned out well. RITHOLTZ: 20 years? That’s impressive. That’s not the typical private equity holding period. WEAVER: Yeah, well, it was just me. I was the — it was just my — RITHOLTZ: So you could afford to be patient. WEAVER: And it was awesome. It was great. That one — RITHOLTZ: What space was that at? WEAVER: It was the — we had these companies that made these little labels that went on products, like for example in Trader Joe’s private labels things, we made all those labels. It’s a totally unsexy business. RITHOLTZ: Right. WEAVER: But it was very consistent and — RITHOLTZ: And it’s profitable. WEAVER: It was really profitable. And no one wakes up and says, “You know, I’m going to be a hero because I’m going to save half a cent on my label.” So it tends to kind of like just clip along like a bond. RITHOLTZ: Right. WEAVER: So it turned out — it turned out well, but I mean, I had absolutely no idea what I was doing. And so I made every mistake you can imagine. RITHOLTZ: And it still worked out. When you launched in 2001, you started with $50 million, $55 million, something like that? WEAVER: Yeah. RITHOLTZ: And now it’s up to $8 billion close to eight funds. WEAVER: Yeah. RITHOLTZ: And your most recent fund just closed about $2 billion, more or less? WEAVER: Yeah, about 2.4. Yeah. RITHOLTZ: All right. So that’s real money, 2.4. Obviously, you’re doing something right. The track record has to be attractive. Is it the same investors rolling over, or new and different investors? Who is the clientele for this? WEAVER: In the very early days, it was a number of individuals because no institution was going to back — RITHOLTZ: Right. Well, you have to have a certain track record, be around for certain length of period, be able to check all of their due diligence boxes, and that takes time and money. WEAVER: Yeah. And I checked zero of those boxes. RITHOLTZ: Right. Dorm room, check. What else? What else we got? WEAVER: Yeah. Track record. RITHOLTZ: How old is he? 22? WEAVER: No. RITHOLTZ: Sure. Let’s write him a big check. WEAVER: Exactly. I checked no boxes. And that took me like almost a year to figure out. I went to all these institutions and I never got past the first meeting anywhere. And then I found a number — really two individuals who, thank God, I still owe everything to these two. One, I don’t know if I can — RITHOLTZ: Sure. You can say whatever you like. WEAVER: So, one was Tom Steyer, who ran for president. RITHOLTZ: Oh, sure. WEAVER: He was one of the early ones. And then Doug Martin from the Stephens family. And they were just the two best investors you could ever have. They were supportive. And most importantly, they were supportive after Fund I which was not a good fund. So that’s the reason we’re still in business today. RITHOLTZ: Why not good fund, just performance wise, or was it — because when you launch in ’01, we’re still in the early days of a massive downfall in technology, media, Internet straight across the board. Not — you know, it’s not — unless it’s a distressed fund, that’s not the ideal time to launch. WEAVER: Yeah. I would love to say that it was the market, but it wasn’t. It was self-inflicted. RITHOLTZ: Yeah. WEAVER: It was me making a lot of dumb mistakes, being overconfident, you know, and just investing in companies that looked great in the spreadsheet and didn’t — what looks great in the spreadsheet is low purchase price and a lot of leverage. That looks — always looks good in a spreadsheet, but the — RITHOLTZ: Leverage is the problem. WEAVER: The qualitative — yeah, the leverage is the problem and the qualitative things about is it a quality business? Those things you can’t model in a spreadsheet. And so, I just made a lot of dumb mistakes. And actually the whole fund, overall, lost money. I would highly, Barry, not recommend having your first fund when you launched and lose money. It was a — RITHOLTZ: Probably not the best long-term strategy? WEAVER: Yeah. It was anchored around our neck for pretty much a decade. RITHOLTZ: So that raises the question, if the first fund was a bit of a stiff, how did you raise money for the second fund? WEAVER: Well, thankfully, we were — I really communicated a lot with Doug and Tom, and they understood. They could see us getting better. You know, they could see us making a lot of improvements, fixing a lot of the things that we got wrong. And both of them were pretty seasoned investors, both of them had had mistakes they’ve made before. And so they, you know, thank God, were really supportive. And then it wasn’t like immediately we started knocking out of the park either, but we started getting better and better. And then really around the time of the recession was when we really completely transformed and became kind of the business that we are today. RITHOLTZ: And it’s a little bit of a cliche, they’re not so much investing in a fund as they’re investing in you as the manager. Obviously, they saw something that was, “Hey, needs a little seasoning, but there’s a lot of potential here.” WEAVER: Yeah. They saw someone who was willing to literally run through walls and run through a burning building to make it work, and I almost literally did. I mean, it was that — we were — and not just me, but our whole team was really committed to try and make it work, and I think they saw that. RITHOLTZ: Quite interesting. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) RITHOLTZ: I have to talk a little bit about your growth rate. You began with $54 million. All-in, you’re $8 billion in assets totally. Obviously, a lot of that is not just growth, but new investors coming along. But still that’s a — as a PE company, Alpine has really seen quite a corporate growth trajectory. Tell us what led to this success rate. WEAVER: Yeah. So when the recession hit, we were in — we were not well positioned. We didn’t — RITHOLTZ: Now, when you say recession — WEAVER: Yeah. RITHOLTZ: — because some of our audience is, you know, older than 25, I’m assuming you mean, ’08. ’09, the financial crisis? WEAVER: ’08. ‘0. RITHOLTZ: Okay. WEAVER: Yes. RITHOLTZ: Not the one in 2020. WEAVER: Right. RITHOLTZ: And not the one that maybe happened sometime in 2022 and certainly not 2000. WEAVER: That’s right. RITHOLTZ: So the great financial crisis — WEAVER: So great financial crisis happens. We were — we invested the last dollar from our third fund two weeks before — two weeks before Lehman Brothers blew up. RITHOLTZ: Wow. WEAVER: And so we were out of money and we had — it took us forever to raise the next fund. But that period, where we didn’t have any money, turned out to be the most important period for us. RITHOLTZ: Why? WEAVER: Because we started deciding we were going to look at our own business, you know, kind of like rather than working in the business, we’re going to start working on our business. So I hired an executive coach — RITHOLTZ: Really? WEAVER: — and he helped — he really helped me kind of redefine the business that I truly was in, which I’ll come back to. We hired a consulting and coaching firm for our whole organization. And so, we really started doing some soul-searching for lack of a better word. And then — and from that, we really, you know, changed our strategy and developed kind of a new playbook. RITHOLTZ: So let me interrupt you there because that you raise something that I’m fascinated by. So first, what leads you to say, “We need a pro to come in and show us how to do this?” And second, how do you even go about finding an executive coach? That sounds like, man, that’s a consulting field fraught with, you know, let’s be polite and just say high risks. WEAVER: Yeah. It’s a great question. And I am a huge fan of executive coaching. I’ve had a coach since 2009. RITHOLTZ: Wow. WEAVER: I talk to a coach every week or every other week since ’09. RITHOLTZ: No kidding? WEAVER: And we, at Alpine, have 23 coaches that are part of our — they’re 1099 folks, but they’re part of our ecosystem that’s available to our people at Alpine and our executive. So I’m just a huge fan of coaching. And basically what I love about coaching is you create space away from the busyness of the day to day. You ask yourself a bunch of really important questions. You know, what do I want? What success look like? What do I want in — what does a five-year plan look like? And you actually have to really burn some energy and some thinking time, thinking about those answers, which are really hard answers, which most of us never spend time thinking about. RITHOLTZ: Was it just in the midst of the crash and recession that you said, “Hey, maybe we just need a little help. We’re not — we don’t have the professional background to run the business. We know the investing side, but the business side is something very different.” How did you get to that — WEAVER: Yeah, 100%. I mean, I think one of the benefits of phase planning in your first fund is that you get some humility. RITHOLTZ: Right. WEAVER: And you — I’ve always just been open to learning from people that are smarter and better than I am. And so, coaching was an exercise — back then in 2009, it was not very well known and it was definitely an exercise in humility of saying, “I think I need some help.” RITHOLTZ: That’s the old joke. Experience is what you get when you don’t get what you want, right? WEAVER: Yeah. Exactly. Yeah. RITHOLTZ: So once you make the decision, “Hey, we want to bring in a professional to show us ways to improve our business methods,” how does one go about finding a business coach? WEAVER: So I had an introduction from a friend and then we had a number of lunches, and his business wasn’t going well in ’09 either, as you could imagine, so — RITHOLTZ: Well, who’s on — and other than people doing distressed debt investing, whose business was going great in ’08? WEAVER: Yeah. Exactly. Nobody. So — RITHOLTZ: Then in short sellers, everybody else was in trouble. WEAVER: So we had this awesome conversation. I can still — it’s one of these conversations you can still remember where you are and what you — you know, exactly the moment. So we had — this is actually after I brought him on. We have this awesome conversation where I said, “Hey, I have to” — his name is JP Flaum, and I said, “Hey, I have to cancel our coaching engagement. I’m just too busy,” which was like we’ve already decided ahead of time that that was no go. I had to stick with the — we made an agreement. RITHOLTZ: Right. WEAVER: So he texts back immediately says, “No, we’re having it.” So I get on the phone, he says, “Well, what’s — you know what’s so crazy that you’re so stressed?” I said, “Oh, my God, JP, you know, I got to fly to Dallas and fix this. And then I got to — you know, we got to deal we’re about to lose and then we lost a huge customer in Chicago. And then I got to go to D.C.” and then, you know I’m going on and on. And he said, “Okay, well, let’s kind of slow down and chill out. Let’s talk about Dallas. What’s going on there?” “Well, we — you know, we just missed our bank projections a second time,” and I’m going on and on. And he starts saying, “Well, tell me about the CEO in Dallas.” I’m like, “What does that have to do with anything? You know, we’re in the middle of the Great Recession,” like, blah, blah, blah. You know, it’s not — you know, it’s the markets or whatever. Anyway, it comes to points, he says — well, eventually, he says, “Well, how would you — how would you rate that CEO, you know, A, B, C?” I was like, “Oh, he’s probably a B.” He said, “Well, Graham, in one of our engagements, you said you wanted to build the greatest private equity firm of all time. Are you going to — are you going to do that with a B CEO?” And I just — it like hit me between the eyes. And then he asked me another question, he said, “And Graham, if you’re someone who keeps a B CEO” — RITHOLTZ: What does that make you? WEAVER: — “how would you rate yourself as a CEO?” RITHOLTZ: Right. WEAVER: and I just — like, it stopped me dead in my tracks. And that was really this light bulb that went off, that ended up having us — having me realize I’m actually in the talent business. That’s the fundamental business that I’m really in. And that was like ’09 that we came to that realization, and then started completely redesigning our firm to like build our companies around talent, build our firm around talent, build our investment strategy around talent. So that was just a huge turning point. RITHOLTZ: So let’s talk about that because all of your investments eventually get a CEO that’s been trained at Alpine and has the benefit of all of this coaching, all of this training, all of this expertise. It’s not that you’re just looking for attractive balance sheets, it’s where can we put someone in charge to move the needle by taking our expertise and applying it to this business model. Is that what you mean by when you say, you’re in the talent business? WEAVER: Yeah. I think that’s what I mean. There are two parts of it. One is our investment strategy, which is what you described the others, how we run our own firm. But sticking with what you were talking about, Barry, the investment strategy, we found that the single most important investment decision we make is the management team. And it’s more important than the price we pay. It’s more important than the leverage levels. It’s more important than the prior growth rate. And so, we just said, “Well, if that’s really the most correlated, most effective, or most important criteria, you know, let’s make sure we get that right. And so let’s actually kind of build our own CEOs and put our own CEOs in so that we can make sure that we’re getting a world-class person to run each one of our companies.” RITHOLTZ: So in some ways, this is almost parallel in the public markets to activist investing, where they identify a very attractive business that isn’t quite living up to potential, right? WEAVER: Yeah. RITHOLTZ: And they say, “Hey, with a few management changes, we can turn this into a really good business.” On the private equity side, I’m assuming the conversation is something like, “We want to either buy 30%, 40% of your business or your entire business. But regardless, we want one of our professionals to come in and manage it.” WEAVER: Yeah, that’s right. A lot of the companies we’re buying don’t have management. You know, it might be a corporate carve-out. It might be a management team that wants to retire, or exit. And that’s great. So there’s never any conflict. We’re totally transparent. We’re not doing hostile deals, nothing like that. It’s always the transaction that the seller wants to do is they want to retire. So it’s always very friendly. But we — there aren’t a lot of private equity firms that want to go through the process of changing management because it’s very, very hard to do. RITHOLTZ: And that’s the value add that you guys bring. WEAVER: That’s a big part of it. Yeah. RITHOLTZ: Yeah. That’s really quite fascinating. So there’s a quote of yours I have to lead with, which I find really intriguing quote, “People create returns, not deals, not price.” That’s a huge statement, considering most of the analyst community, especially private equity, is so analytical and modern driven. You’re saying this is a people business. WEAVER: Yeah, 100%, Barry. I think that if you want to do something different than people, you have to have some fundamental belief that’s different than what other people believe. And our belief is that returns come from people. They come from talent. And I think maybe one of the reasons why people shy away from that is it’s hard to analyze, it doesn’t fit in a spreadsheet, and it’s incredibly hard to manage. It’s a lot easier to manage the hard numbers, the financial statements and things than it is to, you know, really manage a team of people. RITHOLTZ: So we were talking earlier that you appoint the CEO at these purchased businesses that you’ve trained yourself. Tell us a little bit about what that in-house training looks like. WEAVER: So a lot of the CEOs we’re hiring, we’re bringing right out of MBA programs, and they have five years of experience typically before they go into business school. And that could be anything, that could be they’re in the military. They could have been in consulting firm. They could have been in investment banking. And we have success with any of those — any and all those backgrounds. So — and they’ve just been in two years of business school, so we don’t want to put them back in business school. But what we’re really teaching them, the fundamental thing we’re teaching them is how to hire, how to build their team, how to set a vision, how to create priorities, how to get everyone in their organization excited and aligned behind what they’re trying to do. Those are things that not a lot of business schools teach. It’s one of the things I try to teach in my class, but it’s something that we bring in — it’s the biggest thing we bring in that training program that we do. RITHOLTZ: Hiring has been described as the most difficult aspect of building a company versus everything else. WEAVER: 100%. RITHOLTZ: How do you teach good hiring? WEAVER: You can actually, to some extent, make hiring a science. And the simple — I could talk for you — I could talk for three hours about this, but I’ll try to do it in about two minutes, which is you build a scorecard for what you want that role — in that role, a specific list of outcomes you want that role to do. And then as you’re assessing a candidate, you’re looking for very specific evidence that they’re going to be able to perform against that scorecard. And you have two things, you’re looking for attributes and experience. Those are the two different parts of the interview process. RITHOLTZ: But we all know what experience is. Define what attributes mean. WEAVER: So attribute is about who somebody is versus what they’ve done. So an example for us, when we’re hiring young people to become CEOs, we’re looking at, you know, do they have a will to win? Do they have emotional intelligence and self-awareness that they can get along with people? And then did they have grit? Can they — are they going to be able to see things through after getting kicked in the teeth, because they’re going to get kicked in the teeth. So those are the three attributes that we’re looking for. Those are wildly more important than experience, because they’ll get experienced quickly. And you can teach experience, you can’t teach those three things. You can’t teach, you know, the will to win. They’re kind of coming to us with that or not. RITHOLTZ: That’s an — that’s an intrinsic aspect of the personality. You either have it or you don’t. There’s no way you’re going to learn that. WEAVER: Not in a period of time, or we don’t know how to teach it if it is writable. RITHOLTZ: Right. WEAVER: Yeah. RITHOLTZ: Really, really interesting. So you mentioned your class, let’s talk about the management course that seems to be related to that, CEOs-in-Training. Tell us about that. WEAVER: Yeah. So the CEO-in-Training is the — that’s the name for the people that we’re hiring. Did you want to talk about that, or the class itself? RITHOLTZ: Both, either/or. WEAVER: Okay. All right. So the CEO-in-Training is the name we give to those people we’re hiring right out of business school. We’re giving them that experience — training that I mentioned, and then we’re putting them right in. A lot of them are CEOs on day one of add-on acquisitions, and they get the reins and they’re — you know, they’re off to the races. And you know, there aren’t a lot of positions out of business school that you can become a CEO within — you know, right when you graduate. So we’re — we’ve designed that and it’s been — it’s been a homerun. We — I underestimated how amazing these students would do and the roles that they’ve done. And it’s been fantastic. RITHOLTZ: Do you end up hiring people right out of your classes or — WEAVER: Yeah. I mean, I don’t — RITHOLTZ: So this is really devious recruitment. WEAVER: I don’t interview anybody from Stanford, period. I don’t even know if they applied. I keep a wall between — RITHOLTZ: Right. WEAVER: — you know, my teaching and recruiting. But I will say probably teaching there has helped the Alpine brand. RITHOLTZ: Sure. WEAVER: And helped me — and more importantly, helped me understand what students are capable of, which is a lot, and what they want, which is they want to be the boss right away. And I think — so it’s helped — it helped me learn a little bit more about how to build a program that the students want to actually do. RITHOLTZ: So one of the things the CIT program does is to try and increase underrepresented individuals in PE. Tell us a little bit about what diversity does for your business. WEAVER: Yeah. Well, it’s awesome what we can do. If you — the great thing about hiring for attributes over experience is that we can actually have a huge impact on diversity. So for example, if I said we’re hiring a CEO to run a healthcare software business and our criteria is they have to have done it for 20 years. RITHOLTZ: Right. WEAVER: Then I’m — that battle has been won or lost 20 years ago. RITHOLTZ: Right. WEAVER: Yeah. I could hire someone who’s a diverse candidate from one of my competitors, but I haven’t really created any value. If I hire someone right out of business school, let’s just use women as an example and that woman wouldn’t have necessarily seen a path to become a CEO, and I can provide her a clear path, then I can actually increase the number of women that become CEOs, which is exactly what we’ve done. We have over 50% of our CEOs-in-Training that we’ve hired have been women. About 30% to 35% have been underrepresented minorities. And so we have — we can have a — we can really move the dial on creating more diversity in CEO ranks. RITHOLTZ: That’s really kind of interesting. Let’s talk a little bit about software and services, why focus on those areas in particular? WEAVER: So one of the things that we figured out, which probably took us way too long to figure out, is if you buy recurring revenue, there’s just a lot fewer things that go wrong. So we’re not unique in focusing on recurring revenue, but that we turn the dial in around that Great Recession time, and decided that was all we were going to do. RITHOLTZ: And so it’s less focused on winning that one big sale and it’s more about building a business that has a fairly steady revenue stream? WEAVER: That’s right. And then if you marry that with what I was saying before, about putting young people to run them, recurring revenue is really helpful because in the first year, they have a big learning curve. And you — RITHOLTZ: Right. WEAVER: You know, they — we need them to have a little bit of a cushion for them to get up to speed. So recurring revenue helps a ton because it does take a little while to learn how to be a CEO. RITHOLTZ: That’s really interesting. Software obviously has been really hot over the past couple of years. Any chance that that changes or slows down, or is software just the driver of the future? WEAVER: I mean, I think software is the driver of the future. And I think anything, even the driver of the future can get overpriced. RITHOLTZ: Sure. WEAVER: And you can overpay for any asset. And I think in the last few years, you know, people have gotten a little ahead of themselves with some of the multiples that were paid. But I don’t think that changes fundamentally that I think software — you know, software is here for a long time and it’s got a lot of really exciting trends. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) RITHOLTZ: I’m going to ask you a question. I’m going to have you put this back earlier in the hiring discussion because I missed something and I want to come back to it. You’ve discussed episodic versus programmatic hiring. Explain the difference between the two. WEAVER: Yeah, great question. So I might have made up those two terms, but — RITHOLTZ: Well, that’s why it jumped out at me. I don’t know what either those things are. I have to ask that question. WEAVER: I think I did make them up, but — so episodic hiring is what everyone does. Okay. We need a — RITHOLTZ: We have an opening. WEAVER: Yeah. RITHOLTZ: Fill this — go to LinkedIn — WEAVER: Exactly. RITHOLTZ: — put out an ad, get me somebody here. WEAVER: Exactly. Or yeah, we’ll hire Russell Reynolds to get us a CFO, whatever. That’s how everyone hires. That is two problems — well, a number of problems. One is it’s slow, and two is it’s expensive. And three is it actually doesn’t even work that well. Like, the hit rate is pretty low. The hit rate across the board in hiring statistically is about 50%, but that’s measured as are they still there in three years? Not this they — were they successful? So it’s even worse than that. So that’s the problem with episodic hiring. So programmatic hiring is you’re going to hire the same role a lot, and so how do you make that more of a program? So for example, you know, we’re hiring 17 people from business schools that start next month, or we’re hiring 27 undergrads to be interns who will matriculate into full time roles. And so, there’s a group of people that are graduating. You can kind of have a class of folks. You can give them way more training. You can build a whole program using the — to use the programmatic term around that, and it’s just a lot more effective. That’s two roles that we do at Alpine, the CEOs-in-Training and then the analysts. But then in our companies, you know, in some cases, that’s engineers, technicians, where that’s their recurring hire that they’re doing. And we’re helping them build programs to start with people who don’t know how to do those functions, and bring them up, you know, through training to learn those. RITHOLTZ: Really quite interesting. WEAVER: And you can scale — you can just scale a lot better, and you have a way higher hit rate doing that. RITHOLTZ: So you’re constantly maintaining a pool of either potential hires or actual employees that you’re waiting to promote? WEAVER: Absolutely. Yeah. RITHOLTZ: Before we get into the current market environment for private equity, I have to circle back to you teaching at Stanford, at the graduate school, tell us a little bit about the courses you teach and what students learn. WEAVER: So I teach two courses there. I teach — they’re both — they’re both basically similar. One is for first years, and one is for second years, but they’re both centered around entrepreneurship. And the idea of the courses is that there’s lots of classes on analysis and accounting and finance; and there aren’t a lot of classes around how to actually manage people, lead people. And I’m talking the nitty-gritty stuff of literally like what to say, if you have to fire someone. My students have to rule — my students will say, “Oh, I would just fire that person.” I said, “Okay, great. I’ll be them and you tell me.” RITHOLTZ: Right. Fire me. WEAVER: Fire me, and then they have to do it and they realize — RITHOLTZ: It’s harder than it looks. WEAVER: It’s a lot harder than it looks. So they’ll say — RITHOLTZ: That’s why people just cheat and send email. He’s so mortified. WEAVER: Yeah. That would not be something we teach. We do not — we not teach people to send an email. RITHOLTZ: So tell us about the role-playing. What does that — WEAVER: So we — so the student will actually play the protagonist in the case, and I’ll play the antagonist for lack of a better word of the other characters. And then they’ll fire me, or they’ll have to demote me, or they’ll have to tell me that they no longer want to be my partner, or whatever the situation is that they’re trying to get through. And then we’ll play around with it. And they’ll realize, you know, some things they do right, some things they do poorly. And then the entrepreneur about whom we’ve written the case is in the class, and so then they’ll chime in and say, “Well, wow, this is — you did this this way, this is why I didn’t do that,” or “I wish I would have done it that way. Instead, I did this.” So it’s a really — it’s a really, really fun class. It’s — and it’s something that they don’t get anywhere else where they actually have to kind of implement the stuff they’re talking about. RITHOLTZ: So aside from firing, what else do you teach them? WEAVER: So everything, we actually teach a lot on hiring. We have whole modules and playbooks and videos and things I’ve made and we do a class on that, which is really important. We talk about complex partnership issues, things with your board. They have to sell stuff. They have to fundraise, how to make an offense and defense deck to sell — to sell something, you know, a whole list of basically things that entrepreneurs are going to have to face in their life. RITHOLTZ: Really intriguing. I have to imagine having been a graduate student at Stanford, it’s deeply satisfying teaching there. WEAVER: It’s a blast. I started off as a case guest, where they wrote a case about me buying stuff in my dorm room, and I was a case guest and I kept — I would come home all energized. And it was my favorite day of the year. And then when the — Irv Grousbeck, who wrote the case about me, who’s a legend at Stanford, when he — he called me one day and said, “Hey, you know, I’m going to stop teaching this class, would you want to teach in?” And my first response was, “No, I have a job, you know, and I can’t,” but I didn’t say that. I said, “Hey, I’ll think about it.” And then, thankfully, everyone I was around was like, “Graham, you have to do this. And it’s your favorite thing you do.” And we figured out a way to make it work. So it’s a blast. RITHOLTZ: That sounds like — that sounds like it’s a lot of fun. WEAVER: One more thing I would just add is what I realized after a few years is I’ll teach students all about entrepreneurship, and we have this great class. And then they go take a job, you know, in consulting or investment banking; they never become entrepreneurs, even though that was what they wrote their essay about and that was what they’re excited about. So I added to the class a whole part on, okay, wait a second, what is it you really want to do with your life? You know, what’s holding you back? How’d you make a plan to go do that? What are your limiting beliefs? What are the things — what are your fears? So we have a whole thread, probably 25% of the class is on those things because I’m like what’s the point of teaching people to be entrepreneurs if they don’t become entrepreneurs? RITHOLTZ: Right. WEAVER: So I’ve invested a lot into, like, personal growth. And that’s a really, really fun part of us, too. RITHOLTZ: Are any of those skill sets transferable to consultants who arguably — WEAVER: Oh, 100%, a 100%. RITHOLTZ: — they’ll be working with other entrepreneurs and maybe haven’t been exposed? WEAVER: Yeah, a 100%. It wasn’t so much that I have anything against consulting, it was just that the student at the beginning of the class said, “My goal is to do X, and then they don’t do X.” That was all. RITHOLTZ: So tell us a little bit about your approach, what’s your process like to finding a potential acquisition target. And since we look at both private and public markets, what do you think of in terms of valuation? How do you come up with a number? WEAVER: Yeah. Yeah, great questions. We have a large team that looks for potential companies. We have actually 52 people at Alpine and in our portfolio companies that are looking for deals. RITHOLTZ: 52? WEAVER: 52. RITHOLTZ: So that’s a lot of people. WEAVER: Yeah. RITHOLTZ: How big is the firm overall? WEAVER: Overall, if you include the CEOs-in-Training and we have — RITHOLTZ: And your 1099 consultants. WEAVER: We probably have roughly 200. RITHOLTZ: All right, so that’s a — WEAVER: Yeah. RITHOLTZ: That’s a decent size. WEAVER: The 52 also includes a number of people that are working at the company who’s doing sourcing, but they’re doing the same thing. They’re calling companies, looking for investments. So we have 52 people looking for deals, and then a lot of those conversations are directly with founders. And what we’re trying to do is figure out — the way we think about it is we can pay a price, that we can hit our target returns, which I can’t talk about on, you know — RITHOLTZ: Right. WEAVER: But if we can hit our target — RITHOLTZ: We all have compliance departments. WEAVER: So we can pay a price so we could hit our target returns with like a 70% base case. And then we need there to be a lot more upside to that than downside. So we want there to be like a case where we could hit many multiples of our target returns. And so based on that, we kind of back into a price. And then where we get in trouble or where things get turned down at Investment Committee is when everything in the world has to go perfectly to hit that target. RITHOLTZ: Right. WEAVER: Because I’ve been in this business for 28 years, and when you start pricing in perfection, that’s a time when you realize you’re overpaying. RITHOLTZ: Right. WEAVER: So that’s — it’s that 70% probability and less a margin of safety thing that you really — as someone who’s like a little bit more senior at our firm, I have to bring that to the discussions. RITHOLTZ: Yeah. That perfect 10 stuck at landing, those are the outliers. You certainly can’t rely on that. WEAVER: Exactly. You can’t underwrite to that, for sure. RITHOLTZ: Yeah. So when you look at this macro environment, it seems to be pretty supportive of economic expansion generally. How closely do you pay attention to things like, hey, the Fed is raising rates pretty rapidly, maybe they’re going to cause a recession next year? WEAVER: We pay attention to it to some extent. If you go back to the ’08 crisis — RITHOLTZ: Now, that’s a recession. WEAVER: Yeah. And we’re just in a very different position. I think we’re way underbuilt on housing. So you know, I don’t see — RITHOLTZ: Wildly. WEAVER: Wildly underbuilt on housing, so I don’t see — you know, I don’t see things happen — you know, crashing there. I think we have — the consumer isn’t as leveraged as they were back in 2008. Businesses aren’t as leveraged as they were. I just think it’s a lot healthier. On the flip side, we also don’t have — the Fed can’t print money like they did in ’08 because of inflation. But I think, generally, it just feels like we’re a lot healthier than we were back then. RITHOLTZ: Right. You’re singing my song. I’m in the exact same place. I’m kind of perplexed by all the recession chatter. I mean, what are we? 27, 28 million new jobs in this year? That’s not what you usually see. Although, to be fair, some past recessions, we were creating jobs right until the moment it stopped and the bottom dropped out. But you know, it really depends on how aggressive the powers that you’re going to get about inflation. So here’s the question related to that in ’08, ’09, let’s say the naysayers are right and the end of this year or 2023, we see something more than just a mild shallow recession, we see a real recession. How does that affect the companies you look at? And do you start doing, for lack of a better phrase, distressed private equity investing? WEAVER: You know, I think that what we’ve been trying to do over the last 14 years is underwrite companies that would do well in a recession. So hopefully, we’re going to — our company is going to hold up well in that time. In terms of what we look for, it does open up the door when — you know, when there is a recession, there’s a lot more different things that are for sale at different prices. And I think one of the great assets is if you have a whole team of managers that you can put in to run distressed things, you have a lot of options open to what you can look at. So there — you know, there will be a lot more interesting things to do with, you know, if that happens. Certainly, we don’t wish that on the economy. RITHOLTZ: On anybody else. And then, finally, I have to ask about the way you score software companies and services companies, you use a metric. I really am not familiar with eNPS. Can you tell us a little bit about that? WEAVER: Yeah. So I think in general, that there are leading indicators and lagging indicators. Lagging indicator is revenue EBITDA. Those are lagging indicators. But yet, a lot of managers, they try to manage to lagging indicators. It’s like — and that’s just not very effective. So what we try to do is develop what are the leading indicators that are going to predict success. And the number one most important leading indicator, you’re not going to be surprised to hear me say, is talent. So if you tell me, “I’m on the board of your business, and we’re starting to build the world-class management team, I can tell you in two years, we’ll have a homerun investment.” So one of those leading — two of those leading indicators related to talent are employee net promoter score, which is the eNPS. RITHOLTZ: Meaning how employees rate their employee? WEAVER: Exactly. Yeah. Would they — would they recommend this company to a friend? And we measure that every quarter for every one of our companies. We measure it at Alpine. We measure it for a whole bunch of different groups within Alpine. And then retention is the other big one. So if we can be managing those and getting those right, those are leading indicators that are going to help us set up, you know, the revenue EBITDA that come later. And those are hard things to manage. Getting those metrics right takes a lot of work. That’s actually where I spend most of my time at Alpine, believe it or not, is making sure that we’re creating an environment where the best people want to be and stay. And most people again in the finance world, they don’t think about kind of squishy, soft metrics like that, but they should be. RITHOLTZ: Well, because they have a really outsized impact on the performance of a company. WEAVER: Absolutely. That’s my view is they have — they have the biggest impact. RITHOLTZ: And my last question before I get to our favorite questions we ask all our guests, so a little bit of a curveball, you are a captain on a national championship rowing team. WEAVER: I was. Yeah. RITHOLTZ: Tell us about that. WEAVER: So — RITHOLTZ: You look like you row. WEAVER: So I came to college not even knowing anything about rowing. I didn’t even know that the boats went backwards till I got in a boat. RITHOLTZ: Well, it’s not that they’re going backwards. It’s just that you’re facing backwards. WEAVER: Exactly. Yeah. I didn’t even know that. So I started as a novice, I walked on the team. And it seemed like everyone else on the team had rowed before, so I was horrible, absolutely horrible. I got cut, and then just kept kind of — and so there’s a funny story where the coach says, “Okay, these are the people who are going to boats. The rest of you are, quote, “land warriors.” And you’re a land warrior means you go on the rowing machines. And so that night when he kind of posted the boats and I wasn’t in the boat, he said, “All right.” So I did this calculus, and I’m like, okay, well, gosh, all the land warriors are going to show up before class. You know, classes — first class is at 9:00. So they’re going to show up at 8:00, but — so I got to show up at 7:00. No, no, no, everyone is going to think that, so I’ll show up at 6:00. So I show up the next morning, zero people. And one of the guys is like, “Hey, idiot, land warrior is another way to say you got cut.” But I still stayed as a land warrior, and kept getting better at — getting my Erg times better and better over time. And it was one of the greatest things I ever did. I had a great time and — RITHOLTZ: And when were they national champions? WEAVER: My senior year, I was — RITHOLTZ: So by then, you’re on the team? WEAVER: By my — yeah, by my senior year, I was pulling one of the best Erg times in the nation at the rowing machine — RITHOLTZ: Erg time? WEAVER: On the concept to rowing machine like you see in the gym, they actually have a standard test, which is 2000 meters which you submit, you know, nationally. And by my senior year, I had one of and maybe a few times the number one Erg time in the country, and I was elected captain by my teammates of our team. And then that year, we were supposed to have a rebuilding year because we lost all these seniors and we actually won the whole thing. RITHOLTZ: That’s amazing. WEAVER: So it was awesome. RITHOLTZ: Wow. That’s really amazing. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) RITHOLTZ: Let’s jump to our favorite questions that we ask all of our guests, starting with what kept you entertained during the pandemic lockdown? Tell us what you were streaming. WEAVER: I went on this whole Buddhist thing during the pandemic and I started reading a lot about Buddhism and streaming Buddhism, and it was — it was amazing. RITHOLTZ: Meditating or — WEAVER: Meditating and just kind of learning about Buddhism, and you know, why we all suffer and how to — you know, how all these thoughts we have in our head, our own imagination. And I went on this whole kick during the pandemic, which was phenomenal. I highly recommend it. And basically, the concept is that your reality is going through a filter. And everything that’s happened externally, you’re telling yourself a story about what that means, and whether that’s good, or whether that’s bad. And that that’s really — your reality isn’t what’s happening, it’s the story you’re telling yourself and that you have complete control over that story. RITHOLTZ: Right. That’s the classic narrative fallacy. WEAVER: Yeah, that’s the narrative fallacy. And that’s kind of the fundamental premise of Buddhism, which is your suffering is coming, not from what’s happening, but the story you’re telling yourself. So I went on this long, you know, meditating and reading, and kind of journaling about that. And that was — that was a lot of fun. RITHOLTZ: So the — we had this old joke about, we had a softball team here over in Central Park and we had the Buddhists playing the stoics and the game never finished. Everybody just sat down instead of having a long conversation. But I’m right there with you. You mentioned your — two of your mentors, who were some of your earliest investors. Are there anybody else you want to mention as mentors? The professor at Stanford you referred to also. WEAVER: Yeah. I’ll — both of those, Tom Steyer. Doug Martin and Irv Grousbeck were super important in my life. I’ll talk about Irv. He is probably if you had — there’s probably literally, Barry, a hundred people you could have on this podcast that would list Irv as one of their most important people. RITHOLTZ: Really? WEAVER: Yeah. RITHOLTZ: Wow. WEAVER: He a professor at Stanford and just, you know, makes time for folks. He built an incredible business. And he just has this, you know, unwavering moral code. He was an early investor. He’s the one who asked me to teach at Stanford. And I just — I just find the way he set up his life and his — just the way he treats other people, you’re always the most important person in the world when you’re with him. And so, I’ve definitely learned a lot from him. RITHOLTZ: Really interesting. Let’s talk about books. What are some of your favorites and what are you reading currently? WEAVER: I — it’s funny, I ended up rereading like the same 10 books. In terms of my favorites, I read — I have some I read currently too, but “Good to Great,” Warren Buffett’s Biography “Snowball,” Steve Jobs biography by Isaacson, Walt Disney’s biography by Neal Gabler, “Switch” by Dan and Chip Heath, “Made to Stick” by Dan and Chip Heath, Buffett’s annual letters. Like, those are like — I reread those and every time I reread them, I get kind of reenergized. And we’ve modeled a lot of our business and a lot of my life around some of the things I learned in some of those books. And a lot of those required reading and help. RITHOLTZ: I can imagine. What are you reading currently? WEAVER: And right now, I started getting on this Brene Brown kick. I don’t know if you’ve read some of her stuff, but “The Gifts of Imperfection” I’m reading right now, which is just phenomenal. She is — I actually downloaded it on Audible so I get to hear her talk about it. But she has just this incredible way of talking about things that other people don’t talk about, like shame and how to — how to deal with the things you’re not good at, and how to be intellectually honest and admit when you don’t know things. And she’s — I love her work. RITHOLTZ: What’s the title of the book you’re reading currently? WEAVER: “The Gift of Imperfection.” RITHOLTZ: It sounds really — WEAVER: Yeah, it’s phenomenal. It’s phenomenal. RITHOLTZ: Before I forget, just as an aside and you could edit this out. So I went to law school with a guy named Lawrence Cunningham, who was the first person who recognized, hey, all these letters from Warren Buffett, they’re really fascinating, deep stuff. He bound them. WEAVER: Yeah. I bought that book. I own that book. RITHOLTZ: That book has been like a perennial bestseller. WEAVER: Yeah. RITHOLTZ: And it’s — you know, the old joke about the two economists walking down the street. One says, “Is that a $100 bill on the floor?” And the other says, “No, if it was a $100 bill, someone would have picked it up.” It’s the same theme with that. WEAVER: He picked it up. Yeah. RITHOLTZ: These have been around for literally — WEAVER: Yeah. RITHOLTZ: I mean, I think he first started in like ‘90 or ‘92, something like that. And Buffett had been around for 30 years by then already, or 25 years, nobody had thought of doing that. WEAVER: And you know what, like, it doesn’t matter if it’s crypto or software valuations or the Internet. The stuff Buffett writes about is still the right stuff. RITHOLTZ: Fundamental common sense, block and tackling. WEAVER: You’re going to discount the cash flows back and decide what you can pay. You’re going to put a premium on the discount rate if the stuff is a lot more uncertain. It’s this — it is exactly the right formula today and it was 50 years ago, and it will be 50 years from now. And anytime that there’s something new, where people says this time, it’s different, you should be really skeptical. RITHOLTZ: Always. All right. Our final two questions, what sort of advice would you give to a recent college or business school graduate interested in a career in private equity? WEAVER: Well, I’ll start with the first part, just general advice, and then I’ll go the private equity. But, you know, as you can imagine, I actually give this advice all the time teaching. But the first thing that I think a lot of people graduating don’t ask is like, what they — what do I want? What is five years from now, 10 years from now, if I could — if I knew I wasn’t going to fail, what would I want to do with my life? And they can start with that question. And then start working backwards from that about what job you should take now and next year and five years from now. Instead, a lot of people just think, “Oh, these firms are interviewing on campus, and I’ll go here, I’ll go here.” And that’s okay. But if you know where you want to be 10 years from now, it will inform which firm you go to work and what skills you’re trying to acquire. So I think — I think that would be my advice is like, in 10 years, you will — you can do almost anything you set your mind to and so give yourself permission to really answer that question, what do I want to do in 10 years? RITHOLTZ: Why does it matter if you quote, “know you wouldn’t fail?” WEAVER: Yeah. RITHOLTZ: Just to open the set of possibilities or — WEAVER: Because — yeah, I always frame it as if you knew you wouldn’t fail, what would you do? Because without that, people already jumped to, “I can’t do this,” like subconsciously in the mind. RITHOLTZ: Fear of failure, is that big really? WEAVER: Fear of failure is so powerful. RITHOLTZ: Even amongst really high performing talent — WEAVER: I think it’s even — RITHOLTZ: I mean, Stanford graduate students, I have to think that’s the cream of the crop out there. WEAVER: In some ways, it’s almost more prevalent because they have had so much success, and they don’t — you know, they have this incredible track record. But I would say the number one thing that Stanford Business School students or really just about anyone in the world, it’s the same thing, which is their subconscious mind defaults to fear and fear of failure. RITHOLTZ: That’s fascinating because when I have discussions like this with colleagues or friends in Europe, the thing — or even Asia, the thing that makes United States so unique in the developed economy world is that failure isn’t a scarlet letter, especially in Silicon Valley. It’s almost a badge of honor. Look at all the VCs that list all, “Hey, we missed Apple and Cisco. We invested money in Pets.com. Look how terrible we are, except for our 40% compounded returns.” It’s a badge of honor to say, “We tried this face planted, brush yourself off and moved on.” WEAVER: But when you’re starting out your career and you don’t have anything to fall back on, and you haven’t yet had the success that you can look back, it’s really scary for people. And the thing that they miss is they underestimate what they could really do in 10 years and they underestimate themselves. They forgot what got them in that seat at Stanford Business School. RITHOLTZ: Sure. WEAVER: And they compare themselves to, you know, their roommate or their classmate or something. RITHOLTZ: So the other half of the question is advice about private equity. WEAVER: Yeah. I would say — I would say if someone is interested in a career in private equity, I would — I would say all private equity is not created equal. And there are — literally, like probably a thousand different models, and figure out, you know, go talk to a bunch of companies that are doing private equity in a whole bunch of different ways, and figure out what resonates with you and your interests and your superpowers, and where are you going to line up because it’s, it’s a very diverse industry. And you know, there are some firms that are making their money based on, you know, hardcore fundamental analysis. You know, we’re making our money on talent. There’s others that are, you know, doing cost cutting. There’s a whole bunch of different ways and one or more of those is going to line up a lot better with what you’re excited about. RITHOLTZ: And our final question, what do you know about the world of software services in private equity today that you wish you knew 28 years or so ago, when you were first getting started? WEAVER: Well, two things. The first thing is I wish I knew that it was going to work out fine. So I was so stressed and I put so much pressure on myself, that I wish — if I could go back and tell myself anything, it would be like, “Hey, Graham, you know, it’s going to be okay,” because I went through a lot. RITHOLTZ: That’s a really — that’s a really interesting answer because, you know, we just don’t realize how much we freak ourselves out and very often, unnecessarily. What’s the second thing? WEAVER: The second thing would be I would — if I could have realized earlier on just how important the world of talent is, and how that was really the thing that drove performance because that that would have saved me a decade. RITHOLTZ: It sounds really like you’ve honed in on exactly what makes your business work and really quite fascinating. Graham, thank you for being so generous with your time. We have been speaking with Graham Weaver, founder and partner at Alpine Investors. If you enjoyed this conversation, well, be sure to check out any of our previous 400 discussions that we’ve had over the past eight and a half years. You can find those at iTunes, Spotify, wherever you feed your podcast fix. We love your comments, feedback and suggestions. Write to us at mibpodcast@bloomberg.net. Sign up for my daily reading list @ritholtz.com You can follow me on Twitter @ritholtz. I would be remiss if I did not thank the crack team that helps put these conversations together each week. Robert Bragg is my audio engineer. Atika Valbrun is my project manager. Sean Russo runs all of our research. Paris Wald is my producer. I’m Barry Ritholtz. You’ve been listening to Masters in Business on Bloomberg Radio. END   ~~~   The post Transcript: Graham Weaver appeared first on The Big Picture......»»

