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How the founder of the Saint Javelin charity brand worn by Zelenskyy plans to help rebuild Ukraine

Christian Borys launched Saint Javelin stickers and t-shirts before Putin's invasion, and has gone on to raise more than $1 million for charity. Christian Borys (right) founded Saint Javelin before the war started, with a t-shirt making its way to President Zelenskyy.Viktor Kvashenko Charity brand Saint Javelin was launched by former journalist Christian Borys before the war. Borys wants nearly all the company's production to come from Ukrainians within the next few months. One of their Ukrainian producers, The Sewing Brothers, is making Saint Javelin tracksuits. It has been about five months since Christian Borys, a former journalist, started a charity effort by producing $10 stickers based on a meme amid mounting evidence of Russian troops mobilizing on the border of Ukraine. Now, with 41,000 orders in 70 countries, $1 million in donations, and President Volodymyr Zelenskyy's seal of approval, Borys is planning a longer-term push to help rebuild a country that has seen its economy decimated as millions flee and cities are left under siege.Borys provided financial documentation to Insider that verified his claims.$39 t-shirts and a bomb-sniffing dogAccording to KnowYourMeme, the "Saint Javelin" refers to an image of the Virgin Mary holding a Kalashnikov rifle (named Madonna Kalashnikov), which has been replaced with an anti-tank javelin missile, becoming synonymous with Ukrainian demands for Western intervention in the war.Borys was a former Ukrainian correspondent and maintained contact with journalists still in the country, who highlighted the growing inevitability of war in December.   After mulling ways to help, Borys shared the image of Saint Javelin on his Instagram page, asking if anyone was interested in purchasing stickers, raising $1,000 after two days. Soon, $39 t-shirts and $40 hats bearing the symbol circulated, as did those showing the "Ghost of Kyiv" and an image of Patron, the bomb-sniffing dog. Borys said he had been responding to trending topics to maintain brand awareness."People were looking for ways they could immediately support. And not just donate, but cause awareness, support, and we were there," Borys said.In March Borys arranged a meeting with Ukraine's defence minister, Oleksiy Reznikov, who eventually gave a Saint Javelin t-shirt to President Zelenskyy.—Christian Borys (@ItsBorys) April 28, 2022"I still didn't believe it, because this guy obviously has so much that he's working on, and then he messaged me on Facebook a few hours later and said 'hey, the president has your shirt'," Borys said of his exchange with the defence minister. Reznikov wasn't available for comment.With donations sent to companies like Help Us Help and the 2402 fund for journalists, Borys is eyeing a longer-lasting impact, starting with moving production to Ukraine. "My goal over the next few months is for everything we produce, to literally produce all of it in Ukraine," Borys said. "That way we can support factories that have been affected by all of this." 'Go fu*k yourself Russian warship'The first company Borys teamed up with in Ukraine was The Sewing Brothers, which is based in Kyiv. Before the war, it was a high-end fashion retailer designing luxury tracksuits worn by US comedians Bert Krieshchner and Tom Segura of the "2 Bears, 1 Cave." Since Putin ordered troops into the country, stylist Ivan Drachenko and his team have been producing anti-war clothing including the "go fu*k yourself Russian warship" t-shirt while they wrestle with war outside their door. "In October, we understood our business was going to change and instead of beautiful dresses and suits we would be sewing military ones," Drachenko and Tatiana Pankia of the Sewing Brothers told Insider in an emailed statement.—Christian Borys (@ItsBorys) April 28, 2022Borys said Saint Javelin had also ordered hats from a factory in conflict-hit Kharkiv, where he estimates half the staff are fighting between production shifts."I can just see that when we place an order people get really excited," Borys said. "Factories there are mostly able to work, they want to, and they need to." Initially running on volunteers, Saint Javelin has 10 employees as demand grows.Borys said: "I want to reframe it from a charitable project to a social enterprise that could potentially last decades and raise tens of millions of dollars, as opposed to half a million dollars."Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderMay 22nd, 2022

The Bill Gurley Chronicles: Part 2

The Bill Gurley Chronicles: Part 2 By Alex of the Macro Ops Substack What if there was a way to distill all the knowledge that someone’s written over the last 25 years into one, easy-to-read document? And what if that person was a famous venture capital investor known for betting big on companies like Uber, Snapchat, Twitter, Discord, Dropbox, Instagram, and Zillow (to name a few)?  Well, that’s what I’ve done with Bill Gurley’s blog Above The Crowd.  Gurley is a legendary venture capital investor and partner at Benchmark Capital. His blog oozes valuable insights on VC investing, valuations, growth, and marketplace businesses.  This document is past two to the one-stop-shop summary of every blog post Gurley’s ever written, part 1 can be found here. February 2, 2004: The Rise Of Open-Standard Radio: Why 802.11 Is Under-Hyped (Link) Summary: WiFi will dominate wireless communications for the same reason Ethernet dominated networking and x86 dominated computing: high switching costs. This wide-scale adoption causes capital to flow into the standard as companies look to differentiate on top of the existing platform. In doing so, it further entrenches the “open-standard” incumbent.  Favorite Quote: “Open standards obtain a high “stickiness” factor with customers as a result of compatibility. Once customers invest in a standard, they are likely to purchase more and more supporting infrastructure. As their supporting infrastructure grows, their switching costs rise dramatically with respect to competitive alternate architectures. Customers are no longer tied simply to the core technology, but also to the numerous peripherals and applications on which they are now dependent. All of these things make challenging an accepted open standard a very difficult exercise.” March 24, 2004: All Things IP: The Future Of Communications In America (Link) Summary: South Korea and Japan are leading the world in broadband speed and connectivity. South Korea, for example, sports 80% broadband adoption. The US on the other hand, less than 50%. Different players battle for the future of US communication. Free services like Skype offer high-quality VoIP calls. But it’s the cable companies, with their mega-cable infrastructure, that lead the way. At the end of the day follow the money. Comcast went after Disney not because of distribution, but because of content. Favorite Quote: “Now, while voice should be free, that doesn’t mean that it will be free. The two conditions outlined above are nontrivial. First and foremost, it is not at all clear that we have enough competition in the U.S. broadband market. Innovations in the wireless market, particularly recent innovations around mesh architectures, have the opportunity to change this. As of right now, however, many users simply lack choice. Additionally, the many state municipalities around the country are eager to place their hands on VoIP. A poorly executed policy could in fact “increase” the long term pricing on voice services for all users (for example, would you really tax a free service?).” May 6, 2004: Entrepreneurialism And Protectionism Don’t Mix (Link)  Summary: Protectionism and entrepreneurialism don’t work together. One prides itself on open dissemination of ideas, talent and problems (entrepreneurialism). The other (protectionism) desires to keep what’s theirs and turn a blind eye to competition. There are seven reasons why these two ideologies don’t mix: it hurts the economy (comparative advantage), start-ups don’t receive government subsidies (that encourage protectionism), disincentivizes diversity, more start-ups start with a global presence, the hot markets are ex-US, it goes against our global open standards (WiFi, etc.) and its inconsistent with the entrepreneurial mindset.  Favorite Quote: “It is hard to imagine a successful entrepreneur arguing that he or she deserves a job over someone else that is equally skilled and willing to work for a lower wage. The entire spirit of entrepreneurialism is based on finding ways to do something better, faster, and cheaper. It is the whole nature of the game. If someone can do something better somewhere else, it simply means it’s time to innovate again – with intellect and technology, not politics.” October 19, 2004: The Revolutionary Business Of Multiplayer Gaming (Link)  Summary: Multiplayer gaming is an incredible business featuring five “Buffett-Like” business characteristics: recurring revenue (subscription pricing), competitive moats (switching costs), network effects/increasing returns, real competition with others and high brand engagement. Those that fail to realize the importance (and power) of the video game business model (40%+ operating margins) will miss a huge investment opportunity.  Favorite Quote: “Some skeptics argue that MMOG is still a “niche” business and that the same half-million users are migrating from Everquest to Ultima Online to City of Heroes. Under this theory, MMOGs will never be mass market and will never really “matter” in the $20 billion interactive entertainment business. However, with billion dollar businesses now dotting the NASDAQ, it becomes harder and harder to invoke such skepticism. And if new paradigms, architectures, and broadband speeds allow for titles that meet the needs of a wider demographic, ignoring MMOGs may be equivalent to ignoring the successor to television.” March 11, 2005: Believe It Or Not: Your State Leaders May Be Acting To Slow The Proliferation Of Broadband (Link) Summary: In 2005, rumors circulated that laws would pass eliminating a city’s right to offer telecommunications services to its citizens. Gurley suggested states should say “no way” to this offering, and opined six reasons why (straight from the post):  The primary reason for the proposition is to reduce or eliminate competition for incumbent telcos An oligopoly doesn’t make a marketplace Taking rights from municipalities will have negative overall impact on American innovation  Even if a city has no intention of deploying wireless services, it is still in that city’s best interest to retain the right to do so In 2005, isn’t it reasonable for a city to choose to offer broadband as a community service?  A founding American principle — localized government whenever possible Favorite Quote: “In what is ostensibly the cornerstone “democracy” on the planet, one would think that the citizens in each of America’s cities could simply “vote” on the services they believe make sense for their city to provide.  Running a wireless network in a city like Topeka, Kansas simply has no overriding impact on the state as a whole.  As Thomas Jefferson aptly wrote in a letter to William Jarvis in 1820, “I know of no safe depository of the ultimate powers of society but the people themselves; and if we think them not enlightened enough to exercise their control with a wholesome discretion, the remedy is not to take it from them, but to inform them.”” March 21, 2005: The State Of Texas Refuses To Block Municipal Broadband (Link) Summary: Gurley’s post before this one did its job and Texas removed the harsh language around cities offering broadband access to its citizens. According to Gurley, the battle moved to Colorado.  Favorite Quote: “This proposed bill, in its original form, would prohibit a city from helping any new carrier whatsoever get started.  It’s a pure and blatant anti-competitive move.  It’s been modified slightly, but it is still one of the harshest proposals of any state, and once again created only to help the incumbent carriers by removing competition.  Consumers do not benefit from this language.” March 24, 2005: Texas Two Step – Backwards (Link) Summary: After celebrating the removal of restrictive broadband language three days prior, Texas reinserted the notion. What’s crazy is that the member who reinserted the language, Robert Puente, serves in a district where a large telco company has its headquarters. Hmm …  Favorite Quote: “It is shocking that these local reps really don’t care if broadband deployment in America continues to fall further and further behind the rest of the world.  Just shocking.” June 2, 2005: Texas Sets Key Precedent For Other States In Refusing To Ban Municipal Wireless (Link) Summary: It’s interesting that fixed broadband incumbents in Texas are so opposed to wireless broadband. The incumbents claim wireless is a weaker form of their product. But if it’s so weak, why do they want it banned from their state? Why won’t they let natural competition run its course? If it is indeed weak, there shouldn’t be a reason to impose sanctions and restrictions.  Favorite Quote: “The reason the pro-broadband movement was successful is because they organized, they gathered the real data on the success of municipal wireless deployments, and they were able to inform the citizens about this effort by the incumbents and their key legislators to use regulation to restrict competition.  They leveraged the Internet, blogs, and mailing lists, and made a huge difference.  The tech community also played a role with the AEA, the Broadband Coalition, and TechNet all speaking out against this effort to intentional slow technical progress.  These lessons and resources are now focusing on other states to ensure the Texas outcome.” July 12, 2005: DVD Glut (Link) Summary: Gurley saw the rise of TiVo and its effect on the DVD industry. Why would people pay for DVDs when they can record their favorite movies on TV and watch them whenever they want? There is no practical use for DVDs outside nostalgia and collection.  Favorite Quote: “Could it be that people are watching Shrek 2 on Tivo and saving that on Tivo for future viewing?  Could it be that other activities, such as Internet usage, is infringing on DVD time?” July 19, 2005: Do VCs Help In Building A Technology Platform? (Link) Summary: There are two important implications for venture capital’s lack of investment in Microsoft’s .NET platform. First, VCs are investing on the Open Platform. This is likely due to (what Gurley calls) “a more benign” platform. Such a platform allows for more creativity and application. Second, VCs aren’t investing in .NET applications because Microsoft’s simply going up the software vertical (owning each spot). There is a lack of opportunity within the existing .NET framework.  Favorite Quote: “Venture Capitalists look to the public markets for clues on where to go next.  There is no point in investing in technologies that don’t lead to liquidity events.  What the article stresses is that the majority of VC money these days is being spent on top of the Open Source platform rather than the Microsoft’s .Net platform.” July 22, 2005: Wifi Nation… (Link) Summary: This article gives us an excuse to talk about Innovator’s Dilemma. Clayton Christensen coined the term in his book with the same title. Wikipedia defines the term as, “the new entrant is deep into the S-curve and providing significant value to the new product. By the time the new product becomes interesting to the incumbent’s customers it is too late for the incumbent to react to the new product.” In short, WiFi is disrupting the incumbent broadband and their end consumers. Also, WiFi isn’t built for the incumbents. It’s built for the next generation.  Favorite Quote: “What you will see, and what many continue to deny, is that Metro-scale Wifi isn’t a theory, its a reality.  The networks are live.  They perform way better than EVDO or any cellular alternative. They are cheaper to deploy.  AND, there is huge momentum around more and more networks.” Years: 2006 – 2008 April 5, 2006: Why SOX Will Lead To The Demise Of U.S. Markets (Link) Summary: Sarbanes-Oxley (SOX) killed the small and micro-cap public market spirit. Like most regulations, the creators of SOX thought their stipulations would preserve the growth of public markets. Instead it stunted growth. SOX is an expensive requirement for smaller public companies. The costs disincentivize companies from going public. In return, US capital markets offer less opportunities than global companions. Will this lead to more money flowing overseas? Favorite Quote: “Ironically, the two gentlemen that created SOX did it with the intention of “preserving” U.S. capital market leadership. Their fear was that people viewed our markets as too risky, and so they created SOX to ensure that investors would “trust” our markets.” April, 2006: As Wifi Grows, So Do The PR Attacks (Link) Summary: There will always be haters when new technology replaces old, resentful incumbents. Can you blame them? WiFi completely destroyed their business model. Of course they’re going to run sham campaigns. But that’s the beauty of the Innovator’s Dilemma. WiFi doesn’t care about fixed broadband and incumbents. It’s serving its new wave of customers who want something incumbents can’t offer. Look for this in other up-and-coming technologies.  Favorite Quote: “Better performance than EVDO at a much lower cost.  You won’t stop this with an AP article.  Are their issues?  Sure, but I drop 5 cell calls a day in Silicon Valley and that technology (cellular voice) is over 25 years old.”  April 27, 2006: MMOs (MMORPGs) Continue To Rock (Link) Summary: Gurley again emphasizes the importance of MMO video games — particularly out of Asia. In fact, he mentions that Nexon (Japanese gaming company) plans to file on the JSE. Gurley believes the JSE filing is directly correlated with Sarbanes Oxley (from the article above). Regardless, the real winners in the video game industry are coming from Asia. Winning games will be based on community and entertainment, rather than pure competition. It’s no wonder Fortnite is so popular today. Gurley gave us clues almost 20 years ago.  Favorite Quote: “Many of the rising stars of multi-player interactive entertainment are more social than interactive. They also target much broader demographics than gaming ever dreamed of hitting. Consider three sites targeted at younger children and teens that are all doing extremely well — NeoPets, HabboHotel, and GaiaOnline (Benchmark is an investor in HabboHotel).” June 19, 2008: Back To Blogging (Maybe)… (Link) Summary: Gurley returned from his writing break to mention a few of his favorite reading sources. Gurley notes that he reads each of these websites every morning:  TechCrunch GigaOm Marc Andressen’s Blog Favorite Quote: “The bottom line is I have been really busy. Busy with our investments here at Benchmark, and busy with three growing kids at home.  But in the end, I am quite fond of writing, and I have been inspired by some of the great writing of others.” June 30, 2008: Bleak VC Quarter? Why? (Link) Summary: June 2008 marked another dreary quarter for venture capital. Not one single VC-backed company went public. At first glance, this seems bad for venture capital. But looking deeper, it’s not venture capital that’s the issue. It’s the public market. Between regulations and SOX costs, small companies are opting to remain private at record numbers. As Gurley notes, fund managers want high growth and capital appreciation. But these small growth companies don’t want the issues of being a public company.  Favorite Quote: “This passionate desire to be public is completely gone in Silicon Valley. For reasons you could easily list – Sarbanes Oxley; 12b1 trading rules; shareholder litigation; option pricing scandals; personal liability on 10-Q filing signatures – it is simply not much fun being a public executive.” July 22, 2008: BAILOUT What? (Link) Summary: Fascinating how relevant this quote is for 2020. What we’ve seen from the US government during the COVID pandemic is a double-downed effort on its bailout precautions. Even going so far as to buy bond ETFs on the open market! Capitalism requires failure. It requires weak businesses to fall by the wayside in exchange for stronger competitors.  Favorite Quote: “Is our government really going to bail out equity investors in a failed business enterprise? I totally get keeping America afloat, but it is critical that failed businesses FAIL. They must FAIL. You can’t provide band-aids to equity failure. The whole system will come to a halt. Risk that pans out must result in failure. it is a crucial part of the system.” December 1, 2008: Benchmark Capital: Open For Business (Link) Summary: Gurley and the Benchmark team continued investing while the rest of their VC peers cowered in fear during the bowels of the Great Recession. Investing when others are fearful is not only a sign of a great VC firm, but any great company.  Favorite Quote: “I can’t speak for other firms, but make no mistake about…Benchmark Capital is wide open for business and we are eager to invest new capital behind great entrepreneurs.  Right now.  In this environment.  Today. You may wonder why I feel the need to make this pronouncement, and you may even consider this a stunt.  It is not.   We have made fourteen new investments this year, and are actively considering new investments each and every day.” December 5, 2008: Do VCs Help In Building A Technology Platform; Part 2 (Link) Summary: Microsoft offers three years of free software/service to startups. This is a clear signal that Microsoft understands the power of platforms and where companies choose to build their products. Otherwise, as Gurley notes, why offer it for free? This comes on the heels of three new cloud platform technologies entering the space: Facebook, Salesforce and Amazon AWS. VCs may not choose which platform wins, but they choose which platform gets capital. And to some, that’s the same thing.  Favorite Quote: “It obviously would be overstating it to suggest that VCs help “choose” the platform that wins. That said, it is a powerfully positive indicator if VCs show confidence in a new platform by shifting where they deploy their capital.” Years: 2009 – 2011 February 1, 2009: Google Stock Option Repricing: Get Over It (Link) Summary: Retail investors, bloggers, and financial pundits argued that Google’s Stock Options Repricing hurt the “common” shareholder. Gurley thinks stock options shouldn’t matter because common shareholders gave up their rights (more or less) when investing in Google shares. The fact is, Google’s founder and original shareholder shares carry 9/10ths voting power. That means minority (aka second-class citizen) shareholders get 1/10th. In other words, deal with it.  Favorite Quote: “So my reaction to anyone who owns Google stock and is sore over this decision — Get Over It.  You bought a stock where you gave up the ability to vote on such things, and if you don’t like it, sell the stock.  But you have no right to complain, as the rules were laid out from the beginning.” February 11, 2009: Picture Proof Of The Innovator’s Dilemma: SlideRocket (Link) Summary: With a team of 3 engineers and a fraction of Microsoft’s budget, SlideRocket created (arguably) a better version of PowerPoint. According to Gurley, SlideRocket is a perfect example of the Innovator’s Dilemma. PowerPoint took (probably) billions of dollars in R&D and thousands of engineers to create. SlideRocket did it with 4 orders of magnitude less resources.  Favorite Quote: “One subtlety of this is that it allows others to catch up and basically recreate the same thing for a fraction of the cost.   In SlideRocket’s case, it appears that a team of 3 engineers with primary work done by the founder, have recreated PowerPoint (leveraging Flex of course).”  February 18, 2009: Just Say No To A VC Bailout: A Green Government Venture Fund Is A Flawed Idea (Link) Summary: Some VC investors wanted a bailout from the government during the GFC. Gurley originally thought this was a far-cry from a lone complainer. Then he read an article by Thomas Friedman suggesting the same thing: a bailout for VC targeted at green-tech companies. According to Gurley, VC bailouts are flawed for six reasons: There are no lack of capital in VC VCs don’t deserve a bailout Those that need bailout are (likely) bad ideas Excess capital hurts markets Good companies don’t lack for capital Use customer subsidies instead of government-backed VC investment Favorite Quote: “Great ideas have never suffered from a lack of capital availability.  Bringing extra government dollars to the investment side will only ensure that marginal and sub-par companies get more funding dollars, which historically has had a perverse and negative effect on the overall market.” February 22, 2009: Just Say No To A VC Bailout – Part 2 (Link) Summary: Continuing the rant from the previous blog post, Gurley hits on three main criticisms with Friedman’s cry for a VC bailout. First, Friedman suggested that the US Treasury give the Top 20 VC firms up to $1B to “invest in the best VC ideas”. When you consider the 2% annual fee each year that VC’s take, you’re effectively giving these firms an additional $4B in partners’ fees. Finally, Gurley hammers home the idea that to win in green-tech you need to incentivize the customer on the demand side. Create a positive ROI proposition for the customer to use the product or service.  Favorite Quote: “The key is to create an ROI positive investment for the end customer through subsidies.  Ethanol isn’t falling to succeed because of a lack of capital — it’s a problem with customer ROI.  Invest through subsidies in making the market huge and ROI positive.  Capital alone will not solve the problem as the ethanol case proves.” February 27, 2009: Perfect Online Video Advertising Model: Choose Your Advertiser (Link) Summary: Gurley reveals his “perfect online video advertising model” in which consumers can choose their advertiser. It works like this. Before an online premium or VOD show starts, the content creators present the consumer with a list of 4-9 sponsors for the programming. Then, the consumer picks which sponsor they’d like to see when the inevitable ad runs during their program. The benefit to this is that content creators would know their customers’ interests to the tee, which would allow them to raise prices on advertising channels (read: higher revenue).  Favorite Quote: “Just because I am a male between 18-24 and watching “Lost” doesn’t mean I want an XBOX.  You are more likely to guess that i might want it, but you would be 10X better off if I chose XBOX as my sponsor at the start of the show.  Then you would KNOW I have an interest — no more guessing. Making predictions is always a dangerous game, but I am fairly certain that this will be the video ad model of the future.  It makes way too much sense not to work.” March 2, 2009: Looking For Work: Are You An Insurance Agent? (Link) Summary: One of Gurley’s investments had an unusual circumstance during the GFC: they had excess demand for work. LiveOps, a virtual SaaS call center on the cloud, leverages a network of work-from-home call center operators. At the time of writing, LiveOps had 20,000+ live call-center agents working from home assisting companies like Aegon, Colonial Penn, and American Idol.  Favorite Quote: “Their core technology is a SAAS “contact center in cloud.” Just like anyone’s call center, it is a four-9’s operation that is highly resilient. What’s different, and very unique, is that the agents on the other end don’t actually work for LiveOps – they work for themselves. So far, over 20,000 “crowd-sourced” agents are now working from home on behalf of LiveOps customers – companies like Aegon, Colonial Penn, etc. One really cool customer example is American Idol. For Idol Gives Back, AI’s charity campaign, over 4000 LiveOps agents handled over 200,000 calls in less than five hours. Only a crowd-sourced play could handle such a ramp.” March 9, 2009: How To Monetize A Social Network: MySpace And Facebook Should Follow TenCent (Link) Summary: Social networks had trouble monetizing their websites. MySpace and Facebook failed to generate revenue like Yahoo, which did $7B at the time of writing. The problem wasn’t growing the userbase (both sites had tremendous user growth). It was the dependence on advertising to generate the lion’s share of their revenues. Gurley compares MySpace and Facebook to Tencent (700.HK). The two primary drivers of revenue for Tencent are digital items and casual game packages and upgrades. These are significantly higher-margin businesses than advertising. At the end of the day, social networks are social status symbols. This means if you want to leverage your business, you need to provide users with ways to improve their social status. Favorite Quote: “If you removed the Chanel logo from them, and offered them for $50 cheaper, you could not sell a pair.  Not one.  Why?  People are buying an image that they want to project about themselves.  Without the logo, they fail to make that statement.  The same is true for watches, clothes, cars, sodas, beers, cell phones, and many more items.  People care greatly about how they are perceived and are willing to part with big bucks to achieve it.  Digital items are merely the same phenomenon online.” March 26, 2009: Note To Timothy Geithner: Do Startups & Venture Capitalists Really Need More Regulation? (Link) Summary: The US government levied Sarbanes-Oxley on all public companies after the whole Enron, WorldCom saga. The purpose? Protect investors from future frauds. While the efficacy of “Sarbox” remains in question, one thing doesn’t: the cost on small public companies. Sarbox costs ~$2-$3M to implement. This makes it nearly impossible for small companies to go public because the Sarbox costs eat away all potential operating profits. Overburdening small companies could restrict the pipeline of new public IPOs.  Favorite Quote: “And remember that the largest companies in America that were created in the last 35 years (MSFT, GOOG, AAPL, CSCO, INTC) were all small venture-backed companies at one point in time.  Do we really want to inappropriately restrain or throttle the future pipeline of such companies in America?” May 2, 2009: Swine Flu: Overreaction More Costly Than The Virus Itself? (Link) Summary: It’s amazing how relevant this blog post became during the COVID-19 pandemic. Gurley suggests that in some cases, overreacting to news (like swine flu) can have far worse consequences than the natural course of the virus itself. For example, Mexico’s economy teetering on the brink of insolvency as tourism represents a third of their economy. The argument for overreacting is that it prepares people for the worst-case scenario. Yet that decision has consequences. Consequences we can’t see, and might not see for a long time.  Favorite Quote: “Some people rationalize that this hysteria serves a noble purpose, in that it prepares us for the worse.  This, however, ignores the fact that there are tremendous real economic costs to overreaction, and that sometimes overreaction has far-reaching negative impacts which can be many times greater than that of the original problem.” May 8, 2009: Second Life: Second Most Played PC Title, #1 In Minutes/User (Link) Summary: Gurley’s investment in Linden Lab paid off big time in May 2009 when Linden’s hit game Second Life ranked as the #2 most-played PC title. The game trailed World of Warcraft in number of users, but ranked first in number of minutes played per user. Data like this further reiterates Gurley’s earlier claims that selling goods online (digital signs of social status) can make for a great business. It also shows people love distracting themselves from their everyday lives.  Favorite Quote: “The truth of the matter is that the company is quite large, it’s growing, it’s profitable,  it has hired a number of great people over this time frame, and as the data shows it’s kicking butt. Note that the data also shows SecondLife actually leads WOW in terms of minutes played per user.”   May 10, 2009: Bill Gurley’s Online Video Market Snapshot (Link) Summary: Gurley did an on Hollywood talk about the massive changes in the Online Video Market. The link has an 18-minute video where Gurley outlines five things that matter in the coming online video market battle:  Great content is super expensive Affiliate fees are a “huge fucking deal”  The Netflix Business model is widely misunderstood HBO and the NFL are incredibly well-positioned companies Wireless will not save the day  Favorite Quote: I didn’t have a favorite quote from this post as it was mainly a link to the video and slide deck. I highly recommend watching the video and scanning through the deck. It’s 18 minutes long but you can watch at 1.5-2x speed without issue.  Tyler Durden Sun, 06/19/2022 - 17:30.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeJun 19th, 2022