Category: blogSource: TheBigPictureJul 26th, 2022

Futures Slide Amid Renewed Recession Fears After China Doubles Down On "Covid Zero"

Futures Slide Amid Renewed Recession Fears After China Doubles Down On "Covid Zero" One day after futures ramped overnight (if only to crater during the regular session) on hopes China was easing its highly politicized  Zero Covid policy after it cut the time of quarantine lockdowns, this morning futures slumped early on after China's President Xi Jinping made clear that Covid Zero isn't going anywhere and remains the most “economic and effective” policy for China during a symbolic visit to the virus ground zero in Wuhan, in which he cast the strategy as proof of the superiority of the country’s political system. That coupled with renewed recession worries (market is again pricing in a rate cut in Q1 2023) even as monetary policy tightens in much of the world to fight supply-side inflation, sent US futures and global markets lower. S&P futures dropped 0.2% and Nasdaq 100 futures were down 0.4% after the underlying index slumped on 3.1% on Tuesday. The dollar was steady after rising the most in over a week while WTI crude climbed above $112 a barrel, set for a fourth session of gains. In cryptocurrencies, Bitcoin dipped below the closely watched $20,000 level on news crypto hedge fund 3 Arrows Capital was ordered to liquidate. The Nasdaq's Tuesday’s slump added to what was already one of the worst years in terms of big daily selloffs in US stocks. The S&P 500 Index has fallen 2% or more on 14 occasions, putting 2022 in the top 10 list, according to Bloomberg data. Not helping the tech sector, on Wednesday morning JPMorgan cut its earnings estimates across the sector, especially for companies exposed to online advertising, citing macroeconomic pressures, forex and company-specific dynamics. One of the chief drivers for overnight weakness, China's Xi said during a trip Tuesday to Wuhan where the virus first emerged in late 2019 that relaxing Covid controls would risk too many lives in the world’s most populous country. China would rather endure some temporary impact on economic development than let the virus hurt people’s safety and health, he said, in remarks reported Wednesday by state media. As a result, China’s CSI 300 Index extended loss to 1.4% after the headline, while the yuan drops as much as 0.2% to trade 6.7132 against the dollar in the offshore market. Among key premarket movers, Tesla slipped in US premarket trading. The electric-vehicle maker laid off hundreds of workers on its Autopilot team as it shuttered a California facility, according to people familiar with the matter. Carnival slumped as Morgan Stanley analysts warned that the London and New York-listed cruise vacation company’s shares could lose all their value in the event of another demand shock. Pinterest gained 3.7% as the company’s co- founder and CEO Ben Silbermann quit and handed the reins to Google and PayPal veteran Bill Ready in a sign the social-media company will focus more on e-commerce. Also, despite the pervasive weakness, the Energy Select Sector SPDR Fund ETF (XLE) rebounded off key support (50% Fibonacci) relative to the SPDR S&P 500 ETF (SPY). That said, energy was alone and most other notable movers were down in the premarket: Carnival (CCL US) shares fall 8% premarket as Morgan Stanley analysts warned that the cruise vacation firm’s shares could lose all their value in the event of another demand shock. Nio (NIO US) shares drop 8.2% after short-seller Grizzly Research published a report on Tuesday alleging that the electric carmaker used battery sales to a related party to inflate revenue and boost net income margins. The company rejected the claims. Upstart Holdings (UPST US) shares slump about 9% after Morgan Stanley downgraded the consumer finance company to underweight from equal-weight amid rising cyclical headwinds. Ormat Technologies (ORA US) rallies as much as 5% after the renewable energy company is set to be included in the S&P Midcap 400 Index. 2U (TWOU US) shares rise 16% premarket. Indian online-education provider Byju’s has offered to buy the company in a cash deal that values the US-listed edtech firm at more than $1 billion, a person familiar with the matter said. Watch Amazon (AMZN US) shares as Redburn initiated coverage of the stock with a buy recommendation and set a Street-high price target, saying “there is a clear path toward a $3 trillion value for AWS alone.” Shares in data center REITs could be active later in the trading session after short-seller Jim Chanos said in an FT interview that he’s betting against “legacy” data centers. Watch Digital Realty (DLR US) and Equinix (EQIX US), as well as data center operators Cyxtera Technologies (CYXT US) and Iron Mountain (IRM US) Investors are growing increasingly skeptical that the Fed can avoid a bruising economic downturn amid sharp interest-rate hikes. Evaporating consumer confidence is feeding into concerns that the US might tip into a recession. Naturally, Fed officials sought to play down recession risk. New York Fed President John Williams and San Francisco’s Mary Daly both acknowledged they had to cool inflation, but insisted that a soft landing was still possible. “It seems the market is in this tug of war between on the one hand the hope that we are close to the peak in inflation and rates, and on the other hand the challenge of a slowing economy and potential recession,” Emmanuel Cau, head of European equity strategy at Barclays Bank Plc, said in an interview with Bloomberg TV. “Central banks are walking a very tight line and to a certain extent dictate the mood in the markets.” European equities snapped three days of gains, trading poorly but off worst levels with sentiment also hurt by China remaining committed to its zero-Covid approach. Spanish inflation unexpectedly surged to a record, dashing hopes that inflation in the euro zone’s fourth-biggest economy had peaked, and emboldening European Central Bank policy makers pushing for big increases in interest rates. The ECB should consider raising interest rates by twice the planned amount next month if the inflation outlook deteriorates, according to Governing Council member Gediminas Simkus, as calls not to exclude an outsized initial move grow. German benchmark bonds rose, while 10-year Treasury yields slipped to 3.16%. DAX lags, dropping as much as 1.8%. Real estate, autos and miners are the worst performing sectors. In notable moves in European stocks, Hennes & Mauritz (H&M) gained after the Swedish low-cost retailer’s earnings beat analyst estimates. Just Eat Takeaway.com NV tumbled to a record low after Berenberg analysts rated the stock sell, saying the food delivery firm’s UK business will remain under pressure. Here are some of the biggest European movers today: Just Eat Takeaway shares plunge as much as 21% after Berenberg initiated coverage with a sell rating, saying the firm’s UK business will remain under pressure and a sale of its Grubhub unit is unlikely to satisfy the bulls. Carnival stocks slumped over 12% in London as Morgan Stanley analysts warned that the cruise vacation firm’s shares could lose all their value in the event of another demand shock. Pearson drops as much as 6.1% after the education company was cut to sell at UBS, which reduced forecasts to reflect a weak outlook for 2022 college enrollments. Grifols shares plunge as much as 13% on a media report the Spanish plasma firm is weighing a capital raise of as much as EU2b to cut its debt. Diageo shares fall after downgrades for the spirits group from Deutsche Bank and Kepler Cheuvreux, while Pernod Ricard also dips on a rating cut from the latter. Diageo declines as much as 4.2%, Pernod Ricard -3.7% Fluidra shares fall as much as 8.4% after Santander cut its rating on the Spanish swimming pools company. The bank’s analyst Alejandro Conde cut the recommendation to neutral from outperform. H&M shares rise as much as 6.8% after the Swedish apparel retailer reported 2Q earnings that beat estimates. Jefferies said the margin beat in particular was reassuring, while Morgan Stanley said it was a “positive surprise” overall. Ipsen shares rise as much as 3.1% after UBS analyst Michael Leuchten said that accepting palovarotene refiling priority review should be a net present value and confidence boost. Asian stocks fell, halting a four-day gain, as renewed angst over the outlook for global economic growth and inflation help drive a selloff across most of the region’s equity markets. The MSCI Asia Pacific Index dropped as much as 1.5%, led by consumer discretionary and information sectors. Chinese equities in particular took a hit, as the CSI 300 Index fell 1.5% Wednesday after Xi Jinping reiterated his firm stance on Covid zero. Tech-heavy indexes in markets such as South Korea and Taiwan took the brunt of Wednesday’s drop amid lingering concerns that monetary tightening in much of the world to fight inflation will cause an economic slowdown. While Federal Reserve members have played down the risk of a US recession, gloomy data such as US consumer confidence have damped investor sentiment. “Volatility is going to be the enduring feature of the market, I suspect, for the next couple of quarters at least until we get a firm sense that peak inflation has passed,” John Woods, Credit Suisse Group AG’s Asia-Pacific chief investment officer, said in an interview with Bloomberg TV. “Markets, I think, have aggressively priced in quite a serious or steep recession.”  China’s four-day winning streak came to a halt, putting its advance toward a bull market on hold.  “We will continue to see a risk of targeted lockdowns, and that spoils the initial euphoria seen in the markets from the announcement on relaxation of quarantine requirements,” said Charu Chanana, market strategist at Saxo Capital Markets. “Still, economic growth will likely be prioritized as this is a politically important year for China.”  Japanese equities decline as investors digested data that showed a drop in US consumer confidence over inflation worries and increased concerns of an economic downturn.  The Topix Index fell 0.7% to 1,893.57 in Tokyo on Wednesday, while the Nikkei declined 0.9% to 26,804.60. Toyota Motor Corp. contributed the most to the Topix’s decline, decreasing 1.8%. Out of 2,170 shares in the index, 1,114 fell, 984 rose and 72 were unchanged. “There are concerns about stagflation,” said Hideyuki Suzuki a general manager at SBI Securities. “The consumer sentiment from the University of Michigan, which provides one of the fastest data points, has already shown poor figures.” Stocks in India tracked their Asian peers lower as brent rose to the highest level in two weeks, while high inflation and slowing global growth continued to dampen risk-appetite for global equities. The S&P BSE Sensex fell 0.3% to 53,026.97 in Mumbai, while the NSE Nifty 50 Index declined by an equal measure. Both gauges have lost more than 4% in June and are set for their third consecutive month of declines. The main indexes have dropped for all but one month this year. Twelve of the 19 sub-sector gauges compiled by BSE Ltd. eased, led by banking companies while power producers were the top performers.   Investors will also be watching the expiry of monthly derivative contracts on Thursday, which may lead to some volatility in the markets.  Hindustan Unilever was the biggest contributor to the Sensex’s decline, decreasing 3.5%. Out of 30 shares in the Sensex, 10 rose and 20 fell. The Bloomberg Dollar Spot Index inched up modestly as the greenback traded mixed against its Group-of-10 peers; the Swiss franc led gains while Antipodean currencies were the worst performers and the euro traded in a narrow range around $1.05. The relative cost to own optionality in the euro heading into the July meetings of the ECB and the Federal Reserve was too low for investors to ignore and has become less and less underpriced. The yen strengthened and US and Japanese bond yields fell. In rates, fixed income has a choppy start. Bund futures initially surged just shy of 200 ticks on a soft regional German CPI print before fading the entire move over the course of the morning as Spanish data hit the tape, delivering a surprise record 10% reading for June and more hawkish ECB comments crossed the wires. Treasuries and gilts followed with curves eventually fading a bull-steepening move. Long-end gilts underperform, cheapening ~4bps near 2.75%. Peripheral spreads are tighter to core.  Treasuries are slightly higher as US trading day begins, off the session lows reached as bund futures jumped after the first monthly drop since November in a German regional CPI gauge. Yields are lower across the curve, by 1bp-2bp for tenors out to the 10-year with long-end yields little changed; 10-year declined as much as 5.3bp vs as much as 8.2bp for German 10- year, which remains lower by ~3bp. Focal points for the US session include a final revision of 1Q GDP, comments by Fed Chair Powell, and anticipation of quarter-end flows favoring bonds. Quarter-end is anticipated to cause rebalancing flows into bonds; Wells Fargo estimated that $5b will be added to bonds, with most of the flows occurring Wednesday and Thursday. In commodities, crude futures advance. WTI drifts 0.3% higher to trade near $112.13. Base metals are mixed; LME tin falls 5.6% while LME zinc gains 0.4%. Spot gold falls roughly $5 to trade near $1,815/oz Looking ahead, the highlight will be the panel at the ECB Forum that includes Fed Chair Powell, ECB President Lagarde and BoE Governor Bailey. We’ll also be hearing from ECB Vice President de Guindos, the ECB’s Schnabel, the Fed’s Mester and Bullard, and the BoE’s Dhingra. On the data side, releases include German CPI for June, Euro Area money supply for May, and the final Euro Area consumer confidence reading for June. From the US, we’ll also get the third reading of Q1 GDP. Market Snapshot S&P 500 futures little changed at 3,829.00 STOXX Europe 600 down 0.8% to 412.69 MXAP down 1.3% to 159.96 MXAPJ down 1.6% to 531.04 Nikkei down 0.9% to 26,804.60 Topix down 0.7% to 1,893.57 Hang Seng Index down 1.9% to 21,996.89 Shanghai Composite down 1.4% to 3,361.52 Sensex little changed at 53,204.17 Australia S&P/ASX 200 down 0.9% to 6,700.23 Kospi down 1.8% to 2,377.99 German 10Y yield little changed at 1.59% Euro little changed at $1.0510 Brent Futures down 0.4% to $117.46/bbl Gold spot down 0.2% to $1,816.09 U.S. Dollar Index little changed at 104.55 Top Overnight News from Bloomberg The Fed’s Loretta Mester said she wants to see the benchmark lending rate reach 3% to 3.5% this year and “a little bit above 4% next year” to rein in price pressures even if that tips the economy into a recession The ECB should consider raising interest rates by twice the planned amount next month if the inflation outlook deteriorates, according to Governing Council member Gediminas Simkus, as calls not to exclude an outsized initial move grow ECB has “ample room” to hike in 25bps-50bps steps to “whatever rate we think, we consider reasonable,” Governing Council member Robert Holzmann said in interview with CNBC Swedish consumers are gloomier than they have been since the mid-1990s, as prices surge on everything from fuel to food and furniture China’s President Xi Jinping declared Covid Zero the most “economic and effective” policy for the nation, during a symbolic visit to Wuhan in which he cast the strategy as proof of the superiority of the country’s political system NATO moved one step closer to bolstering its eastern front with Russia after Turkey dropped its opposition to Swedish and Finnish bids to join the military alliance A more detailed look at markets courtesy of Newsquawk Asia-Pac stocks were pressured amid headwinds from the US where disappointing Consumer Confidence data added to the growth concerns. ASX 200 failed to benefit from better than expected Retail Sales and was dragged lower by weakness in miners and tech. Nikkei 225 fell beneath the 27,000 level as industries remained pressured by the ongoing power crunch. Hang Seng and Shanghai Comp. conformed to the negative picture in the region although losses in the mainland were initially stemmed after China cut its quarantine requirements which the National Health Commission caveated was not a relaxation but an optimization to make it more scientific and precise. Top Asian News Chinese President Xi said China's COVID prevention control and strategy is correct and effective and must stick with it, via state media. Shanghai will gradually reopen museums and scenic sports from July 1st, state media reports. US Deputy Commerce Secretary Graves said the US will take a balanced approach on Chinese tariffs and that a clear response on China tariffs is coming soon, according to Bloomberg. China State Council's Taiwan Affairs Office said it firmly opposes the US signing any agreement that has sovereign connotations with Taiwan, according to Global Times. BoJ Governor Kuroda said Japanese Core CPI reached 2.1% in April and May which is almost fully due to international energy prices and Japan's economy has not been affected much by the global inflationary trend so monetary policy will stay accommodative, according to Reuters. Japanese govt to issue power supply shortage warning for a fourth consecutive day on Thursday, according to a statement. European bourses are on the backfoot as the region plays catch-up to the losses on Wall Street yesterday. Sectors are mostly lower (ex-Energy) with a defensive tilt as Healthcare, Consumer Products, Food & Beverages, and Utilities are more cushioned than their cyclical peers. Stateside, US equity futures trade on either side of the unchanged mark with no stand-out performers thus far, with the contracts awaiting the next catalyst. Top European News UK expects defence spending to reach 2.3% of GDP and said PM Johnson will announce new military commitments to NATO, according to Reuters. UK Weighs Capping Maximum Stake in Online Casinos at £5 Europe Is the Only Region Where Earnings Estimates Are Rising European Gas Prices Rise as Supply Risks Add to Storage Concerns Gold Steady as Traders Weigh Fed Comments on US Recession Risks Choppy Start for Euro-Area Bonds on Mixed Inflation FX Dollar mostly bid otherwise as rebalancing demand underpins - DXY pivots 104.500 within 104.700-350 confines. Franc outperforms on rate and risk considerations - Usd/Chf breaches 0.9550 and Eur/Chf approaches parity. Euro erratic in line with conflicting inflation data - Eur/Usd rotates around 1.0500. Aussie and Kiwi undermined by downturn in sentiment - Aud/Usd loses 0.6900+ status, Nzd/Usd wanes from just over 0.6250. Yen rangy following firmer than forecast Japanese retail sales and BoJ Governor Kuroda reaffirming intent to remain accommodative - Usd/Jpy straddles 136.00. Nokkie welcomes oil worker wage agreement with unions to avert strike action, but Sekkie hampered by softer Swedish macro releases pre-Riksbank policy call tomorrow - Eur/Nok probes 10.3000, Eur/Sek hovers around 10.6800. Rand rattled by decline in Gold and ongoing SA power supply problems, but Rouble rallies irrespective of CBR and Russian Economy Ministry divergence over deflation. Central Banks ECB's Lane said there are two-way inflation risks: "on the one side, there could be forces that keep inflation higher than expected for longer. On the other side, we do have the risk of a slowdown in the economy, which would reduce inflationary pressure", via ECB. ECB's Holzmann said "We will have to make an assessment where the economic development is going and where inflation stands and afterwards there’s ample room to hike in 0.25 and 0.5 levels to whatever rate we think, we consider reasonable" via CNBC. ECB's Simkus said if data worsens, then he wants a 50bps July hike as an option, 50bps hike is very likely in September; ECB's fragmentation tool should serve as a deterrent, via Bloomberg. ECB's Herodotou said EZ inflation will peak this year, via CNBC. ECB's Wunsch said government aid may spell more rate hikes, via Bloomberg; 150bps of hikes by March 2023 is reasonable ECB is said to be weighting whether or not they should announce the size and duration of their upcoming bond-buying scheme, according to Reuters sources. Fed's Mester (2022, 2024 voter) said on a path towards restrictive interest rates; July debate between 50bps and 75bps hike, via CNBC. Mester said if inflation expectations become unanchored, monetary policy would have to act more forcefully; current inflation situation is a very challenging one, via Reuters. SARB Governor said a 50bps hike is "not off the table", Via Bloomberg CBR Governor said she does not see risks of deflation; sees room to cut rates; sticking to policy of floating RUB exchange rate. PBoC will step up implementation of prudent monetary policy, will keep liquidity reasonably ample. Fixed Income Bunds unwind all and a bit more of their hefty post-NRW CPI gains as other German states show smaller inflation slowdowns and Spanish HICP soars. Gilts suffer more pronounced fall from grace in relative terms and US Treasuries slip from overnight peaks in sympathy. UK debt and STIRs also await testimony from MPC member elect to see if newbie leans dovish, hawkish or middle of the road 10 year benchmarks settle off worst levels within 147.37-145.14, 112.66-11.85 and 117-12+/116-27 respective ranges awaiting comments from ECB, Fed and BoE heads at Sintra Forum. Commodities WTI and Brent front-month futures traded with no firm direction in early European hours before picking up modestly in recent trade. US Private Inventory (bbls): Crude -3.8mln (exp. -0.6mln), Cushing -0.7mln, Distillate +2.6mln (exp. -0.2mln) and Gasoline +2.9mln (exp. -0.1mln). Norway's Industri Energi and SAFE labour unions agreed a wage deal for oil drilling workers and will not go on strike, according to Reuters. OPEC to start today at 12:00BST/07:00EDT; JMMC on Thursday at 12:00BST/07:00EDT followed by OPEC+ at 12:30BST/07:30EDT, via EnergyIntel. Libya's NOC suspends oil exports from Es Sider port. Spot gold is under some mild pressure as the Buck and Bond yields picked up, with the yellow metal back to near-two-week lows Base metals are mixed but off best levels after President Xi reaffirmed China's COVID stance – LME copper fell back under USD 8,500/t US Event Calendar 07:00: June MBA Mortgage Applications, prior 4.2% 08:30: 1Q PCE Core QoQ, est. 5.1%, prior 5.1% 08:30: 1Q GDP Price Index, est. 8.1%, prior 8.1% 08:30: 1Q Personal Consumption, est. 3.1%, prior 3.1% 08:30: 1Q GDP Annualized QoQ, est. -1.5%, prior -1.5% Central Banks 09:00: Powell Takes Part in Panel Discussion at ECB Forum in Sintra 09:00: Lagarde, Powell, Bailey, Carstens Speak in Sintra 11:30: Fed’s Mester Speaks on Panel at ECB Forum in Sintra 13:05: Fed’s Bullard Makes Introductory Remarks DB's Jim Reid concludes the overnight wrap I'm finishing this off in a taxi on the way to the Eurostar this morning and I made the mistake of telling the driver I was slightly pressed for time. He seems to be taking the racing line everywhere and my motion sickness is kicking in. A little like this car journey, it's been another volatile 24 hours in markets, with a succession of weak data releases raising further questions about how close the US and Europe might be to a recession. That saw equities give up their initial gains to post a decent decline on the day, whilst there was little respite from central bankers either, with sovereign bonds selling off further as multiple speakers doubled down on their hawkish rhetoric. That comes ahead of another eventful day ahead on the calendar, with investors primarily focused on a panel featuring Fed Chair Powell, ECB President Lagarde and BoE Governor Bailey, as well as the flash German CPI print for June, who are the first G7 economy to release their inflation print for the month, which will provide some further clues on how fast central banks will need to move on rate hikes. Just as we go to print the NRW region of Germany has seen CPI print at 7.5% YoY, way below last month's 8.1%. This region is around a quarter of GDP so it could imply the national numbers will be notably softer when we get them later. The energy tax cuts were always going to come through in June so some respite was always possible but at first glance this seems materially below what might have been expected. This comes after a significant sovereign bond selloff in Europe once again yesterday as President Lagarde reiterated the central bank’s determination to bring down inflation, and described inflation pressures that were “broadening and intensifying”. And although Lagarde stuck to the existing script about the ECB raising rates by 25bps at the next meeting, we also heard from Latvia’s Kazaks who said that “front-loading the increase would be a reasonable choice” in the event that the situation with inflation or inflation expectations deteriorates. Lagarde did nod to this in part, saying that if the ECB was “to see higher inflation threatening to de-anchor inflation expectations, or signs of a more permanent loss of economic potential that limits resources availability, we would need to withdraw accommodation more promptly to stamp out the risk of a self-fulfilling spiral.” Separately on fragmentation, Lagarde said that they could “use flexibility in reinvesting redemptions” from PEPP starting July 1 in order to deal with the issue. For now, overnight index swaps are only pricing in a +31.3bps move in July from the ECB, so still closer to 25 than 50 for the time being. Meanwhile the rate priced in by year-end rose also by +7.9bps as investors interpreted the comments in a hawkish light. That supported a further rise in yields, with those on 10yr bunds up another +8.1bps yesterday, following on from their +10.7bps move in the previous session. That’s now almost reversed the -21.9ps move over the previous week, which itself was the third-largest weekly decline in bund yields for a decade, and brought the 10yr yield back up to 1.63%, so not far off its multi-year high of 1.77% seen last week. A similar pattern was seen elsewhere, with 10yr yields on 10yr OATs (+9.6bps), BTPs (+4.2bps) and gilts (+7.2bps) all moving higher too. Things turned near the European close with some poor US data releases piling on to some lacklustre confidence figures in Europe. Earlier in the day the GfK consumer confidence reading from Germany fell to -27.4 (vs. -27.3 expected), taking it to another record low. Separately in France, consumer confidence fell to 82 on the INSEE’s measure (vs. 84 expected), which we haven’t seen since 2013. Then in the US, the Conference Board’s measure fell to 98.7 (vs. 100.0 expected), which is the lowest since February 2021. The Conference Board’s one-year ahead inflation expectations hit a record high of 8.0%, surpassing the June 2008 record of 7.7%, adding to the pessimism. Along with waning confidence, the Richmond Fed’s Manufacturing Index registered a -19, its lowest since the peak onset of the pandemic, versus expectations of -7 and a prior of -9, showing that production data has weakened as well. This put a serious damper on risk sentiment which drove Treasury yields and equities lower intraday during the New York session. 10yr Treasury yields ended down -2.8bps after trading as much as +5.5bps higher during the European session. They are down another -4bps this morning. Concerningly as well, there was a fresh flattening in the Fed’s preferred yield curve indicator (which is 18m3m – 3m), which came down another -9.1bps to 165bps, which is the flattest its been since early March. With that succession of bad news helping to dampen risk appetite, US equities gave up their opening gains to leave the S&P 500 down -2.01% on the day. Tech stocks saw the worst losses, with the NASDAQ (-2.98%) and the FANG+ (-3.74%) seeing even larger declines. And whilst there was a stronger performance in Europe, the STOXX 600 ended the day up just +0.27%, having been as high as +0.95% in the couple of hours before the close. We didn’t hear so much from the Fed ahead of Chair Powell’s appearance today, although New York Fed President Williams said that at the upcoming July meeting “I think 50 to 75 is clearly going to be the debate”. Markets are continuing to price something in between the two, although since the last Fed meeting futures have been consistently closer to 75 than 50, with 69.0 bps right now. Those sharp losses in US equities are echoing across Asia this morning. The Hang Seng (-1.86%) is leading the losses followed by the Kospi (-1.82%), the Nikkei (-1.07%) and the ASX 200 (-1.06%). Over in mainland China, the Shanghai Composite (-0.77%) and the CSI (-0.80%) are slightly out-performing after yesterday’s surprise move by China to slash the quarantine period for inbound travellers (more on this below). Looking ahead, US stock index futures point to a positive opening with contracts on the S&P 500 (+0.18%) and NASDAQ 100 (+0.19%) mildly higher. Earlier today, data released showed that Japan’s retail sales advanced for the third consecutive month in May (+3.6% y/y) but lower than the consensus of +4.0%, but with the previous month's data revised up to +3.1% (vs +2.9% preliminary). Meanwhile, South Korea’s consumer sentiment index (CSI) fell sharply to 96.4 in June (vs 102.6 in May), sliding below the long-term average of 100 for the first time since Feb 2021. Separately, Australia’s retail sales put in another strong performance as it climbed +0.9% m/m in May, surpassing analyst estimates of a +0.4% increase. Oil has fallen back slightly overnight after three sessions of gains with Brent futures down -0.84% at $116.99 and WTI futures (-0.64%) at $111.04/bbl as I type. Just after we went to press yesterday, it was also announced that China would be shortening the required quarantine period for inbound travellers to one week from two. So although China is still very-much committed to a Covid-zero strategy for the time being, this step towards loosening rather than tightening restrictions is an interesting development that helped support Chinese equities in yesterday’s session towards the close which filtered through into early northern hemisphere risk performance. In terms of other data yesterday, there were signs that US house price growth might finally be slowing somewhat, with the S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller index up by +20.4% in April, which is down slightly from the +20.6% gain in March. So still a long way from an absolute decline, but that marks a reversal in the trend after the previous 4 months of rises in the year-on-year measure. To the day ahead now, and the highlight will likely be the panel at the ECB Forum that includes Fed Chair Powell, ECB President Lagarde and BoE Governor Bailey. We’ll also be hearing from ECB Vice President de Guindos, the ECB’s Schnabel, the Fed’s Mester and Bullard, and the BoE’s Dhingra. On the data side, releases include German CPI for June, Euro Area money supply for May, and the final Euro Area consumer confidence reading for June. From the US, we’ll also get the third reading of Q1 GDP. Tyler Durden Wed, 06/29/2022 - 08:00.....»»

Category: smallbizSource: nytJun 29th, 2022

Meet the college basketball player turned US senator who pitched a tax on billionaires like Elon Musk to fund Biden"s economic agenda

Sen. Ron Wyden's optimism is being tested in the 50-50 Senate as he tries to bring Joe Manchin on board. Sen. Ron Wyden is playing a big role trying to revive Biden's economic agenda after a Democratic holdout torpedoed it last year.Ron Wyden; Marianne Ayala/InsiderThe shot-clock is about to hit zero to pass President Joe Biden's economic agenda as the midterm elections draw near. But Sen. Ron Wyden of Oregon says he's far from beaten.Wyden, 72, chairs the Senate Finance Committee, a powerful panel with major sway over tax and health policy. He's spent much of the past year wheeling and dealing on Biden's social- and climate-spending package that's withered in the Senate for over three months.Congress is about to get a closer look at what can happen when an unstoppable force meets an immovable object.The Oregon Democrat is confident he can lock down a holdout standing between the party's failure or victory: Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia, the conservative Democrat who sank the legislation at the end of last year. "I talked to him a few minutes ago," he told Insider at the US Capitol on February 1.Not even 2 1/2 minutes had passed (or the full length of Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell's "Ain't No Mountain High Enough") before Manchin walked past him and killed the bill all over again."What Build Back Better bill?" Manchin told Insider when asked about the future of Biden's economic agenda. "I don't know what you're all talking about.""It's dead," he said, re-emphasizing his opposition to the House bill as if to double-check it had no pulse. Despite Manchin's dismissal, Wyden accepts he has a crucial but uphill battle to revive the Build Back Better plan in some form. He's near the center of the effort to pull the Democratic agenda from the shredder that Manchin threw it in. The midterms are approaching, and voters will likely judge Democrats on pledges to curb prescription drug costs and provide financial relief for families. But the evenly divided Senate has also tested the limits of Wyden's optimism in a chamber where every Democrat is a president with veto power."Rounding up 50 votes in the Senate is not for the faint-hearted," Wyden told Insider in two wide-ranging interviews. "Legislating is not a spectator sport. You've got to be hands-on."Wyden has played a key role in shepherding several COVID-19 relief packages through Congress over the past two years. Those measures briefly expanded the safety net with direct payments and enhanced unemployment insurance to buoy struggling Americans. It demonstrated that the US can reduce poverty even in the middle of one of the worst economic crises since the Great Depression.Now, Wyden's focus is on reviving a bill without any of the chaos and blown deadlines from last fall. The mercurial Manchin says he's open to cutting a deal, floating a summer deadline to pass legislation without committing to it. But Wyden and other Democrats haven't managed yet to sort through the wreckage of their domestic ambitions to assemble another bill that fits his narrow demands.Some Democrats, particularly progressives, are souring on the odds he'll ever vote for anything. "Another week, another Manchin," Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York told Insider in early March. "The moment he's actually willing to do something, I'll be listening. But as long as he's talking about doing something, I don't really have much faith."There are signs of a similar pessimism spilling into Democratic leadership. Sen. Dick Durbin of Illinois, the second-ranked Senate Democrat, openly conceded he had effectively thrown in the towel on the social and climate package. He laid the blame on Manchin and Sen. Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona, another holdout.Rounding up 50 votes in the Senate is not for the faint-hearted. Sen. Ron WydenWyden acknowledged the numerous obstacles still separating Democrats from success on the centerpiece of their economic agenda."This is a uniquely challenging political time," Wyden said, noting war in Ukraine and supply-chain breakdowns at home contributing to the highest inflation in four decades. "I've never seen anything coming at us with this kind of velocity."But Wyden seems determined not to call it quits just yet even with time running short."Ron Wyden is one of the biggest optimists I've ever encountered," Josh Kardon, Wyden's former longtime chief of staff, said in an interview. "He wakes up every morning believing that he can make a difference, even when all the evidence around him suggests that's not so. It's really quite extraordinary."Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia, left, and Wyden before a 2018 Senate committee hearing.Tom Williams/CQ Roll CallThe brigade to put Build Back Better back on trackSince he sided with the GOP to sink most of Biden's economic agenda, Manchin has dropped hints about his priorities. "Just fix the tax code," he said in February. "We have to basically get our financial house in order," he said another time. For Biden and Democrats in Congress, decoding Manchin is comparable to interpreting hieroglyphs — but without a Rosetta Stone to crack the meaning.He sketched out a smaller bill focused on prescription-drug savings, stepping up taxes on the rich, climate-related spending, and deficit reduction. Yet he's grown skeptical of domestic initiatives he views as social programs like affordable childcare. He told Insider in February that he "wants nothing to do with that."Wyden wants to meet him somewhere in the middle. Almost immediately after the talks went off the rails in December, the Oregon Democrat outlined a possible alternative centered on Obamacare subsidies to reduce the price of health insurance, cutting prescription drug costs, and clean-energy tax credits.There has been occasional speculation that Manchin could switch parties. But Wyden thinks negotiations with the conservative Democrat have been in good faith. "We all get an election certificate to represent the people in our state," he said.He's kept hitting the phones and dialed up fellow Democrats on reviving the party's broader agenda. Sens. Ed Markey of Massachusetts, Patty Murray of Washington, Jeff Merkley of Oregon, Sheldon Whitehouse of Rhode Island, Tom Carper of Delaware, and Sherrod Brown of Ohio are a few members forming a Build Back Better brigade to put the bill back on track, Democratic aides and offices said."My wife in fact said, 'Is there any day when these discussions about these next efforts on health and climate don't take place?'" Wyden said in late February. "I said, 'They're every day.' I've been in several today already. And it's only 5 o'clock, and I got probably two more to go."Sen. Elizabeth Warren, left, and Wyden at the US Capitol.Drew Angerer/Getty ImagesThe Democratic two-step on chasing billionaire wealthAmong Wyden's top responsibilities is designing a litany of new taxes on the richest Americans and large corporations to finance the suite of climate, health, and childcare programs. But he's faced a familiar Democratic two-step on many of his ideas, including one of his biggest hopes: taxing billionaires.Wyden pitched ambitious tax plans through 2021, such as a tax on carbon emissions and ending the step-up loophole.  But fellow Democrats nixed them one-by-one. Then Sinema closed the door on rolling back swaths of the 2017 GOP tax cuts, depriving the party's plans of about $700 billion in new revenue from raising individual and corporate rates.The last-minute scramble for cash led Wyden to dust off what's perhaps his most audacious plan that had been in the works for two years.In the fall, he unveiled a billionaires' income tax to finance a large chunk of the package, targeting about 700 of the richest Americans who tend to park growing fortunes in tradable assets like stocks. The tax would apply to all the gains in value on those investments from the time they were first purchased.The novel plan took a cue from Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, who pushed a wealth tax on the superrich during her 2020 presidential campaign that proved popular with voters.But Wyden's plan didn't get a warm reception among his colleagues: Plenty of Democrats treaded cautiously around the largely untested measure, and a few powerful ones assailed it. Manchin branded it as divisive within hours, and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi privately slammed it as a "public-relations stunt."Wyden also made a rival out of a tech titan. Tesla CEO Elon Musk unleashed vulgar attacks on Wyden and other prominent Democrats as the party debated his billionaire-tax proposal. That measure would have slapped Musk with a $10 billion annual tax bill over the first five years. He brushed off Musk. "I knew a long time ago that people say stuff online that can't exactly go into the old-fashioned community newspaper," Wyden said. "I just do my job. I've got my hands full trying to get stuff done that helps people."Biden recently unveiled a billionaire tax proposal of his own, the first time the White House had drafted a plan specifically aimed at some of the richest people in America. Wyden was on board. But it was dead within 12 hours after Manchin came out against it.To make up some of the lost revenue, Wyden is looking overseas to domestic companies paying little or no taxes if they're headquartered abroad."He's put together a very solid revenue package," Sen. Mark Warner of Virginia, a member of the Senate Finance Committee, told Insider. "If and when we get something through, it'll have a lot of those international components."From left, Democratic Sens. Debbie Stabenow, Wyden, and Chuck Schumer and Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo attend a press conference about supply-chain issues.Joshua Roberts/Getty Images'He's just situated impossibly'Democrats can go only so far with needle-thin majorities. They don't have a vote to spare in the Senate after their surprise victories in the 2021 Georgia runoffs handed them control of the White House and Congress for the first time in a decade. Democrats control the 50-50 upper chamber with a tie-breaking vote from Vice President Kamala Harris.The party also holds only a three-seat House majority. The near-unanimity needed to pass legislation means they're bound to settle for much less than the original aim to strengthen the American welfare state and invest enormous sums on healthcare, education, clean energy, and tax credits for low-income families."Wyden is trying to deal with the fact that the Senate is composed of 50 Republicans who will always say no," Steve Rosenthal, a senior fellow at the Tax Policy Center, said in an interview. "And can he bring along Sinema, Manchin, and a few other Democrats in a direction that advances the Democratic agenda?" Rosenthal added: "He's just situated impossibly.""Chairman Wyden knows how to reach a deal," said Kardon, now a partner at the lobbying firm Capitol Counsel. "He learned long ago not to allow the perfect be the enemy of the good."The party's first big priority after the 2020 elections was muscling through a $1.9 trillion stimulus law to pump fresh money to Americans, hospitals, and state and local governments. Wyden initially sought to restore the $600-per-week unemployment insurance established early in the pandemic. He calculated the original amount — meant to fully replace a worker's lost wages — on his iPhone in a meeting with then-Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin in March 2020.He settled for less, and Democrats nearly lost the whole package due to Manchin's 11th hour demands to cut federal unemployment benefits. "This is the best that can be done for people who are hurting now," Wyden said in an interview at the time."He's cared about this stuff," Sen. Michael Bennet of Colorado, an architect of the expanded child tax credit, said in an interview. "He's done it because he's passionate about trying to make the tax code fair for working people and for families."No Republican in either chamber voted for the package, foreshadowing their unified opposition to the Build Back Better plan. The ongoing partisan warfare has prompted Wyden to grow more circumspect on the big bipartisan compromises he once sought."It's always a heavy lift. It's clearly much harder today," Wyden said. But on restricting prescription-drug costs, there might be a brief window of opportunity. Sen. Chuck Grassley of Iowa, a senior Republican on the Senate Finance panel, told Insider he believed a bipartisan agreement can be struck while Democrats still control Congress. He teamed up with Wyden on a drug bill in 2019. But it didn't go anywhere, partly because Mitch McConnell, then the Senate majority leader, sabotaged his efforts."We know what the situation is in the Congress of the United States when you put Republicans and Democrats together," Grassley said. "Even if Republicans control the Congress next time, there's going to be a lot of new members. I know what we got now, and we ought to move now."From left, Sens. Max Baucus, Mike Crapo, and Wyden speak at the US Capitol in December 2012. Baucus was the last Democrat before Wyden to serve as Senate finance chair.Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call'The value of having a gavel'Congress today couldn't be more different from the one that a lanky, younger Wyden first stepped into. A former college basketball player and the son of a journalist, Wyden was first elected to the House in 1980. He later became the first US senator to win an election conducted entirely by mail in 1996.In the Senate, Wyden carved out a profile as a liberal unafraid to work with Republicans. Over the years, he's partnered with Sen. Lisa Murkowski of Alaska on campaign-finance reform, former Rep. Jason Chaffetz on GPS privacy, and former GOP Sens. Orrin Hatch of Utah and Bob Bennett of Utah on healthcare reform. After President Barack Obama took office in 2009, Democrats saw a once-in-a-generation opportunity to push through healthcare reform.Wyden reintroduced legislation alongside Republicans like Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina to secure universal healthcare for Americans by expanding private insurance. Though the plan gathered dust, its guardrails preventing insurers from denying coverage to people with pre-existing conditions ended up in what became the Affordable Care Act, the law that expanded health coverage to many Americans.Wyden's chief of staff at the time thinks that era formed a valuable learning experience the senator still draws from.Democrats overcame Republican opposition and internal splits to forge the ACA. Sen. Max Baucus of Montana, the last Democratic chair of the Senate Finance Committee before Wyden, tried courting a handful of GOP votes for Obama's healthcare plan only for it to sputter out. Then Wyden fought with Baucus to make the law more ambitious in scope. But Baucus won out, helped get the bill over the finish line and signed into law in March 2010. "I think the senator above all learned the value of having a gavel," Kardon said of Wyden."As chairman, it remains to be seen what can be accomplished in this particular environment in a bipartisan fashion," Kardon said. "But those skills also have lent themselves to his dealings with the more conservative side of his caucus."Wyden takes the stage to speak at the "Time to Deliver" Home Care Workers rally and march on November 16 in Washington, DC.Jemal Countess/Getty Images for SEIUWyden's willpowerThe economy is in far better shape compared to a year ago. In 2021, the economy grew at its fastest rate since the Reagan years, creating a record 6.4 million jobs with wages rising at their fastest pace in years. But inflation is wiping out those pay increases and surveys indicate that Americans are souring on the economy.Democrats face enormous challenges hanging onto their narrow majorities this year — and Wyden is warning of blowback if the party fails to keep its campaign promises. I've never seen anything coming at us with this kind of velocity. Ron Wyden"My point has been, 'Senators, how many times have we promised that we were going to get serious about holding down the cost of medicine?" Wyden said in a Zoom interview, banging his fist on the desk. "How do you keep a straight face when you go home if you're not serious about doing this?" Other Democrats are keenly aware of the high stakes, particularly if they end up losing the House, Senate, or both. "We're not giving up," Sen. Sherrod Brown of Ohio said in a brief interview. "There's too many important things."For now, Wyden is taking a lead role in bipartisan efforts to revoke trade relations with Russia, a step that essentially treats the country as an international pariah. He doesn't intend to sit around like a "potted plant" while Manchin makes up his mind about casting a vote on a smaller climate and energy bill."Every single day, he wakes up, reads about eight newspapers, starts quizzing his staff, and tries to figure out how to move the ball," Kardon said. "That's who the guy is." Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: dealsSource: nytApr 1st, 2022