Employers Take Note: Young Workers Are Seeking Jobs with a Higher Purpose

Liz Paquette felt clueless when she walked into her college advisor’s office two years ago seeking his help to find an internship. She told him she had just one requirement: The company had to treat its people, its customers, and the planet well. Paquette did the research with her advisor at Assumption University in Worcester,… Liz Paquette felt clueless when she walked into her college advisor’s office two years ago seeking his help to find an internship. She told him she had just one requirement: The company had to treat its people, its customers, and the planet well. Paquette did the research with her advisor at Assumption University in Worcester, Mass., and they found an internship at organic yogurt maker Stonyfield Farm, in nearby Londonderry, N.H. But they also discovered that she had lots of competition: Some 212 other like-minded do-gooders applied for the same role. [time-brightcove not-tgx=”true”] Paquette persevered and landed the internship. But the company’s mission to make the planet better, which she says she saw and experienced at Stonyfield, helped her make an even more important decision. She accepted a full-time job at Stonyfield when the company unexpectedly made her an offer. Stonyfield Liz Paquette, associate brand manager at Stonyfield, says she joined the company primarily because of its “do good” philosophy. If a company can be tagged as a do-gooder, Stonyfield wears that label like a badge of honor. Particularly on environmental issues. For the past five years it has donated millions of dollars to help convert ballfields and parks in 40 U.S. cities to pesticide-free maintenance. It has committed to a carbon positive dairy supply chain and to reducing its carbon footprint by 30% by 2030. It’s almost invested millions of dollars in training the next generation of dairy farmers–some of whom are not even suppliers of milk to Stonyfield. “I fell in love with their mission,” says the 24-year-old, who in less than two years with the company has been promoted from an associate portfolio manager in sales to associate brand manager in marketing. “It’s important to work for a good company because they can do good things on a greater scale than I can do individually.” Many workers no longer want to just do work—they want to do good. Some 70% of Americans say they define their sense of purpose through work, according to a recent study by McKinsey & Co. Millennials, in particular, are looking for opportunities in their work to contribute to what they believe is their wider purpose, the study suggested. Welcome to the new American workplace, where having a positive impact and embracing a sense of purpose are mandatory for attracting younger workers, who demand that employers demonstrate purpose beyond profit. Their thinking goes like this: “Hey, I don’t want to be associated with people who are scumbags or do things that hurt the world. I want to be associated with people who are a force for good,” explains Bill Schaninger, a senior partner at McKinsey & Co. The symbolic essence of this do-good culture can come down to one simple act: do you wear — or remove — your company’s badge when you go out to lunch? If you nix the badge, that’s a pretty telling sign that you don’t approve of your company’s actions, says Schaninger. Good matters. The response to one revealing question that a Gallup survey recently posed to workers proves it: Does your organization make a positive impact on people and the planet? Only 43% of respondents agreed. For today’s employers—who are having a hard enough time hanging on to workers—this can be deadly. Those employees who agree with the question are twice as likely to be engaged in their work and 5.5 times more likely to trust their company’s leadership, says Jim Harter, Gallup’s chief scientist of workplace. Employee expectations at work have fundamentally changed, particularly since the onset of Covid-19, says Harter. “It’s a real opportunity for organizations to figure out the next new normal.” Millennials and Gen Z workers are not just talking the do-good talk. Perhaps no one knows that better than former Stonyfield CEO Gary Hirshberg who co-founded the company in 1983. The 67-year old, who describes his current role at Stonyfield as chief organic optimist, and who recently announced plans to run for New Hampshire governor, says he’s never seen a generation so motivated to do good at work. Stonyfield Gary Hirshberg, co-founder of Stonyfield, says he’s never seen a generation so motivated to “do good” at work. “Since Millennials began coming into early adulthood around 2000, there’s been an epidemic of interest in doing good,” says Hirshberg. He is a key investor — or sits on the boards — of 25 companies, and each of them has young sales and marketing chiefs who very specifically opted not to go “the Procter & Gamble route,” he says, and are making far less because their chief goal is to make the world a better place. Now, larger companies also are embracing these same concepts, mostly because Millennials are embracing them, says Hirshberg. But they also must be genuine in their actions. “Companies that play fast and loose do so at their own peril,” he says. “Not only can these young people find out if you’re genuine, but they will never forgive you if you break their trust.” Genuine cannot be ambiguous. Just ask Starbucks. Although the coffee kingpin remains a leader in its field offering healthcare and college tuition benefits, even to part-time employees, Starbucks currently garners fewer headlines for the years of efforts on behalf of its employees, than it does when a location votes to unionize. It also has kept an eye open for the well-being of its coffee farmers around the globe as well as the well-being of the planet. In 2020, Starbucks announced its commitment to reduce our carbon, water, and waste footprints by 50% by 2030. Perhaps most intriguing has been the actions of Howard Schultz since recently returning as CEO. He announced an end to a multi-billion-dollar stock buyback program that was benefiting investors a lot more than employees. Schultz said the company will instead invest in its employees and its stores. “Our vision is to once again reimagine a first-of-a-kind, for-purpose company in which the value we create—for each of us as partners, for each of us as customers, for our communities, for the planet, for shareholders—comes because our company is designed to share success with each of us.” Schultz also announced plans to go on a listening tour and meet with employees around the world to hear their ideas “about how to build this next Starbucks.” Next, he said, Starbucks employees of all levels would meet to “co-create a future of mutual thriving.” While skeptics might suggest these actions could be more about staving off further unionization, Shultz’s actions suggest he knows that doing good has become an even greater employee magnet. As part of a global survey last year, Boston Consulting Group (BCG) asked 6,000 people what attributes they want most from their leaders at work. The top four qualities are all related to what BCG calls actions of the “heart” (emotional well-being), says Debbie Lovich, managing director and senior partner. Respondents said they most want more recognition, coaching, listening, and caring from their leaders. There’s still an enormous gap between what employees want and what employers do—but thanks to the pandemic, it’s finally starting to close, says Lovich. “No leader can ignore the need to do good.” Even some companies and organizations whose sole mission is to benefit humanity are seeking ways to do even better—and attracting new employees because of it. Chabeli Wells wasn’t sure what she wanted from her first employer, but after interning for a lobbying firm for a major tobacco company in Richmond, Va., she quickly knew what she didn’t want. “I learned to ask myself: What is the kind of work they are doing—and do I agree with it?” Jeremiah Huston Chabeli Wells (left), volunteer coordinator at the Arlington Food Assistance Center, greets volunteers as they arrive. The 24-year-old answered that question when she began her first full-time job as volunteer coordinator at the Arlington Food Assistance Center (AFAC), a food bank in Arlington, Va. that distributes food to 2,400 local families every week. “I want a career that I’m proud of — knowing that I’m actively, not just passively, helping others.” Wells says that she was not only attracted by the charity’s mission to feed families in need, but some specific sections in the organization’s employee handbook that demonstrated they also care for their workers—and the planet. It may seem like a small thing, she says, but she was drawn to the charity’s composting of its food waste. “My generation is frustrated by the state of the planet and wants to keep it a viable place to live,” she says. Then she saw something in the handbook that really impressed her: up to three days off for bereavement if your dog or cat dies. Charlie Meng, CEO of AFAC, is particularly proud of that benefit, which he calls “Spencer’s Rule.” Spencer was Meng’s beloved cat who died — after which, a heartbroken Meng took a few days off to mourn. “We all have deep connections to our pets. It’s an appropriate thing to do,” says Meng, who, even at age 70, clearly understands the mindset of his mostly twenty-something and thirty-something workforce. Jeremiah Huston Charlie Meng (left), CEO of the Arlington Food Assistance Center, says “a little bit of generosity goes a long way.” Meng instituted “Spencer’s Rule” shortly after the death. It’s been in place several years and only three employees have asked for pet bereavement time off. Employees might not use it much, but they still recognize it for what it is: a signal that they’re working for a company with heart, says Meng. “A little bit of generosity goes a long way.” Which is precisely why Wells says she’s working there. “I’d much rather be happy in my work than worry about what the money looks like,” says Wells. “Many of my peers feel the same.” Savvy companies are catching on: doing good apparently does good all around. At some workplaces, it may even be the tail that wags the dog — or cat......»»

Category: topSource: timeMay 13th, 2022

‘Now I’m Working Twice As Hard.’ How One Ukrainian Is Working Remotely Through War

It was the middle of the night when Arthur Lavrinovich started seeing the bright flares from the windows of his apartment in Nova Kakhovka, Ukraine. He saw the orange flashes, felt the rumble of shaking foundations, saw “shining darts like shooting stars” fly over his city and erupt into pillars of smoke. He grabbed his… It was the middle of the night when Arthur Lavrinovich started seeing the bright flares from the windows of his apartment in Nova Kakhovka, Ukraine. He saw the orange flashes, felt the rumble of shaking foundations, saw “shining darts like shooting stars” fly over his city and erupt into pillars of smoke. He grabbed his important documents, got in his car, and picked up his mom from her home. It was 4:30 a.m. Driving as fast as 170 mph, they fled over 600 miles to the Romanian border, never stopping and crossing wheat fields to make the 14-plus-hour journey faster. Luckily, Lavrinovich had a full gas tank. [time-brightcove not-tgx=”true”] “I always thought of myself as a brave heart, as a person that laughs in the face of fear,” he says. “But we were crying the entire way to Romania, and the reason why I’m not crying now is because there are no tears left here, no emotions.” Instead, having secured an apartment with his mother in the town of Kavala, Greece, Lavrinovich is keeping close watch on the situation at home while channeling energy into his work as chief brand and development officer for a small software company based in Canada. “Now I’m working twice as hard or three times as hard as ever, because we have a responsibility,” he says. By keeping the company going, he believes he’s helping ensure that his colleagues have jobs waiting for them. “We have to work for our brothers and sisters left behind,” he says. There are at least 200,000 software developers based in Ukraine; the country awards around 20,000 tech degrees per year according to the IT Ukraine Association, and it is one of Europe’s most popular locations for outsourcing developer work. Plus, it hosts an untold number of skilled workers like Lavrinovich who contract for foreign companies. Well before the pandemic made remote work a norm, Ukrainians—especially those in the tech sector—were contracting with global enterprises, often through freelancer-connecting platforms like Upwork or Fiverr. As Russia continues its attack on Ukrainian cities, however, many are being conscripted for military duty, while those who can are attempting to flee to safety. Some companies that work remotely with Ukrainians are trying to help. Lavrinovich works for SmartMatchApp, which employs about a dozen Ukraine-based developers as well as Lavrinovich. The priority is getting workers and their families to safety if they can, while continuing to pay full salaries in the face of work stoppages. (Other companies have not been so kind; Lavrinovich says at least one of his friends was fired from his U.S.-based job after the conflict began.) Read More: How Telegram Became the Digital Battlefield in the Russia-Ukraine War An ocean and a continent away in Montreal, Canada, Lavrinovich’s boss, Tim Mourtazov, watched events unfold in late February while trying to calm his colleague over the phone during the long drive to Romania. The founder and CEO, Mourtazov had first started working with Lavrinovich via the online-work-for-hire platform Upwork in 2018, which lists many Ukraine-based remote workers. (Upwork declined to share specifics of its workers’ geographic distribution.) These days, Lavrinovich is his right-hand man. Their software helps professional matchmakers manage their customer databases, and it serves thousands of clients. “It happens to be that he’s from Ukraine. Most of our partners, and most of our developer team, are also in Ukraine,” he says. Many are in Kremenchuk, a city in central Ukraine, which—although not currently targeted by Russian attacks—has recently seen an influx of refugees from the front lines. “Nobody can work normally. Arthur, he was the first one to escape this hell. And immediately Arthur started to call everybody asking them to leave, to take care of their families. And since then, every single day—every single day—we have been sending them money,” Mourtazov says. “We will continue to pay salaries as long as needed, and as long as we can.” SmartMatchApp is also providing extra emergency funds to workers who are attempting to leave with their families and raising money through an online fund. Mourtazov says that “one by one” their team members or their families are relocating out of Ukraine when possible: the CTO and his family are safely in France, one designer is with her children in Italy, and one developer sent his family to Greece as well. But the remaining ten employees are subject to mandatory conscription laws, which require that men between the ages of 18 to 60 remain in the country to potentially serve the military. Lavrinovich says his colleagues are still in daily contact and as safe as can be expected—for now. “They’re scared and afraid to step outside of their homes,” Lavrinovich says, “listening to loud sirens for six hours per day, running to a shelter after each and every alert.” Meanwhile in New Jersey, SmartMatchApp client Maria Avgitidis is doing her part to support the Ukrainian team, too. As the CEO of the dating service Agape Match, Avgitidis is a longtime SmartMatchApp user and has worked directly with Lavrinovich. She followed Lavrinovich’s harrowing WhatsApp updates as he drove to Romania and then sent him life-changing advice: head to the small seaside town of Kavala in northern Greece, a community of displaced Greeks who share many Ukrainians’ Orthodox Christian religion, where her family was also from. He and his mom would find a welcome there, she said. Courtesy Arthur Lavrinovich They did. Lavrinovich joins a Zoom call from the apartment in Kavala where he and his mom have set up a temporary home. With his hands over his face, he describes—in painful detail—the feeling of fleeing; the bombs brightening the sky over the freeways; the way the Romanian border guards looked the other way at his incomplete documentation during their evening crossing of the Danube River. Lavrinovich knows he’s deeply fortunate: just thirty minutes after they left Ukraine, martial law requiring mandatory conscription was put into place. And now, situated in Kavala, he’s back to work, driven to keep the business functioning while his compatriots can’t. “We will have a country to rebuild after this,” he says. “We need to support everyone. It’s a responsibility. There’s no other word to describe this.” Read More: ‘I Have No Other Choice.’ The Mothers Returning to Ukraine to Rescue Their Children Running a business with many employees in a war zone, meanwhile, is a delicate balance of staying focused and recognizing the difficult circumstances. “I don’t know how I can go to bed knowing that our teammates are suffering,” Mourtazov says. The company has scaled back its offerings. New features and plans for the spring have been set aside. To Avgitidis, as a client, this is not a problem. She and Mourtazov have strategized on how to troubleshoot work problems as they arise, without the usual team. This crisis has instead driven home just how tenuous life can be. “The difference between me and Arthur is luck. Right?” she says. The shared territory of their lives and luck is only growing, now that Lavrinovich is based in Kavala, where she has roots. For Lavrinovich, his escape to safety hasn’t meant a respite from the reality back home. Instead, he feels duty-bound to keep the company solvent for the sake of his colleagues. “We keep the company running and operational, we keep this boat afloat,” he says. “And we hope for better days. Because without hope, there is no purpose.” At least, for now, he has both.  .....»»

Category: topSource: timeMar 26th, 2022

Meet the next generation of luxury entrepreneurs selling millions in real estate, creating art galleries, and building fashion empires

A new crop of luxury entrepreneurs has popped up, creating the businesses they want to see taking over the sector. (L-R), Alex Assouline, Destinee Ross-Sutton, Marina Raphael, Avi Hiaeve.Emilia Brandao; Courtesy the artist and Destinee Ross-Sutton 2020; Marina Raphael; Avi & Co; Yuqing Liu/Business Insider Luxury spans many sectors including, fashion, travel, real estate, and nightclubs.  However, the industry is changing: People want more sustainability and faces that are more diverse. Insider regularly talks to the young people who are making their mark in luxury and challenging the market.  Visit Insider's homepage for more stories. Luxury is a pretty hard sector to tap into — and even years of notoriety doesn't necessarily mean years of financial stability or economic success. The coronavirus pandemic only heightened many of those issues, as brands and retailers throughout the world have been forced to close or declare bankruptcy. Even before the pandemic, however, there were calls for a changing of the guard in the luxury sector. People want more sustainability, leaders who are more tech-savvy, faces that are more diverse, and clothes that come with a meaning and a purpose.Rather than wait around for those currently in charge to change, a new crop of luxury entrepreneurs has popped up, creating the businesses they want to see taking over the sector. These are names and the faces that will come to define and helm the next generation of luxury spending. Insider has been speaking to the new rising faces in luxury about the future of their respective spaces, touching on topics such as the investment value in high-priced watches, and where they hope to see the world after the pandemic subsides. The interviews are being compiled here: Millennial entrepreneur Brandon Blackwood shares how $7,000 and Instagram helped him build a handbag empire that's on track to book $30 million in revenueBrandon BlackwoodBrandon BlackwoodBrandon Blackwood, 29, is the founder of his eponymous handbag line that went viral last year after making a tote that said: "End Systemic Racism." Since then, other styles of his bag have gone viral and he's launched a spring campaign featuring celebrities and influencers like Ryan Destiny, Normani, and Jaime Xie. So far, the brand booked more than $14 million in revenue this year and is on track to close 2021 with $30 million. The 24-year old jewelry designer, whose rings have been spotted on Serena Williams and Meghan Markle, uses half her profits to fund female entrepreneursShilpa YarlagaddaCourtesy of Shilpa Yarlagadda; Taken by Shoji Van KuzumiShilpa Yarlagadda, 24, is the cofounder of Shiffon, the fine jewelry brand that invests its proceeds back into female-funded businesses. For the upcoming election, the brand has partnered with Michelle Obama's When We All Vote foundation for limited-edition hoop earrings to represent the hoops women have to go through for basic rights. In an interview with Business Insider, she talks her career journey, the importance of mentorship, and her partnership with Obama. Inside the world of 'Bling Empire's' Jaime Xie, the tech heiress forging her own path as a fashion influencerJaime XieYoshi UemuraXie told Insider she had never even seen reality TV before joining the cast of Netflix's hit show "Bling Empire." Now she's one of its standout stars and is best known for her fashion and style. Born in Silicon Valley, she said tech wasn't really her thing, and she's always wanted a career in fashion. Now she's an influencer, jet-setting to Paris and Milan, sporting the hottest ready-to-wear looks. In an interview, she gives Insider a peek at her glamorous life. Real estate heiress Danielle Naftali, who is just 27, helped convince a mystery buyer to shell out $35 million for an NYC penthouse during the pandemicJonathan GrassiDanielle Naftali, 27, is expected to take over her father's real estate company Naftali Group, which develops some of New York City's most luxurious properties. But even she had to start at the reception desk. To Insider she breaks down working her way up and how she helped convince a buyer to shell out over $30 million for an apartment during a pandemic. Pajama sets are the new 2-piece suit. A millennial brand explains the wild pandemic year when sales spiked 400% .Joel Jeffery (L) and Molly Goddard (R)Desmond & DempseyHusband-wife duo Molly Goddard and Joel Jeffrey are known for their high-end pajama line Desmond & Dempsey, which also saw record growth during the pandemic as people sought to buy more comfortable clothing. To Insider, they talk about the brand's beginnings and how they hope to further capitalize on the billion-dollar markets of both wellness and comfort wear. Meet the millennial designer and CEO who wants to make comfort clothing the new power dressingMisha NonooCourtesy of Misha NonooDesigner Misha Nonoo thinks comfort clothes will also be part of the new way to power dress. To Insider, she spoke about her career beginnings, her latest collection, and what she thinks the future of sustainable fashion will be in a post-pandemic world. How fashion's 'patient zero' turned her fight with Covid into a new hygiene and wellness lineNga NguyenCourtesy of Nga NguyenAfter being diagnosed with COVID-19 last year, Nga Nguyen was deemed the fashion industry's "patient zero" as she was the first known case in the world of jet-set high fashion to catch the virus. But she's light at the end of the tunnel. To Insider she talks about her new wellness line, inspired by her run-in with the virus, and shares her expectations on what role hygiene products will play in a post-pandemic world. How a 28-year-old sold his first jewelry design for $25,000 and within 3 years built an exclusive client roster including RihannaEmmanuel Tarpin.Emmanuel TarpinCalling in from Paris, Emmanuel Tarpin spoke about his rise in the jewelry industry, how he nabbed two of the industry's top honors, and got Rihanna to fall in love with his work.How a 22-year-old heiress launched a handbag line and within 3 years landed the Netherlands' Queen Maxima as a fanMarina Raphael.marina raphaelAt just 22, Marina Raphael has already built a luxury handbag business that counts the Queen of the Netherlands as a fan. In an interview with Business Insider, she spoke about learning Italian, teaching herself design, and her plans to build the next-big-thing in luxury — as well as being a sixth-generation member of the Swarovski crystal dynasty.Swarovski crystal heiress Marina Raphael explains how she achieved record-breaking sales by selling smaller handbags, donating to charity, and using snail mail to reach customersMarina Raphael with her SS21 collection(1)Marina RaphaelRaphael caught up with Insider again in March of this year to talk about how her brand saw record growth during the pandemic. To cope with the time, she changed her marketing strategies and even reduced the size of her handbags as production took a hit due to closures. Still, the brand came out stronger than ever before. How one millennial CEO built a luxury eyewear brand that's been spotted on everyone from Jeff Bezos to Brad PittCourtesy of Garrett LeightGarrett Leight is the founder, CEO, and creative director of Garrett Leight California Optical. His father, Larry, was the founder of the sunglass brand Oliver Peoples. In an interview with Business Insider, Garrett talks about opening his own eyewear brand and keeping his family legacy alive. Pauline Ducruet isn't so different from other 26-year-old entrepreneurs — she just happens to be Grace Kelly's granddaughterPhoto by Francois Durand/Getty ImagesPauline Ducruet is the founder of the gender-neutral fashion line, Alter Designs. She also happens to be a granddaughter of Grace Kelly through her mother, Princess Stephanie of Monaco. In an interview with Business Insider, she talks about the importance of sustainability in fashion, and how the pandemic almost wiped out her business. A millennial car customizer who counts Lebron James and Kendall Jenner among his clients explains why he's expanding his business with a luxury shoe lineVik Tchalikian.Vik TchalikianVik Tchalikian is best known as the car customizer for the stars and boasts a client list that includes Kendall Jenner, LeBron James, and Billie Eilish. In an interview with Business Insider, he talks about how he used his car knowledge to start up a luxury shoe line. Two Gen Zers turned a $2,000 investment into an art gallery that sells $600K pieces. They want to usher in a new generation of art collectors.Alexis de Bernede (L) and Marius Jacob (R)Darmo ArtBased in France, Alexis de Bernede and Marius Jacob are the founders of Darmo Art gallery. Last summer, their two art shows netted six figures each, and they are now planning future exhibitions in Paris, the French Riviera, and at the Grand Hotel Heiligendamm, an exclusive report in Germany. Millennial fashion designer Alexandra O'Neill is seeing cocktail dress sales skyrocket as customers prepare for the new Roaring 20sCourtesy of Alexandra O'NeillAlexandra O'Neill is the founder of luxury brand Markarian and made headlines last year after First Lady Jill Biden wore a custom Markarian piece for Inauguration. Since then, the company has seen sales skyrocket. What's more, O'Neill held her first New York Fashion Week presentation in September, showing off a collection inspired by Lauren Bacall in the movie "How to Marry a Millionaire." Meet the Black millennial art curator who worked on a Zendaya photoshoot, had her portrait featured in Beyoncé's 'Black Is King,' and was just tapped by auction house Christie's to curate an exhibitDestinee Ross-Sutton.Courtesy the artist and Destinee Ross-Sutton 2020The art industry is notoriously white. Enter, Destinee Ross-Sutton, the 24-year-old art curator who already counts a Zendaya photoshoot and a Christie's exhibit under her name. A shining moment for her this year was when she discovered that a painting of her was featured in Beyoncé's "Black IS King." In speaking with Business Insider, Ross-Sutton talks about her mission to increase diversity and inclusion in the art world.The 28-year-old heir to a luxury publishing house explains how he creates some of the most exclusive — and expensive — private libraries in the worldAlex Assouline.Emilia BrandaoAlex Assouline is a creative library designer who helps create some of the most exclusive — and expensive — libraries in the world. The heir to his family's publishing house, Assouline also helps make stunning coffee books on subjects ranging from feminism to the palace of Versailles. In an interview with Business Insider, he talks about the art of library designing and which books he is helping to make next. Meet the 'VIPER Girls,' the female nightlife entrepreneurs who couldn't get a credit card 4 years ago and now field requests to work the Super Bowl(L) Kelsi Kitchener and (R) Celeste Durve.Courtesy of Kelsi Kitchener and Celeste DurveKelsi Kitchener, 28, and Celeste Duvre, 24, are the cofounders of the guest experience company VIPER, which works with some of the biggest celebrities and brands in the world. Known as the Viper Girls, they manage all points of the overall guest experiences at events. In an interview with Business Insider, Kitchener and Duvre talk about the founding of their company, and being young women in an industry that's long been touted as a "boys club." A 25-year-old set her eyes on taking over the high-end smoking accessories market — and it's workingCourtesy of Smoking JacketChiara di Carcaci, 25, is the founder of Smoking Jacket, a high-end cigarette accessories company that counts a Getty heiress as a fan. In an interview with Business Insider, di Carcaci talks about why she decided to start a luxury cigarette brand, and her ambitions to expand it into a full-service lifestyle company. A 28-year-old fashion brand director explains how ruthless attention to detail has landed Rihanna, Kim Kardashian, and Jennifer Lopez as clientsKyle Bryan.Courtesy of Kyle BryanIn an exclusive interview with Business Insider, Kyle Bryan, brand director at the luxury label LaQuan Smith, breaks down his plans on helping create the next big American fashion house. "A lot of women and celebrities will directly reach out to LaQuan and say, 'I would love for you to make me something,'" he said. "That's how some of our best stuff has even happened."Nisha Persaud's side hustle is creating at-home manicure boxes that are beloved by celebs and have been featured in luxury campaignsDanisha "Nisha" PersaudDanisha "Nisha" PersaudWhen the pandemic made it impossible for Nisha Persaud to get her nails done last year, she created at-home manicure kits to bring the nail salon to her. Since then, she's netted more than $100,000 in revenue and her work has been reposted on social media by Cardi B, received a shoutout by Megan Thee Stallion in a video, and gifted to the model Teyana Taylor for her baby shower. Meet the millennial cofounders of Apparis, the cult-favorite vegan coat brand that raised $3 million in funding this year and just launched a collaboration with Juicy Couture(L) Lauren Nouchi and (R) Amelie Brick.ApparisAmelie Brick, 37, and Lauren Nouchi, 29, are the cofounders of Apparis, an apparel company best known for its vegan coats. In an interview with Business Insider, they talk about why they decided to start a high-end vegan coat line, how the pandemic led them to expand into homewear, and why they decided to launch a collaboration with Juicy Couture. Meet the millennial cofounder of a jewelry brand that has partnered with the NFL and NBA and is on track to make $50 million in revenue this yearChristian Johnston.Courtesy of Christian Johnston cofounder of GLDChristian Johnston is the cofounder of the jewelry brand GLD, beloved by the likes of Justin Bieber and rapper Wiz Khalifa. The company has also done partnerships with the NFL, NBA, MLB, and Disney's Marvel. In an interview with Business Insider, Johnston talks about growing his jewelry company, which is now on track to make $50 million in revenue this year. Hogoè Kpessou worked as an Uber Eats driver before she launched her handbag brand last year. Now she's on track to net seven figures.Hogoè KpessouHogoè KpessouLuxury designer Hogoè Kpessou is best known for her backpacks emblazoned with a gold bumblebee. Before starting her eponymous company, she worked weekend shifts at a local restaurant and delivered food for Uber Eats. Today, she estimates her brand will hit seven figures in revenue in the beginning of 2022. YIMBY with a conscience: Meet the 26-year-old real-estate heir who wants to make affordable housing a reality in the Biden eraDonahue Peebles IIIPeebles CorporationDonahue Peebles III is set to one day take over his father's real estate and development empire, The Peebles Corporation. Speaking to Insider, he talks about his passion for helping make housing more affordable, gives his thoughts on gentrification, and shares his expectations for what's to come under a Biden presidency. Meet the millennial CEO who wants to redefine the ownership of men's clothing, and convinced Alexis Ohanian and Nas to investRegy PerleraCourtesy of SeasonsRegy Perlera is the co-founder of Seasons, an app that allows men to rent designer clothing. He tells Insider that renting clothing is one way to reduce your carbon footprint, and contribute to the circular economy. In 2019, Seasons raised $4.3 million in funding from investors such as Alexis Ohanian's Initialized Capital, Notation Capital, and the rapper Nas.A millennial entrepreneur who runs a high-end watch retailer explains why now is the time to invest in watches — and which timepieces are the most valuableAvi & Co.Avi Hiaeve, owner of the high-end watch retailer Avi & Co., met with Business Insider earlier this year to talk about his watch business as well as give tips for those looking to start investing in luxury watches. "The celebrities and the artists and all of them, they're not wearing watches under $100,000 anymore, everything they want is over $100,000. It's really gone through the roof," he explained to us. Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderJan 3rd, 2022