On the Tesla production line: Dozens of former employees say they faced catcalls, groping, slurs, and harassment on the job

Forty-six lawsuits allege employees were targeted, harassed, and in some cases physically assaulted based on their gender and race. Paul Hennessy/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images; iStock; Rebecca Zisser/Insider In 46 lawsuits, former and current employees allege they were targeted and harassed based on gender and race. Tesla has pushed back and filed to move the majority of the cases to private arbitration. Seven experts told Insider the number of lawsuits should be a cause for concern for the carmaker. Alisa Blickman said her coworkers rated women, took photos of a female colleague's back-side, and made comments like, "I'd like to bend her over and spread her cheeks." Alex Corella said his colleagues called him "homophobic slurs" and joked that he performed oral sex on his supervisor. Terrance Dobbins said workers told him he worked at the "KFC and watermelon patch." They also made "sexually and racially offensive statements," including jokes about "pegging," he said.And Jessica Brooks said "catcalls" and groping got so bad on the job that she started stacking boxes around her workstation "to discourage men from coming and whistling at and ogling her."These are just a handful of accounts from more than 40 lawsuits filed against Tesla by former and current employees in the past five years alleging the company fosters a sexist and racist work culture. Tesla is currently attempting to push three of the cases, and many others, into private arbitration. Dobbins' case was moved into arbitration in September. Tesla founder Elon Musk built the electric-car maker as part of his utopian vision for the future. The company's cars save lives, Musk has said, and he's set out to revolutionize manufacturing, describing an "alien dreadnought" dream factory, where all parts of the carmaking process are automated. But for now, Tesla must rely on its army of workers, some of whom say these futuristic dreams are stifled in a "Jim Crow Era," "frat house" environment that allows discrimination to fester.Together, the lawsuits paint a picture of a workplace where slurs, groping, and threats were commonplace, and where the human-resources department regularly failed to address workers' concerns. In some cases, employees who turned to management for help said they were reprimanded or terminated, according to the lawsuits."After almost three years of experiencing all the harassment, it robs your sense of security — it almost dehumanizes you," Jessica Barraza, who filed a lawsuit against Tesla in November saying she was sexually harassed on a "near-daily" basis, told The Washington Post. (Insider attempted to contact all of the former employees cited in this story, and they either declined to comment or did not respond.) Tesla has filed to push the case into private arbitration.Musk did not respond to requests for comment. "Tesla believes that the appropriate place to respond is before the tribunal that will hear the actual facts and evidence, not in the press," Tesla said in a statement to Insider, declining to comment on individual cases.In the vast majority of the lawsuits, the carmaker has fought back and pushed for private arbitration. At least three cases have been dismissed and three more have been settled in court. Most others have been moved to private arbitration or are pending a hearing on Tesla's motion to compel arbitration. Meanwhile, Tesla said in October that it is actively working to "ensure that every employee feels that they can bring their whole self to work."While Tesla has largely been successful in deflecting the lawsuits and preventing settlement details from being publicized over the past five years, there are signs of cracks in its armor. The company lost two high-profile discrimination cases — one in court and one in private arbitration — last year, and it's now facing government scrutiny.An aerial view of the Tesla factory in Fremont, California.Justin Sullivan/Getty ImagesA flurry of lawsuits at FremontTesla's sprawling 5.3-million-square-foot factory in Fremont, California, is the company's largest manufacturing hub, where it produces hundreds of thousands of electric cars each year that sell for $46,990 to over $130,000. More than 10,000 employees work at the plant and face ambitious production targets as Tesla pushes to scale production by roughly 50% a year.In 2021, the Fremont factory cranked out 8,550 cars per week — more vehicles than any other automotive production plant in North America, according to a report from Bloomberg. Tesla is planning to ramp up production in the coming year with new factories, and the Fremont hub is designed to serve as the model for its future plants.As Tesla's output and workforce have grown, so have the number of lawsuits it faces from its workers. More sexual-harassment and racial-discrimination lawsuits appear to have been filed against Tesla in 2021 than any year since it was founded 18 years ago, according to an Insider review of 46 lawsuits against Tesla, over 60% of which involve the factory. In many of these cases, women and people of color said they faced racist and sexist behavior. Seven legal and labor experts told Insider that the sheer number of lawsuits against Tesla should be a cause for concern for the carmaker. "It's an astounding number for a factory with 10,000 workers," said Lisa Bloom, a California lawyer who has advised high-profile clients including Harvey Weinstein and taken on cases against Donald Trump, Bill O'Reilly, and Jeffrey Epstein. Bloom also told Insider she's had conversations with a Tesla customer considering legal action against the company. "Most people who are victims of verbal or physical abuse are hesitant to come forward," she said. "These kinds of lawsuits point to a deeper endemic problem and are likely the tip of the iceberg."Deborah Gordon, a Detroit lawyer who has worked on sexual-harassment lawsuits against companies in the United Auto Workers union, told Insider that automotive factories typically face up to a handful of sexual harassment and racial-discrimination cases per year. In an analysis of seven automotive manufacturing plants in the US that have similar workforce populations and production levels to Tesla's Fremont factory — including Toyota's facility in Georgetown, Kentucky (9,000 workers), BMW's in Spartanburg, South Carolina (11,000 workers), Nissan's in Smyrna, Tennessee (7,000 workers), Ford's in Kansas City, Missouri (7,000 workers), Hyundai's in Montgomery Alabama (3,000 workers), Stellantis' in Sterling Heights, Michigan (6,800 workers), and General Motors' in Spring Hill, Tennessee (3,200 workers) — Insider found a range of zero to 10 racial discrimination and sexual harassment cases filed against each facility across county, state, and federal courts over the past five years. Like Tesla, all six companies require employees to sign mandatory arbitration clauses, which could keep cases out of public view.Tesla pushed back on Bloom's characterization of the number as "astounding" in a statement to Insider, saying competitors have been "sued for discrimination many more times than Tesla over the last five years.""The claim that Tesla faces an unusual volume of suits is inaccurate and misleading," the spokesperson said."Your attempt to analyze at the plant level is not a fair comparison, given that the Fremont factory is not only the largest auto assembly plant in the nation, but also has the largest US workforce," Tesla added. "Comparing assembly plants with only a few thousand workers in states such as Kentucky, Ohio, and Tennessee to Tesla's Fremont factory – located in a jurisdiction with one of the highest rates of litigation – does not make sense. Based on these differences alone, a fair review of publicly available data does not support the assertions of your experts," Tesla added.A GM spokesperson told Insider in a statement that Tesla's comment on competitors' case numbers is also "inaccurate and misleading" and that "GM has zero tolerance for workplace harassment and discrimination in any form."A Toyota spokesperson told Insider, "not a single employee has filed a lawsuit alleging sexual harassment or racial/gender discrimination" at the company's largest US facility in Georgetown, Kentucky over the past five years. A Stellantis spokesperson said, "There is absolutely no truth to Tesla's comments about the Sterling Heights Assembly Plant or any other plant within Stellantis' manufacturing footprint." Ford, BMW, Nissan, and Hyundai did not respond to a request for comment on the number of racial discrimination and sexual harassment lawsuits that have been filed against them. While GM, Ford, and Stellantis are unionized in the US, Tesla's workforce is not, and Musk himself has had scathing words for UAW and unions in general — a factor Gordon said could be contributing to the worker complaints."The UAW is very active in addressing these types of issues," Gordon said. "They simply do not tolerate it. Verbal harassment is fairly common in a factory setting, but a union adds a layer of protection for workers. It allows grievances to be heard and readily addressed."Men represent 79% of Tesla's total workforce and 83% of leadership, the carmaker said in a 2020 report. Vicki Schultz, a labor expert at Yale Law School, told Insider that a lack of diversity in a company's workforce is a major "risk factor" for sexual harassment."The dominant group will use sexual or racial harassment to show others that they don't belong," Schultz said.Tesla has said it is a "majority-minority" company. People of color make up about 60% of the company's total workforce, according to Tesla's latest diversity report. But while Black workers make up 10% of the US workforce, they hold only 4% of roles at the director level or higher. Tesla has not provided specific demographics for the Fremont factory.Some supervisors harassed workers, lawsuits sayMichala Curran said that during her first week at Tesla, her supervisor told her to "shake her ass," become an exotic dancer, and tried to slap her backside."I just felt scared not knowing who to run to," Curran, a former production associate in the paint department, told The Washington Post. "Knowing there's nothing but males around me — not knowing if they might have the same mind-set of the supervisor."Curran is one of 24 women who have sued Tesla in the past five years alleging that they were sexually harassed, groped, or physically assaulted, and in some cases denied pay raises and promotions. Most of the plaintiffs formerly worked at the Fremont factory. Over two dozen former employees' lawsuits said their supervisors harassed them. Tesla has filed a motion to compel Curran's case into private arbitration and the decision is pending a court hearing in May. The remaining 23 cases have been moved to private arbitration or are pending a hearing on Tesla's motion to compel arbitration.Some workers' lawsuits described supervisors' behavior as threatening. Kristin Ortiz, a sales representative, said her supervisor would stalk her, invite her to change clothes in front of him, call her "the eye candy of the store" and on one occasion "kissed her on the cheek," according to a lawsuit. Erica Cloud said in a separate suit that her manager's behavior caused her to "fear for her safety," as he would "hug and massage her" and refer to his penis, saying he is "big down there." Cloud reported the behavior to HR and within several months was no longer required to work with the manager, according to her suit. Another former employee, Dominique Keeton, alleged in a lawsuit that her direct supervisor sent her text messages saying that he wanted to be "intimate" with her and "regularly used racial slurs and white-power language to degrade, belittle, ridicule, and dehumanize her." Ortiz, Cloud, and Keeton's cases have been moved into private arbitration.Over a dozen employees' lawsuits said their supervisors threatened their employment, and in seven cases fired them, after they rejected sexual advances or reported racist and sexist behavior to the company.A Tesla Model 3 is assembled at the Fremont, California, factory.Mason Trinca/The Washington PostBlickman, an assembly-line worker, said in a suit that her supervisor threatened to send her to "one of the least desirable working areas" when she was not responsive to his "sexual advances," which included "daily" back rubs and statements like, "I hear you don't like to scream loud enough."Under federal and state civil-rights laws, employers are required to take reasonable steps to prevent workplace harassment. If a company has no way for employees to report harassment or does nothing to stop the harassment once it's reported, for example, it can be held liable in court. It's also illegal for a company to fire an employee just because they reported being harassed.Tesla HR ignored complaints, some workers saidSome Tesla workers said they tried to turn to the company's HR department for help but were ignored or reprimanded. Eden Mederos said in a lawsuit that Tesla workers at her service station in California often joked the company's HR function was nonexistent. She said she struggled to find contact information for the department after experiencing what she called "near-daily" harassment from coworkers, including her supervisor. After she reported it, the company held a meeting where she said the supervisor called her a "liar" and an HR rep called her accusations "aggressive," according to her suit. Mederos' attorney, David Lowe, told Insider the case has been moved to another county court and he anticipates Tesla will push for the case to be moved to private arbitration.Of 46 lawsuits Insider reviewed, plaintiffs in 13 cases said that verbal, written, or emailed reports sent to HR resulted in either no action or minimal follow-up. Twenty-two former employees said they were fired after reaching out to HR.DeWitt Lambert's attorney, Lawrence Organ, told Insider that Lambert presented HR with a video in which another worker called him the N-word 22 times and detailed how he would "chop up parts of his body." Lambert said he faced retaliation after reporting the incident and that HR "failed to investigate and reprimand the harassers." The same video also failed to convince a private arbitrator, who said a case could not be made against Tesla for allowing employees to use the N-word when Lambert used it himself, Organ told Insider."I feel like everything was taken away from me," Lambert told The New York Times. "I got everything snatched from up under me since I complained about it."Tesla's legal counsel argued that Lambert's filing involved "misplaced claims of employment discrimination, harassment, and retaliation" and that the dispute should be settled in arbitration, where it was ultimately dismissed.A February lawsuit and three-year investigation into Tesla's HR practices by a California civil-rights regulator found that the company's human-resources department was "under-staffed and inadequately trained" with the ratio of HR workers to personnel 1-to-740. For comparison, the Society of Human Resources Management, the profession's leading member association, estimates that companies in the US average over two HR employees per every 100 full-time workers. Tesla has said it is working to improve training for its employees."We recently rolled out an additional training program that reinforces Tesla's requirement that all employees must treat each other with respect and reminds employees about the numerous ways they can report concerns, including anonymously," Tesla said on its website.Some former employees said Tesla HR personnel were hostile toward them. Malaisha Bivens said in a lawsuit that she met with an unidentified person she assumed was an HR representative after she reported that a fellow employee touched her inappropriately. This person "threatened" her in a "harsh tone," and said "she would be fired if she was lying about the incident," according to Bivens' lawsuit. HR did not follow up about an investigation into her complaint, her lawsuit said. The case has been moved to private arbitration.Another former employee, Kaylen Barker, said in a lawsuit that Tesla human resources asked her to sign a statement saying she was "insubordinate" after she reported that a coworker referred to her using the N-word and a sexist insult while also calling her "stupid" and "dumb" before throwing a "hot tool" at her. Tesla has yet to submit a response to the case."At a big company the expectation is that the HR department has a significant responsibility to ensure the law is not being broken," Gordon said. "Based on my experience, HR departments are not completely neutral, but usually at major companies they make a concerted effort to make sure rules are followed."Tesla's HR team appeared to take action against harassers in a small fraction of the lawsuits reviewed by Insider. Only four cases cited instances in which alleged harassers faced repercussions, including termination and being reassigned to another department, after physical altercations, according to the complaints.The CEO set the tone, some workers say Musk is known for his hands-on approach in guiding Tesla. In 2018, the CEO said he would sleep on the factory floor and work over 120 hours a week.Musk's leadership style led several workers who filed lawsuits to believe that he knew about what they called a "hostile work environment" at the Fremont factory."We've had multiple witnesses that can speak to Musk's presence at the factory, at least during the time of Lambert and Diaz's cases," said Organ, who represents several former workers in cases against Tesla. "It would be very hard to believe that he doesn't know about the behavior at the factory, and yet it doesn't seem like there's been a clear message from Musk that this conduct is not tolerated."Of the cases Organ has worked on, one has been dismissed, one is ongoing, and two have won against Tesla — one in court and the other in private arbitration.Four claimants said they contacted Musk directly about their complaints, while two more alleged his behavior on Twitter indirectly contributed toward their harassment.Tesla CEO Elon Musk in Delaware.Matt Rourke/AP PhotoMarcus Vaughn, a former employee, said he was one of multiple Black employees who contacted Musk regarding "repeated instances of race-based harassment" in 2017. Vaughn and more than 100 other former Tesla workers who are Black sued the company in a class action. In response, Musk sent an email to Fremont factory workers addressing harassment at Tesla, according to Vaughn's suit."Part of not being a huge jerk is considering how someone might feel who is part of [a] historically less represented group," Musk wrote in the email, according to the suit. "Sometimes these things happen unintentionally, in which case you should apologize. In fairness, if someone is a jerk to you, but sincerely apologizes, it is important to be thick-skinned and accept that apology."The class action suit was dismissed in 2021. The automaker's counsel successfully argued "that the court should deny class certification because Tesla policy and practice is that Tesla employees are bound by the Tesla arbitration agreement."Vaughn's case is ongoing in Alameda County Court. Tesla has repeatedly pushed to move the case into private arbitration and has said the suit "fails to state facts sufficient to constitute a cause of action against" Tesla. Organ claims Vaughn never signed the carmaker's mandatory arbitration agreement and the continued motions to compel arbitration are an "effort to stall."Musk is also known for his active online presence, in particular his Twitter persona — which ranks among the most-followed accounts on the site. The Tesla CEO's tweets frequently spawn headlines and in some cases scrutiny from financial regulators. Two female Tesla ex-employees pointed to instances in which they said Musk's behavior on Twitter contributed indirectly to their harassment, including recent tweets from the CEO in which he made a joke about creating a college with the acronym "TITS," and dubbed his Tesla car models "S3XY." Opening 'the floodgates'Tesla's mandatory-arbitration clause, which requires most employees to bring their claims in private arbitration instead of public court, makes it difficult to know the details of all allegations against the company. In September, Bloomberg reported that almost 90 employment-related private arbitration complaints had been filed against Tesla since 2016. The company won 11 of those cases and lost only one. Most were settled, withdrawn, or dismissed, according to Bloomberg. Melvin Berry, a former employee, is the only known person to win a discrimination case against Tesla in arbitration. He secured a $1 million settlement in August after a private arbitrator determined the company failed to stop Berry's supervisors from calling him the N-word. The carmaker denied the allegations in Berry's case, saying Tesla "is absolutely against any form of discrimination, harassment, or unfair treatment of any kind." Tesla has not appealed the case.Then, in October, a San Francisco federal jury ruled that Tesla must pay over $137 million in punitive damages to a former Tesla contractor, Owen Diaz. Diaz said his supervisor helped create a hostile work environment for Black workers by distributing racist sketches at work.The company is in the process of challenging the verdict, saying the award "bears no relationship to the actual evidence at trial." Helen Rella, a New York labor lawyer, told Insider a successful lawsuit, especially a landmark case like Diaz's, could "open the floodgates" — an issue that Tesla board members have expressed concern over in the past."Just because there is more than one complaint against a company it does not necessarily indicate that the complaints are justified, but it certainly provides the opportunity for more workers to come forward," Rella said. "Once a lawyer has one employee who's willing to sue, it's much easier to find more."Tesla also alluded to this, telling Insider that many of the lawsuits "have been brought by a handful of plaintiffs' lawyers who actively solicit Tesla workers in an effort to enrich themselves, and then often plant the same sensationalized, unadjudicated allegations to get yet more clients for self-enrichment."Organ told Insider meanwhile that over 950 former and current Tesla employees have reached out to him with racial-discrimination claims against the carmaker.Meanwhile, Tesla faces another looming legal battle.In February, the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing sued the company over allegations of systemic racial discrimination and harassment at its Fremont factory. The civil-rights agency said it had received "hundreds of complaints from workers."Tesla called the lawsuit an attack against "the last remaining automobile manufacturer in California," and said that it "always disciplined and terminated employees who engage in misconduct, including those who use racial slurs or harass others in different ways.""Tesla's brand, purportedly highlighting a socially conscious future, masks the reality of a company that profits from an army of production workers, many of whom are people of color, working under egregious conditions," California said in its complaint. "Even after years of complaints, Tesla has continued to deflect and evade responsibility."Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderMar 23rd, 2022

Check out the rare Apple memorabilia that just auctioned for hundreds of thousands of dollars, from a high school yearbook signed by Steve Jobs to an autographed note he wrote to a 6-year-old

Items included a table card from Steve Jobs' 30th birthday celebration, a poem he wrote in a classmate's yearbook, and candid shots of him in college. Sal Veder/AP Many pieces of memorabilia from Apple's early days and Steve Jobs' life and career just sold at auction. They include a poem Jobs wrote in a classmate's high school yearbook, candid photos of him in college, and an autographed note to a 6-year-old. Take a look at some of the relics, which fetched hundreds of thousands of dollars altogether. Several pieces of memorabilia from Apple's early days were just sold at auction.Mike Segar/ReutersThe auction, called "The Steve Jobs Revolution: Engelbart, Atari, and Apple," is listed on RR Auction. It ended Thursday.The auction included relics from late Apple cofounder Steve Jobs' life and career, such as autographed notes, candid shots of him as a college freshman, his early business cards, and even a poem he wrote in a high school classmate's yearbook in 1971.Justin Sullivan / Staff / Getty ImagesHere's a closer look at some of the memorabilia that just fetched hundreds of thousands of dollars altogether.Sal Veder/APThere's a rare Apple check from 1976 in the amount of $3,430 for Apple-1 parts. It's signed by Jobs and fellow Apple cofounder Steve Wozniak.Mike Segar/ReutersJobs' application for employment at Atari was also up for auction.RR AuctionThe auction featured several relics signed by Jobs, including this copy of the premiere issue of Macworld magazine from February 1984 that shows him on the cover.RR AuctionThe auction had a handful of Jobs' early business cards, including this one believed to date back to 1978 or 1979 ...RR Auction... and this one, in color, from around 1983.RR AuctionThere was also this card with Buzz Lightyear from Jobs' tenure at Pixar.Mike Segar/ReutersJobs had written his phone number and license plate on the back of the card to exchange with a woman after she accidentally rear-ended his Mercedes sedan in the early 1990s, according to the letter of provenance accompanying the card.One of the lots in the auction featured a note Jobs wrote to a 6-year-old in 1982 at the request of the boy's father.RR AuctionHe wrote: "When I was 6 years old we didn't have computers. You're lucky. Keep learning about computers and how they are going to help us communicate with each other. You are our future."Another item auctioned was this table card from Jobs' 30th birthday celebration in San Francisco in February 1985.RR AuctionCiting an old Hindu proverb, it reads: "For the first thirty years of your life; you make your habits. For the last thirty years of your life, your habits make you." The card goes on to say, "You've helped me acquire my habits (good and bad). Thank you for joining me tonight to celebrate thirty more years of living with them." At the bottom of the card is a polka-dotted bowtie.One of Jobs' high school classmates contributed her 1971 yearbook, which Jobs signed with a poem, to the auction.RR Auction"When this you see, remember me, Little else can I say, remember me, as you may," he wrote. Jobs was a junior at the time.RR AuctionBesides Jobs, the auction also included several items and photos signed by Wozniak.Lachlan Cunningham/Getty ImagesThere was this Apple computer keyboard, signed "Woz" in the top right ...RR Auction... as well as this glossy photo of the Apple-1 computer, also signed by Woz.RR AuctionAnother item in the auction is this note to a person named Charles from Wozniak, who, in a rare instance, signs his full name.RR AuctionBidders also found several early Apple devices in the auction, including this original Macintosh 128K computer from 1984.RR AuctionYou can find the full list of items from the auction here.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderMar 18th, 2022

How China turned a Tiananmen Square memorial into one of the most sought-after sculptures in the world