How ‘Subscribe to Me’ Became the Future of Work

Creators are bumping up against the limits of the platforms they use In August, Savannah’s entire monthly income was at stake. OnlyFans, the social media platform where she built her career, making an average of $2,000 a month from subscribers, had just announced it would be removing content like hers from the site. But there was little she could do about it. She remembers thinking: “OK, well, this is another Thursday, I might as well finish my Chick-Fil-A, and I’m just gonna chill here and wait for us to get some sort of response.” Savannah, 24, is part of a vibrant, supportive community of online sex workers that underwrite OnlyFans’s considerable financial success; it’s now valued at over $1 billion. But in a move that may foreshadow changes to come, that community was shaken when OnlyFans announced it would be banning explicit content on the site. “The sky falls on OnlyFans, like, every three or four months,” Savannah says, wryly. [time-brightcove not-tgx=”true”] She could’ve gotten a more standard job when she graduated from college in 2020 with a business degree—maybe at a bank, as a mortgage loan officer. But while career-hunting, she was working three part-time jobs and her boyfriend at the time suggested trying out OnlyFans. She opened an account in January 2020, posting sassy videos and photos that showed off her passion for Star Wars cosplay and her cheeky sense of humor to attract subscribers. “It was nerve-wracking,” Savannah admits. At first, the subscribers just trickled in; she made $80 that month. Then the pandemic lockdowns started, and Savannah’s online star began to rise. “It was an extreme case of right place, right time,” she says. “Everyone was suddenly locked inside. And they were horny. And it just all came together.” By September 2020, she had earned enough money to buy her own house—a goal that had always seemed elusive with a traditional career path. “I never, ever thought that I would be stable enough to buy a house, period, in my lifetime,” she says. That sense of stability was put to the test by the new August policy—briefly. OnlyFans backtracked just days later. For many, online sex work is easy to ignore or view as the internet’s titillating sideshow. Historically, though, the conditions of sex work serve as an indicator of the health of a society, and the inconclusive OnlyFans incident could predict the future of the growing digital creator economy and its workers. Annie Flanagan for TIME“Not only has it absolutely changed the trajectory of my life forever, but I have fun, I’m my own boss,” says Savannah. Savannah considers herself half sex worker and half “online creator,” a burgeoning and nebulous category of workers who have turned to online platforms to profit off their talents and speak to niche audiences. But the creator economy that took off around 2011 with YouTube has evolved as creators seek autonomy over their intellectual property and freedom from brand sponsorships and social media restrictions. Writers, gamers, academics, sex workers, chefs, athletes, artists: anyone with a point of view, or a video to share, has flocked to sites like Twitch, OnlyFans, Patreon and Substack in hopes of selling their skills directly to their fans. A September study from the Influencer Marketing Factory estimates some 50 million people around the world participate in this economy, broadly—that’s a third the size of the entire U.S. workforce. The study valued the creator market north of $100 billion in 2021. Direct subscription creators are a fraction of that, but a rapidly growing one. There are over a million creators on OnlyFans; streaming platform Twitch boasts over 8 million active streamers; Patreon, which hosts pay-to-view visual and written content, says it has over 200,000 active accounts. And the money generated by this new class keep going up, with OnlyFans announcing it has facilitated over $3 billion in payouts to accounts since their founding five years ago. Patreon says its creator accounts have racked up over $2 billion. Twitch’s in-app purchases neared $200 million in the first half of 2021 alone. Creators skew Millennial and Gen Z; digital natives are, after all, more prepared to capitalize on and take risks online. One study from research firm PSFK suggested that over 50% of Gen Z Americans are interested in becoming an “influencer” as a career. But some of the most successful subscription creators—historian Heather Cox Richardson, musician Amanda Palmer, photographer Brandon Stanton, and model Blac Chyna—are in their 30s or older, and were well established in their careers before selling their skills online, a fact that lends the subscription creator economy more credence. These days, Savannah—who goes by Savannah Solo on her Twitter, Instagram, TikTok and OnlyFans pages—counts hundreds of thousands of subscribers to her public profiles, and 6,500 paying subscribers to her more risqué content on OnlyFans. She doesn’t want to stop. “Not only has it absolutely changed the trajectory of my life forever, but I have fun, I’m my own boss, I wake up and I put on makeup and I wear a stupid costume and make fun content. You can decide if you want to be a persona—or if you just want to be yourself,” she says. But, as she has learned in August, the reality of a creator career is more complicated. Annie Flanagan for TIMESavannah looks through OnlyFans messages while laying at home on Oct. 18. The problem with platforms The job title “creator” is a new invention, born in the past decade thanks to the rise of self-publishing opportunities. First there was YouTube, the ür-influencer platform. Then came Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. These web2 behemoths offered anyone the ability to build a fanbase with little more than an internet connection (and, for the most successful, access to a way to photograph or video themselves). At first, little money was transferred into the hands of the creators; success in the form of wide viewership was a badge of honor, not a moneymaking scheme. That changed with the rise of models in which creators received a cut of advertising associated with their content (like pre-roll video ads on YouTube) and sponsored content and ambassadorship programs (like many of Instagram’s influencer programs). This kept content free for fans while still paying the creators—and it’s the model that still dominates the market. But positioning image-conscious brands in between fans and creators who value authenticity is not always a natural fit. Brands drop creators when they post something the brand doesn’t like. Creators lose autonomy when they spend all their time crafting sponsored content. Enter the paid social media model, in which audiences can contribute directly to their favorite creators. “From the creators’ point of view, it gives them more control and empowerment,” says OnlyFans CEO and founder Tim Stokely, about the potential for direct-to-creator paid social media to be the economic engine of the online future. The company is famous for featuring sex worker creators like Savannah, but Stokely is pushing the platform’s PG accounts, where users can subscribe to a chef’s cooking videos or a trainer’s workouts. Read More: Why OnlyFans Suddenly Reversed its Decision to Ban Sexual Content Twitch was early to this game, launching in 2011. “The digital patronage model we see popping up today in other iterations exists because of Twitch’s early entry in and focus on the creator economy,” says Mike Minton, Vice President of Monetization at Twitch. Twitch prefers to consider itself a “service” rather than a platform: it serves creators with access to audiences and monetizes their viewership, and serves fans by making it easy to watch and contribute. But it’s not all profit for creators. Hidden in the slick appeal of be-your-own-boss social media entrepreneurialism is the role of the platforms themselves, and sticky questions of ownership. Twitch, for instance, provides the necessary infrastructure for popular gamers to stream hours of high-resolution content to mass audiences of live viewers. But it also takes a 50% cut of any subscriptions. OnlyFans says the 30% it takes helps offset the costs of the security and privacy features that adult content in particular requires. Patreon takes from 5 to 12%, depending on your plan; Substack takes 10%, minus processing fees. Consummate middlemen, these companies have created low barriers to entry while still gatekeeping, at least financially. “There’s a history of artists being taken advantage of, and artists have to keep criticizing and keep skepticism at a high level,” says Jack Conte, CEO of Patreon. “I think that’s mission critical. Artists have to be educated, and choose wisely and watch platforms carefully.” Patreon, for its part, offers its users full access to their email lists in an attempt to offer greater control over their audience relationships. Patreon has had its share of controversy: a 2018 kerfuffle surrounded their choice to ban certain politically-extreme voices from the platform; payment snafus and hikes in processing fees have ruffled feathers; and their current content policies exclude sexually explicit work, to the frustration of some. The company is eager to try to keep up with creator-favored trends, however, announcing plans to integrate crypto payments and considering developing “creator coins,” and developing a native video player to more directly compete with YouTube. Stokely doesn’t try to promise financial stability or freedom to OnlyFans’ million-plus creators, especially given the complications of banking regulations (on which the company blamed the brief August ban of sexual content). He knows that change is inevitable, but he does promise one thing: OnlyFans will not become “littered with paid posts and adverts” like the free platforms. Annie Flanagan for TIME“I wake up and I put on makeup and I wear a stupid costume and make fun content. You can decide if you want to be a persona—or if you just want to be yourself,” Savannah says. Navigating an unsteady landscape Writer and musician Amanda Palmer, 45, is intimately acquainted with the challenges of creative autonomy. Palmer, the frontwoman of indie rock duo the Dresden Dolls, extricated herself from an album deal a decade ago, choosing to embrace independence—with all its financial risks—and gather income from her fans directly. “There’s been a general shift in consciousness, that people are no longer scratching their heads when an artist or a creator comes to you directly and says, Hey, I need 10 bucks,” she says. “You’re seeing it in right wing podcasting. And you’re seeing it in feminist journalism on Substack. And you’re seeing it with musicians and gamers on Patreon, and you’re seeing it with porn stars on OnlyFans.” Palmer started a Patreon in 2015, where she now posts bits of music, videos and blog posts to 12,000 paying subscribers. The direct, monetized line of communication with her fans has meant she could weather the pandemic storm—when she couldn’t play live concerts—using honesty and openness in the content she shares as bartering coin for their cash. She says she has made over $5 million in subscriptions to support her creative endeavors, although her net profit mostly just pays rent and living expenses. Still, it has been an effective solution to the conundrum of monetizing fame and artwork for a niche audience. Read More: The Livestream Show Will Go On. How COVID Has Changed Live Music—Forever Palmer’s experience with Patreon is a prime use-case for the company: a non-major artist finds financial freedom through direct-to-consumer content sharing. “Because of what’s happened over the last 10 years, there’s now hundreds of millions of creative people who identify as creators, putting their work online and already making a lot of money and want to be paid and want to build businesses,” Conte says. “Patreon is tiny; compared to the amount of creators in the world, we’re a speck.” But with $2 billion in payouts over the years, it’s proved to be a meaningful speck for a collection of creators. Conte says that about half the money that Patreon processes goes to creators who are making between $1,000 and $10,000 per month. “It’s not Taylor Swift rich, it’s not Rihanna rich. It’s a middle class of creativity: a whole new world of creators that are being enabled by this,” he says. It’s a group like Palmer: people who have a specific viewpoint, a built-in audience and an effective grasp on how to optimize their dynamic with fans. Still, even Palmer, who has “very warm feelings” about Patreon, recognizes that it can’t be trusted forever. “I’ve been ringing the warning bells for years about how dangerous it is to get into bed with a for profit company, and use them as the only avenue to reach your audience, right? Because it is dangerous, because at any moment, Facebook can take that away from you, at any moment, Patreon could sell up to Facebook and decide to change all of the rules of engagement. I really hope that doesn’t happen. But there are no guarantees in this dog eat dog tech world,” she says. “In order to protect myself, I always keep a lot of phone lines open with my community.” Annie Flanagan for TIMESavannah looks through photos with her assistant Cay. Healthy skepticism, and solidarity In her Instagram photos, Jahara Jayde doesn’t look real: technicolor eyes, luminous, airbrushed skin, ears elongated into elven tips. In her five-plus-hour Twitch streams every evening, though, she’s a bit more human, video chatting in real time with her thousand-plus viewers and slurping noodles from an unseen bowl as she plays Final Fantasy XIV through her dinnertime. When she streams, it’s just her and her subscribers. But she has discovered how vital it is to have a community of creators in this business, too. Twitch averages nearly 3 million concurrent viewers; in 2020, people watched nearly 20 billion hours of content on the site. By nature of its freewheeling live video DNA, it’s a place that is hard to regulate and populated by a wide array of characters. “I deal with racism on all of the platforms,” says Jahara, a 30-year-old BIPOC woman, citing in particular a recent influx of “hate raids” targeting BIPOC and LGBTQ+ creators on Twitch. Some creators even led a day-long streaming boycott to draw attention to the issue. Twitch has had to regulate the use of certain words and emotes (their version of custom emojis) in user chats in order to limit problematic language and content. Because of—and despite—that, Jahara has built a keenly supportive, tight-knit community that is expanding the definition of what it means to be a gamer or a creator, and who gets rewarded for the work. She’s a member of The Noir Network, a collective of Black femmes who work in content creation and help each other navigate the often-confusing Wild West of digital work, one that she is committed to continuing with. She loves the work, she just wants to make it better. Read More: The Metaverse Has Already Arrived. Here’s What That Actually Means Jahara didn’t mean to become a full-time gaming streamer when she first tried out Twitch in August 2020; she was already a business analyst with a side gig as a Japanese tutor, making use of her college degree. But soon she was gaining steam with eager subscribers: she got 300 in a month, more than enough to start monetizing her streams. “I was like, Oh, maybe I could be good at this,” she says over the phone from her home in Arizona. After just four months on Twitch, Jahara quit her day job. These days, thanks to Twitch’s subscription system, she brings in about $2,000 a month. With her tutoring clients, who she picked up because of her Twitch, she’s now matching her prior income. “And it’s awesome, because it’s doing the two things that I absolutely adore,” she says. “Ever since I was a little kid, my dad used to bring me into his room and talk to me about how I should work for myself, and the entrepreneurial spirit,” she says. She surprised herself by being able to take his advice. She has the freedom to be herself professionally, the flexibility to take care of her four-year-old daughter in the mornings before preschool, and the hope that her fiancé will eventually be able to leave his job as a manual laborer to support her online presence full time. (He already takes and edits all her photos, and does her marketing.) To her, it feels good to be a part of something. “I get a lot of messages, parents and teens and kids that tell me, like, ‘My daughter saw your photos, and her friends told her that she couldn’t copy that character because it’s not the same color as her, but now she’s excited to do it,” Jahara says. “People tell me that they feel more comfortable, they feel represented and they feel seen just by being able to see my face in the space. It wasn’t something that I expected when I set out for it. But it’s something that definitely keeps me going every day.” It’s networks like that one that have helped organize and provide a modicum of power to creators who are learning as they go. Longtime adult performer Alana Evans, 45, has an inside view of how this works; as president of the Adult Performance Artists Guild, she has helped hundreds of performers navigate issues with tech platforms including Instagram, Tiktok, and, of course, OnlyFans. “I was seeing hundreds of performers lose their pages, for very obscure reasons; you would be given an email that had vague reasons as to why maybe you were deleted, and they were absorbing all of their money,” she says. She and her organization have been able to help many rehabilitate their accounts. But these days she preaches the gospel of diversification, and of making sure that performers do their due diligence about who owns and profits from the platforms they share on. Beyond that, Evans has her sights set on the big picture: working through legal avenues to classify anti-sex-work restrictions, like those set by payment companies, as “occupational discrimination.” It’s only once they deal with the banking side of things, Evans explains, that online sex workers will be able to participate in the creator economy fully and safely. Read More: U.S. Workers Are Realizing It’s the Perfect Time to Go on Strike Creators in the music industry are trying to find power by banding together, too. By day, David Turner, 29, is a program manager at the music streaming service SoundCloud. By night, he publishes a weekly newsletter, called Penny Fractions, that goes into the nitty-gritty of the streaming industry; it’s been his pet project for over four years now. After publishing with Patreon for a few years, Turner realized only a small segment of the most popular creators were truly generating the income the platform touted. “They don’t care about me,” he says over the phone from Brooklyn. Now, Turner hosts his newsletter on an independent service and serves on the board of Ampled, a music services co-op whose tagline is “Own Your Creative Freedom.” Collectivization, as Turner sees it, is the safest way for this next generation to protect themselves from the predations of the market. Other decentralized social platforms like Mastodon and Diaspora, music streaming services like Corite and Resonate and sex-worker-backed sites like PocketStars have popped up to provide alternatives to the more mainstream options. Their selling point: bigger payouts to creators, and opportunities for creators to invest in the platforms themselves. But mass adoption has been slow. If the calling card of the independent platform is their bottom-up approach, that is also their limiting factor. By nature, they are scrappier, less funded and less likely to be able to reach the wide audiences that the top user-friendly sites have already monopolized. Annie Flanagan for TIMESavannah dresses up in Star Wars cosplay as Padmé. The future for creators When OnlyFans made its policy change in August, collectivization is what got sex workers through. Alana Evans helped lead the charge. To Evans, who has been in the industry for decades, it was just the latest iteration of exploitation from more powerful overlords. She saw her community speaking up against the change—particularly on Twitter, where sex workers and performers quickly renounced the policy and began proactively publicizing their accounts on other, friendlier platforms. To her surprise, their vocal opposition worked and OnlyFans moved quickly to find a solution. But Evans knows that this latest golden era of online work is already ending. “The writing is on the wall,” she says. Even successful creators like Savannah have begun actively promoting accounts on alternate platforms like PocketStars and Fansly. They know no solution, and no single site, will be forever. “The advice I’ve been given is to expect it all to crumble, and to have to rebuild again,” Savannah says. That advice isn’t specific to OnlyFans; it’s echoed by Amanda Palmer about Patreon, and Jahara about Twitch. As platforms inevitably seek a better bottom line, the creator workforce has no choice but to trust the tech companies will do right by them. In the meantime, they’re taking a note from the labor movement that has risen up in other industries this year: solidarity works......»»