The "Pillar of Shame" was meant to spread all around the world. It didn't — until now, thanks to its removal in Hong Kong. Danish sculptor Jens Galschiøt (right) with a Pillar of Shame.Mikkel Møller for Insider Last December, Hong Kong removed the Pillar of Shame, a memorial to the Tiananmen Square massacre. The removal only increased the monument's fame – and brought a flood of requests for replicas.  Creator Jens Galschiøt gave up his copyright to the sculpture, enabling 3D printers to make copies. HONG KONG – In the 1990s, a Danish sculptor launched an audacious project to pepper the earth with copies of a grotesque sculpture that depicted human bodies wreathed together in pain. The monument, known as the "Pillar of Shame," is constructed out of bronze, copper or concrete and stands atop a square plinth. It rises about 8 meters, or 26 feet, in all. Its creator, Jens Galschiøt, envisioned it as a "Nobel Prize of Injustice" and vowed to place replicas of the pillar all over the world to mark acts of genocide and murder. For a time, Galschiøt's effort was something of a success. He installed a copy of the pillar in Hong Kong in 1997 to commemorate the Tiananmen Square massacre, in which Chinese troops killed hundreds if not thousands of peaceful pro-democracy protesters. He landed a second copy in Mexico in 1999 to commemorate the slaughter of Indigenous people and a third in Brazil in 2000 to honor landless peasants killed by military police. But then the project stalled. For over two decades, it seemed no one was interested in getting a Pillar of Shame — that is, until now.These days, the 67-year-old sculptor is so inundated with requests for copies of his signature artwork that he needs a full-time apprentice just to manage the endless stream of emails and phone calls. He's being sought out for art exhibitions, speeches, interviews, and new Pillar of Shame installations around the world. At Galschiøt's foundry, about two hours outside of Copenhagen, Denmark, his team is working overtime to cast replicas of various sizes. He has also invited artists everywhere to help meet the demand for replicas by using 3D-printing technologies and a free blueprint of the sculpture."The Pillar of Shame in miniature.Mikkel Møller for InsiderThe spark that led to an explosion of interest in Galschiøt's project came in October, when Hong Kong University  ordered that the Pillar of Shame be removed from its longtime home on the school's campus — part of a larger effort to erase any public commemoration of the Tiananmen Square massacre.The sculpture's removal, carried out in the dead of night two days before Christmas, accomplished its goal of eliminating the controversial monument from public view. But it also unleashed something unexpected: China and Hong Kong authorities gave Galschiøt's struggling art project the sort of publicity that no amount of money and PR firms could buy. Galschiøt's Pillar of Shame was suddenly being discussed in The Washington Post and The New York Times and in outlets in Thailand, Iceland, Brazil, Turkey, Nigeria, Norway, Ireland, Germany, and Indonesia, to name just a few."They have made a big mistake," Galschiøt said in an interview. "Now, instead of one, they're getting hundreds of Pillars of Shame."A group of former US government officials is working to erect a full-size replica in front of the Chinese Embassy in Washington, DC. In Norway, there's a request to display a replica near the Nobel Peace Center in Oslo. In Taiwan, a pro-democracy group plans to unveil a 3D-printed model by June 4 to mark the 33rd anniversary of the Tiananmen Square massacre. An artists collective is planning to organize a worldwide tour with Galschiøt's pillar to raise awareness of Hong Kong's struggle for democracy.Makerwiz 3D-printing studio in Richmond Hill, Ontario. Source: Makerwiz.Galschiøt is also making smaller, 8.5-foot replicas in copper that he aims to hoist on top of plinths with plates dedicated to Tiananmen victims and Hong Kong's pro-democracy movement, installing them at universities. For everyone else — volunteers at his workshop and ordinary people who are inspired by Galschiøt's vision, or perhaps his tenacity — he has finished a batch of 60 bronze copies that are about a foot tall. He's working on another 40. "There's a lot of people who ask for a copy of that sculpture now," Galschiøt said.The nascent efforts are a cautionary tale of what happens when regimes try to censor art. "The rulers, tyrants know the power of art. That's why artists, poets, and musicians are the first ones they persecute and even kill," said Rose Tang, a Tiananmen survivor and artist. But, as one 3D printer who recently replicated Galschiøt's sculpture put it, "ideas can never be suppressed." Galschiøt's Pillar of Shame is finally an idea whose time has come. Except, rather than commemorating atrocities in spots across the globe, the monument now seems poised to become synonymous with one event above all others: the Tiananmen Square massacre and China's efforts to erase it from memory. A witness For more than two decades, anyone who visited the western edge of Hong Kong University's winding Pok Fu Lam campus would inevitably bump into Galschiøt's Pillar of Shame. It was situated off a major campus walkway, boxed inside a narrow atrium next to a popular student canteen. (Disclosure: The author teaches at Hong Kong University's journalism program.) As you looked up from your meal, your eyes would fall upon the Eiffel Tower-like heap of some 50 twisted bodies screaming in pain. Many of the faces looked like cadavers that had already breathed their last while others appeared to be in the act of dying; a man clutching a baby looked as if he was running away from some danger. Layers of thick orange paint flowed from the top down, turning yellow and peeling in places, giving the whole mass the hellish appearance of a pile of burning human flesh. The inscription "THE TIANANMEN MASSACRE" was etched in thick, blood-red letters on one side of the square base, above the date June 4, 1989. Directly to the left was another inscription that read, "the old cannot kill the young forever."Students gather around Galschiøt's Pillar of Shame sculpture in Hong Kong on October 12, 2021.Cezary Podkul for InsiderFor students who came to study here from mainland China, the pillar might be their first introduction to the Tiananmen massacre. On one side of the pillar's base, a plaque provided "A Brief History of the 1989 Beijing Pro-Democracy Movement." It recounted how the death of pro-reform Communist Party leader Hu Yaobang in April 1989 sparked mass demonstrations in favor of democratic reforms. Beijing's Tiananmen Square became a central gathering spot for students who waged a hunger strike to try to prompt a dialogue with Communist Party leaders. The government refused, declared martial law, and ultimately sent in military convoys to clear the square. On June 3 and 4, 1989, "several thousand soldiers forced their way via various routes into Beijing City, using guns and bullets to shoot unarmed citizens and students. Tanks were deployed to recover the Square," the plaque read. An official death toll was never confirmed. A 1990 report on the massacre by Amnesty International noted that Chinese authorities tallied some 200 civilian casualties, while Amnesty itself concluded that at least 1,000 people had been killed. Another more recent estimate based on a diplomatic cable declassified in 2017 pinned the number of civilian casualties at more than 10,000.Whatever the ultimate toll, there was no doubt in Rose Tang's mind that it had been a bloody day. Rose Tang in Tiananmen Square on May 21, 1989. At the time, she was a 20-year-old freshman in college.Rose Tang/HandoutTang was a freshman studying English at what was then known as the Beijing Second Foreign Languages Institute. She ditched classes in the spring of 1989 to join her classmates in Tiananmen Square to chant pro-democracy slogans, even though, she now says, she had very little idea of what democracy even meant. Her memoir of the events of June 4 describes bullets whizzing overhead, a stampede trampling over dead bodies, and the deafening noise of tanks moving in and crushing tents set up in the square. But there's one detail of the aftermath that helps explain why Galschiøt's sculpture found a loyal following in Hong Kong, which was a British colony until 1997. When Tang revisited Tiananmen Square some seven months after the massacre, she found no trace of what had happened there that day. There were no signs of blood stains or bullet holes from June 4, 1989, let alone any memorial. She walked around, trying to find proof to back up her memories. There were only a few armed soldiers patrolling the square as water trucks sprinkled water on the ground. "All I could see was the clean wet concrete ground glittering in street lights," she recalled in her memoir.Tang turned to a life of art and activism to help her cope with the events of that day. She has written poetry and music inspired by June 4, 1989, and toured with a band that performed songs that student protesters sang at Tiananmen Square. "Making music and using music to heal and mobilize people is my way of carrying on the true legacy of Tiananmen. Art is power. Performance is protest," she said.Tang eschewed making sculptures, though. "I just personally found it really hard to convey the experience of Tiananmen through visual art," she said. She admires Galschiøt for trying. Rose Tang at a Tiananmen Square massacre memorial in New York City on June 4, 2020.Thirdblade PhotographyBut something about Galschiøt's sculpture always puzzled Tang. On close inspection, the figures assembled on Galschiøt's pillar appeared to span the races. One could be excused for wondering whether this was all a mistake: A white man from Denmark created a sculpture to commemorate the killings of Chinese civilians, and he filled it with people from all over the world?'My Inner Beast'The international nature of the sculpture was precisely what Galschiøt had in mind when he began to sketch out the vision for his Pillar of Shame in the early 1990s. Galschiøt had turned to making sculptures in the 1980s after a career as a blacksmith at a Danish shipyard and a rebellious youth filled with drugs, travel, and a desire to distance himself from his father's communist sympathies. After the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989, he grew hopeful for a more egalitarian future but was soon dismayed by Serbian militias' mass rape of Muslim women in Bosnia and other atrocities. He became convinced that civilization is only a thin veneer that can crumble at any time and unleash an inner barbarism laid bare in such episodes. In 1993 he installed concrete sculptures of a pig dressed in a gentleman's overcoat in 20 cities across Europe. Titled "My Inner Beast," the project aimed to call attention to Europeans' mistreatment of ethnic minorities. The sculptures proved an unwelcome sight to governments that never asked for them. Most were torn down, and only a few remain standing today. Galschiøt's middle son, Kasper Galschiøt Markus, recalled eating "significantly more porridge" in the months that followed since Galschiøt nearly went broke paying for the project out of pocket. But profit wasn't the goal. The reaction to the sculpture became part of the story the art sought to tell, summarized by the motto, "It is not the foreigners but our reaction to the foreigners that threatens our civilization." Galschiøt preparing a Pillar of Shame replica.Mikkel Møller for InsiderGalschiøt began to make small models of the Pillar of Shame that same year. As the idea took shape, he assembled 7 tons of clay to create the casting mold for the sculpture.He included faces of people that represented a wide variety of races and ethnicities, hoping to create a universal symbol. Once he finished his prototype in 1996, he went looking for contacts who could help him install it in various places around the world. The Tiananmen Square massacre quickly came to mind, but he knew it would be impossible to install a pillar in Beijing. 'They made a good fight for freedom'Hong Kong offered the tantalizing possibility of a work-around. After years of negotiations, the UK was due to hand control of Hong Kong back to China on July 1, 1997.  If Galschiøt could get the pillar to Hong Kong while the city was still in British hands, China would take the sculpture with it. "At that time, we had good reason to believe that this statue would not be allowed to enter after the transition," Albert Ho, who helped Galschiøt get the pillar to Hong Kong, recalled in a later interview.Ho was a leader of the Hong Kong Alliance in Support of Patriotic Democratic Movements of China, a group founded in 1989 just before the massacre. One of the alliance's signature projects was an annual candlelight vigil commemorating Tiananmen victims. Galschiøt reached out to see whether the group would help him install a replica of the sculpture and soon he had a partner: On May 2, 1997, he packed up a copy of the pillar in a shipping container and sent it off to Hong Kong. The sculpture arrived at a Hong Kong container terminal nine days before the alliance's annual candlelight vigil in the city's sprawling Victoria Park. The alliance displayed it prominently at the June 4 vigil, which happened to coincide with Galschiøt's birthday. Afterward, the pillar was loaded onto a truck headed for Hong Kong University, where student leaders hoped to install it near their student union. Tang joined part of the march to campus, walking alongside Galschiøt. Galschiøt grew concerned as scuffles broke out between students and security guards who wouldn't let the truck through to campus. Security guards eventually relented, and the sculpture was dropped off as onlookers applauded, according to Associated Press archival footage from the night. "They made a good fight for freedom," Galschiøt told an AP reporter at the time.The pillar made the rounds to several schools around the city before the Hong Kong University student union voted in 1998 to permanently host it on its campus. Galschiøt, meanwhile, wrote a manifesto for his artwork. "My name is Jens Galschiøt. I'm a Danish artist born 1954. My new art happening the Pillar of Shame has just been launched, as the sculpture was displayed 4th June '97 in Hong Kong," began the lengthy December 1997 missive, which predicted that "over the next ten years the happening will spread over the Planet." Galschiøt listed Auschwitz, the site of the infamous Nazi death camp, and Rwanda, where a 1994 genocide had just killed an estimated 800,000 people, as two possible candidates for Pillars of Shame.Galschiøt outside his studio in Denmark.Mikkel Møller for InsiderSoon he managed to install a "Columna de la infamia" in Mexico to commemorate the 1997 killings of 45 Indigenous people in Chiapas state and a "Coluna da infâmia" in Brazil to mark the 1996 murder of 19 landless Brazilian peasants. Both sculptures made brief appearances near parliament buildings in their respective countries, elevating their visibility in Mexico and Brazil. In 1999 he outlined a grand vision to install a pillar in Berlin atop a platform covered with bronze plates notched with 10 million lines representing the victims of Nazi-era persecution (the project was too costly, and he gave up on it in late 2002). In 2012, he traveled to Iraq to explore the possibility of placing a pillar there to commemorate the victims of Saddam Hussein's mass murders of Iraqi Kurds in the 1980s (installing a sculpture in a war zone was too dangerous, though Galschiøt hopes to try again someday).Galschiøt openly mused that Hong Kong's Pillar of Shame might someday move to Beijing if political circumstances allowed it. But he acknowledged that it might just as well be removed or destroyed: "The Pillar of Shame will be a test of the validity of the new authorities' guarantees for human rights and freedom of expression in Hong Kong," he wrote in a post on his website.'The old cannot kill the young forever'Galschiøt was right about the possibility of his sculpture being removed from Hong Kong.The early signs of trouble came in April 2008, when Galschiøt flew to the city only to be denied entry. He was there to paint the pillar orange as part of a campaign to raise awareness of China's alleged human-rights abuses ahead of the 2008 Summer Olympic Games in Beijing. In Galschiøt's absence, members of the Hong Kong Alliance in Support of Patriotic Democratic Movements of China carried out the paint job. News reports at the time described the ordeal as a test of the freedoms China had granted to Hong Kong when it took over.Hong Kongers would experience many more such tests in the years that followed. In 2014, protests erupted when China insisted on vetting any candidates for the territory's chief executive before allowing the post to be elected directly by the people. The tense 79-day standoff with pro-democracy protesters became known as the Umbrella Movement after demonstrators used umbrellas to shield themselves from the pepper spray police used to try to disperse them. The sense of togetherness and community among the protesters felt like a repeat of the 1989 Tiananmen Square movement to Tang, who flew from the US to Hong Kong to camp out with the protesters and speak up for their cause. Even larger protests shook the city in 2019 after Hong Kong leaders proposed amending the territory's extradition laws to allow criminal suspects to be sent to mainland China to stand trial. The protests grew into a broader movement against Beijing's encroachments on the freedoms guaranteed to Hong Kong under the terms of its handover from the UK. Meanwhile, Beijing readied a national-security law that would give China broad authority to stamp out dissent in Hong Kong. Even before the law took effect, in June 2020, authorities had already taken aim at Hong Kong's long tradition of commemorating the Tiananmen victims. They refused to let the alliance organize its annual June 4 vigil in 2020, citing COVID-19 restrictions. Thousands showed up anyway. In 2021, Hong Kong blocked the June 4 vigil again and put up a massive police presence to deter Hong Kongers from defying the ban. The same month, the alliance's museum commemorating the massacre was forced to shut down. Police raided the museum in September and confiscated its exhibits just a day after arresting the alliance's leaders under the guise of the national-security law. The alliance disbanded on September 25, and days later reports surfaced that the digital version of its Tiananmen Square massacre museum had been blocked in Hong Kong.  By early October, the pillar's time had come. Galschiøt wasn't formally notified that the Pillar of Shame would be removed. Mayer Brown, an American law firm representing Hong Kong University, sent a letter demanding its removal to the liquidators of the alliance (the alliance didn't actually own the sculpture; Galschiøt had always retained ownership). The October 7 letter gave the now-defunct pro-democracy group six days to remove the sculpture from the university, a publicly funded institution, or consider the pillar abandoned property that would be dealt with "at such time and in such manner" as the university saw fit. Galschiøt tried to intervene but said he couldn't get a reply to his lawyer's pleas to let him come to Hong Kong to retrieve the artwork.The sudden deadline was sandwiched between two typhoons that pummeled Hong Kong with heavy rains and winds. As the storms moved through the city, the October 13 removal deadline held firm. Hong Kongers flocked to the sculpture to bid their farewells to what many saw as one of the last vestiges of freedom of expression in the Chinese territory. "Say goodbye to freedom," one man said as he snapped a photo of the sculpture one day before the deadline. Steps away, a father took a selfie in front of the pillar with his 9-year-old daughter. Afterward, the little girl grabbed her father's phone and snapped some photos of it herself. On their way out, he pointed to the inscription "the old cannot kill the young forever" as she looked on attentively. Shortly after, it started to rain again. But the crowds kept coming.A father introduces his daughter to Galschiøt's Pillar of Shame sculpture in Hong Kong on October 12, 2021.Cezary Podkul for InsiderThe university hit a snag when Mayer Brown bowed out of the legal matter amid public outrage that an American law firm would be helping Chinese authorities stifle freedom of expression in Hong Kong. (Mayer Brown's decision prompted a former Hong Kong chief executive to call for a China-wide boycott of the law firm. Spokespeople for Mayer Brown did not respond to comment requests.) Several weeks followed when the sculpture's fate stood in a strange state of limbo; it wasn't clear when exactly it would disappear, but there was no doubt the end was near. An artists' collective known as Lady Liberty Hong Kong made use of the delay to take detailed photos of the pillar and create a three-dimensional model that could be used as a basis for 3D printing. Galschiøt, meanwhile, dusted off old molds that he had used to create smaller replicas of the Pillar of Shame in the 1990s so that he would be ready if his sculpture were removed. The limbo ended on December 22. Galschiøt had just told the workers in his workshop in Odense, Denmark, to go home early and enjoy the holiday when he got a call from a reporter seeking comment on the sculpture's removal.  The energy drained from his body; he looked like a parent who had just learned about the loss of his child, recalled his apprentice, Lauge Jakobsen. Social media lit up with footage of workers fencing off the area around the pillar so no one would witness its removal. Reporters still managed to document parts of the ordeal, which ended with a human-like fragment of the sculpture being loaded into a shipping container by a group of workers in hard hats resembling pallbearers at a funeral.The former site of the Pillar of Shame at Hong Kong University as seen the day after the monument was removed.Cezary Podkul for Insider As Galschiøt watched from a distance, all he could do was decry the university's actions. He issued a statement calling the sculpture's removal an unreasonable act of "self-immolation against private property in Hong Kong." Hong Kong University said in a statement that "no party has ever obtained any approval from the university to display the statue on campus," and the statue would be placed in storage pending legal advice on what to do with it. Galschiøt said the university has now responded to his lawyer, and he is sorting out the details of how to return the sculpture from Hong Kong. A spokeswoman for the university did not provide further details. 'Jens' biggest supporter has been the Chinese government'The sculpture's dramatic removal gave Galschiøt the kind of worldwide attention he had long hoped to bring to his international art project. "Suddenly, all the world's eyes were turned on this Pillar of Shame," recalled Jakobsen, his apprentice. "From 7 a.m. to 3 a.m. at night the phone was calling all the time, and our email was looking like a celebrity's fan email because every 10 seconds there were coming new emails."Jakobsen switched from working in Galschiøt's workshop to assisting him in the office as he juggled media requests and inquiries about how to acquire a Pillar of Shame. "Jens' biggest supporter last year has been the Chinese government," Jakobsen said during a phone interview. Galschiøt could be heard laughing beside him.Jessica Chiu was one of those requesters. The native Hong Konger, who's 32 and lives in Norway, first learned about Tiananmen Square from her high school math teacher, who would abandon his usual lesson every June and instead teach about the massacre. Later, as a student at Hong Kong University, Chiu would occasionally pass by Galschiøt's sculpture. Chiu leads a Norwegian nonprofit focused on supporting human rights in Hong Kong. The group had been interested in exhibiting Galschiøt's pillar in Norway since 2020; its removal in Hong Kong reinforced those plans. "It makes us more motivated to do it, and it just makes the impact bigger," Chiu said. Her nonprofit has already applied for permits to display the sculpture at two locations in Oslo, including a plaza near the Nobel Peace Center.Galschiøt at his gallery in Odense, Denmark.Mikkel Møller for InsiderA similar effort is taking shape to bring a copy of the pillar in the US. The most provocative spot under consideration includes a park directly across from the Chinese Embassy in Washington DC. A group of former US government officials, outraged by Mayer Brown's involvement, is spearheading the initiative, which is still in its initial planning stages, according to a person familiar with the effort. Getting a 2-ton sculpture cast and transported abroad — let alone securing a spot for it — is no easy feat, so it's unclear how many of such installations will ultimately succeed. Galschiøt estimated that making the sculpture in a full-size bronze cast costs about $800,000. To make it more affordable and easier to handle, he has started making the smaller, 8.5-foot replicas in copper using an old mold he created in the 1990s. He hopes to distribute the smaller pillars to universities around the world (and requests that schools interested in a copy contact him). He scored his first win in Budapest, Hungary, on March 2, when one of the copper replicas was installed on the site of a future Budapest campus of Fudan University. Hungary lawmakers had voted in 2021 to donate four plots of land toward the planned campus of the Shanghai-based university, which ranks as one of China's most elite schools. The move sparked criticism of Chinese influence-buying and prompted Budapest's mayor to rename streets near the proposed site after various alleged human-rights abuses committed by China. Galschiøt traveled to Budapest to personally dedicate his "a szégyen oszlopa" (Hungarian for "Pillar of Shame") near the corner of Free Hong Kong Road and Uyghur Martyrs Road.Galschiøt applies paint to a pillar, which will soon be shipped aboard.Mikkel Møller for InsiderThe use of the artwork to make political statements about China's alleged human-rights abuses could get easier thanks to the rise of 3D printing. Lady Liberty Hong Kong's three-dimensional model of the sculpture has enabled anyone with access to a 3D printer to create a copy of the sculpture without bothering with the cost and logistics of transporting it from Denmark. To make the process even more hassle-free, Galschiøt surrendered his copyright to the sculpture, writing in an open letter on Christmas Day that anyone is free to 3D print or mass-produce replicas of the pillar as long as profits go to benefit pro-democracy causes in China and Hong Kong.  A 2-foot-tall replica created using Lady Liberty's model recently showed up at a Hong Kong pro-democracy rally in Manchester, England. An even bigger version — 10 feet or taller — is set to be 3D-printed in Taiwan in time for the June 4 anniversary of the massacre. The New School for Democracy Association Taiwan, a pro-democracy group, is spearheading that effort, which is in the planning and fundraising stages, according to the project's manager.Lady Liberty itself is hoping to organize an international art tour with Galschiøt that would feature the pillar as well as the group's own signature artwork,  a symbol of the 2019 protest movement in Hong Kong known as Lady Liberty Hong Kong. The 3.5-meter-tall, crowdfunded sculpture of a woman wearing a helmet, goggles, and a respirator made the rounds to various sites across Hong Kong in 2019, including a famous summit known as Lion Rock, before being vandalized and thrown off the cliff (most likely by pro-government activists). Lady Liberty is preparing to sell small replicas of the Pillar of Shame to help fund the art tour, which would also invite other artists to participate, a spokesperson said.Galschiøt's team with a copy of the Pillar of Shame.Mikkel Møller for InsiderTang is raising her hand for the effort. She said she'd like to reunite her Tiananmen band and perform under Galschiøt's Pillar of Shame if a replica makes its way for a tour in the US. In Canada, a scrappy group of expatriate Hong Kongers created a supply chain that allows them to 3D print and ship copies of the pillar anywhere in the world. Their website, CanHKer.ca, sells a variety of Hong Kong-themed merchandise — including 3D prints of Lady Liberty Hong Kong — to fund pro-democracy causes. Proceeds from the 3D-printed pillar replicas are earmarked for organizations that help young Hong Kong refugees resettle in Canada and seek asylum, said Eric Li, who cofounded one of the groups and helped launch the merchandise website. Many of the refugees are youths who faced persecution for their pro-democracy activities, Li said. Some are depressed and feel guilty, even suicidal, for having left Hong Kong behind, he said. Others are traumatized after their violent clashes with police. "They feel they betrayed their friends because they ran away from the action," said Li, who helps arrange counseling for the youths as part of his work for one of the groups that will receive proceeds from the pillars'  sales. Art 'without interruption'There isn't much action left when it comes to protests in Hong Kong. The Beijing-imposed national-security law has succeeded in ending the mass demonstrations that gripped the city in 2019. You might find an occasional pro-democracy slogan or poster here or there, but any public artwork the government could deem subversive to Beijing is likely to quickly vanish from public view. A day after Galschiøt's pillar disappeared in December, two other Tiananmen-themed monuments were removed by universities in Hong Kong. The "Goddess of Democracy," an imitation of a sculpture created by Tiananmen Square protesters in 1989, was hauled away from the Chinese University of Hong Kong on December 24. A relief depicting the Tiananmen Square massacre was removed from the campus of Lingnan University the same day. Both artworks were created by Chen Weiming, an exiled Chinese sculptor who lives in California. Chen is now trying to repatriate the monuments from the universities and is planning to house them at a Tiananmen Square museum that he hopes to build at his sculpture park in Yermo, California. "In America, I can do anything I want to do. In China, I can't do it," Chen said.In late January, Hong Kong University covered up the last public tribute to Tiananmen victims on its campus — a hand-painted slogan on a bridge outside a dormitory. It read, "The souls of the martyrs shall forever linger despite the cold-blooded massacre. The spark of democracy shall forever glow for the demise of evil." Every year, students would touch up the paint on the 32-year-old inscription and wash the Pillar of Shame.The former site of the Pillar of Shame at Hong Kong University has been replaced with an outdoor seating area.Cezary Podkul for InsiderThe former site of the pillar is now a seating area with movable plastic furniture atop wooden planks. The area stood empty on a recent Monday evening as the clean, wet planks glittered in overhead lights. With the usual churn of a university, it won't take more than a few years for future generations of students to sit in the area without any idea of what stood here previously, or why. But nearby, another sculpture remains intact. It's a commemoration of Dr. Sun Yat-sen, widely regarded as the father of modern China, who sits calmly in a chair surrounded by a placid fishpond topped with water lilies. Sun is a rare figure in recent Chinese history, revered on both sides of the Taiwan Strait for helping to end feudal imperial monarchy in China and briefly serving as the first president of the Republic of China in 1912. Even as Hong Kong stamps out dissent, posters honoring him as a "great outlaw" invite visitors to a museum of Sun's life and legacy. The university installed Sun's statue in 2003 so students could follow his historic footprint, according to a dedication issued at the time. A sculpture of Sun Yat-sen, the father of modern China, adorns a lily pond on the Hong Kong University campus.Cezary Podkul for InsiderIt is impossible to know what Sun might say about the removal of the Pillar of Shame and other artworks in Hong Kong if he were alive today. But a speech that he gave nearly 100 years ago on Hong Kong University's campus gives a clue. In his remarks, Sun called Hong Kong and the university his "intellectual birthplace" and explained why he got his revolutionary ideas there: "Hong Kong impressed me a great deal, because there was orderly calm and because there was artistic work being done without interruption."Cezary Podkul is an award-winning investigative reporter who has written for ProPublica, The Wall Street Journal and Reuters. He teaches at Hong Kong University's Journalism and Media Studies Centre.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderMar 18th, 2022

Sperry: Ukraine Worked With Democrats Against Trump In 2016 To Stop Putin -- And It Backfired Badly

Sperry: Ukraine Worked With Democrats Against Trump In 2016 To Stop Putin -- And It Backfired Badly Authored by Paul Sperry via RealClearInvestigations, Six years ago, before Russia’s full-scale invasion of their country, the Ukrainians bet that a Hillary Clinton presidency would offer better protection from Russian President Vladimir Putin, even though he had invaded Crimea during the Obama-Biden administration, whose Russian policies Clinton vowed to continue. Working with both the Obama administration and the Clinton campaign, Ukrainian government officials intervened in the 2016 race to help Clinton and hurt  Donald Trump in a sweeping and systematic foreign influence operation that's been largely ignored by the press. The improper, if not illegal, operation was run chiefly out of the Ukrainian Embassy in Washington, where officials worked hand-in-glove with a Ukrainian-American activist and Clinton campaign operative to attack the Trump campaign. The Obama White House was also deeply involved in an effort to groom their own favored leader in Ukraine and then work with his government to dig up dirt on – and even investigate -- their political rival. Ukrainian and Democratic operatives also huddled with American journalists to spread damaging information on Trump and his advisers – including allegations of illicit Russian-tied payments that, though later proved false, forced the resignation of his campaign manager Paul Manafort. The embassy actually weighed a plan to get Congress to investigate Manafort and Trump and stage hearings in the run-up to the election. As it worked behind the scenes to undermine Trump, Ukraine also tried to kneecap him publicly. Ukraine's ambassador took the extraordinary step of attacking Trump in an Op-Ed article published in The Hill, an influential U.S. Capitol newspaper, while other top Ukrainian officials slammed the GOP candidate on social media. Ukraine's ambassador to the U.S. attacked Trump in an Op-Ed weeks before the 2016 election. At first glance, it was a bad bet as Trump upset Clinton. But by the end of his first year in office, Trump had supplied Ukrainians what the Obama administration refused to give them: tank-busting Javelin missiles and other lethal weapons to defend themselves against Russian incursions. Putin never invaded on Trump's watch. Instead, he launched an all-out invasion during another Democratic administration – one now led by President Biden, Barack Obama's former Vice President, whose Secretary of State last year alarmed Putin by testifying, “We support Ukraine's membership in NATO.” Biden boasted he’d go “toe to toe” with Putin, but that didn't happen as the autocrat amassed tanks along Ukraine’s border in response to the NATO overtures. The Ukrainian mischief is part of Special Counsel John Durham’s broader inquiry – now a full-blown criminal investigation with grand jury indictments – into efforts to falsely target Trump as a Kremlin conspirator in 2016 and beyond. Sources say Durham has interviewed several Ukrainians, but it’s not likely the public will find out exactly what he's learned about the extent of Ukraine’s meddling in the election until he releases his final report, which sources say could be several months away. In the meantime, a comprehensive account of documented Ukrainian collusion – including efforts to assist the FBI in its 2016 probe of Manafort – is pieced together here for the first time. It draws from an archive of previously unreported records generated from a secret Federal Election Commission investigation of the Democratic National Committee that includes never-before-reviewed sworn affidavits, depositions, contracts, emails, text messages, legal findings and other documents from the case. RealClearInvestigations also examined diplomatic call transcripts, White House visitor logs, lobbying disclosure forms, congressional reports and closed-door congressional testimony, as well as information revealed by Ukrainian and Democratic officials in social media postings, podcasts and books. 2014: Prelude to Collusion U.S. envoys Victoria Nuland and Geoffrey Pyatt helped bring to power Ukraine's Petro Poroshenko, right. (AP) The coordination between Ukrainian and Democratic officials can be traced back at least to January 2014. It was then when top Obama diplomats – many of whom now hold top posts in the Biden administration – began engineering regime change in Kiev, eventually installing a Ukrainian leader they could control. On Jan. 27, U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Geoffrey Pyatt phoned Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland at her home in Washington to discuss picking opposition leaders to check the power of Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych, whom they believed was too cozy with Putin. “We’ve got to do something to make it stick together,” Pyatt said of a planned coalition government, adding that they needed “somebody with an international personality to come out here and help to midwife this thing.” Nuland responded that Biden’s security adviser Jake Sullivan had just told her that the vice president – who was acting as Obama’s point man in Ukraine – would give his blessing to the deal. “Biden’s willing,” she said. But they agreed they had to “move fast” and bypass the European Union. “Fuck the EU,” Nuland told the ambassador, according to a leaked transcript of their call. Hunter Biden: His father helped engineer the rise of an amenable Ukrainian leader who would later fire a prosecutor investigating the son.   Nuland’s role in the political maneuvering was not limited to phone calls. She traveled to Kiev and helped organize street demonstrations against Yanukovych, even handing out sandwiches to protesters. In effect, Obama officials greased a revolution. Within months, Yanukovych was exiled and replaced by Petro Poroshenko, who would later do Biden’s bidding – including firing a prosecutor investigating his son Hunter. Poroshenko would also later support Clinton's White House bid after Biden decided not to run, citing the death of his older son Beau. The U.S. meddling resulted in the installation of an anti-Putin government next door to Russia. A furious Putin viewed the interference as an attempted coup and soon marched into Crimea. Nuland is now Biden’s undersecretary of state and Sullivan serves as his national security adviser. Whispering in their ear at the time was a fiery pro-Ukraine activist and old Clinton hand, Alexandra “Ali” Chalupa. A daughter of Ukrainian immigrants, Chalupa informally advised the State Department and White House in early 2014. She organized multiple meetings between Ukraine experts and the National Security Council to push for Yanukovych’s ouster and economic sanctions against Putin. In the NSC briefings, Chalupa also agitated against longtime attorney-lobbyist Manafort, who at the time was an American consultant for Yanukovych's Party of Regions, which she viewed as a cat’s paw of Putin. She warned that Manafort worked for Putin’s interests and posed a national security threat. At the same time, Chalupa worked closely with then-Vice President Biden’s team, setting up conference calls with his staff and Ukrainians. Another influential adviser at the time was former British intelligence officer Christopher Steele, who provided Nuland with written reports on the Ukrainian crisis and Russia that echoed Chalupa’s warnings. Nuland treated them as classified intelligence, and between the spring of 2014 and early 2016, she received some 120 reports on Ukraine and Russia from Steele. 2015: The Move Against Manafort Commences Paul Manafort: Targeted by Chalupa over work for the ousted Ukrainian president and ties to Trump. (AP) In April 2015, the DNC hired Chalupa as a $5,000-a-month consultant, according to a copy of her contract, which ran through the 2016 election cycle. (Years earlier, Chalupa had worked full-time for the DNC as part of the senior leadership team advising Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz.) After Trump threw his hat in the ring in June 2015, Chalupa grew concerned that Manafort was or would be involved with his campaign since Manafort had known Trump for decades and lived in Trump Tower. She expressed her concerns to top DNC officials and “the DNC asked me to do a hit on Trump,” according to a transcript of a 2019 interview on her sister’s podcast. (Andrea Chalupa, who describes herself as a journalist, boasted in a November 2016 tweet: “My sister led Trump/Russia research at DNC.”) Chalupa began encouraging journalists both in America and Ukraine to dig into Manafort’s dealings in Ukraine and expose his alleged Russian connections. She fed unsubstantiated rumors, tips and leads to the Washington Post and New York Times, as well as CNN, speaking to reporters on background so a DNC operative wouldn’t be sourced. “I spent many, many hours working with reporters on background, directing them to contacts and sources, and giving them information,” Chalupa said. But no reporter worked closer with her than Yahoo News correspondent Michael Isikoff. He even accompanied her to the Ukrainian Embassy, where they brainstormed attacks on Manafort and Trump, according to FEC case files. Chalupa was also sounding alarm bells in the White House. In November 2015, for example, she set up a White House meeting between a Ukrainian delegation including Ukraine Ambassador Valeriy Chaly and NSC advisers – among them Eric Ciaramella, a young CIA analyst on loan to the White House who later would play a significant role as anonymous "whistleblower" in Trump’s first impeachment. In addition to Putin’s aggression, the group discussed the alleged security threat from Manafort. Chalupa was back in the White House in December. All told, she would visit the Obama White House at least 27 times, Secret Service logs show, including attending at least one event with the president in 2016. Eric Ciaramella (middle right) across from Ukrainians in a June 2015 meeting at the White House, flanked by Biden security adviser Michael Carpenter and Ciaramella's NSC colleague Liz Zentos. (unknownukraine.com) January 2016: High-Level Meetings With Ukrainians in the White House On Jan. 12, 2016 – almost a month before the first GOP primary – Chalupa told top DNC official Lindsey Reynolds she was seeing strong indications that Putin was trying to steal the 2016 election for Trump. Emails also show that she promised to lead an effort to expose Manafort – whom Trump would not officially hire as his campaign chairman until May – and link him and Trump to the Russian government. That same day, Chalupa visited the White House. A week later, Obama officials gathered with Ukrainian officials traveling from Kiev in the White House for a series of senior-level meetings to, among other things, discuss reviving a long-closed investigation into payments to American consultants working for the Party of Regions, according to Senate documents. The FBI had investigated Manafort in 2014 but no charges resulted. One of the attendees, Ukrainian Embassy political officer Andrii Telizhenko, recalled Justice Department officials asking investigators with Ukraine’s National Anti-Corruption Bureau, or NABU, if they could help find fresh evidence of party payments to such U.S. figures. (Three years later, Democrats would impeach Trump for allegedly asking Ukraine to dig up dirt on a political rival, Joe Biden.) The Obama administration’s enforcement agencies leaned on their Ukrainian counterparts to investigate Manafort, shifting resources from an investigation of a corrupt Ukrainian energy oligarch who paid Biden’s son hundreds of thousands of dollars through his gas company, Burisma. “Obama’s NSC hosted Ukrainian officials and told them to stop investigating Hunter Biden and start investigating Paul Manafort,” said a former senior NSC official who has seen notes and emails generated from the meetings and spoke on the condition of anonymity. Suddenly, the FBI reopened its Manafort investigation. “In January 2016, the FBI initiated a money laundering and tax evasion investigation of Manafort predicated on his activities as a political consultant to members of the Ukrainian government and Ukrainian politicians,” according to a report by the Justice Department’s watchdog. The White House summit with Ukrainian officials ran for three days, ending on Jan. 21, according to a copy of the agenda stamped with the Justice Department logo. It was organized and hosted by Ciaramella and his colleague Liz Zentos from the NSC. Other U.S. officials included Justice prosecutors and FBI agents, as well as State Department diplomats. The Ukrainian delegation included Artem Sytnyk, the head of NABU, and other Ukrainian prosecutors. Ciaramella was a CIA detailee to the White House occupying the NSC’s Ukraine desk in 2015 and 2016. In that role, Ciaramella met face-to-face with top Ukrainian officials and provided policy advice to Biden through the then-vice president's security adviser Michael Carpenter. He also worked with Nuland and Chalupa.Ciaramella was carried over to the Trump White House. As RealClearInvestigations first reported, he would later anonymously blow the whistle on Trump asking Ukraine’s new president, Volodymyr Zelensky, to help “get to the bottom of” Ukrainian meddling in the 2016 election, a phone call that triggered Trump’s first impeachment by a Democrat-controlled House. Ciaramella’s former NSC colleague Alexander Vindman leaked the call to him. Vindman, a Ukrainian-American, is also aligned with Chalupa. (Vindman is now back in the news for his demands that the United States provide more active military support to Ukraine and his insistence that Trump shares great blame for the war.) As Manafort drew closer to Trump, Obama officials zeroed in, and the FBI reopened a closed 2014 probe. (Justice Department Office of the Inspector General) February 2016: Obama White House-Ukraine Coordination Intensifies On Feb. 2, two weeks after the White House meetings, Secret Service logs reveal that Ciaramella met in the White House with officials from the U.S. Treasury Department’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network, known as FinCEN, which would later provide the FBI highly sensitive bank records on Manafort. (In addition, a senior FinCEN adviser illegally leaked thousands of the confidential Manafort records to the media.) On Feb. 9, less than a month after the White House summit, Telizhenko, who worked for the Ukrainian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, met with Zentos of the NSC at a Cosi sandwich shop in Washington, according to emails obtained by the Senate. It's not known what they discussed. In addition, on Feb. 23, the two emailed about setting up another meeting the following day. “OK if I bring my colleague Eric, who works on Ukraine with me?” Zentos asked Telizhenko, apparently referring to Ciaramella. In the emails, they discussed the U.S. primary elections, among other things. NSC's Zentos and Ukraine's Telizhenko would meet and correspond numerous times during 2016. (HSGAC-Finance Committee Hunter Biden Report) Telizhenko would later testify that Ambassador Chaly had ordered him then to “start an investigation [into the Trump campaign] within the embassy just on my own to find out with my contacts if there’s any Russian connection that we can report back.” He suspects the Ambassador delivered that report to Chalupa and the DNC. Chalupa visited the White House on Feb. 22, entrance records show, just days before the second meeting Telizhenko had planned with Zentos. March 2016: Chalupa Engineers Manafort Messaging Assault With Ukrainians After Manafort was named Trump campaign chair, the campaign against him went into overdrive. New York Times On March 3, Zentos and Telizhenko planned to meet again, this time at a Washington bar called The Exchange. According to their email, Zentos wrote, “I’ll see if my colleague Eric is up for joining.” The pair also met the next day at Swing’s coffee house in Washington. After the meeting, Telizhenko emailed Zentos seeking a meeting with senior Obama NSC official Charlie Kupchan, an old Clinton hand who was Ciaramella’s boss on the Russia/Ukraine desk. Kupchan is an outspoken critic of Trump who has made remarks suggesting what countries “can do to stop him” and “protect the international institutions we’ve built .” Zentos and Telizhenko also met on March 10, patronizing the Cosi coffee shop again. On March 24, 2016, four days before the Trump campaign announced that it had hired Manafort, Chalupa met at the Ukrainian Embassy with Ambassador Chaly and his political counselor Oksana Shulyar, where they shared their concerns about Manafort, according to Politico. When news broke on March 28 that Manafort was joining the Trump campaign, Chalupa could hardly contain herself. “This is huge,” she texted senior DNC officials. “This is everything to take out Trump.” She immediately began circulating anti-Manafort memos, warning the DNC of the “threat” he posed of Russian influence. The next day, March 29, she briefed the DNC communications team about Manafort. They, in turn, hatched a plan to reach out to the Ukrainian Embassy to get President Porochenko to make an on-camera denouncement of Manafort and feed the footage to ABC News, where former Clinton aide George Stephanopoulos works as a top anchor. On March 30, Chalupa fired off an email to Shulyar, her contact at the Ukrainian Embassy: "There is a very good chance that President Poroshenko may receive a question from the press during his visit about the recent New York Times article saying that Donald Trump hired Paul Manafort as an adviser to his campaign and whether President Poroshenko is concerned about this considering Trump is the likely Republican nominee and given Paul Manafort’s meddling in Ukraine over the past couple of decades,” Chalupa wrote. "It is important President Poroshenko is prepared to address this question should it come up. In a manner that exposes Paul Manafort for the problems he continues to cause Ukraine." Within minutes of sending the email, Chalupa wrote the DNC’s communications director Luis Miranda, “The ambassador has the messaging.” Then she reached out to a friend in Congress, Democratic Rep. Marcy Kaptur of Ohio, about holding hearings to paint Manafort as a pro-Kremlin villain. April 2016: Chalupa Solicits Ukrainian Dirt on Trump, His Campaign, and Manafort Though accounts differ, Chalupa discussed Trump dirt with Ukrainian representatives. Federal Election Commission American presidential campaigns aren't supposed to work with foreign governments to dig up dirt on their political opponents. Geneva Convention rules bar diplomats from becoming entangled in their host country’s political affairs, particularly elections. There are also federal laws banning foreign nationals from engaging in operations to influence or interfere with U.S. political and electoral processes. In 2018, Special Counsel Robert Mueller indicted 13 Russian nationals on charges of conspiring to defraud the U.S. government for that purpose. But just weeks after Manafort was hired by the Trump campaign, the Ukrainian Embassy appeared to be working with the Clinton campaign to torpedo him and the campaign. Emails reveal that Chalupa and Shulyar, a top aide to Ambassador Chaly, agreed to meet for coffee on April 7, 2016, at Kafe Leopold, a restaurant near the Ukrainian Embassy in Washington. (Chalupa had paid a visit to the White House just three days earlier.) One of the purposes of the meeting, according to FEC case files, was to discuss Manafort and the danger he allegedly posed. They were joined at the café by Telizhenko, who said he was working on a “big story” on Manafort and Trump with the Wall Street Journal. In a sworn 2019 deposition taken by the FEC, Telizhenko alleged that Chalupa solicited “dirt” on Trump, Manafort, and the Trump campaign during the meeting. Telizhenko also testified that Chalupa told him that her goal was “basically [to] use this information and have a committee hearing under Marcy Kaptur, congresswoman from Ohio, in Congress in September and take him off the elections." Telizhenko later approached Ambassador Chaly about the DNC representative's overtures and he responded: “Yes. And I know that this is happening. You should work with her." After speaking with Chaly, Telizhenko claims that he went back to Shulyar who instructed him to help Chalupa. “I went to Oksana and said, ‘Like what are we doing?’” he testified. " And she told me, ‘You have to work with Chalupa. And any information you have, you give it to me, I’ll give it to her, then we’ll pass it on later to anybody else we are coordinating with.’” Less than a week later, on April 13, Telizhenko met again with White House official Zentos, email records reveal. Telizhenko said he resigned the next month because of concerns regarding his embassy’s work with Chalupa and the Clinton team. In her sworn account of the meeting, Chalupa acknowledged discussing Manafort and the “national security problem” he allegedly presented, but denied asking the embassy for help researching him. She allowed that she “could have mentioned the congressional investigation … that I had talked to Marcy Kaptur,” but maintained she couldn't recall trying to enlist the embassy in the effort. Shulyar, however, clearly recalls that Chalupa sought the embassy’s help warning the public about Manafort – including pitching stories to the press and lobbying Congress, according to a 2020 written statement to the FEC. An “idea floated by Alexandra Chalupa was that we approach a co-chair of the Congressional Ukraine Caucus to initiate a congressional hearing on Paul Manafort,” Shulyar said, though she denied the embassy acted on the idea. Around the same time, two Ukrainian lawmakers – Olga Bielkova and Pavlo Rizanenko – visited the U.S. and met with journalists, as well as a former State Department official with close ties to Sen. John McCain – David Kramer of the McCain Institute. Kramer would later leak the entire Steele dossier to the media. The meeting was arranged by major Clinton Foundation donor Victor Pinchuk, a Ukrainian oligarch who lobbied Clinton when she was Obama’s secretary of state. Bielkova was also connected to the Clinton Foundation, having once managed a Clinton Global Initiative program for Ukrainian college students. While Clinton was at Foggy Bottom from 2009 to 2013, Ukrainians gave more money – at least $10 million, including more than $8 million from Pinchuk – to the Clinton Foundation than any other nationality including Saudi Arabians. Pinchuk's donation was a down payment on an astounding $29 million pledge. On April 12, 2016, Bielkova also attended a meeting with Ciaramella and his NSC colleague Zentos, head of the Eastern Europe desk, according to lobbying disclosure records. In late April, Chalupa helped organize a Ukrainian-American protest against Manafort in his Connecticut hometown. Activists shouted for Trump to fire Manafort, whom they called “Putin’s Trojan Horse,” while holding signs that read: “Shame on Putin, Shame on Manafort, Shame on Trump” and “Putin, Hands Off the U.S. Election.” Chalupa also organized social media campaigns against Manafort and Trump, including one that encouraged activists to share the Twitter hashtags: “#TrumpPutin” and "#Treasonous Trump." Also that month, Chalupa reached out to Yahoo News reporter Isikoff to pitch a hit piece on Manafort. She connected him with a delegation of Ukrainian journalists visiting D.C. Isikoff would later be used by Steele to spread falsehoods from his dossier. May-June 2016: Manafort Dirt Spreads In a May 3 email, Chalupa alerted DNC communications director Luis Miranda and DNC opposition research director Lauren Dillion that there was “a lot more [dirt on Manafort] coming down the pipe[sic].” Chalupa told them the dirt has “a big Trump component” and would “hit in the next few weeks.” It’s not clear if she was referring to the notorious "black ledger” smear against Manafort, who was promoted to campaign chairman on May 19, but a story about it was brewing at the time. On May 30, Nellie Ohr, an opposition researcher for the Clinton-retained firm Fusion GPS, emailed her husband, Bruce Ohr, a top official at the Justice Department who would become a prime disseminator of the Steele dossier within the government, and two federal prosecutors to alert them to an article indicating NABU had suddenly discovered documents allegedly showing Manafort receiving illicit payments. Amid the flurry of anti-Manafort activity, Zentos met again with Telizhenko on May 4, records show. And Chalupa visited the White House for a meeting on May 13. Chalupa paid another visit to the White House on June 14, Secret Service logs show. On June 17, Ciaramella held a White House meeting with Nuland and Pyatt of the State Department to discuss undisclosed Ukrainian matters. In late June, the FBI signed an evidence-sharing agreement with NABU, less than two months before the Ukrainian anti-corruption agency released what it claimed was explosive new evidence on Manafort. July 2016: Ukrainian Officials Attack Trump Publicly Chalupa continued to pow-wow with the Ukrainian Embassy and got so cozy with officials there that they offered her a position, which she declined, as an “embedded consultant” in the country’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. That same month, high-ranking Ukrainian officials openly insulted Trump on social media in an unusual departure from normal diplomacy. For instance, Ukraine Minister of Internal Affairs Arsen Avakov tweeted that Trump was a “clown” who was “an even bigger danger to the U.S. than terrorism.” In another July post, he called Trump “dangerous for Ukraine.” And on Facebook, Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseny Yatseniuk warned that Trump had “challenged the very values of the free world." (After Trump upset Clinton, Avakov and other officials tried to delete their statements from their social network accounts, saying that they had been wrong and had rushed to conclusions.) “It was clear that they were supporting Hillary Clinton’s candidacy,” Ukrainian lawmaker Andriy Artemenko told Politico. “They did everything from organizing meetings with the Clinton team to publicly supporting her to criticizing Trump." While attending the Democratic convention in Philadelphia, Chalupa spread the scurrilous rumor that Manafort was the mastermind behind the alleged Russian hacking of the DNC and that he “stole" her and other Democrats’ emails. She later told her sister’s podcast that she had reported her conspiracy theory to the FBI, eventually sitting down and meeting with agents in September to spin her tale of supposed espionage (the Senate has asked the FBI for copies of her interview summaries, known as FD-302s). Chalupa also prepared a report for the FBI, as well as members of Congress, detailing her Russiagate conspiracy theories, which Mueller later found no evidence to support. In addition, Chalupa helped spread a false narrative that Trump removed a reference to providing arms to Kiev from the Republican platform at the party's convention earlier that month. Internal platform committee documents show the Ukraine plank could not have been weakened as claimed, because the “lethal” weapons language had never been part of the GOP platform. The final language actually strengthened the platform by pledging direct assistance not just to the country of Ukraine, but to its military in its struggle against Russian-backed forces. August-September 2016: The Phony Manafort Ledger Leaks  A page released by Ukrainian authorities from the fake Manafort ledger. New York Times/NABU In another attempt to influence the 2016 election, Ukrainian lawmaker Serhiy Leshchenko leaked to the U.S. media what he claimed was evidence of a secret handwritten ledger showing Manafort had received millions in cash from Yanukovych’s party under the table. He claimed that 22 pages of the alleged ledger, which contained line items written by hand, had mysteriously appeared in his parliament mailbox earlier that year. Leshchenko would not identify the sender. A fuller copy of the same document showed up later on the doorstep of a Ukrainian intelligence official who passed it to NABU, which shared it with FBI agents stationed in Kiev. Leshchenko and NABU officials held press conferences declaring the document was “proof" of Manafort corruption and demanding he be “interrogated.” The Clinton campaign seized on the story. In an Aug. 14 statement, campaign manager Robby Mook stated: “We have learned of more troubling connections between Donald Trump's team and pro-Kremlin elements in Ukraine.” He demanded Trump "disclose campaign chair Paul Manafort's and all other campaign employees' and advisers' ties to Russian or pro-Kremlin entities." But there was a big hole in the story. Though Manafort was a consultant to Yanukovych's party, he was paid by wire, not in cash, casting serious doubt on the ledger’s authenticity. Another problem: the ledger was alleged to have been kept at party headquarters, but rioters had destroyed the building in a 2014 fire. Leshchenko admitted that he had a political agenda. He told The Financial Times at the time that he went public with the ledger because “a Trump presidency would change the pro-Ukrainian agenda in American foreign policy.” He added that most of Ukraine’s politicians are “on Hillary Clinton’s side." Leshchenko also happened to be "a source for Fusion GPS,” as Nellie Ohr confirmed under questioning during a 2019 closed-door House hearing, according to a declassified transcript. Fusion was a paid agent of the Clinton campaign, which gave the private opposition-research firm more than $1 million to gin up connections between Trump and Russia. Fusion hired Steele to compile a series of “intelligence” memos known as the dossier. As a former MI6 operative, Steele gave the allegations a sheen of credibility. FBI counterintelligence veteran Mark Wauck said the dossier and the black ledger both appear to have originated with Fusion GPS, which laundered it through foreigners who hated Trump – Steele and Leshchenko. "The ledger and the dossier are both Fusion hit jobs,” Wauck said. “The two items shared a common origin: the Hillary campaign’s oppo research shop." In an August 2016 memo written for Fusion GPS, “The Demise of Trump’s Campaign Manager Paul Manafort,” Steele claimed he had corroborated Leshchenko’s charges through his anonymous Kremlin sources, who turned out to be nothing more than beer buddies of his primary source collector, Igor Danchenko, a Russian immigrant with a string of arrests in the U.S. for public intoxication, as RealClearInvestigations first reported. Danchenko had worked for the Brookings Institution, a Democratic think tank in Washington that Durham has subpoenaed in connection to its own role in Russiagate. Danchenko was indicted last year by Special Counsel Durham for lying about his sources, including one he completely made up, as RCI reported. “YANUKOVYCH had confided in PUTIN that he did authorize and order substantial kick-back payments to MANAFORT as alleged,” Steele claimed in the unsubstantiated report, citing “a well-placed Russian figure” with knowledge of a "meeting between PUTIN and YANUKOVYCH” allegedly “held in secret” on Aug. 15. As a paid informant, Steele had long reported to the FBI about alleged corruption involving Yanukovych. The FBI used his Clinton-funded dossier as a basis to obtain warrants to spy on former Trump adviser Carter Page, including the false claim that Page acted as an intermediary between Russian leadership and Manafort in a “well-developed conspiracy of cooperation” that included sidelining Russian intervention in Ukraine as a campaign issue. Steele also falsely claimed that Page had helped draft the RNC platform statement to be more sympathetic to Russia’s interests by eliminating language about providing weapons to Ukraine, according to a report by the Department of Justice's watchdog. In fact, Page was not involved in the GOP platform. The misinformation came from Danchenko’s fictional source. Fusion co-founder Glenn Simpson worked closely with the New York Times on the Manafort ledger story. In his book, “Crime in Progress,” Simpson boasts of introducing Leshchenko to the Times as a source, who ended up providing the paper some of the dubious ledger records. On Aug. 19, Manafort stepped down from the Trump campaign the day after the Times reported what it had been fed by the anti-Trump operatives. In effect, Ukrainian government officials tried to help Clinton and undermine Trump by disseminating documents implicating a top Trump aide in corruption and telling the American media they were investigating the matter. In 2018, a Ukrainian court ruled that Leshchenko and NABU’s Sytnyk illegally interfered in the 2016 U.S. election by publicizing the black ledger. Among the evidence was a recording of Sytnyk saying the agency released the ledger to help Clinton’s campaign – “I helped her,” Sytnyk is recorded boasting. But the damage was done. The Ukrainians, along with Chalupa and the Clinton camp, achieved their goal of undermining the Trump campaign by prompting Manafort’s ouster though they never proved he was colluding with the Russians. Neither did Special Counsel Mueller. In fact, Mueller did not use the ledger to prosecute Manafort after a key witness for the prosecution told him it was fabricated. “Mueller ended up dropping it like a hot potato,” Wauck said.  Ukraine’s neutrality in the election was also called into further question that September, when Porochenko met with Clinton during a stop in New York. He never met with Trump, who appeared to get the cold shoulder from the Ukrainian leader. In statements following Trump’s surprise victory over Clinton in November, Ukraine’s embassy has denied interfering in the election and insisted that Chalupa was acting on her own. Epilogue After Trump won the election in spite of her efforts to sabotage him, Chalupa predicted: “Under President Trump, the Kremlin could likely invade U.S. allies in Europe without U.S. opposition.” Not only did Russia not invade Europe “under Trump,” it didn’t even invade Ukraine. Rather, the invasion came under Biden, whose campaign Chalupa supported. Yet she continues to blame Trump. Recent tweets show a still-obsessed Chalupa has not dialed back her extremist views about Trump or Manafort, whom she believes should be prosecuted for “treason." In a Feb. 28 post on Twitter, for example, Chalupa claimed that Putin installed “a puppet regime in the U.S. with the help of Paul Manafort.” The previous day, she tweeted, “We had a Putin installed Trump presidency.” A day before that, she wrote: “Now would be a good time to release the Putin-Trump treason calls.” And on Feb. 25, Chalupa tweeted another wild conspiracy theory: "It’s important to note that Putin’s imperial aspirations are of a global criminal empire, as we saw when he installed Donald J. Trump president and tried to turn the U.S. into a Russian satellite state." Tyler Durden Fri, 03/11/2022 - 19:00.....»»

Category: dealsSource: nytMar 11th, 2022

Ayr Wellness Reports Third Quarter 2021 Results

Q3 Revenue up 111% Y/Y to $96.2 Million, up 5% sequentially Q3 Adjusted EBITDA of $26.0 million, up 40% Y/Y and down 5% sequentially as the Company Invests in Future Growth US GAAP Operating Loss of $8.9 Million Included Non-Cash, One-Time Expenses, and Non-Operating Adjustments totaling $34.9 Million Raised $50 Million in Cash with Early Call of Outstanding Warrants and $150 Million in Offering of Additional Senior Notes Company Provides Q4 2021 Guidance for over 10% Sequential Revenue Growth with Adjusted EBITDA Flat Sequentially Proposing to Add Two Dispensaries in Chicago with Announced Agreement to Acquire Dispensary 33, Which Would Increase Illinois Retail Footprint to Five Stores Revising 2022 Adjusted EBITDA Target to $250-300 Million, and Maintaining 2022 Revenue Target of $800 Million to Reflect Revised Timing for Capital Projects and Recent Changes in Wholesale Market Conditions Acquisitions of Levia, a Leading Branded Cannabis Beverage Company, Herbal Remedies (IL) and Tahoe Hydro (NV) Expected to Close in Q1 2022, Followed by Dispensary 33 (IL) in the First Half of 2022 MIAMI, Nov. 22, 2021 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Ayr Wellness Inc. (CSE:AYR, OTCQX:AYRWF) ("Ayr" or the "Company"), a vertically-integrated cannabis multi-state operator (MSO), is reporting financial results for the three and nine months ended September 30, 2021. Unless otherwise noted, all results are presented in U.S. dollars. Jonathan Sandelman, CEO of Ayr Wellness, said, "We are pleased to report another great quarter of growth at Ayr, more than doubling our revenue from last year's third quarter and up 5% sequentially in a flat cannabis market. We have been able to maintain or grow share in competitive markets with pricing discipline because, by design, we have focused on quality and consumers continue to show a willingness to pay for quality. As we've said again and again, we seek to be the largest scale cultivator of high-quality cannabis in the United States. First and foremost, this is because we want to produce the best product for our customers. But also, because quality serves as a mitigant to pricing pressure that can result from supply and demand imbalances. Quality matters." "Today we are unveiling our new corporate, retail and CPG brands which represent the next phase in the evolution of our company. These brands are designed to represent the quality of what's inside the box. Our portfolio of power brands, which consists of Kynd premium flower, Origyn Extracts, Stix Pre-Roll Company, and (on closing) Levia, reflects the very best of cannabis and represents leading market categories for current and future consumers. We're also unveiling a collection of core brands to offer variety in form, dose and experience. These core brands address a broader audience in those same power categories," Mr. Sandelman continued."Lastly, we are unveiling our updated Ayr retail concept. We have built this retail concept very intentionally for the experience in our stores to reflect the quality of our products and our commitment to our local communities. At Ayr, we are committed to thinking long-term. We will continue to invest in our quality and our brands. We understand that brand building in this industry is still in its early stages but the reason that we're committed to this path is because we know that great products and great brands create their own categories and consumer segments," Mr. Sandelman concluded. Third Quarter and Recent Highlights: Closed on acquisition of Garden State Dispensary, adding New Jersey to Ayr's growing footprint with three open dispensaries and 24,000 sq. ft. of operational cultivation and production facilities, with an additional 75,000 sq. ft. of cultivation under development coming online with sales in Q2 2022 Completed combination with PA Natures Medicine, adding three dispensaries in central Pennsylvania, including the college towns of Bloomsburg and State College Organic revenue growth from Massachusetts and Nevada was 18% year-over-year Hired over 300 new employees across all levels, deepening our bench in marketing, human resources, technology and operations professionals focused on driving scalable processes across our regional footprint Florida: Completed construction of 10 acres of hoop house cultivation on the Gainesville campus with a further 10 acres under development, adding an estimated 40,000 lbs. of annual biomass cultivation capacity commencing in 2022 Continue to expand and improve the assortment and availability of products at retail with the launch of Secret Orchard fruit forward vapes and Sun Gems gummies Since closing on February 26, 2021, the Company has opened 11 retail locations, bringing total store count to 42, the second largest retail footprint in Florida An additional three stores are expected to open by the end of the year, with five more in Q1 2022; the Company has sited a further 15 new locations, bringing its year-end 2022 Florida dispensary target to at least 65 Western Region: Retail trends in Nevada remain robust and Ayr market share continues to rise in this competitive market, reaching over 13.7% in September, according to BDSA Completed 20,000 sq. ft. processing facility upgrade outside of Las Vegas and expanded production in July of manufactured products such as edibles, concentrates and vapes Arizona retail market was seasonally soft over Q3, however wholesale revenues partially offset the retail softness as the Chandler, AZ facility came on-line, adding 10,000 sq. ft. of cultivation capacity Construction of 80,000 sq. ft. Phoenix cultivation expected to be completed in Q4, with revenues commencing in Q2 2022 Northeast: Closed on Garden State Dispensary in New Jersey, adding three dispensaries, 24,000 sq. ft. of existing cultivation and production and over 75,000 sq. ft. of cultivation under development, making Ayr one of 12 vertical operators in the state serving over 9 million people with adult use slated to begin in H1 2022 Pennsylvania combined retail revenues reached $1.9 million per month in September, excluding the three dispensaries added in central PA post the end of Q3 One additional Pennsylvania Ayr Wellness store opened in November, bringing total store count to seven; eighth store expected to open later this year, followed by the ninth in early 2022 Construction continues on Adult Use dispensaries in Greater Boston (Watertown and Boylston Street) Selling to 137 of Massachusetts' 177 dispensaries Construction of 100,000 sq. ft. double-stacked cultivation and production facility in Milford, MA expected to be completed in early 2022 Midwest: Added eighth state, Illinois, to growing footprint with the proposed acquisition of Herbal Remedies Dispensaries, today's announcement of the agreement to acquire Dispensary 33 (see details below) and license win by affiliated company, Land of Lincoln, LLC Began production of vape carts, concentrates, RSO, and tinctures as well as Highly Edible gummies at processing facility in Ohio Third Quarter Financial Highlights ($ in millions, excl. margin items)   Q3 20201 Q2 2021 Q3 2021 % ChangeY/Y % ChangeQ/Q Revenue $45.5   $91.3   $96.2   111.4%   5.4%   Adjusted Gross Profit1 $28.6   $53.1   $56.6   97.9%   6.6%   Operating Income/(Loss) $8.5   $(24.9 ) $(8.9 ) NM   NM   Adj. EBITDA1 $18.6   $27.4   $26.0   39.8%   -5.0%   AEBITDA Margin1 40.8%   30.0%   27.0%   -1380bps   -300bps   1For comparison purposes, Q3 2020 has been restated to be consistent with US GAAP. Adjusted EBITDA and Adjusted Gross Profit are non-GAAP measures. See Definition and Reconciliation of Non-GAAP Measures below. For a reconciliation of Operating Loss to Adjusted EBITDA as well as Gross Profit to Adjusted Gross Profit, see reconciliation table appended to this release. Outlook: Based on the results to date, management is forecasting Q4 2021 revenue growth of over 10% sequentially. Adjusted EBITDA is expected to remain roughly flat sequentially, as the Company continues its investments in branding, new markets and growth projects, and the centralized corporate resources to support growth. The Company is revising its 2022 Adjusted EBITDA guidance to a range of $250-300 million reflecting delays in capital projects and the impact on results should recent wholesale market price volatility persist into 2022. It is reiterating its target for 2022 revenue of $800 million. The Company's expectations for Q4 2021 and 2022 are based on the assumptions and risks detailed in the MD&A for the period ending September 30, 2021 as filed on SEDAR. Summary of the Dispensary 33 Acquisition:Ayr has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire Gentle Ventures, LLC d/b/a Dispensary 33 ("Dispensary 33"), and certain of its affiliates that collectively own and operate two licensed retail dispensaries in Chicago, Illinois, one in the Andersonville neighborhood and the other in West Loop. Purchase consideration will consist of $55 million upfront, including $12 million in cash, $3 million sellers notes and $40 million in stock. An earn-out is payable if certain EBITDA performance is achieved through Q3 2022. The acquisition is subject to customary closing conditions and regulatory approvals. More details can be found in separate the press release dated November 22, 2021, available here. Ayr Wellness Footprint (Pro-forma)1   MA NJ PA OH FL AZ NV IL TOTAL Population2 6.9 M 9.2 M 12.8 M 11.7 M 21.9 M 7.5 M 3.1 M 12.6 M 85.7 M Adult Use or Medical AU AU Med Med Med AU AU AU 5 AU/ 3 Med Est. 2021 Market Size3 $1.4 B $1 B $750 M $500 M $1.8 B $1.6 B $1 B $1.3 B $9.4 B Dispensaries:Current → YE 2022 2 → 44 3 7 → 9 - 42 → 655 3 6 4→ 56 67 → 95 Key Retail Markets Greater Boston Central NJ PittsburghPhiladelphia - MiamiTampaOrlando Phoenix Las VegasReno ChicagoQuincy   Cultivation-Production:Current → Targeted YE22 Sq. Ft. 50 → 142K 24 → 100K 83 → 120K 9 → 67K 308 → 622K 10 → 90K 72K→ 106K NA 557 → 1,200K+ Biomass Production:Current → Targeted YE22 Lbs./yr. 16 → 70K 4 → 50K 15 → 45K 0 → 10K 37 → 90K 10 → 36K 14 → 20K   96 → 320K+                     Employees 265 110 350 25 555 185 560 100 ~2,150 Planned 2021-2022 Cap Exp ~$24M ~$12M ~$27M ~$33M ~$32M ~$3M.....»»