Category: topSource: timeDec 1st, 2021

GreenWood Investors 3Q21 Commentary: Defense, Offense & Conviction

GreenWood Investors commentary for the third quarter ended September 2021, titled, “Defense, Offense & Conviction.” Q3 2021 hedge fund letters, conferences and more When Defense Misfires “Offense wins games. Defense wins championships.” This past quarter, much of my curiosity has been focused on the differences between offense and defense. Given I’ve spent little time watching […] GreenWood Investors commentary for the third quarter ended September 2021, titled, “Defense, Offense & Conviction.” 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 Series in PDF Get the entire 10-part series on Charlie Munger in PDF. Save it to your desktop, read it on your tablet, or email to your colleagues. (function($) {window.fnames = new Array(); window.ftypes = new Array();fnames[0]='EMAIL';ftypes[0]='email';}(jQuery));var $mcj = jQuery.noConflict(true); Q3 2021 hedge fund letters, conferences and more When Defense Misfires “Offense wins games. Defense wins championships.” This past quarter, much of my curiosity has been focused on the differences between offense and defense. Given I’ve spent little time watching team sports, it’s been an interesting exploration. As my mind was occupied by defining an offensive playbook for our two coinvestments, we took our eyes off the ball of our protective, defense-oriented portfolio activities. The performance in the quarter was impacted by a 4% headwind generated by one particular short, which was the primary reason our fund underperformed indices in the quarter. While it was a painful lesson, we immediately evolved our short process in order to prevent our defensive measures from ever hurting our performance to such an extent going forward. Cutting to the chase, the performance in the quarter for the Global Micro Fund was -7.7% net (+30.5% YTD), and this compares to our benchmark MSCI ACWI index returning -1.1% in the quarter (+11.5% YTD). Without any FX headwinds, euro-denominated Luxembourg fund returned -3.3% net (+39.4% YTD). Separate account composites had similar returns, as Global Micro strategy returned -8.1% net (+15.0% YTD) and our longest-running and long-only Traditional accounts returned -6.8% net (16.5% YTD). The Builders Fund I returned -5.2% net in the quarter (+84.5% YTD) driven partially by foreign exchange. Builders Fund II, which was launched in the quarter, returned +3.0% net (+3.0% YTD). Aside from the one short mentioned, our returns were also impacted by corrections at Superdry PLC (LON:SDRY) and Peloton Interactive Inc (NASDAQ:PTON), each taking away roughly 2% from our performance in the quarter. They are both experiencing very different situations right now in the aftermath of Covid, but both are pressing their offense strategies with increased vigor. We remain undeterred with Superdry despite popular skepticism on the brand’s turnaround. Such perspectives look mismatched with a reinvigorated influencer strategy targeting a whole new generation, which have just driven same-store-sales to positive territory on a two-year stack. This is ahead of a pivotal autumn-winter season, when its jackets, coats and sweaters have traditionally shined. Having missed last winter due to Covid, we are excited to see the new product resonate with an entirely new base of consumers. We recently followed the Chairman and CEO’s insider buys, and purchased more shares on weakness. We continue to be encouraged by the progress made; and for a slightly longer discussion on where our thoughts are on Superdry, click here to see a tweet thread. Peloton has experienced a round trip of home workout demand back to pre-covid levels. Thus, while it is launching new products and new geographies, and retains an industry-leading engaged base of 6.2 million exercisers with low monthly subscription churn, this position will have to return to old fashioned marketing to continue on its path towards its incredibly ambitious goal of impacting 100 million users’s fitness routines every month.. With its customer satisfaction, as measured by the Net Promotor Score, remaining one of the highest, if not the highest, in the world, we would not bet against this heavily engaged cult of growing endorphin-filled users. We believe the company still has a very significant market opportunity to both attack and define. Revisiting The Defense Playbook “Rule No.1: Never lose money. Rule No.2: Never forget rule No.1.” Warren Buffett Stretching the offense and defense analogies over to investing, this past year has rewarded risk-taking (offensive) strategies, particularly those that are furthest out on the risk curve. But over the long-term, value-oriented investing wins the championship. That means taking a conservative underwriting approach to investment opportunities and maintaining a defensive posture when everyone else is doing the opposite. In our opinion, that also means running a short book, which allow us to remain opportunistic in periods of greater stress. It is not a good time to be reducing a defensive posture, in our opinion. Over the first 11 years of GreenWood’s existence, we have almost never been idea-constrained. Rather, we have been only constrained by the capacity we have to analyze the large opportunity set. That has typically meant, aside from the earliest years, we have had minimal cash left over. Given we have gravitated towards misunderstood assets and areas neglected by robotic index funds, not only does this portfolio tend to not carry a large cash balance, but it has exhibited more volatility than an index. Accordingly, carrying a short book is essential for us to be able to remain opportunistic in periods of stress. And quite frankly, our defense track record could use some improvement. While this defensive posture paid off in 2008, 2011, and 2018, we had few opportunistic shorts going into 2016 and 2020, right when we needed them. I’m personally committed to improving on that 3-2 market defense track record. I’m also committed to lowering any significant portfolio tilt towards specific factors, as our fundamental research capabilities are not able to be matched on a macroeconomic scale. There are too many factors and estimates to know anything on a large scale with any degree of certainty. For us, conviction is the most important function of an asset manager. It was with that intention we have been carrying a full short book ever since late 2020. And that short book largely paid off over the first half of this year, as the current environment has proved to be fertile in finding over-valued, value-less businesses. In fact, most of these shorts underperformed the market so quickly and so dramatically, that short book turnover caused Chris and I to run on a faster and faster treadmill throughout this year. When we found the short that ended up causing us so much pain in the quarter, it sounded too good to be true. It was a perfect offset to some of our chunkier portfolio factor exposures, but even more, it became clear this was not only a terrible business model, but it was likely a fraud. As Chris and I dug further into the business, there was a never-ending string of yarn that we kept pulling, and the more we pulled, the more damning the evidence was on the founder, company and target markets. In that excited process, we failed to appreciate the risk posed by the meme-trading phenomenon, in the assumption that an Italian company was unlikely to get caught up in the retail trading frenzy that has generated so many distortions elsewhere. Bypassing that debate proved to be our mistake, as the less liquid nature of the stock meant that it was more easily manipulated higher for a few months. As it was getting squeezed, I took action to eliminate that portfolio risk, even knowing that the stock would eventually go to zero. And in the wake of that experience, we also exited other shorts that had largely run their course, but that posed some possible retail trading risk. In our post-mortems, that are published on our investors-only research area, we identified one of the problems we were trying to solve for was the treadmill we found ourselves on. Because each piece of incremental evidence made it more and more compelling, we actually didn’t pause to have a proper bull-bear debate, which is what we have done for every other position. We had put too much pressure on ourselves to maintain a timely short book, and in many ways that papered over the obvious truth that the borrow was hard to obtain and liquidity was not accommodative. We revised our ranking framework to ensure there is a significantly higher bar for less liquid shorts in the future. Furthermore, we decided that any “gaps” in needed short exposure would more easily be filled immediately with index funds that could directly help offset some of the chunkier factor risks to our portfolio, namely European value stocks. We don’t intend to hold these index hedges forever, but believe it will help take pressure off of us to prematurely add new shorts to the portfolio. We have a lot of candidates in the backlog, but we are determined to ensure that we get the timing right as opposed to just the company thesis and factor exposure. At their core, our defensive moves should first do no harm. This analogy mirrors perhaps the most quoted Buffett lesson about rule number one, noted above. In that vein, our current short portfolio is comprised of large, liquid index constituents with very low short interests, cheap borrows, and are largely well-loved. Similar to most of our short positions in the past, they also have mounting liabilities as decades of unconscious behaviors or corruption have eroded the core values of the businesses. We recently published our research on two newer positions on our investor-only research site. These shorts have multiple catalysts over the next few quarters, that we believe, will cause both a material impact to their financials while also possibly downgrading the market’s behavioral narrative. More Conscious Than ESG “Sustainability is built into our business model. If we are focused on the long term, there is no conflict between profitability and the interests of stakeholders. If you are focused on the short term, there is. It’s that simple!” Sir Martin Sorrell Most importantly, these two businesses that we are short have some deeply unconscious features. While each case is different, this means that we’ve found evidence of corruption or deliberate sales of defective or toxic products for decades prior to being discontinued. All of these behaviors are only now catching up to these companies and present material downside risks to these businesses that have historically been run for short-term profit maximization as opposed to long-term value creation or innovation. These are the kinds of companies that are causing the ESG movement to gain major traction around the world. But while we applaud action being taken on protecting the environment, the ESG movement is not solving the root of the problem. The movement is addressing the symptoms rather than the causes. In a white paper that I can’t wait to publish, we’ll show evidence that the fundamental issue facing business today is one of unaccountable agents seeking immediate gratification. There’s a lack of ownership and accountability in a market that continues to outsource much of the “ratings” to agents. Large funds managed by agents with no skin in the game are relying on ratings agencies, also with no skin in the game, to dictate qualitative criteria that often don’t tie to value creation, but rather liability minimization. And that is important, but not sufficient on its own. It is defense without the offense. Or sometimes, it’s all marketing covering up flimsy foundations. Owners or founders exhibit more long-term, conscious capitalist behavior. They generally don’t give quarterly profit guidance, and instead prefer to focus on their customer satisfaction and employee morale. They invest more in their own businesses rather than paying that capital out to shareholders or to acquisition targets. Great shareholder returns are the result of a highly conscious business model, not the goal in and of itself. Exhibit 1: Builders Have Happier Customers & More Engaged Employees Source: GreenWood Investors, OO = owner operators, DC = dual share class structures, S&P = S&P 1200 Global Index But what does it mean actually to be conscious? That’s the subject that Anil Seth seeks to answer in his latest work, Being You. In seeking to demystify the mystery of consciousness, he discusses the most robust model that has been put forward for understanding and measuring how conscious an organism is. Integration information theory (IIT) postulates that consciousness is measured by the degree to which information is integrated into a system or action. Seth explains, “This underpins the main claim of the theory, which is that a system is conscious to the extent that its whole generates more information than its parts.” This concept struck me, as it has many direct parallels to well-worn concepts in investing. Of course it makes sense that the more conscious an organization is, the better it is at integrating information into action. But what really struck me here is that using this IIT framework- an organization is only conscious if the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. To me this infers that if the parts of a business don’t come together to produce something more powerful or valuable than the sum of those individual units, segments or components, the business is not a conscious business. Seth later explained how conscious perceptions are largely built from best guesses and confidence. A key insight of Bayesian inference is that perception is largely a function of updating beliefs about the world based on the precision and reliability of new information. Our minds seek to eliminate prediction errors everywhere and all the time, and we do so by converging our beliefs to the level of conviction we have in the information. In this age of ubiquitous and free information, we differentiate ourselves by the level of conviction we have in the quality and reliability of the insights we have. Conviction is the key. And as Seth later demonstrated, such insights are virtually worthless if not paired with action. This echoes the sentiment that Warren Buffett expressed in talking about getting fat pitches in one’s career, and that one must “swing big,” as they don’t happen very often. This is indeed why we are “swinging big” with Coinvestment II, as this is one of the fattest pitches we’ve ever been thrown. Moving From Defense to Offense “High expectations are the key to everything.” -Sam Walton As my mind was more occupied with offensive capital allocation strategies in the quarter, this pairing of action with insight particularly spoke to me, highly conscious offense playbook strategies are rare. Instead the norm is that most offensive actions are typically made from a defensive motive, and are not based on novel insights. As I wrote in last year’s fourth quarter letter, we endeavor to only get involved in turnaround situations where we either have a board presence, or where a founder or owner operates the business. In our view, these managers have been more resilient in defending their businesses from adversity. Simply put, they cannot just give up and move on. As Covid ripped through the world and economies, far too many managers decided to give up. In the depths of the Covid crisis, at the Presidential inauguration ceremony, National Youth Poet Laureate Amanda Gorman articulated rather eloquently that, “Your optimism will never be as powerful as it is in that exact moment when you want to give it up.” Founders are inherently optimistic, and they don’t give up. In exploring the differences between defense and offense, I’ve come to realize that it is even more important to have an owner-oriented management culture when moving from defense to offense. Defense is inherently reactive, reacting to “known knowns” or “known unknowns.” Reactions are easier than proaction. Traditional boards are typically very good at liability minimization. But as important as liability reduction is, these actions do not create value. New business and invention is inherently venturing into the unknown, seeing what others don’t, and pursuing the path untravelled. It comes naturally to a founder or owner, whose authorship imbues the business with the optimistic, entrepreneurial impulse that often started it in the first place. As my friend Bill Carey has articulated, most managers compensated via stock options act more like stock brokers as opposed to owners. Similar to brokers, their time horizons have shrunk considerably. They are simply rent-seeking for a short period of time. And as my friend Chris Mayer likes to say, “no one washes a rental.” Our research on the differences in the behaviors of owner operators and these renters, shows these renters are not very good at offense strategies either. They are very good at competitive reactions, cost cutting and margin optimization. These are important, just as any defense strategy is, but they typically fail to create any lasting value. The value that is captured from these tools generally only lasts as long as the brief period in which the manager’s stock options vest. Given 70-90% of mergers and acquisitions fail, and stock repurchases have taken a notably pro-cyclical, buy-high, sell-low, history, these renters have a typically poor track record in value-creating initiatives and capital deployment. This short-term rental behavior often results in mediocre outcomes. As the late great Sergio Marchionne regularly reminded, “mediocrity is not worth the trip.” Marchionne acted like an owner even before he was one. And he created so much value that his net worth neared $1 billion when he shuffled off this mortal coil. While much of that was indeed generated by options that he exercised, such options were struck at twice and three times the level at which he came in to rescue Fiat in 2004. His package inspired the design of CTT’s options package for top and first level managers. Sergio was very good at seeing things others didn’t. He and his venerable team of managers, to whom he dedicated so much of his energy, were very good at transforming ignored products and assets into gold. Of particular note, Jeep grew from just over 2%of the market in the US to just under 6% when he passed- and it became a truly global brand. He invented Ferrari’s Icona series, which made the irregular limited edition profits part of the regular P&L of the brand without diluting the exclusivity of such models. He and parent holding company Exor have continued to provide much of the inspiration behind our activities with both coinvestments. We endeavor to replicate their divide & conquer strategy, which allowed the Fiat Group to become stronger as stand-alone Fiat-Chrysler (now Stellantis), Ferrari, CNH, and soon to be Iveco Group. Just as Sergio advised the few believers throughout his career, investors will be “owning multiple pieces of paper” as the journey unfolds. In hindsight, we can all agree on the value creation prowess of him and his team. But we easily forget that for most of his career, he was faced mostly by skeptics and doubters. He was not afraid to look dumb. In his own words, “A lot of what I do is challenge assumptions . . . which often looks like you are asking stupid questions.” Being entrepreneurial, by definition, means taking the path untraveled, and heading into the unknown with daring boldness. Offense playbooks, by design, must take competition by surprise. Coming from a humble place with brands and companies that were ridiculed by competitors, when Sergio put medium-term plans out to the market, they were not timid. He would always aim higher than anyone, especially his competitors, believed he and his team could reach. And while not every target was always achieved, the formidable results speak for themselves. This past earnings season, as Twitter was the only social media company to deliver on guidance while also confirming the quarter ahead to be at least as good, the stock sold off materially as its monetizable daily active user (MDAU) targets in the medium-term were called into question. While founder Jack Dorsey is clearly unafraid to look foolish to the public, or even in front of congress, he also manages multiple businesses at the same time. Competitors openly make fun of him. But his team is exceptionally loyal to him, and they have set out very ambitious targets for themselves over the next few years. The recent sell-off in Twitter shares was like deja vu all over again, as I reminisced about the Fiat capital markets day in 2014, fittingly on Twitter in this tweet thread. With its product and revenue servers rebuilt, it can now innovate and launch new ad formats faster than ever before. We look forward to the Twitter team pressing its offense strategy as a major peer loses focus on its core business. Into The Unknown “Action is inseparable from perception. Perception and action are so tightly coupled that they determined and define each other. Every action alters perception by changing the incoming sensory data, and every perception is the way it is in order to help guide action. There is simply no point to perception in the absence of action.” Anil Seth, Being You What does it mean to move into offense? One thing very clear to us, is that it has to be a dynamic and reflexive approach. It cannot be built into a three or five year plan and remain fixed over that duration. As Anil Seth’s work on consciousness explains, a highly conscious being is constantly ingesting and integrating information, evolving actions based on reliability, precision and conviction. As capital-markets focused investors, we believe one of the highest values we can provide to our companies is information that can be integrated into their offense and defense playbooks. Thanks to our collaborative approach, we get nearly daily recommendations and thoughts from our investors with new information, new case studies, and new suggestions on how to continue iterating. One of the biggest differentiations between good and great investments, that is often overlooked, is the value added by good capital allocation- be it with a very well-done merger, opportunistic buyback or even more, venture-style investments that are almost in no one’s “model” or perception. Small acquisitions that bring new tools and managers can often upgrade the business model. As Clayton Christensen suggested in The Big Idea: The New M&A Playbook, these are often the most overlooked investments. But during the quarter, when posed with the question of how to best allocate capital over the long term, I found myself tongue tied. For it’s a dynamic and reflexive question to ask. It’s easy to see what to do right now, and where to build in the next few years. But sound capital allocation is a function of the opportunities that present themselves. It is also about creating new possibilities, particular ones that competitors don’t see. At CTT, with defensive, problem-solving actions becoming less of a focus, attention can now turn to offense. What that looks like in the near term, at least to me, should be continued progress and convergence on the strategy to become the Shopify of Iberia. With Portugal e-commerce order frequency at very small fractions of neighboring Spain, we believe it is CTT’s responsibility to make itself the most convenient and most cost effective way of conducting commerce. Through more parcel lockers, better digital tools, while maintaining or improving on best-in-class quality of service, we believe much of the responsibility to make online the most convenient commerce channel in Portugal will fall on CTT’s shoulders. Going further with online shop enabling, more cost effective payments tools, and an integrated fulfillment offer, that continues through to returns and customer service, it has every tool it needs to enable this digital transition. This convergence is happening at the same time EU recovery stimulus dollars will be directed towards digitalizing the economy. Case studies like Kaspi, which started as a bank, evolved into a payments company, then launched an e-commerce marketplace and then further expanded into logistics, provide more inspiration than any company in the logistics industry. This reminds me of Google’s earliest days, when its managers encouraged their teams to ignore the traditional competitors and instead go where other competitors hadn’t dared to venture- into the unknown. We believe CTT has greater competitive advantages than some “new economy” companies playing throughout the same e-commerce value chain, often trading at significantly higher valuation multiples. Whether we’re talking about fulfillment services, parcel lockers, or alternative purchase financing, it’s the customer relationship that differentiates and builds competitive advantages. That is why one of the first priorities of the new management was to improve customer satisfaction. And while some analysts that cover the company still use traditional methods to frame the opportunity, the shareholder base has largely transitioned away from income-oriented investors. More like-minded shareholders, aligned with management, can enable the team to build something truly great. Building Great Companies “The urgency of doing. Knowing is not enough; we must apply. Being willing is not enough; we must do.” DaVinci What started for us as an approach to separate the bank from the industrial company, and achieve a sum of parts valuation, has been upgraded to that of building a great compound machine. As Exor articulated in 2019, its purpose to “build great companies,” is an aspirational philosophy for us. While we certainly aren’t doing the building here, perhaps through setting the right strategic priorities, incentives, and providing timely and right information, we can assist in the build underway. Exor has provided an exemplary model of how to enable its teams to build greater value by dividing, conquering, and then often later combining with more synergistic peers. Just like Anil Seth described, the whole must be greater than the sum of the parts in a highly conscious organization. When a company’s sum of the parts is greater than the total, the organization is not conscious, and therefor not capable of adding material value. Just as Exor has executed masterfully in its portfolio companies over the past decade, the path forward is one of both dividing and one of conquering. Extending the business and commerce services that CTT provides is a natural offense-oriented positioning that further reinforces the strength of the whole. But there are other parts of this organization that aren’t adding as much to the sum total- those can, and should be separated to pursue their own offense playbooks in a more focused and agile manner. Such an approach goes well beyond ESG, and it goes well beyond most other broker-oriented management teams. It is a highly conscious capitalist approach, aligned with long term value creation and sustainability. And that process should result in considerable returns as an effect, not as a goal. As owner operators’ short, medium, and long term benchmark outperformance demonstrates, this strong alignment between management and ownership is a championship-winning combination. Exhibit 2: Owner Operators’ Stock Index Outperformance Source: GreenWood Investors In the months ahead, we anticipate thoroughly engaging with the management and board of the target at the Builders Fund II. This company is mirroring CTT’s current posture, in that it is in the process of finishing nearly a decade of defense-oriented actions. After years of strategic actions focused on fixing problematic areas, contracts or business dynamics, most of these reactive or defensive actions are increasingly passing into the rearview mirror. It is entering a new phase of life in a position to also divide and conquer, and it has exceptional assets. With both coinvestments representing a substantial portion of our net exposure, we move forward with conviction. While this quarter was a lesson that we, nor our companies, can lose sight of a strong defense strategy, we are increasingly looking forward to our portfolio pressing offense strategies moving forward. Committed to deliver, Steven Wood, CFA GreenWood Investors Updated on Nov 24, 2021, 4:37 pm (function() { var sc = document.createElement("script"); sc.type = "text/javascript"; sc.async = true;sc.src = "//mixi.media/data/js/95481.js"; sc.charset = "utf-8";var s = document.getElementsByTagName("script")[0]; s.parentNode.insertBefore(sc, s); }()); window._F20 = window._F20 || []; _F20.push({container: 'F20WidgetContainer', placement: '', count: 3}); _F20.push({finish: true});.....»»