Category: earningsSource: benzingaNov 22nd, 2021

Nancy Pelosi pulls the plug on a House vote for Biden"s infrastructure bill for the second time as progressives threatened to sink it

Just after Biden unveiled his $1.75 trillion social-spending framework, Pelosi announced plans to hold an infrastructure vote the same day. U.S. Speaker of the House Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA). Alex Wong/Getty Images Nancy Pelosi pulled a vote on the infrastructure bill amid progressive opposition. Biden unveiled a $1.75 trillion social-spending framework on Thursday, cutting many proposals. Progressives are adamant they will not vote for infrastructure until they approve of the social-spending reconciliation bill. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi pulled the plug on a vote for President Joe Biden's $550 billion infrastructure bill for the second time in a month, as scores of progressives refused to back it without a larger $1.75 trillion social spending bill clearing the Senate.It capped a frenzied week of activity on Capitol Hill that saw Democrats leave Biden empty-handed as he traveled abroad for a major climate summit in Scotland. The president hoped he could tout domestic achievements back home to demonstrate America was serious about fighting the climate emergency. For weeks, Democratic leaders tried securing an agreement on a skinny social spending plan containing the bulk of Biden's agenda with Sens. Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona, a pair of centrist holdouts. It led the party to dramatically curtail their economic ambitions to earn their critical votes, jettisoning provisions like paid leave and tuition-free community college from the package.Biden traveled to Capitol Hill to personally urge Democrats to end their squabbling and get behind the latest social spending framework unveiled on Thursday. House Democrats later released the 1,684 page bill, which economists argue will create jobs and cut costs for familes.It would provide universal pre-K, renew monthly cash payments to the vast majority of American families for another year, expand access to healthcare, transition the US onto cleaner energy sources and provide childcare subsidies. It's paid for with a collection of tax hikes on the rich and large firms, including a corporate minimum tax and a new surtax on multimillionaires."We badly need a vote on both of these measures," Biden privately told House Democrats, per a person familiar with his remarks. "I don't think it's hyperbole to say that the House and Senate majorities and my presidency will be determined by what happens in the next week."But Biden's pitch to dislodge the infrastructure bill landed with a thud. House progressives dug in on their position that both the infrastructure and social spending bills must be approved in tandem. They had encouragement from another pair of influential Senate counterparts: Sens. Bernie Sanders of Vermont and Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts."There is too much at stake for working families and our communities to settle for something that can be later misunderstood, amended or abandoned altogether," Rep. Pramila Jayapal of Washington, chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, said in a statement. "That is why dozens of our members insist on keeping both bills linked and cannot vote only for one without until they can be voted on altogether."Progressive distrust of Manchin and Sinema is running high. Both did not commit to vote for Biden's framework on Thursday. The West Virginia Democrat only told reporters he was "continuing to negotiate in good faith," though he suggested later in the day that he could back the $1.75 trillion price tag.Then Sinema wrote on Twitter that "significant progress" was being made on the emerging social spending bill, adding "I look forward to getting this done."-Kyrsten Sinema (@SenatorSinema) October 28, 2021 Their comments did little to quell progressive fears that both could still sink the bill. "Everything those two do is alarming," Rep. Ilhan Omar of Minnesota told Insider, arguing their obstruction was preventing Biden from a scoring a major win on his economic agenda.There's few signs that progressives will drop a blockade that began in the summer, frustrating centrists in the party who want the infrastructure bill passed immediately. "People are frustrated right now," Rep. Jim Costa of California told Insider. "There's a lack of trust and you got a lot of members that have been here 4 years or less and they don't seem to understand how you get things done."The framework is likely to undergo changes as Democrats in both chambers press to include some of their biggest priorities like a paid leave program and prescription drug price controls. Many are still grappling with the painful sacrifices required for the social spending plan to clear threadbare majorities and become law. Sanders chiefly authored the initial $6 trillion spending proposal billed as on par with New Deal and Great Society, both endeavors that fortified the safety net and recast the relationship between Americans and the federal government.That proposal was whittled down to $3.5 trillion in July, and now it's been cut by half. But the price tag is likely to stay locked in as the new ceiling for Biden's economic agenda.Democrats are relying on a legislative maneuver known as reconciliation, allowing Democrats to approve the legislation with a simple majority vote over unanimous GOP opposition. They have little room to maneuver with only three votes to spare in the House and none in the 50-50 Senate.Pelosi said earlier on Thursday she wanted paid leave back in the package after it was ejected due to resistance from Manchin. That may lead to several more weeks of negotiations on what's ultimately in and out."The deal isn't done until the Senate acts," Senate Finance Committee chair Ron Wyden of Oregon, a chief advocate for government drug price negotiations, told Insider. "This is not done."Still, some are taking solace at the talks picking up speed. "There has been more negotiation that has happened in the last three weeks than has happened in the last many months," Jayapal told MSNBC. Jayapal later told Insider that progressives are backing Biden's framework as it is, though she'd welcome "additive" changes that garner the support of all 50 Senate Democrats.As Insider reported, the only investment that did not get cut was $555 billion for the climate - the largest investment in the bill. Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: smallbizSource: nytOct 28th, 2021