Category: blogSource: valuewalkNov 24th, 2021

35 places to shop for gifts that give back

Shopping at these stores also means you're contributing to initiatives like planting trees, improving livelihoods in underserved areas, and more. When you buy through our links, Insider may earn an affiliate commission. Learn more. Cotopaxi is a B Corp that puts 1% of its yearly revenue toward grants to nonprofits making sustainable changes in poverty alleviation. Cotopaxi/Instagram These 35 companies make gifts that give back via charitable initiatives or profit sharing. If you shop from the following brands, you're also supporting several worthy causes. Need more gift ideas? Check out our ultimate gift guide. Aside from volunteering with or sending direct donations to nonprofits that make our world a better place, one way you can do your part throughout the year is to support businesses that give back. During these tumultuous times, giving back to those in need has never felt more urgent and necessary.If you're gifting your loved ones, you can make your gift go a little further by buying from companies with a social and environmental conscience that return a percentage of their profits to their communities or charitable causes. When you buy a gift from these 35 companies, you're also helping to plant a tree, improve livelihoods in underserved areas, save an animal, and more.Shop at these 35 brands that give back all year long: Thinx Thinx Shop gifts from ThinxThinx offers a wide collection of absorbent underwear and apparel and donates a portion of its profits to support puberty and reproduction education and grassroots activism.Learn more about the initiative here. STATE Bags STATE Bags/Instagram Shop gifts from STATE BagsWhen you buy a STATE bag, the company fills another with school supplies and gives it to a local student in need at a "Bag Drop" rally. It also shines a light on issues like mass incarceration, the Flint water crisis, and Black Lives Matter through its #WhatDoWeTellTheKids initiatives. Learn more about the initiative here. Leesa Leesa Shop gifts from LeesaLeesa donates one mattress to a nonprofit for every 10 sold and has donated more than 37,000 mattresses so far. The gift of a better night's sleep for your recipient (plus someone in need) comes in the form of four different mattresses. Learn more about the initiative here. Barefoot Dreams Barefoot Dreams Shop gifts from Barefoot DreamsKnown for its ultra-soft loungewear and blankets, this company donates a portion of the Covered in Prayer Collection's purchases to The WunderGlo Foundation. This charity aids doctors and researchers in their search for developing a cure for colon cancer in honor of the brand's late founder who died of cancer. Learn more about the initiative here. TOMS TOMS Shop gifts from TOMSPopular shoe brand TOMS has expanded from its original shoe design and is now offering sneakers, sandals, heels, and even slippers. Philanthropy remains important to the brand, which continues to commit 1/3 of its profits to supporting various grassroots efforts.Learn more about the initiative here. Blk & Bold Amazon Shop gifts from Blk & BoldBlk & Bold, a newly certified B-corporation, prides itself on prioritizing giving back as much as making a profit. The company donates 5% of its profits to supporting at-risk youth and works with over ten organizations with various missions to improve the lives of kids across the country.Learn more about the initiative here. Uncommon Goods Uncommon Goods Shop gifts from Uncommon GoodsCombine unique and fun finds with giving back through Uncommon Goods' Better to Give program. Not only are you supporting small businesses by shopping with Uncommon Goods, but once you select a Better to Give partner, you'll also be supporting the causes most important to you. Uncommon Goods currently works with organizations that focus on issues including forest conservation, supporting those whose lives have been impacted by conflict and natural disasters, and more. Learn more about the initiative here. Bookshop Bookshop Shop gifts from BookshopBookshop allows customers to support local bookstores from afar by allowing readers to purchase books directly from their favorite bookstores. If you would like to support a specific bookstore, use Bookshop's store locator and your pick will receive 100% of the profit from the sale. Bookshop's mission is to support independent bookstores by connecting them with potential customers. Learn more about the initiative here. Everlane Everlane/Instagram Shop gifts from The 100% Human Collection at EverlaneEverlane donates 10% from every purchase in this collection of tees, sweatshirts, face masks, and tote bags to the ACLU and has raised over $1 million to date. Learn more about the initiative on each individual product page in the collection.  Bombas Bombas/Instagram Shop gifts from BombasWhether you'd like to gift athletic socks, hiking socks, or dress socks, Bombas has you — and the feet of someone in need — covered. For every pair purchased, it donates a specially-designed pair to a homeless shelter. It has donated more than 43 million pairs to more than 3,000 giving partners in the US. Learn more about the initiative here. Amour Vert Amour Vert Shop gifts from Amour VertThis sustainable fashion brand joins hands with the nonprofit organization American Forests to plant a tree for every tee purchase. Since its inception, Amour Vert has planted 351,466 trees in North America.Learn more about the initiative here. AUrate AUrate/Instagram Shop gifts from AUrateFine jewelry startup AUrate finds beauty in honestly priced, ethically sourced gold jewelry — as well as the power of reading. Every year, it donates thousands of books to students in need in the US. Learn more about the initiative here. Cotopaxi Cotopaxi is a B Corp that puts 1% of its yearly revenue toward grants to nonprofits making sustainable changes in poverty alleviation. Cotopaxi/Instagram Shop gifts from CotopaxiFor colorful outdoor and travel gear they'll be proud to carry, shop at Cotopaxi, the B Corp that puts 1% of its yearly revenue toward grants to nonprofits making sustainable changes in poverty alleviation. So far, it has awarded 42 grants in six countries. Learn more about the initiative here. Cuyana Cuyana/Instagram Shop gifts from CuyanaIn line with its "Fewer, Better" philosophy, Cuyana encourages shoppers to clean out their closets by providing shipping labels to thredUP. Send in a box of high-quality apparel they no longer need, and they'll receive a credit to shop at Cuyana. When that credit is spent, Cuyana donates 5% of the profit to H.E.A.R.T. (Helping Ease Abuse Related Trauma). Learn more about the initiative here. ThirdLove ThirdLove/Instagram Shop gifts from ThirdLoveThirdLove partners with Good360, I Support the Girls, and more organizations to donate its comfortable bras to women in need. It has donated more than $40 million of bras to date, and in the past, it has also donated a bra to a California wildfire victim for every bra purchased. Learn more about the initiative here. Conscious Step Conscious Step Shop gifts from Conscious StepEvery Conscious Step purchase makes a large impact on the world and the environment. With a cause of your choice, each sustainably sourced pair of socks supports 17 different organizations or communities that the comapny serves. Whether its the fight for equality or protection for dogs, these soft and comfy socks help to create a better world.Learn more about the initiative here. Skylar Skylar/Instagram Shop gifts from SkylarSkylar is a natural, eco-friendly fragrance company that makes candles and perfume perfect for gifting. It donates a portion of proceeds and time to Step Up, a nonprofit dedicated to mentorship for girls. Learn more about the initiative here. Thrive Market Thrive Market/Facebook Shop gift memberships from Thrive MarketThrive Market, a place to shop natural and organic products for less, offers a one-for-one membership program. That means that every paid membership gives a free one to someone in need, like a low-income family, student, teacher, veteran, or first responder. Learn more about the initiative here. Parachute Parachute Shop gifts from ParachuteFor every Venice percale bedding set sold at Parachute, it donates one malaria-prevention bed net in partnership with the UN Foundation's Nothing But Nets campaign. Learn more about the initiative here. Allbirds Allbirds/Instagram Shop gifts from AllbirdsLightly used shoes from this popular startup known for its use of unique materials are sent to Soles4Souls, a nonprofit that donates shoes to people who have been affected by disasters. Learn more about the initiative here. Alltrue Alltrue/Instagram Gift a subscription from AlltrueAlltrue (formerly Causebox) stands out among the bevy of beauty and accessories subscription boxes by only featuring socially conscious products and companies that give back. Its main areas of impact are women's empowerment, supporting disadvantaged producers, education and skill development, and poverty alleviation. The company itself also helps various charity partners raise funds and awareness. Learn more about the initiative here. Wildfang Wildfang Shop gifts from WildfangWildfang, a female-founded and women-run clothing and accessories brand, donates a percentage of profits from full-price goods to a rotating monthly charity. Charities have included Planned Parenthood, Black Girls Code, and Girls Inc.Learn more about the initiative here. JUDY Connie Chen/Business Insider Shop gifts from JUDYJudy's bright and expert-informed emergency preparedness kits empower you to get your safety plan in place. It just launched earlier in 2020 but plans on donating 1% of sales annually to the Los Angeles Fire Department Foundation, which provides essential equipment and training to supplement city resources. Learn more about the initiative here. Love With Food by SnackNation Love With Food/Instagram Gift a subscription from Love With Food by SnackNationBetter-for-you snack subscription service Love With Food by SnackNation nourishes both stomach and soul by donating at least one meal to a family in need — through Feeding America — for every snack box purchased. Thanks to its subscribers' healthy appetites for organic and all-natural snacks, it has donated over 1 million meals. Learn more about the initiative here. Warby Parker Warby Parker/Instagram Shop gifts from Warby ParkerIf this were like any other year, Warby Parker would distribute a pair of glasses for every pair sold in two different ways. The first helps train adults to administer basic eye exams and sell glasses for affordable prices, while the second gives vision care and glasses to students in need. Its partners include VisionSpring, the Department of Education in New York, and the Department of Health in Baltimore. Due to the novel coronavirus pandemic, Warby Parker is only distributing glasses where where it can safely. In the meantime, it's providing PPE and preventative health supplies to healthcare workers and communities in need for a portion of glasses purchased.Learn more about the initiative here. KitNipBox KitNipBox Gift a subscription from KitNipBoxEach month, this cat toy and treat subscription service donates a portion of proceeds and products to shelters, rescues, and other feline welfare causes. It supports more than 100 animal welfare organizations. Learn more about the initiative here. BarkBox Barkbox/Instagram Gift a subscription from BarkBoxBarkBox has thousands of rescue and shelter partners that benefit from each subscription purchased. Be on the lookout for custom codes from your favorite organization. When you use the code, BarkBox donates $25 to that rescue or shelter. Learn more about the initiative here. Natori Natori/Instagram Shop gifts from NatoriNatori's giving program is unique in that it's customizable and gives you the power to support a cause you care about. When you add one of its bras or lounge products to your cart, you can choose the nonprofit org that will receive 1% of your purchase. There's a whole directory of organizations but some featured ones include The Breast Cancer Research Foundation and the Equal Justice Initiative. Learn more about the initiative here. United by Blue United by Blue/Instagram Shop gifts from United By BlueThe conservation-minded outdoor brand pledges to remove one pound of trash from the planet's oceans and waterways for every product sold. It has removed more than 3.5 million pounds of trash through organized cleanups, while also using more responsible materials like recycled polyester in its products. Learn more about the initiative here. Ethique Ethique/Instagram Shop gifts from EthiqueGone are the days of wasteful plastic haircare and skincare bottles. Ethique packs the essential ingredients into a concentrated bar that's equivalent to three bottles of liquid shampoo, then donates 20% of profits to conservation, animal welfare, and environmental groups and "adopts" animals to pay for their care. It has worked with over 170 organizations worldwide and has ongoing partnerships with Rainforest Trust and HUHA, among others. Learn more about the initiative here. Avocado Mattress Avocado Mattress/Instagram Shop gifts from Avocado MattressThese eco-friendly mattresses are made from materials like natural latex harvested from sustainable tree-tapped sources and organic cotton. The company donates 1% of revenue to environmental nonprofits like Plastic Oceans International and Big Green. Learn more about the initiative here. Tatcha Tatcha/Instagram Shop gifts from TatchaEvery purchase from this Japanese beauty-inspired brand helps fund girls' education. Tatcha's Beautiful Faces, Beautiful Future program with nonprofit Room to Read has funded more than 4.6 million days of school for girls in Asia and Africa.Learn more about the initiative here. Patagonia Patagonia/Instagram Shop gifts from PatagoniaSince 1985, Patagonia has donated $89 million to hundreds of grassroots environmental groups. It also donates to nonprofits through its Employee Charity Match program, invests in socially and environmentally minded companies through its own venture capital fund, and donates new and used clothing. Learn more about the initiative here. Yoobi Yoobi/Instagram Shop gifts from YoobiYoobi partners with the Kids In Need Foundation to donate a school supply to a classroom every time you buy one of its products. We're fans of its sturdy notebooks and weekly calendar planner pads. So far, it's donated supplies to more than 4 million students.  Learn more about the initiative here. Sand Cloud Sand Cloud/Instagram Shop gifts from Sand CloudAnyone who loves spending time at the beach should be more invested in protecting marine life. Sand Cloud, which makes Turkish cotton beach towels, donates 10% of profits to organizations that protect and preserve beaches and oceans. Learn more about the initiative here. Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderNov 5th, 2021

Van Jones on his new podcast in partnership with Amazon Music and how he plans to implement a $100 million gift for charity from Jeff Bezos