Transcript: Soraya Darabi

     The transcript from this week’s, MiB: Soraya Darabi, TMV, 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. ~~~ BARRY RITHOLTZ, HOST, MASTERS IN BUSINESS: This… Read More The post Transcript: Soraya Darabi appeared first on The Big Picture.      The transcript from this week’s, MiB: Soraya Darabi, TMV, 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. ~~~ BARRY RITHOLTZ, HOST, MASTERS IN BUSINESS: This week on the podcast, I have an extra special guest. Her name is Soraya Darabi. She is a venture capital and impact investor who has an absolutely fascinating background working for, first with the New York Times Social Media Group then with a startup that eventually gets purchased by OpenTable, and then becoming a venture investor that focuses on women and people of color-led startups which is not merely a way to, quote-unquote, “do good” but it’s a broad area that is wildly underserved by the venture community and therefore is very inefficient. Meaning, there’s a lot of upside in this. You can both do well and do good by investing in these areas. I found this to be absolutely fascinating and I think you will also, if you’re at all interested in entrepreneurship, social media startups, deal flow, how funds identify who they want to invest in, what it’s like to actually experience an exit as an entrepreneur, I think you’ll find this to be quite fascinating. So with no further ado, my conversation with TMV’s Soraya Darabi. VOICEOVER: This is Masters in Business with Barry Ritholtz on Bloomberg Radio. My special guest this week is Soraya Darabi. She is the Co-Founder and General Partner of TMV, a venture capital firm that has had a number of that exits despite being relatively young, 65 percent of TMV’s startups are led by women or people of color. Previously, she was the cofounder of Foodspotting, an app named App of the Year by Apple and Wire that was eventually purchased by OpenTable. Soraya Darabi, welcome to Bloomberg. SORAYA DARABI; GENERAL PARTNER & FOUNDER; TMV: My goodness, Barry, thank you for having me. RITHOLTZ: I’ve been looking forward to this conversation since our previous discussion. We were on a Zoom call with a number of people discussing blockchain and crypto when it was really quite fascinating and I thought you had such an unusual and interesting background, I thought you would make a perfect guest for the show. Let’s start with your Manager of Digital Partnerships and Social Media at the “New York Times” when social media was really just ramping up. Tell us about what that was like. Tell us what you did in the late aughts at The Times. DARABI: Absolutely. I was fresh faced out of a university. I had recently graduated with mostly a journalism concentration from Georgetown and did a small stint in Condé Nast right around the time they acquired Reddit for what will soon be nothing because Reddit’s expecting to IPO at around 15 billion. And that experience at Reddit really offered me a deep understanding of convergence, what was happening to digital media properties as they partnered for the first time when nascent but scaling social media platforms. And so the “New York Times” generously offered me a role that was originally called manager of buzz marketing. I think that’s what they called social media in 2006 and then that eventually evolved into manager of digital partnerships and social media which, in essence, meant that we were aiming to be the first media property in the world to partner with companies that are household names today but back in the they were fairly unbalanced to Facebook and Twitters, of course, but also platforms that really took off for a while and then plateaued potentially. The Tumblers of the world. And it was responsibility to understand how we could effectively generate an understanding of the burgeoning demographics of this platform and how we could potentially bring income into The Times for working with them, but more importantly have a journalist that could authentically represent themselves on new media. And so, that was a really wonderful role to have directly out of University and then introduce me to folks with whom I still work today. DARABI: That’s quite interesting. So when you’re looking at a lot of these companies, you mentioned Facebook and Twitter and Tumbler, how do you know if something’s going to be a Facebook or a MySpace, so Twitter or a Tumbler, what’s going to survive or not, when you’re cutting deals with these companies on behalf of The Times, are you thinking in terms of hey, who’s going to stick around, wasn’t that much earlier that the dot-com implosion took place prior to you starting with The Times? DARABI: It’s true, although I don’t remember the dot-com implosion. So, maybe that naivete helped because all I had was enthusiasm, unbridled enthusiasm for these new companies and I operated then and now still with a beta approach to business. Testing out new platforms and trying to track the data, what’s scaling, what velocity is this platform scaling and can we hitch a ride on the rochet ship if they will so allow. But a lot of our partnerships then and now, as an investor, are predicated upon relationships. And so, as most, I think terrific investors that I listen to, who I listen to in your show, at least, will talk to you about the importance of believing and the founder and the founder’s vision and that was the case back then and remains the case today. RITHOLTZ: So, when you were at The Times, your tenure there very much overlapped the great financial crisis. You’re looking at social media, how did that manifest the world of social media when it looked like the world of finance was imploding at that time? DARABI: Well, it was a very interesting time. I remember having, quite literally, 30-second meetings with Sorkin as he would run upstairs to my floor, in the eighth floor, to talk about a deal book app that we wanted to launch and then he’d ran back down to his desk to do much more important work, I think, and — between the financial crisis to the world. So, 30-second meetings aside, it was considered to be, in some ways, a great awakening for the Web 2.0 era as the economy was bottoming out, like a recession, it also offered a really interesting opportunity for entrepreneurs, many of whom had just been laid off or we’re looking at this as a sizeable moment to begin to work on a side hustle or a life pursuit. And so, there’s — it’s unsettling, of course, any recession or any great awakening, but lemonade-lemons, when the opening door closing, there was a — there was a true opportunity as well for social media founders, founders focusing on convergence in any industry, really, many of which are predicated in New York. But again, tinkering on an idea that could ultimately become quite powerful because if you’re in the earliest stage of the riskiest asset class, big venture, there’s always going to be seed funding for a great founder with a great idea. And so, I think some of the smartest people I’d ever met in my life, I met at the onset of the aftermath of that particular era in time. RITHOLTZ: So you mentioned side hustle. Let’s talk a little bit about Foodspotting which is described as a visual geolocal guide to dishes instead of restaurants which sounds appealing to me. And it was named App of the Year by both Apple and Wired. How do you go from working at a giant organization like The Times to a startup with you and a cofounder and a handful of other coders working with you? DARABI: Well, five to six nights a week after my day job at the “New York Times,” I would go to networking events with technologists and entrepreneurs after hours. I saw that a priority to be able to partner from the earliest infancy with interesting companies for that media entity. I need to at least know who these founders were in New York and Silicon Valley. And so, without a true agenda other than keen curiosity to learn what this business were all about, I would go to New York tech meetup which Scott Heiferman of meetup.com who’s now in charge LP in my fund would create. And back then, the New York Tech Meetup was fewer than 40 people. I believe it’s been the tens of thousands now. RITHOLTZ: Wow, that’s … DARABI: In New York City alone. And so, it was there that I met some really brilliant people. And in particular, a gentleman my age who’s building a cloud-computing company that was essentially arbitraging AWS to repopulate consumer-facing cloud data services for enterprises, B2B2C play. And we all thought it would be Dropbox. The company ultimately wasn’t, but I will tell you the people with whom I worked with that startup because I left the “New York Times” to join that startup, to this day remain some of the most successful people in Silicon Valley and Alley. And actually, one of those persons is a partner at our firm now, Darshan. He was the cofounder of that particular company which is called drop.io. but I stayed there very quickly. I was there for about six months. But at that startup, I observed how a young person my age could build a business, raise VC, he was the son of a VC and so he was exceptionally attuned to the changing landscape of venture and how to position the company so that it would be attractive to the RREs of the world and then the DFJs. And I … RITHOLTZ: Define those for us. RREs and BFJs. DARABI: Sorry. Still, today, very relevant and very successful venture capital firms. And in particular, they were backing a lot of the most interesting ideas in Web 2.0 era when I joined this particular startup in 2010. Well, that startup was acquired by Facebook and I often say, no, thanks to me. But the mafia that left that particular startup continues to this day to coinvest with one another and help one another’s ideas to exceed. And it was there that I began to build the confidence, I think, that I really needed to explore my own entrepreneurial ideas or to help accelerate ideas. And Foodspotting was a company that I was advising while at that particular startup, that was really taking off. This was in the early days of when Instagram was still in beta and we observed that the most commonly posted photos on Instagram were of food. And so, by following that lead, we basically built an app as well that activity that continues to take place every single day. I still see food photos on Twitter every time I open up my stream. And decided to match that with an algorithm that showed folks wherever they were in the world, say in Greece, that might want spanakopita or if I’m in Japan, Okinawa, we help people to discover not just the Michelin-rated restaurants or the most popular local hunt in New York but rather what’s the dish that they should be ordering. And then the app was extremely good was populating beautiful photos of that particular dish and then mirroring them with accredited reviews from the Zagats of the world but also popular celebrity shots like Marcus Samuelsson in New York. And that’s why we took off because it was a cult-beloved app of its time back when there were only three geolocation apps in the iTunes apparently store. It was we and Twitter and Foursquare. So, there was a first-mover advantage. Looking back in hindsight, I think we sold that company too soon. OpenTable bought the business. A year and a half later, Priceline bought OpenTable. Both were generous liquidity events for the founders that enabled us to become angel investors. But sometimes I wish that that app still existed today because I could see it being still incredibly handy in my day-to-day life. RITHOLTZ: To say the least. So did you have to raise money for Foodspotting or did you just bootstrapped it and how did that experience compare with what that exit was like? DARABI: We did. We raised from tremendous investors like Aydin Senkut of Felicis Ventures whom I think of as being one of the best angel investors of the world. He was on the board. But we didn’t raise that much capital before the business is ultimately sold and what I learned in some of those early conversations, I would say, that may have ultimately led to LOIs and term sheets was that so much of M&As about wining and dining and as a young person, particularly for me, you and I discussed before the show, Barry, we’re both from New York, I’m not from a business-oriented family to say the least. My mom’s an academic, my father was a cab driver in New York City. And so, there are certain elements of this game, raising venture and ultimately trying to exit your company, that you don’t learn from a business book. And I think navigating that as a young person was complicated if I had to speak economically. RITHOLTZ: Quite fascinating. What is purposeful change? DARABI: Well, the world purpose, I suppose, especially in the VC game could come across as somewhat of a cliché. But we try to be as specific as possible when we allude to the impact that our investment could potentially make. And so, specifically, we invest in five verticals at our early stage New York City-based venture fund. We invest in what we call the care economy, just companies making all forms of care, elder care to pet care to health care, more accessible and equitable. We invest in financial inclusion. So this is a spin on fintech. These are companies enabling wealth creation, education, and most importantly literacy for all, that I think is really important to democratization of finance. We invest in the future of work which are companies creating better outcomes for workers and employees alike. We invest in the future of work which are companies creating better outcomes for workers and employers alike. We invest in purpose as it pertains to transportation. So, not immediately intuitive but companies creating transparency and efficiency around global supply chain and mobility. I’m going to talk about why we pick that category in a bit. And sustainability. So, tech-enabled sustainable solutions. These are companies optimizing for sustainability from process to product. With these five verticals combined, we have a subspecies which is that diverse founders and diverse employee bases and diverse cap table. It is not charity, it’s simply good for business. And so, in addition to being hyper specific about the impact in which we invest, we also make it a priority and a mandate at our firm to invest in the way the world truly look. And when we say that on our website, we link to census data. And so, we invest in man and women equally. We invest in diverse founders, almost all of the time. And we track this with data and precious to make sure that our investments reflect not just one zip code in California but rather America at large. RITHOLTZ: And you have described this as non-obvious founders. Tell us a little bit about that phrase. DARABI: Well, not obvious is a term you hear a lot when you go out to Silicon Valley. And I don’t know, I think it was coined by a well-known early PayPal employee turned billionaire turned investor who actually have a conference centered around non-obvious ideas. And I love the phrase. I love thinking about investment PC that are contrary because we have a contrary point of view, contrarian point of view, you often have outlier results because if you’re right, you’re taking the risk and your capturing the reward. When you’re investing in non-obvious founders, it should be that is the exact same outcome. And so, it almost sort of befuddled me as a person with a hard to pronounce name in Silicon Valley, why it was that we’re an industry that prides itself on investing in innovation and groundbreaking ideas and the next frontier of X, Y, and Z and yet all of those founders in which we were investing, collectively, tended to kind of look the same. They were coming from the same schools and the same types of families. And so, to me, there was nothing innovative at all about backing that Wharton, PSB, HBS guy who is second or third-generation finance. And what really excites me about venture is capturing a moment in time that’s young but also the energy is palpable around not only the idea in which the founder is building but the categories of which they’re tackling and that sounded big. I’ll be a little bit more speficic. And so, at TMV, we tried to see things before they’re even coming around the bend. For instance, we were early investors in a company called Cityblock Health which is offering best in class health care specifically for low income Americans. So they focus on the most vulnerable population which are underserved with health care and they’re offering them best in class health care access at affordable pricing because it’s predominantly covered through a payer relationship. And this company is so powerful to us for three reasons because it’s not simply offering health care to the elite. It’s democratizing access to care which I think is absolutely necessary in term out for success of any kind. We thought this was profoundly interesting because the population which they serve is also incredibly diverse. And so when you look at that investment over, say, a comparable company, I won’t name names, that offers for-profit health care, out-of-pocket, you can see why this is an opportunity that excites us as impact investors but we don’t see the diversity of the team it’s impact. We actually see that as their unfair advantage because they are accessing a population authentically that others might ignore. RITHOLTZ: Let me see if I understand this correctly. When you talk about non-obvious find — founders and spaces like this, what I’m hearing from you is you’re looking at areas where the market has been very inefficient with how it allocates capital … DARABI: Yes. RITHOLTZ: … that these areas are just overlooked and ignored, hey, if you want to go on to silicon valley and compete with everybody else and pay up for what looks like the same old startup, maybe it will successful and maybe it won’t, that’s hypercompetitive and hyper efficient, these are areas that are just overlooked and there is — this is more than just do-goodery for lack of a better word. There are genuine economic opportunities here with lots of potential upside. DARABI: Absolutely. So, my business partner and I, she and I found each other 20 years ago as undergrads at Georgetown but we went in to business after she was successful and being one of the only women in the world to take a shipping business public with her family, and we got together and we said we have a really unique access, she and I. And the first SPV that we collaborated on back in 2016 was a young business at the time, started by two women, that was focused on medical apparel predominantly for nurses. Now it’s nurses and doctors. And they were offering a solution to make medical apparel, so scrubs, more comfortable and more fashionable for nurses. I happen to have nurses and doctors in my family so doing due diligence for this business is relatively simple. I called my aunt who’s a nurse practitioner, a nurse her life, and she said, absolutely. When you’re working in a uniform at the hospital, you want something comfortable with extra pockets that makes you look and feel good. The VCs that they spoke to at the time, and they’ve been very public about this, in the beginning, anyway, were less excited because they correlated this particular business for the fashion company. But if you look back at our original memo which I saved, it says, FIGS, now public on the New York Stock Exchange is a utility business. It’s a uniform company that can verticalize beyond just medical apparel. And so, we helped value that company at 15 million back in 2016. And this year, in 2021, they went public at a $7 billion market cap. RITHOLTZ: Wow. DARABI: And so, what is particularly exciting for us going back to that conversation on non-obvious founders is that particular business, FIGS, was the first company in history to have two female co-founders go public. And when we think of success at TMV, we don’t just think about financial success and IRR and cash on cash return for our LPs, of course we think about that. But we also think who are we cheerleading and with whom do we want to go into business. I went to the story on the other side of the fence that we want to help and we measure non-obvious not just based on gender or race because I think that’s a little too precise in some ways. Sometimes, for us non-obvious, is around geography, I would say. I’m calling you from Athens, as you know, and in Greece, yesterday, I got together with a fund manager. I’m lucky enough to be an LP in her fund and she was talking about the average size of a seed round in Silicon Valley these days, hovering around 30 million. And I was scratching my head because at our fund, TMV, we don’t see that. We’re investing in Baltimore, Maryland, and in Austin, Texas and the average price for us to invest in the seed round is closer to 5 million or 6 million. And so, we actually can capture larger ownership of the pie early on and then develop a very close-knit relationship with these founders but might not be as networked in the Valley where there’s 30 VC funds to everyone that exist in Austin, Texas. RITHOLTZ: Right. DARABI: And so, yes, I think you’re right to say that it’s about inefficiencies in market but also just around — about being persistent and looking where others are not. RITHOLTZ: That’s quite intriguing. Your team is female-led. You have a portfolio of companies that’s about 65 percent women and people of color. Tell us how you go about finding these non-obvious startups? DARABI: It’s a good question. TMV celebrates its five-year anniversary this year. So the way we go about funding companies now is a bit different than the way we began five years ago. Now, it’s systematic. We collectively, as a partnership, there are many of us take over 50 calls a month with Tier 1 venture capital firms that have known us for a while like the work that we do, believe in our value-add because the partnership comprised of four more operators. So, we really roll up our sleeves to help. And when you’ve invested at this firms, enough time, they will write to you and say I found a company that’s a little too early for us, for XYZ reason, but it resonates and I think it might be for you. So we found some of our best deals that way. But other times, we found our deal flow through building our own communities. And so, when I first started visit as an EM, an emerging manager of a VC firm. And roughly 30 percent of LP capital goes to EM each year but that’s sort of an outsized percentage because when you think about the w-fix-solve (ph) addition capital, taking 1.3 billion of that pie, then you recognize the definition of emerging manager might need to change a bit. So, when I was starting as an EM, I recognize that the landscape wasn’t necessarily leveled. If you weren’t, what’s called the spinout, somebody that has spent a few years at a traditional established blue-chip firm, then it’s harder to develop and cultivate relationships with institutional LPs who will give you a shot even though the data absolutely points to there being a real opportunity in capturing lightning in a bottle if you find a right EM with the right idea in the right market conditions which is certainly what we’re in right now. And so, I decided to start a network specifically tailored around helping women fund managers, connecting one another and it began as a WhatsApp group and a weekly Google Meet that has now blown into something that requires a lot of dedicated time. And so we’re hiring an executive director for this group. They’re called Transact Global, 250 women ex-fund managers globally, from Hong Kong, to Luxembourg, to Venezuela, Canada, Nigeria, you name it. There are women fund managers in our group and we have one of the most active deal flow channels in the world. And so two of our TMV deals over the last year, a fintech combatting student debt and helping young Americans save for retirement at the same time, as an example, came from this WhatsApp deal flow channel. So, I think creating the community, being the change, so to speak, has been incredibly effective for us a proprietary deal flow mechanism. And then last but not least, I think that having some sort of media presence really has helped. And so, I’ve hosted a podcast and I’ve worked on building up what I think to be a fairly organic Twitter following over the years and we surprise ourselves by getting some really exceptional founders cold pitching us on LinkedIn and on Twitter because we make ourselves available as next gen EMs. So, that’s a sort of long-winded answer to your question. But it’s not the traditional means by any means. RITHOLTZ: To say the least. Are you — the companies you’re investing in, are they — and I’ll try and keep this simple for people who are not all that well-versed in the world of venture, is it seed stage, is it the A round, the B round? How far into their growth process do you put money in? DARABI: So it is a predominantly seed fund. We call our investments core investments. So, these are checks that average, 1 and 1.5 million. So for about 1.25 million, on average, we’re capturing 10-15% of a cap payable. And in this area, that’s called a seed round. It will probably be called a Series A 10 years ago. RITHOLTZ: Right. DARABI: And then we follow on through the Series A and it max around, I think, our pro rata at the B. So, our goal via Series B is to have, on average, 10% by the cap. And then we give ourselves a little bit of wiggle room with our modeling. We take mars and moonshot investments with smaller checks so we call these initial interest checks. And initial interest means I’m interested but your idea is still audacious, they won’t prove itself out for three or four years or to be very honest, we weren’t the first to get into this cap or you’re picking Sequoia over us, so we understand but let’s see if we can just promise you a bit of value add to edge our way into your business. RITHOLTZ: Right. DARABI: And oftentimes, when you speak as a former founder yourself with a high level of compassion and you promise with integrity that you’re going to work very hard for that company, they will increase the size of their round and they will carve out space for you. And so, we do those types of investments rarely, 10 times, in any given portfolio. But what’s interesting in looking back at some of our outliers from found one, it came from those initial interest checks. So that’s our model in a nutshell. We’re pretty transparent about it. What we like about this model is that it doesn’t make us tigers, we’re off the board by the B, so we’re still owning enough of the cap table to be a meaningful presence in the founder’s lives and in their business and it allows us to feel like we’re not spraying and praying. RITHOLTZ: Spraying and praying is an amusing term but I’m kind of intrigued by the fact that we use to call it smart money but you’re really describing it as value-added capital when a founder takes money from TMV, they’re getting more than just a check, they’re getting the involvement from entrepreneurs who have been through the process from startup to capital raise to exit, tell us a li bit about how that works its way into the deals you end up doing, who you look at, and what the sort of deal flow you see is like. DARABI: Well, years ago, I had the pleasure of meeting a world-class advertiser and I was at his incredibly fancy office down in Wall Street, his ad agency. And he described to me with pride how he basically bartered his marketing services for one percent of a unicorn. And he was sort of showing off of it about how, from very little time and effort, a few months, he walked away with a relatively large portion of a business. And I thought, yes, that’s clever. But for the founder, they gave up too much of their business too soon. RITHOLTZ: Right. DARABI: And I came up with an idea that I floated by Marina back in the day where our original for TMV Fund I began with the slide marketing as the future of venture and venture is the future of marketing. Meaning, it’s a VC fund where the position itself more like an ad agency but rather than charging for its services, it’s go-to-market services. You offer them free of charge but then you were paid in equity and you could quantify the value that you were offering to these businesses. And back then, people laughed us even though all around New York City, ad agencies were really doing incredible work and benefiting from the startups in that ecosystem. And so, we sort of changed the positioning a bit. And now, we say to our LPs and to our founders, your both clients of our firm. So, we do think of ourselves as an agency. But one set of our marketplace, you have LPs and what they want is crystal clear. The value that they derive from us is through a community and connectivity and co-investment and that’s it. It’s pretty kind of dry. Call me up once a year where you have an exceptional opportunity. Let me invest alongside you. Invite me to dinners four times a year, give me some information and a point of view that I can’t get elsewhere. Thank you for your time. And I love that. It’s a great relationship to have with incredibly smart people. It’s cut and dry but it’s so different. What founders want is something more like family. They want a VC on their board that they can turn to during critical moments. Two a.m. on a Saturday is not an uncommon time for me to get a text message from a founder saying what do I do. So what they want is more like 24/7 services for a period of time. And they want to know when that relationship should start and finish. So it’s sort of the Montessori approach to venture. We’re going to tell them what we’re going to tell them. Tell them what they’re telling them. Tell them what we told them. We say to founders with a reverse pitch deck. So we pitch them as they’re pitching us. Here’s what we promise to deliver for you for the first — each of the 24 months of your infancy and then we promise you we’ll mostly get lost. You can come back to use when your business is growing if you want to do it tender and we’ll operate an SPV for you for you or if you simply want advice, we’re never going to ignore you but our specialty, our black belt, if you will, Barry, is in those first 24 months of your business, that go-to-market. And so, we staffed up TMV to include, well, it’s punching above our weight but the cofounder of an exceptionally successful consumer marketing business, a gross marketer, a recruiter who helps one of our portfolio companies hire 40 of their earliest employees. We have a PR woman. You’ve met Viyash (ph), she’s exceptional with whom, I don’t know, how we would function sometimes because she’s constantly writing and re-editing press releases for the founders with which we work. And then Anna, our copywriter who came from IAC and Sean, our creative director, used to be the design director for Rolling Stone, and I can go on and on. So, some firms called us a platform team but we call it the go-to-market team. And then we promise a set number of hours for ever company that we invest into. RITHOLTZ: That’s … DARABI: And then the results — go ahead. RITHOLTZ: No, that’s just — I’m completely fascinated by that. But I have to ask maybe this is an obvious question or maybe it’s not, so you — you sound very much like a non-traditional venture capital firm. DARABI: Yes. RITHOLTZ: Who are your limited partners, who are your clients, and what motivates them to be involved with TMV because it sounds so different than what has been a pretty standard model in the world of venture, one that’s been tremendous successful for the top-tier firms? DARABI: Our LP set is crafted with intention. And so, 50% of our investors are institutional. This concludes institutional-sized family offices and family offices in a multibillions. We work with three major banks, Fortune 500 banks. We work with a couple of corporate Fortune 500 as investors or LPs and a couple of fund to funds. So that’s really run of the mill. But 50 percent of our investors and that’s why I’m in Athens today are family offices, global family offices, that I think are reinventing with ventures like, to look like in the future because wealth has never been greater globally. There’s a trillion dollars of assets that are passing to the hands of one generation to the next and what’s super interesting to me, as a woman, is that historically, a lot of that asset transferred was from father to son, but actually, for the first time in history, over 50 percent, so 51% of those asset inheritors are actually women. And so, as my business partner could tell because she herself is a next gen, in prior generations, women were encouraged to go into the philanthropic or nonprofit side of the family business … RITHOLTZ: Right. DARABI: And the sons were expected to take over the business or the family office and all of that is completely turned around in the last 10 years. And so, my anchor investor is actually a young woman. She’s under the age of 35. There’s a little bit of our firm that’s in the rocks because we’re not playing by the same rules that the establishment has played by. But certainly, we’re posturing ourselves to be able to grow in to a blue-chip firm which is why we want to maintain that balance, so 50 percent institutional and 50 percent, I would call it bespoke capital. And so, the LPs that are bespoke, we work at an Australian family office and Venezuelan family office and the Chilean family office and the Mexican family office and so on. For those family offices, we come to them, we invite them to events in New York City, we give them personalized introductions to our founders and we get on the phone with them. Whenever they’d like, we host Zooms. We call them the future of everything series. They can learn from us. And we get to know them as human beings and I think that there’s a reason why two thirds of our Fund I LPs converted over into Fund II because they like that level of access, it’s what the modern LP is really looking for. RITHOLTZ: Let’s talk a little bit about some of the areas that you find intriguing. What sectors are really capturing your attention these days? What are you most excited about? DARABI: Well, Barry, I’m most excited about five categories for which we’ve been investing for quite some time, but they’re really being accelerated due to the 2020 pandemic and a looming recession. And so, we’re particularly fascinated by not just health care investing as has been called in the past but rather the care economy. I’m not a huge fan of the term femtech, it always sounds like fembot to me. But care as it pertains to women alone is a multitrillion dollar opportunity. And so, when we think of the care economy, we think of health care, pet care, elder care, community care, personal care as it pertains to young people, old people, men, women, children, we bifurcate and we look for interesting opportunities that don’t exist because they’ve been undercapitalized, undervalued for so long. Case in point, we were early investors Kindbody, a reproductive health care company focused on women who want to preserve their fertility because if you look at 2010 census data, you can see that the data has been there for some time that women, in particular, were delaying marriage and childbirth and there are a lot of world-famous economists who will tell you this, the global population will decline because we’re aging and we’re not necessarily having as many children as we would have in the past plus it’s expensive. And so, we saw that as investors as a really interesting opportunity and jumped on the chance to ask Gina Bartasi who’s incredible when she came to us with a way to make fertility preservation plus expenses. So she followed the B2C playbook and she started with the mobile clinic that helps women freeze their eggs extensively. That company has gone on to raise hundreds — pardon me — and that company is now valued in the hundreds of million and for us, it was as simple as following our intuition as women fund managers, we know what our peers are thinking about because we talk to them all the time and I think the fact that we’re bringing a new perspective to venture means that we’re also bringing a new perspective to what has previously been called femtech. We invest in financial inclusion. Everyone in the world that’s investing fintech, the self-directed financial mobile apps are always going to be capitalized especially in a post Robin Hood era but we’re specifically interested in the democratization of access to financial information and we’re specifically interested in student debt and alleviating student debt in America because not only is it going to be one of the greatest challenges our generation will have to overcome, but it’s also prohibiting us from living out the American dream, $1.7 trillion of student debt in America that needs to be alleviated. And then we’re interested in the future of work, and long have been, that certainly was very much accelerated during the pandemic but we’ve been investing in the 1099 and remote work for quite some time. And so, really proud to have been the first check into a company called Bravely which is an HR chatbot that helps employees inside of a company chat a anonymously with HR representatives outside of that company, that’s 1099. That issue is like DEI, an inclusion and upward mobility and culture setting and what to do when you’re all of a sudden working for home. So that’s an example of a future of work business. And then in the tech-enabled sustainable solutions category, it’s a mouthful, let’s call that sustainability, we are proud to have been early investors of a company called Ridwell, out of Seattle Washington, focused on not just private — privatized recycling but upcycling and reconnaissance. Where are our things going when we recycle them? For me, it always been a pretty big question. And so, Ridwell allows you to re and upcycle things that are hard to get rid of out of your home like children’s eyeglasses and paints and battery, single-use plastic. And it shows you where those things are going which I think is super cool and there’s good reason why it has one of the highest NPS scores, Net Promoter Scores, of any company I’ve ever worked with. People are craving this kind of modern solution. And last but not least, we invest in transportation and part because of the unfair advantage my partner, Marina, brings to TMV as she comes from a maritime family. And so, we can pile it, transportation technology, within her own ecosystem. That’s pretty great. But also, because we’re just fascinated by the fact that 90 percent of the world commodities move on ship and the biggest contributor to emissions in the world outside of corporate is coming from transportation. SO, if we can sort of figure out this industry, we can solve a lot of the problems that our generation are inheriting. Now, these categories might sound massive and we do consider ourselves a generalist firm but we stick to five-course sectors that we truly believe in and we give ourselves room to kick out a sector or to add a new one with any given new fund. For the most part, we haven’t needed to because this remain the categories that are not only most appealing to us as investors but I think paramount to our generation. RITHOLTZ: That’s really intriguing. Give us an example of moonshot or what you called earlier, a Mars shot technology or a company that can really be a gamechanger but may not pay off for quite a while. DARABI: We’ve just backed a company that is focusing on food science. Gosh, I can’t give away too much because they haven’t truly launched in the U.S. But maybe I’ll kind of allude to it. They use crushed produce, like, crush potato skins to make plastic but biodegrades. And so, it’s a Mars shot because it’s a materials business and it’s a food science business rolled off into both the CPG business and an enterprise business. This particular material can wrap itself around industrial pellets. Even though it’s audacious, it’s not really a Mars shot when you think about the way the world is headed. Everybody wants to figure out how do we consume less plastic and recycle plastic better. And so, if there are new materials out there that will not only disintegrate but also, in some ways, feed the environment, it will be a no-brainer and then if you add to the equation the fact that it could be maybe not less expensive but of comparable pricing to the alternative, I can’t think of a company in the world that wouldn’t switch to this solution. RITHOLTZ: Right. So this is plastic that you don’t throw away. You just toss in the garden and it becomes compost? DARABI: Yes, exactly. Exactly. It should help your garden grow. So, yes, so that’s what I would call a Mars shot in some ways. But in other ways, it’s just common sense, right? RITHOLTZ: So let’s talk a little bit about your investment vehicles. You guys run, I want to make sure I get this right, two funds and three vehicles, is that right? DARABI: We have two funds. They’re both considered micro funds because they’re both under 100 million and then we operate in parallel for SPVs that are relatively evergreen and they serve as opportunistic investments to continue to double down on our winners. RITHOLTZ: SPV is special purpose investment … DARABI: Vehicles. Yes. RITHOLTZ: Right. DARABI: And the PE world, they’re called sidecars. RITHOLTZ: That’s really interesting. So how do these gets structured? Does everything look very similar when you have a fund? How quickly do you deploy the capital and typically how long you locked for or investors locked up for? DARABI: Well investors are usually in private equity are VC funds locked up for 10 years. That’s not usual. We have shown liquidity faster, certainly, for Fund I. It’s well in the black and it’s only five years old less, four and a half years old. So, how do we make money? We charge standard fees, 2 on 20 is the rubric of it, we operate by. And then lesser fees for sidecars or direct investments. So that’s kind of how we stay on business. When you think about an emerging manager starting their first fund, management fees are certainly not so we can live a lavish rock and roll life on a $10 million fund with a two percent management fee, we’re talking about 200K for the entire business to operate. RITHOLTZ: Wow. DARABI: So Marina and I, not only anchored our first fund with their own capital but we didn’t pay ourselves for four years. It’s not glamorous. I mean, there’s some friends of mine that thing the venture capital life is glam and it is if you’re on Sand Hill Road. But if you’re an EM, it’s a lot more like a startup where you’re burning the midnight oil, you are bartering favors with your friends, and you are begging the smartest people you know to take a chance on you to invite you on to their cap table. But it somehow works out because we do put in that extra effort, I think, the metrics, certainly for Fund I have shown us that we’re in this for the long haul now. RITHOLTZ: So your fund 1 and Fund 2, are there any plans of launching Fund III? DARABI: Yes. I think that given the proof points between Fund I and Fund II and a conversation that my partner and I recently had, five years out, are we in this? Do we love this? We do. OK. This is our life’s work. So you can see larger and more demonstrable sized funds but not in an outsized way, not just because we can raise more capital now but because we want to build out a partnership and the kind of culture that we always dreamed of working for back when we were employees, so we have a very diverse set of colleagues with whom we couldn’t operate and we’ll be adding to the partnership in the next two or three years which is really exciting to say. So, yes, the TMV will be around for a while. RITHOLTZ: That’s really interesting. I want to ask you the question I ask any venture capitalist that I interview. Tell us about your best and worst investments and what did you pass on that perhaps you wish you didn’t? DARABI: Gosh. The FOMO list is so long and so embarrassing. Let me start with what I passed on that I regret. Well, I don’t know she really would have invited me to invest, but certainly, I had a wonderful conversation a peer from high school, Katrina Lake, when she was in beta mode for Stitch Fix. I think she was still at HBS at the time or had just recently graduated from Harvard. When Katrina and I had coffee in Minneapolis were we went to high school and she was telling me about the Netflix for clothing that she was building and certainly I regret not really picking up on the clues that she was offering in that conversation. Stitch Fix had an incredible IPO and I’m a proud shareholder today. And similarly, when my friend for starting Cloudflare which luckily they did bring me in to pre-IPO and I’m grateful for that, but when they were starting Cloudflare, I really should have jumped on that moment or when my buddy Ryan Graves whom I still chat with pretty frequently was starting out Uber in beta with Travis and Garrett, that’s another opportunity that I definitely missed. I was in Ireland when the Series A term sheet assigned. So there’s such a long laundry list of namedropped, namedropped, missed, missed, missed. But in terms of what I’m proud of, I’d say far more. I don’t like Sophie’s Choice. I don’t like to cherry pick the certain investments to just brag about them. But we’ve talked about someone to call today, I’d rather kind of shine a light — look at my track record, right? There’s a large realized IRR that I’m very proud of. But more on the opportunity of the companies that we more recently backed that prevent damages (ph) of CRM for oncology patient that help them navigate through the most strenuous time of their life. And by doing so, get better access to health care. And we get to wrote that check a couple of months ago. But already, it’s becoming a company that I couldn’t be more excited about because if they execute the way I think Shirley and Victor will, that has the power to help so many people in a profound way, not just in the Silicon Valley cliché way of this could change the world but this could actually help people receive better care. So, yes, I’m proud of having been an early investor in the Caspers of the world. Certainly, we’re all getting better sleep. There’s no shame there. But I’m really excited now today at investing in financial inclusion in the care economy and so on. RITHOLTZ: And let’s talk a little bit about impactful companies. Is there any different when you’re making a seed stage investment in a potentially impactful company versus traditional startup investing? DARABI: Well, pre-seed and seed investing isn’t a science and it’s certainly not a science that anyone has perfected. There are people who are incredibly good at it because they have a combination of luck and access. But if you’re a disciplined investor in any asset class and I talk to my friends who run hedge funds and work for hedge funds about 10 bets that they take a day and I think that’s a lot trickier than what I do because our do due diligence process, on average, takes an entire quarter of the year. We’re not making that many investments each year. So even though it sounds sort of fruity, when you look at a Y Combinator Demo Day, Y Comb is the biggest accelerator in Silicon Valley and they produce over 300 companies, three or four times a year. When you look at the outsized valuations coming out of Y Comb, it’s easy to think that starting company is as simple as sort of downloading a company in a Box Excel and running with it. But from where we sit, we’re scorching the earth for really compelling ideas in areas that have yet to converge and we’re looking for businesses that may have never pitched the VC before. Maybe they’re not even seeking capital. Maybe it’s a company that isn’t so interested in raising a penny eventually because they don’t need to. They’re profitable from day one. Those are the companies that we find most exciting because as former operators, we know how to appeal to them and then we also know how to work with them. RITHOLTZ: That’s really interesting. Before I get to my favorite question, let me just throw you’re a curveball, tell me a little bit about Business Schooled, the podcast you hosted for quite a while. DARABI: So, Synchrony, Sync, came to me a few years ago with a very compelling and exciting opportunity to host a podcast with them that allowed me a fortunate opportunity to travel the country and I went to just under a dozen cities to meet with founders who have persevered past their startup phase. And what I loved about the concept of business school is that the cities that I hosted were really focused on founders who didn’t have access to VC capital, they put money on credit card. So I took SBA loans or asked friends and family to give them starter capital and then they made their business work through trying times and when you pass the five-year mark for any business, I’m passing it right now for TMV, there’s a moment of reflection where you can say, wow, I did it. it’s incredibly difficult to be a startup founder, more than 60 percent of companies fail and probably for good reason. And so, yes, I hosted business school, Seasons 2 and 3 and potentially there will be more seasons and I’m very proud of the fact that at one point we cracked the top 20 business podcasts and people seem to be really entertained through these conversations with insightful founders who are vulnerable with me about what it was like to build their business and I like to think they were vulnerable because I have a good amount of compassion for the experience of being founder and also because I’m a New Yorker and I just like to talk. RITHOLTZ: You’re also a founder so there’s going to be some empathy that’s genuine. You went through what they’re going through. DARABI: Exactly. Exactly. And so, what you do, Barry, is quite similar. You’re — you host an exceptionally successful business podcast and you’re also an allocator. You know that it’s interesting to do both because I think that being an investor is a lot like being a journalist. In both professions, you won’t succeed unless you are constantly curious and if you are having conversations to listen more than you speak. DARABI: Well, I’ll let you in on a little secret since it’s so late in the podcast and fewer people will be hearing this, the people I invite on the show are essentially just conversations I want to have. If other people come along and listen, that’s fantastic. But honestly, it’s for an audience of one, namely me, the reason I wanted to have you on is because I’m intrigued by the world of venture and alternatives and impact. I think it’s safe to say that a lot of people have been somewhat disappointed in the results of ESG investing and impact investing that for — it’s captured a lot more mindshare than it has captured capital although we’re seeing signs that’s starting to shift. But then the real question becomes, all right, so I’m investing less in oil companies and more in other companies that just happen to consume fossil fuels, what’s the genuine impact of my ESG investing? It feels like it’s sort of de minimis whereas what you do really feels like it has a major impact for people who are interested in having their capital make a positive difference. DARABI: Thank you for saying that. And I will return the compliment by saying that I really enjoyed getting to know you on our one key economist Zoom and I think that you’re right. I think that ESG investing, certainly in the public markets has had diminished returns historically because the definition has been so bizarre and so all over the place. RITHOLTZ: Right. DARABI: And I read incredible books from people like Antony Bugg-Levine who helps coin the term the Rockefeller Foundation, who originally coined the term you read about, mortgage, IRR and IRS plus measurement and it’s so hard to have just standardization of what it means to be an impact investor and so it can be bothered but we bother. Rather, we kind of come up with our own subjective point of view of the world and we say what does impact mean to us? Certainly, it means not investing in sin stocks but then those sin stocks have to begin somewhere, has to begin with an idea that somebody had once upon a time. And so, whether we are investing in the way the world should look from our perspective. And with that in mind, it doesn’t have to be impact by your grandpa’s VC, it can be impact from modern generation but simply things that behave differently. Some folks with their dollars. People often say, well, my ESG portfolio is underperforming. But then if you dig in to the specifics, are you investing in Tesla? It’s not a pretty good year. Did you back Beyond Meat? Had a great year. And so, when you kind of redefine the public market not by a sleeve and a bank’s version of a portfolio, but rather by company that you think are making demonstrable change in the world, then you can walk away, realizing had I only invested in these companies that are purpose driven, I would have had outsized returns and that’s what we’re trying to deliver on at TMV. That’s the promise. RITHOLTZ: Really, really very, very intriguing. I know I only have you for a few minutes so let’s jump to my favorite questions that I ask all of our guests starting with tell us what you’re streaming these days. Give us your favorite, Netflix, Amazon Prime, or any podcast that are keeping you entertained during the pandemic. DARABI: Well, my family has been binging on 100 Foot Wave on HBO Max which is the story of big wave surfer Garrett McNamara who is constantly surfing the world’s largest waves and I’m fascinated by people who have a mission that’s sort of bigger than success or fame but they’re driven by something and part of that something is curiosity and part of it is insanity. And so not only is it visually stunning to kind of watch these big wave surfers in Portugal, but it’s also a mind trip. What motivates them to get out of bed every day and potentially risk their lives doing something so dangerous and so bananas but also at the same time so brave and heroic. So, highly recommend. I am listening to too many podcasts. I listen to, I don’t know, a stream of things. I’m a Kara Swisher fan, Ezra Klein fan, so they’re both part of the “New York Times” these days. And of course, your podcast, Barry. RITHOLTZ: Well, thank you so much. Well, thank you so much. Let’s talk a little bit about who your early mentors were and who helped shape you career? DARABI: It’s going to sound ungrateful but I don’t think, in like a post lean in definition of the word, I ever truly had a mentor or a sponsor. Now, having said that, I’ve had people who really looked at for me and been incredibly gracious with their time and capital. And so, I would absolutely like to acknowledge that first and foremost. I think about how generous Adam Grant has been with his time and his investments for TMV in Fund I and Fund II and he’s a best-selling author and worked on highest-rated business school professor. So shout out to Adam, if he’s listening or Beth Comstock, the former Vice Chair of GE who has been instrumental in my career for about a decade and a half now. And she is also really leaning in to the TMV portfolio and has become a patient of Parsley Health, an early investment of ours and also an official adviser to the business. So, people like Adam and Beth certainly come to mind. But I don’t know, I just — I’m not sure mentors really exist outside of corporate America anymore and part of the reason why we started Transact Global is to kind of foster the concept of the peer mentor, people who are going through the same thing as you at the same time and allowing that hive mentality with an abundance mentality to catalyze people to kind of go further and faster. RITHOLTZ: Let’s talk about some of your favorite books and what you might reading right now. DARABI: OK, so in the biz book world, because I know your listeners as craving, I’m a big fan of “Negotiation Genius.” I took a crash course with one of the authors, Max Bazerman at the Kennedy School and it was illuminating. I mean, he’s one of the most captivating professors I’ve ever had the pleasure of hearing lecture and this book has really helped me understand the concept of the ZOPA, the Zone of Possible Agreement, and how to really negotiate well. And then for Adam whom I just referenced, of all of his incredible books, my favorite is Give and Take because I try to operate with that approach of business. Give more than you take and maybe in the short term, you’ll feel depleted but in the long term, karma pays off. But mostly, Barry, I read fiction. I think the most interesting people in the world or at least the most entertaining at dinner parties are all avoid readers of fiction and history. So I recently reread, for instance, all of my favorite short stories from college, from Dostoyevsky’s “A Gentle Creature” to “Drown” Junot Diaz. “Passing” by Nella Larsen, “The Diamond as Big as the Ritz” by Fitzgerald. Those are some of my very favorite stories of all time. And my retirement dream is to write a book of short stories. RITHOLTZ: Really, really quite intriguing. Are they all available in a single collection or these just, going back to your favorites and just plowing through them for fun? DARABI: Those are just going back to my favorites. I try to re-read “Passing” every few years which is somehow seems to be more and more relevant as I get older and Junot Diaz has become so incredibly famous when I first read “Drown” about 20 years ago which is an original collection of short stories that broadened my perspective of why it’s important to think about a broader definition of America, I guess. And, yes, no, that’s just — that was just sort of off the top of my head as the offering of a few stories that I really love, no collection. RITHOLTZ: That’s a good collection. And we’re down to our final two questions. What sort of advice would you give to a recent college grad who was interested in a career in either venture capital or entrepreneurship? DARABI: Venture capital or entrepreneurship. Well, I would say, learn as early as possible how to trust your gut. So, this could mean a myriad of things. As an entrepreneur, it could mean under the halo effect of an institution, university or high school or maybe having a comfortable day job, tinker with ideas, get feedback on that idea, don’t be afraid of looking or sounding dumb and build that peer network that I described. People who are rooting you on and are also insatiably curious about wonky things. And I would say that for venture capital, similar play on the same theme, but whether it’s putting small amounts of money into new concept, blockchain investing, or whether it’s meeting with entrepreneurs and saying maybe I only have $3,000 save up but I believe in you enough to bet amongst friends in Brooklyn on your concept if you’ll have me as an investor. So, play with your own money because what it’s really teaching you in return is how to follow instincts and to base pattern recognition off your own judgement. And if you do that early on, overtime, these all become datapoints that you can point to and these are lessons that you can glean while not taking the risk of portfolio management. So, I guess the real advice to your listeners is more action, please. RITHOLTZ: Really very, very intriguing. And our final question, what do you know about the world of venture investing today that you wish you knew 15 or 20 years ago when you first getting started? DARABI: Twenty years ago, I was a bit of a Pollyanna and I thought every wonderful idea that simply is built by smart people and has timed the market correctly will work out. And I will say that I’m slightly more jaded today because of the capital structure that is systematically allowing the biggest firms in the world to kind of eat up a generous portion of, let’s call it the LP pie, which leaves less capital available to the young upstart VC firms, and of course I’m biased because I run one, that are taking outsized risks on those non-obvious ideas that we referenced. And so, what I wish for the future is that institutional capital kind of reprioritizes what it’s looking for. And in addition to having a bottom line of reliable and demonstrable return on any given investment, there are new standards put into play saying we want to make sure that a portion of our portfolio goes to diverse managers. Because in turn, we recognize that they are three times more likely to invest in diverse founders or we believe in impact investing can be broader than the ESG definitely of a decade ago, so we’re coming up with our own way to measure on sustainability or what impact means to us. And if they go through those exercises which I know is hard because, certainly, I’m not trying to add work to anyone’s plate, I do think that the results will more than make up for it. RITHOLTZ: Quite intriguing. Thank you, Soraya, for being so generous with your time. We have been speaking with Soraya Darabi who is the Co-Founder and General Partner at TMV Investments. If you enjoy this conversation, well, be sure and check out any of the prior 376 conversations we’ve had before. You can find those at iTunes or Spotify, wherever you buy your favorite podcast. We love your comments, feedback, and suggestions. Write to us at MIB podcast@bloomberg.net. You can sign up for my daily reads at ritholtz.com. Check out my weekly column at bloomberg.com/opinion. Follow me on Twitter @ritholtz. I would be remiss if I did not thank the crack team that helps me put these conversations together each week. Tim Harrow is my audio engineer. Paris Walt (ph) is my producer. Atika Valbrun is our project manager, Michael Batnick is my head of research. I’m Barry Ritholtz, you’ve been listening to Masters in Business on Bloomberg Radio.   ~~~     The post Transcript: Soraya Darabi appeared first on The Big Picture......»»

Category: blogSource: TheBigPictureOct 20th, 2021