Van Jones spoke to Insider about his new podcast, "Uncommon Ground with Van Jones," which debuted this week in partnership with Amazon Music. Van Jones. Leigh Vogel/Getty Images Van Jones spoke to Insider about his new podcast, "Uncommon Ground with Van Jones," which debuted this week in partnership with Amazon Music. Jones also discussed his work in criminal-justice reform and the award he received from Jeff Bezos that included a $100 million gift for non-profit recipients of Jones' choosing. Van Jones, the CNN political commentator, activist, and entrepreneur, spoke to Insider last week in a phone interview tied to the release of his new podcast, "Uncommon Ground with Van Jones," which debuted Wednesday in partnership with Amazon Music."Uncommon Ground" finds Jones in conversation with notable names and grassroots activists "in search of unifying solutions to our country's biggest problems," with topics ranging "from climate change, to prison reform, to voting rights, to spiritual evolution, to cancel culture," according to a release. The initial slate of guests includes Deepak Chopra, Chef José Andrés, will.i.am, Sarah Silverman, Bishop T.D. Jakes, Andrew Yang, and S.E. Cupp.In our interview, Jones discussed the podcast in relation to his history of work in criminal-justice reform, including his founding and continued presence on the Reform Alliance and his efforts to help pass the bipartisan legislation of the First Step Act in 2018. He also alluded to his plans to implement the "Courage and Civility Award" that he received from Amazon founder Jeff Bezos in July, which included a $100 million to gift to non-profit organizations of Jones' choice.This interview has been lightly edited and condensed for clarity.How did this come together, the podcast and the partnership behind it?You know, I've been fascinated by the podcast space as a place for a deeper and more intimate conversation, had the opportunity to do a podcast with CNN called "Incarceration, Inc.," and really enjoyed that experience. And I just wanted to have broader, deeper conversations in the podcast space. Amazon is in the process of ramping up this capacity, in this area, and I'm excited to be on board. How do you approach making topics like climate change and voting rights compelling enough to engage the average or uninterested listener? Sort of the question of our times.I think people are very interested in these topics. I think that they are just worn down by the tone and the tenor of the discussion. I think it's kind of like when you have two neighbors fighting over an important topic. You're sick of the fight, but you're not sick of the topic. How are we going to give our kids a livable planet? How are we going to make sure that democracy works better for everybody? How can we make sure that people have opportunities in this new kind of high-tech economy? Those are things that people are thinking about and talking about and worrying about all the time. I just think what we have to do is make sure that we are going deeper than just the soundbites and the tweets and the talking points. And that's really what "Uncommon Ground" is all about.Also, we're going to be hearing from new voices, all these amazing grassroots leaders, who I get a chance to meet when I'm on the road, working on political causes or speaking in different communities. These folks never get heard from, and they are so hopeful and smart and tough. So I think having new voices is going to be important and hearing from new voices. And then hearing from more familiar voices, but talking about things in a deeper, more heartful way. So there's going to be new voices in the conversation. There's also gonna be new perspectives from familiar voices in the same conversation.What's your ideal guest, apart from who you've listed? Who do you seek out for this type of a format?Well, I'm really proud of the people we've already got. I mean, we've got some of the biggest humanitarian voices on the planet, whether you're talking about Chef José Andrés, or whether you're talking about Deepak Chopra or T.D. Jakes. We also have people that are not as well-known, but grassroots activists, like Malkia Cyril and LaTonya from Philadelphia. And then, as we go forward, I'm hoping that that people recognize us as a very good place to come and have a deeper and more heartful conversation. And I think people may be surprised at some of the voices that we pull on overtime. Jeff Bezos (C) with Chef José Andrés (L) and Van Jones in July, after announcing a $100 million award for charity to both Andrés and Jones. Joe Raedle/Getty Images I wanted to say, congrats on the award from Jeff Bezos.Oh, well, thank you.How does one go about strategizing the implementation of a $100 million gift for charity?Uh, very carefully. [Laughs].[Laughs].[Laughs]. You know, I was blown away that Jeff Bezos and Lauren Sanchez decided to create this new award in the first place, and then to have me be one of the first two recipients. Over the past 30 days, since we've only had the grant for 30 days, I've been in very deep conversation and dialogue with experts across a whole range of different fields of endeavor. And we have a 10-year horizon to figure out how to invest and distribute the funds. But look, here's the thing. I've always been fighting for the same basic causes. I've been trying to disrupt prisons and pollution and poverty for my whole career. But I've never had enough philanthropic capital to put behind my ideas or the solutions that I think are most promising.And so now that's different. It's a crazy experience to go from being somebody who's been asking for grants for 30 years to being somebody who is in a position to invest philanthropically. We'll have announcements to make in 2022, but I am taking my time. I'm not in a rush. You know, this is a once in a lifetime opportunity. We call this "the miracle money," and I want every penny to make a miracle. That's the standard. If I can 10x the impact, I want to be able to do that. So, every penny needs to make a miracle. And that's what we're focused on. By the way, the very first episode of the podcast, José Andrés and I talk about, in more depth and detail, what the experience is like. If anybody's interested in how the first two recipients of this award are thinking about it, should definitely check out episode one of the podcast.I, uh, will do. Going back a few years here, and in relation to your past efforts, what did you see as the key to the bipartisan effort behind the First Step Act?There are some areas where the two parties are just not going to agree and should therefore just battle it out, but that's not the vast majority of issues. If you take an issue like criminal justice, everybody understands that the liberals have our stake of the fight. Progressive are very passionate about social justice and racial justice. So the incarceration industry really offends progressive values, but there are conservative values that the incarceration industry also offends. Conservatives don't like big, staled, unaccountable government bureaucracies that eat up a ton of money and produce bad results. Well, that's the prison system to a T. Right-wing libertarians don't like the government gobbling up more and more people liberties. That's what the prison industry does every day. And there are a lot of conservative Christians who wonder, "Where is the redemption? Where's the second chances?" How can a fallen center rise again, if the prison industry just destroy people's lives and brands them forever as being unemployable and unworthy?And so it's when you find those areas where liberal passion for justice can line up with conservative passion for liberty, you can build a Liberty & Justice For All Coalition, and that's what we did. You had the strongest progressives and the strongest conservatives voting together during the Trump administration to pass a bill that by some calculations has helped 20,000 people come home from federal prison much earlier than they would have. That's the kind of bottom-up bipartisanship that I think we need more of. And by the way, we talk about that kind of stuff on the podcast. Also, we talk about climate solutions, which you mentioned earlier. Everybody knows that progressives are concerned about climate because of concern about future generations and species being loss. What people don't talk about is the fact that you have a bunch of red state farmers and ranchers who are getting pummeled by floods and fires and droughts, and who are very close to the land. And they know that the climate is changing rapidly and they would be very open to certain types of climate solutions, especially those that would pay them more money to capture and sequester carbon in the soil with more advanced agricultural techniques.So I spend a lot of time looking for those unlikely overlaps of interests. And I call those places, where you're shocked and surprised, and you're like, "Wait a minute. These two groups that you think would be far apart actually are just putting the emphasis emphasis on a different syllable, but they're saying the same thing." I call those areas of unexpected overlap "Uncommon Ground." And when you find them, whether it's on addiction or criminal justice or climate, or youth opportunity, I think we should go deep there and pull as many people into those conversations as possible. And that's the point of the podcast. Jay-Z, Van Jones, Robert Kraft, and Michael Rubin at a Reform Alliance event in 2019. Kevin Mazur/Getty Images What has your participation in the Reform Alliance meant to you, and what do you see coming from your continued role in the organization?It's just an extraordinary opportunity to work with people who have massive hearts, big brains, and big wallets, who want to make a difference. And I learn from each and every board member I every time I'm in communication with them. The level of concern and passion that those board members have is really mind-blowing. As well-known as they are, they do a lot of work behind the scenes that they deliberately don't want acknowledged, 'cause they don't want to create a feeding frenzy every time they show up. But, you know, the number of governors and senators and mayors that have gotten phone calls from a Reform Alliance board members I think would shock a lot of your readers. And then also they've built an unbelievable team of policy experts and advocates that have been able to pass bills in eight states, 13 bills and eight states, in just a two year period. That's a pretty, pretty fast clip.Some people, I think, thought this was going to be a vanity project, but it's turning out to be a much more impactful organization already than some of the skeptics were suggesting. And the issue that was the Reform Alliance takes on, probation and parole reform, really has not had a national champion until we launched. And two thirds of the people who were under the control of the criminal justice system are not in prison or jail. They're on either probation or parole, and their lives can be a living hell because it is so easy to be sent back to prison. If you show up late to a meeting with your parole officer or you get caught talking to someone who has a criminal record, and you're not doing anything, you can be back in prison and lose your job or your apartment and custody of your kids. So every day is just an incredibly anxiety-provoking nightmare and that level of stress doesn't make any community better or safer. So we're very proud that we are beginning to help to change that system, to make it a lot more humane, a lot more effective. ...Look, my view about this whole situation that we're in is that the divisive voices in our country, no matter what political ideology or race, are just getting way too much attention. And the unifying voices, the problem-solving voices, the healing voices are just getting way too little attention. And I think now's the time for people who've got really great ideas to solve the problems, to have a platform. And that's really what "Uncommon Ground" is all about. It's a platform for people who are exciting people, who are interesting people, who also are about that business of solving problems, to finally be heard.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderOct 27th, 2021

As the NFT Market Explodes Again, Artists Fend Off Old Art-World Power Structures

NFT sales exploded in August, hitting twice the levels of the first wave back in the spring On Sept. 13, Monica Rizzolli sat in her room in São Paulo and watched her net worth grow by $5.4 million in 48 minutes. Rizzolli is not a day trader or a gambler. She’s an artist whose work consists of sun-kissed petals and wind-whipped blizzards, all created digitally. That day, she was selling a 1,024-piece collection in an auction on the NFT art platform Art Blocks. And despite her relative lack of renown outside of Brazil, the response was emphatic, with collectors shelling out thousands while feverishly discussing color and pattern on the social-messaging app Discord. “Haven’t seen any where the colors don’t blend perfectly,” wrote one. [time-brightcove not-tgx=”true”] Rizzolli’s success in that September auction is just one of many examples that disprove the epitaphs written for the NFT market after it receded from its dizzying peak this spring. In March, the artist Beeple sold an NFT collection for $69 million at an auction at Christie’s, provoking astonishment from the outside world. Many were quick to write it off as a blip when the market shrank in May, dropping 90% from its peak. “Who could have seen this coming other than basically anyone?” the website Gizmodo taunted. But the death of NFTs was greatly exaggerated. After lying dormant for a couple of months, NFT sales exploded in August, hitting twice the levels of the first NFT mania back in the spring. Legacy institutions like Visa, Marvel and Major League Baseball jumped into the game, bestowing legitimacy; celebrities like Tom Brady and Doja Cat hypercharged excitement with their own ventures. None of this came as a surprise to those who have been involved in the cryptocurrency space for years. The market, like many others, is inherently choppy, with vicious boom-and-bust cycles that have investors hanging on for dear life, even in boom times. As the NFT art world grows in fits and starts, entrepreneurs, technologists and artists like Rizzolli are taking on the messy work of building a different kind of space: one that prioritizes artists, technological and aesthetic breakthroughs, more resilient systems and community building. NFTs have already spurred the popularity and growth of a fascinating digital art form—generative art—and shifted the discussion around artists’ rights and royalties. This time around, we have an opportunity to flip things around and bring more balance into the systemRead More: Digital NFT Art Is Booming—But at What Cost? But while there has been astonishing innovation, other entrenched frameworks have proved harder to disrupt, with wealth still pooling in the hands of a few, and women and artists of color struggling to find their footing. “White men have the advantage from the very start in crypto; it’s obvious that they’re the first to build up the space,” the Panamanian artist Itzel Yard says. “This time around, we have an opportunity to flip things around and bring more balance into the system.” This fight for balance—between those focused on wealth and those focused on radical change—will continue as the technology hurtles toward mainstream adoption. Courtesy Liam VriesVintage Mozart’s The Children With No Name: Eden sold for about $900 in July At its base level, an NFT, or nonfungible token, is simply a file type. But unlike a traditional PDF or JPEG, NFTs are “minted” on the blockchain—a tamper-resistant, decentralized digital public ledger that also supports cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin and Dogecoin. And each NFT is unique, with a bit of code that proves its authenticity, making it easier than ever to put a value on digital goods. Over the past year, NFTs have been made out of basketball trading cards (NBA Top Shot has raked in $720 million), music (Kings of Leon made $2 million from NFT sales on an album) and a tweet (Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey’s first, for $2.9 million). TIME also recently launched an NFT initiative, selling works by selected artists. This spring, art lay at the center of the NFT boom. But much of that art was, frankly, bad: shrines to cryptocurrency champion Elon Musk, 3-D emojis, mimicry of brand signifiers like Gucci or Marvel, conceptual gimmicks like a $1.3 million single pixel. “There are a lot of people for whom the only context they have for NFTs are vulgar displays of wealth,” the technologist Mat Dryhurst said in March. There are still plenty of crude art projects and buyers in it purely for the money. Dozens of cartoonish collectible series, for instance, have been created with the hopes of replicating the fervor surrounding -CryptoPunks, an immensely popular set of pixelated collectible characters. But many others are flocking toward a more ambitious medium: generative art, created by artists who tweak complex bits of code to create dozens or hundreds of works that riff on a theme. Artists use code to create psychedelic patterns, spastic glitchy videos, industrial landscapes and projection mapping. Hundreds of those artists have found a home on Art Blocks. When Erick Calderon launched the platform late last year, he hoped to make crypto-art more financially accessible, showcase artists whose work would match the complexity of anything in the physical modern art world and cater to the cryptocommunity’s desire for scarcity and unpredictability. “I thought people would like the idea of performing part of the art process—and being presented with a tiny piece of the artist’s brain,” he says. There’s a lot of collectors that think about this as a business—and they see white men as the more secure investmentRead More: Teen Artists Are Making Millions on NFTs. How Are They Doing It? Art Blocks has thrived: the platform raked in $243 million in sales in September, making it the most popular NFT art platform and the second most popular NFT platform overall during that time span, according to Crypto-Slam. Ironically, Art Blocks’ runaway success has made its curated auctions way too expensive for most aspiring collectors. But the community has still filled up with rabid devotees who aren’t buying up the art to simply flip it later. One of them, Meredith Schipper, is an interior designer based in Houston with a lively side hustle as an NFT collector and trader with at least 90 artworks to her name. Schipper minted one of Rizzolli’s works for 3.5 ethereum—or roughly $11,900 at the time of auction and far above the auction’s price floor—because she says she loved the artwork and was sick of missing out in the past. “In previous auctions, entire collections have been minted in under two minutes,” she says. Of her experience in the NFT space, Schipper says, “It’s probably the greatest thing that’s ever happened to me. Everyone’s so positive; it makes me feel special and awesome.” Nearly 5,000 miles away in her São Paulo home studio, Rizzolli didn’t even realize she was about to make a fortune. “I’m laughing to myself,” she said a couple hours later. “I hope I will be able to dedicate myself much more: to have good equipment and tranquility. I also want to develop something in the educational field here in Brazil—to return some of this to the community.” With increasingly impressive artwork emerging from the NFT space, gallerists and curators have scrambled to create new spaces to display them. Some of them are in the physical world: an early NFT gallery popped up in downtown Manhattan in April, and Art Blocks just staged its first physical open house in Marfa, Texas. Courtesy Meredith SchipperA screenshot of the collector Meredith Schipper’s virtual gallery Others are attempting to coax curious outsiders into their virtual spaces. Schipper recently set up a virtual gallery, and has delighted in meeting other gallery owners on her pixelated block. Another hub for artists, NFT Oasis, can be accessed for free via an app or through a VR headset, and includes art walks through serene pixelated galleries and concerts from artists like Imogen Heap. Across the board, NFT practitioners say that community is an essential draw of the technology: “It’s like a huge neighborhood where we all kind of know each other,” says Yard, who just a couple of years ago was walking dogs to make ends meet; she has since made $216,000 in sales on the platform Foundation. NFT artists like Yard connect on Discord and Clubhouse, and they have flocked to create decentralized autonomous organizations (DAOs), a relatively new type of organizational structure that many believe will be the Internet age’s answer to the LLC or the corporation. But while some NFT enthusiasts see a vast, unlimited future, others—women and people of color in particular—have already hit familiar walls. Yard’s rise is a rare success story in an upper echelon dominated overwhelmingly by white men. “There’s a lot of collectors that think about this as a business—and they see white men as the more secure investment,” she says. There isn’t ample data documenting race in the NFT art world, but one study indicates the space has failed to live up to the egalitarian economic promise inherent in crypto’s decentralized nature. For the past couple of years, the artist Sparrow Read and the data scientist Massimo Franceschet have been collecting data from the popular NFT platform SuperRare, and found that revenue generated on the platform has flowed toward a very small group of wealthy artists and collectors. As of June 15, 80% of the platform’s sale volume was dominated by 15% of the richest sellers. “Everyone believes that everyone’s intentions were to create more equality, more opportunity for artists,” Read says. “It feels like nobody wants to say that we are not achieving that.” Read More: NFTs Are Shaking Up the Art World—But They Could Change So Much More While the larger NFT world skews very white and male, women and artists of color are forming their own communities to fight bias and create more opportunities. One of Yard’s friends and protégés, 17-year-old Diana Sinclair, co-founded the herstoryDAO in April for Black female crypto artists. For Juneteenth, they partnered with the NFT platform Foundation to put on an exhibit called “Digital Diaspora,” featuring artwork from prominent artists like Yard and Blacksneakers, with a portion of the proceeds going to charity. But the auction failed to garner even half of what herstoryDAO had projected based on the previous value of the artists’ works. “It was really shocking: there was so much support on social media, but collectors weren’t keen to support us financially,” Sinclair says. When the “Digital Diaspora” auction took place, the NFT market was close to its nadir: NFT art sales for that week were under $4 million, according to Nonfungible. Since then, however, that figure has increased steadily, hitting $84 million the week of Oct. 5. Virtually every other metric tracked by Nonfungible has also increased, including the number of unique buyers active at one time and the number of primary and secondary sales. A second-quarter study from DappRadar in September showed that mass adoption of NFTs is under way, lessening the reliance on deep-pocketed whales; gaming NFTs and collections like the Bored Ape Yacht Club have particularly thrived. Sinclair believes that while the space has agonizing flaws, its communal nature and collaborative spirit could allow for positive change that might have been impossible in the traditional art and finance worlds. Concerns about the immense amount of energy it requires to mint an NFT, for example, have led to the creation of more energy-efficient platforms like Tezos and Palm, which are gaining in popularity. (Ethereum, too, has made its long-awaited conversion to a more energy-efficient system.) Groups that have formed in the past year—like the Mint Fund, Friends With Benefits and the African NFT Community—are using their collective power to create tools and grant funds for underresourced artists. Sinclair is in the NFT world for the long haul, and hopes to learn more about investing so she can have more power in a world that up to now looks a lot like the old one. “The space is too new for anything to be solidified,” she says. “We have more ideas, more plans and a lot more work to do.” —With reporting by Julia Zorthian.....»»

Category: topSource: timeOct 15th, 2021

I flew on Breeze"s Embraer 190 aircraft from Charleston to Hartford and the product proved that low-cost does not mean sacrificing comfort

Breeze's Embraer aircraft feature things like inflight entertainment and reclining seats, easily outshining competitors like Spirit and Frontier. Taylor Rains/Insider, Thomas Pallini/Insider Low-cost carrier Breeze Airways flew its first flight in May 2021 using an Embraer 195 aircraft. The airline has updated the interiors of its fleet since that inaugural flight with new seats and amenities. I flew on one of Breeze's Embraer 190 jets from Charleston to Hartford and see how low-cost does not have to mean poor comfort. Breeze Airways is one of the US's newest low-cost carriers.Breeze Airways A220.Breeze AirwaysThe airline was founded by airline entrepreneur David Neeleman, who also founded JetBlue Airways; Brazil-based Azul; Canadian budget carrier WestJet; and Morris, which merged with Southwest Airlines.JetBlue A321neo.Business WireNeeleman's vision for Breeze is to offer low fares and connect medium-sized markets that do not currently have nonstop service.Breeze counter in Hartford on its first day of operations.Taylor Rains/Insider"We can get you there twice as fast for half the price," the CEO likes to say.The inaugural flight of David Neeleman's Breeze Airways.Thomas Pallini/InsiderThe carrier launched its maiden flight on May 27, 2021, ferrying passengers from Tampa to Charleston using an all-economy Embraer 195 aircraft. The company also flies Embraer 190s.Breeze CEO David Neeleman with an Embraer jet during the inaugural flight in May 2021.Taylor Rains/InsiderI flew on JetBlue founder's David Neeleman's new airline and saw how it's nothing like his old one — but it isn't supposed to beInsider was on the inaugural flight and experienced the fleet's original product, which featured large plush seats but not much else.The inaugural flight of David Neeleman's Breeze Airways.Thomas Pallini/InsiderI flew on Breeze, the 'tech company that happens to fly airplanes' from JetBlue founder David Neeleman, and found it surprisingly low-techSince then, the carrier has improved its fleet by retrofitting its Embraer jets with new interiors and even adding a new plane type — the Airbus A220, which it flies on transcontinental routes.Breeze's A220 after flying from Richmond to San Francisco.Taylor Rains/InsiderAfter being on the company's first-ever flight and being slightly underwhelmed at the product, I was eager to see if the new cabin was any better. So, I booked a ticket from Charleston to Hartford to see the changes — here's what it was like.Taylor Rains/InsiderMy flight to Connecticut started at 7:30 a.m. at Charleston International Airport. Because I was flying home from Las Vegas via Charleston, I did not have to visit the ticket counter or clear security.University of College/ShutterstockAfter deplaning my inbound flight, which was on the carrier's swanky new Airbus A220, I had about three hours to kill and decided to spend it at the Priority Pass lounge. I enjoyed several cups of coffee and a free breakfast before making my way to the gate.Taylor Rains/InsiderI flew on Breeze's brand new Airbus A220 from Richmond to San Francisco in first class and it completely exceeded my expectationsAt the gate, I learned the flight was delayed about an hour, which was starting to become a theme with Breeze. My previous flight was also delayed but by about 10 hours.Breeze gate in Las Vegas where I was delayed.Taylor Rains/InsiderI flew on Breeze's new A220 jet from Las Vegas to Charleston in economy and it was nothing like flying on a typical low-cost carrierDespite the frustration, I knew that summer travel is going to be hectic for all airlines this year, but I hope Breeze does more to keep its flights running on schedule. My delays were due to maintenance and staffing, which are in the carrier's control.The inbound flight to Las Vegas was delayed due to staffing, then had another delay in Vegas due to maintenance.Taylor Rains/InsiderAfter the one-hour delay, we started boarding zone by zone. I was in Zone 1, so I was one of the first people on the plane.Taylor Rains/InsiderThe first thing I noticed when I boarded was the 2x2 configuration, meaning no one would be stuck in the dreaded middle seat.Taylor Rains/InsiderI made my way to seat 9F, which was a window seat in the "Nicer" section. Nicer seats are Breeze's extra-legroom offering, boasting 32+ inches of pitch.Taylor Rains/InsiderI could easily fit in the seat with plenty of room to spare. I'm only 5'3" and on the smaller side, so I fit in most airline seats, but even taller and larger passengers should still be comfortable.Taylor Rains/InsiderBreeze also offers "Nice" seats that are standard economy rows with 30 inches of pitch. This is more than competing airlines like Spirit and Frontier, which only offer 28-29 inches.Breeze "Nice" seats.Taylor Rains/InsiderI flew in the regular economy seat on the way to Charleston and found it perfectly roomy as well, but suggest taller passengers upgrade to an extra-legroom seat if possible.Taylor Rains/InsiderBreeze's A220 planes also offer first class, which is a large lounger that has a leg rest and deep recline, but the seat isn't available on its Embraer aircraft.Taylor Rains/InsiderWhile I did have a Nicer seat, I only purchased a Nice fare, which includes a personal item, but no free snack, assigned seat, or carry-on.Breeze fares.Breeze AirwaysHowever, Breeze allows customers to pay extra for amenities they want, so I upgraded the seat. The fee to book an assigned seat on the Embraer jet ranges from $10-$30 depending on the route and sectionTaylor Rains/InsiderEmbraer's seat sections were completely different from the original product. Not only were they slimmer, but also they were color-coded — red for Nicer and yellow for Nice.Taylor Rains/InsiderI missed the old plush seats from the inaugural, but was very impressed with the improved amenities, like a large tray table…Taylor Rains/Insider…good recline…Taylor Rains/Insider…big seatback pockets…Taylor Rains/Insider…and a place to prop a smartphone or tablet on the seatback. This is perfect for streaming entertainment, and I appreciate being able to look forward at a screen rather than down at a laptop.Taylor Rains/InsiderWhile customers can come prepared with their own pre-downloaded content, Breeze's Embraer jets have a free onboard portal available for travelers to stream TV shows, like "Bob's Burgers" or "Modern Family."Taylor Rains/InsiderAfter takeoff, the flight attendants started the inflight service. Having a Nice fare meant I did not get any complimentary snacks or drinks, but I brought my own water for the 90-minute flight.Taylor Rains/InsiderNicer fares do come with a complimentary snack and drink. There are also options available to buy onboard, like Pringles and alcohol.Taylor Rains/InsiderHalfway through the flight, I made my way to the lavatory, which was a good size for the plane. It actually felt bigger than the one on United's Boeing 737 MAX 8 jet.Taylor Rains/InsiderThe bathroom was clean and had a changing table for families.Taylor Rains/InsiderI spent the rest of the journey enjoying the inflight entertainment before landing in Hartford around 1 p.m., which was about 45 minutes later than scheduled.Taylor Rains/InsiderDespite the delay, I really enjoyed Breeze's Embraer product. The recline and inflight entertainment alone make the cabin easily outshine competitors'.Breeze's inflight portal.Taylor Rains/InsiderNeither Spirit nor Allegiant offer reclining seats, much less free streaming. Customers will only get a small tray table and seatback pocket. Frontier has a few rows of reclining seats for an extra fee.Spirit Airlines economy seat.Thomas Pallini/InsiderBreeze, however, did not have WiFi available onboard, which is something Spirit has added to its planes, to its credit. Granted, it took years to finally install.Spirit's plans include browsing for $3.99 and streaming for $6.99.Taylor Rains/InsiderWhile Breeze's Embraers will likely never get WiFi installed, the A220s should be equipped in the future, which is perfect for business travelers on the go.Breeze Airways' inaugural A220 taking off from Richmond.Breeze AirwaysRead the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderJul 2nd, 2022

Boxer Mike Tyson"s cannabis company gets venture financing

Private cannabis company Tyson 2.0 said Thursday it closed an oversubscribed, $9 million round of Series A financing led by JW Asset Management, with investments from K2, Ambria Capital, Tress Capital, and Patrick Carroll. The investment round for the cannabis company named after widely known boxing champ Mike Tyson comes after its launch last year. Tyson 2.0 now sells cannabis in 20 U.S. states and Canada and is led by co-founder, president, CEO and chairman Chad Bronstein. Tyson 2.0 plans to use its fresh capital to buy celebrity intellectual property, grow its brand lineup and increase its marketing and distribution efforts. Market Pulse Stories are Rapid-fire, short news bursts on stocks and markets as they move. Visit MarketWatch.com for more information on this news......»»

Category: topSource: marketwatchJul 1st, 2022

These 46 pitch decks helped fintechs disrupting trading, investing, and banking raise millions in funding

Looking for examples of real fintech pitch decks? Check out pitch decks that Qolo, Lance, and other startups used to raise money from VCs. Check out these pitch decks for examples of fintech founders sold their vision.Yulia Reznikov/Getty Images Insider has been tracking the next wave of hot new startups that are blending finance and tech.  Check out these pitch decks to see how fintech founders sold their vision. See more stories on Insider's business page. Fintech funding has been on a tear.In 2021, fintech funding hit a record $132 billion globally, according to CB Insights, more than double 2020's mark.Insider has been tracking the next wave of hot new startups that are blending finance and tech. Check out these pitch decks to see how fintech founders are selling their vision and nabbing big bucks in the process. You'll see new financial tech geared at freelancers, fresh twists on digital banking, and innovation aimed at streamlining customer onboarding. New twists on digital bankingZach Bruhnke, cofounder and CEO of HMBradleyHMBradleyConsumers are getting used to the idea of branch-less banking, a trend that startup digital-only banks like Chime, N26, and Varo have benefited from. The majority of these fintechs target those who are underbanked, and rely on usage of their debit cards to make money off interchange. But fellow startup HMBradley has a different business model. "Our thesis going in was that we don't swipe our debit cards all that often, and we don't think the customer base that we're focusing on does either," Zach Bruhnke, cofounder and CEO of HMBradley, told Insider. "A lot of our customer base uses credit cards on a daily basis."Instead, the startup is aiming to build clientele with stable deposits. As a result, the bank is offering interest-rate tiers depending on how much a customer saves of their direct deposit.Notably, the rate tiers are dependent on the percentage of savings, not the net amount. "We'll pay you more when you save more of what comes in," Bruhnke said. "We didn't want to segment customers by how much money they had. So it was always going to be about a percentage of income. That was really important to us."Check out the 14-page pitch deck fintech HMBradley, a neobank offering interest rates as high as 3%, used to raise an $18.25 million Series APersonal finance is only a text awayYinon Ravid, the chief executive and cofounder of Albert.AlbertThe COVID-19 pandemic has underscored the growing preference of mobile banking as customers get comfortable managing their finances online.The financial app Albert has seen a similar jump in activity. Currently counting more than six million members, deposits in Albert's savings offering doubled from the start of the pandemic in March 2020 to May of this year, from $350 million to $700 million, according to new numbers released by the company. Founded in 2015, Albert offers automated budgeting and savings tools alongside guided investment portfolios. It's looked to differentiate itself through personalized features, like the ability for customers to text human financial experts.Budgeting and saving features are free on Albert. But for more tailored financial advice, customers pay a subscription fee that's a pay-what-you-can model, between $4 and $14 a month. And Albert's now banking on a new tool to bring together its investing, savings, and budgeting tools.Fintech Albert used this 10-page pitch deck to raise a $100 million Series C from General Atlantic and CapitalG 'A bank for immigrants'Priyank Singh and Rohit Mittal are the cofounders of Stilt.StiltRohit Mittal remembers the difficulties he faced when he first arrived in the United States a decade ago as a master's student at Columbia University.As an immigrant from India, Mittal had no credit score in the US and had difficulty integrating into the financial system. Mittal even struggled to get approved to rent an apartment and couch-surfed until he found a roommate willing to offer him space in his apartment in the New York neighborhood Morningside Heights.That roommate was Priyank Singh, who would go on to become Mittal's cofounder when the two started Stilt, a financial-technology company designed to address the problems Mittal faced when he arrived in the US.Stilt, which calls itself "a bank for immigrants," does not require a social security number or credit history to access its offerings, including unsecured personal loans.Instead of relying on traditional metrics like a credit score, Stilt uses data such as education and employment to predict an individual's future income stability and cash flow before issuing a loan. Stilt has seen its loan volume grow by 500% in the past 12 months, and the startup has loaned to immigrants from 160 countries since its launch. Here are the 15 slides Stilt, which calls itself 'a bank for immigrants,' used to raise a $14 million Series AAn IRA for alternativesHenry Yoshida is the co-founder and CEO of retirement fintech startup Rocket Dollar.Rocket DollarFintech startup Rocket Dollar, which helps users invest their individual retirement account (IRA) dollars into alternative assets, just raised $8 million for its Series A round, the company announced on Thursday.Park West Asset Management led the round, with participation from investors including Hyphen Capital, which focuses on backing Asian American entrepreneurs, and crypto exchange Kraken's venture arm. Co-founded in 2018 by CEO Henry Yoshida, CTO Rick Dude, and VP of marketing Thomas Young, Rocket Dollar now has over $350 million in assets under management on its platform. Yoshida sold his first startup, a roboadvisor called Honest Dollar, to Goldman Sachs' investment management division for an estimated $20 million.Yoshida told Insider that while ultra-high net worth investors have been investing self-directed retirement account dollars into alternative assets like real estate, private equity, and cryptocurrency, average investors have not historically been able to access the same opportunities to invest IRA dollars in alternative assets through traditional platforms.Here's the 34-page pitch deck a fintech that helps users invest their retirement savings in crypto and real estate assets used to nab $8 millionA trading app for activismAntoine Argouges, CEO and founder of TulipshareTulipshareAn up-and-coming fintech is taking aim at some of the world's largest corporations by empowering retail investors to push for social and environmental change by pooling their shareholder rights.London-based Tulipshare lets individuals in the UK invest as little as one pound in publicly-traded company stocks. The upstart combines individuals' shareholder rights with other like-minded investors to advocate for environmental, social, and corporate governance change at firms like JPMorgan, Apple, and Amazon.The goal is to achieve a higher number of shares to maximize the number of votes that can be submitted at shareholder meetings. Already a regulated broker-dealer in the UK, Tulipshare recently applied for registration as a broker-dealer in the US. "If you ask your friends and family if they've ever voted on shareholder resolutions, the answer will probably be close to zero," CEO and founder Antoine Argouges told Insider. "I started Tulipshare to utilize shareholder rights to bring about positive corporate change that has an impact on people's lives and our planet — what's more powerful than money to change the system we live in?"Check out the 14-page pitch deck from Tulipshare, a trading app that lets users pool their shareholder votes for activism campaignsDigital tools for independent financial advisorsJason Wenk, founder and CEO of AltruistAltruistJason Wenk started his career at Morgan Stanley in investment research over 20 years ago. Now, he's running a company that is hoping to broaden access to financial advice for less-wealthy individuals. The startup raised $50 million in Series B funding led by Insight Partners with participation from investors Vanguard and Venrock. The round brings the Los Angeles-based startup's total funding to just under $67 million.Founded in 2018, Altruist is a digital brokerage built for independent financial advisors, intended to be an "all-in-one" platform that unites custodial functions, portfolio accounting, and a client-facing portal. It allows advisors to open accounts, invest, build models, report, trade (including fractional shares), and bill clients through an interface that can advisors time by eliminating mundane operational tasks.Altruist aims to make personalized financial advice less expensive, more efficient, and more inclusive through the platform, which is designed for registered investment advisors (RIAs), a growing segment of the wealth management industry. Here's the pitch deck for Altruist, a wealth tech challenging custodians Fidelity and Charles Schwab, that raised $50 million from Vanguard and InsightRethinking debt collection Jason Saltzman, founder and CEO of ReliefReliefFor lenders, debt collection is largely automated. But for people who owe money on their credit cards, it can be a confusing and stressful process.  Relief is looking to change that. Its app automates the credit-card debt collection process for users, negotiating with lenders and collectors to settle outstanding balances on their behalf. The fintech just launched and closed a $2 million seed round led by Collaborative Ventures. Relief's fundraising experience was a bit different to most. Its pitch deck, which it shared with one investor via Google Slides, went viral. It set out to raise a $1 million seed round, but ended up doubling that and giving some investors money back to make room for others.Check out a 15-page pitch deck that went viral and helped a credit-card debt collection startup land a $2 million seed roundHelping small banks lendTKCollateralEdgeFor large corporations with a track record of tapping the credit markets, taking out debt is a well-structured and clear process handled by the nation's biggest investment banks and teams of accountants. But smaller, middle-market companies — typically those with annual revenues ranging up to $1 billion — are typically served by regional and community banks that don't always have the capacity to adequately measure the risk of loans or price them competitively. Per the National Center for the Middle Market, 200,000 companies fall into this range, accounting for roughly 33% of US private sector GDP and employment.Dallas-based fintech CollateralEdge works with these banks — typically those with between $1 billion and $50 billion in assets — to help analyze and price slices of commercial and industrial loans that previously might have gone unserved by smaller lenders.On October 20th, CollateralEdge announced a $3.5 million seed round led by Dallas venture fund Perot Jain with participation from Kneeland Youngblood (a founder of the healthcare-focused private-equity firm Pharos Capital) and other individual investors.Here's the 10-page deck CollateralEdge, a fintech streamlining how small banks lend to businesses, used to raise a $3.5 million seed roundA new way to assess creditworthinessPinwheel founders Curtis Lee, Kurt Lin, and Anish Basu.PinwheelGrowing up, Kurt Lin never saw his father get frustrated. A "traditional, stoic figure," Lin said his father immigrated to the United States in the 1970s. Becoming part of the financial system proved even more difficult than assimilating into a new culture.Lin recalled visiting bank after bank with his father as a child, watching as his father's applications for a mortgage were denied due to his lack of credit history. "That was the first time in my life I really saw him crack," Lin told Insider. "The system doesn't work for a lot of people — including my dad," he added. Lin would find a solution to his father's problem years later while working with Anish Basu, and Curtis Lee on an automated health savings account. The trio realized the payroll data integrations they were working on could be the basis of a product that would help lenders work with consumers without strong credit histories."That's when the lightbulb hit," said Lin, Pinwheel's CEO.In 2018, Lin, Basu, and Lee founded Pinwheel, an application-programming interface that shares payroll data to help both fintechs and traditional lenders serve consumers with limited or poor credit, who have historically struggled to access financial products. Here's the 9-page deck that Pinwheel, a fintech helping lenders tap into payroll data to serve consumers with little to no credit, used to raise a $50 million Series BAn alternative auto lenderTricolorAn alternative auto lender that caters to thin- and no-credit Hispanic borrowers is planning a national expansion after scoring a $90 million investment from BlackRock-managed funds. Tricolor is a Dallas-based auto lender that is a community development financial institution. It uses a proprietary artificial-intelligence engine that decisions each customer based on more than 100 data points, such as proof of income. Half of Tricolor's customers have a FICO score, and less than 12% have scores above 650, yet the average customer has lived in the US for 15 years, according to the deck.A 2017 survey by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation found 31.5% of Hispanic households had no mainstream credit compared to 14.4% of white households. "For decades, the deck has been stacked against low income or credit invisible Hispanics in the United States when it comes to the purchase and financing of a used vehicle," Daniel Chu, founder and CEO of Tricolor, said in a statement announcing the raise.An auto lender that caters to underbanked Hispanics used this 25-page deck to raise $90 million from BlackRock investors A new way to access credit The TomoCredit teamTomoCreditKristy Kim knows first-hand the challenge of obtaining credit in the US without an established credit history. Kim, who came to the US from South Korea, couldn't initially get access to credit despite having a job in investment banking after graduating college. "I was in my early twenties, I had a good income, my job was in investment banking but I could not get approved for anything," Kim told Insider. "Many young professionals like me, we deserve an opportunity to be considered but just because we didn't have a Fico, we weren't given a chance to even apply," she added.Kim started TomoCredit in 2018 to help others like herself gain access to consumer credit. TomoCredit spent three years building an internal algorithm to underwrite customers based on cash flow, rather than a credit score.TomoCredit, a fintech that lends to thin- and no-credit borrowers, used this 17-page pitch deck to raise its $10 million Series AHelping streamline how debts are repaidMethod Financial cofounders Jose Bethancourt and Marco del Carmen.Method FinancialWhen Jose Bethancourt graduated from the University of Texas at Austin in May 2019, he faced the same question that confronts over 43 million Americans: How would he repay his student loans?The problem led Bethancourt on a nearly two-year journey that culminated in the creation of a startup aimed at making it easier for consumers to more seamlessly pay off all kinds of debt.  Initially, Bethancourt and fellow UT grad Marco del Carmen built GradJoy, an app that helped users better understand how to manage student loan repayment and other financial habits. GradJoy was accepted into Y Combinator in the summer of 2019. But the duo quickly realized the real benefit to users would be helping them move money to make payments instead of simply offering recommendations."When we started GradJoy, we thought, 'Oh, we'll just give advice — we don't think people are comfortable with us touching their student loans,' and then we realized that people were saying, 'Hey, just move the money — if you think I should pay extra, then I'll pay extra.' So that's kind of the movement that we've seen, just, everybody's more comfortable with fintechs doing what's best for them," Bethancourt told Insider. Here is the 11-slide pitch deck Method Financial, a Y Combinator-backed fintech making debt repayment easier, used to raise $2.5 million in pre-seed fundingQuantum computing made easyQC Ware CEO Matt Johnson.QC WareEven though banks and hedge funds are still several years out from adding quantum computing to their tech arsenals, that hasn't stopped Wall Street giants from investing time and money into the emerging technology class. And momentum for QC Ware, a startup looking to cut the time and resources it takes to use quantum computing, is accelerating. The fintech secured a $25 million Series B on September 29 co-led by Koch Disruptive Technologies and Covestro with participation from D.E. Shaw, Citi, and Samsung Ventures.QC Ware, founded in 2014, builds quantum algorithms for the likes of Goldman Sachs (which led the fintech's Series A), Airbus, and BMW Group. The algorithms, which are effectively code bases that include quantum processing elements, can run on any of the four main public-cloud providers.Quantum computing allows companies to do complex calculations faster than traditional computers by using a form of physics that runs on quantum bits as opposed to the traditional 1s and 0s that computers use. This is especially helpful in banking for risk analytics or algorithmic trading, where executing calculations milliseconds faster than the competition can give firms a leg up. Here's the 20-page deck QC Ware, a fintech making quantum computing more accessible, used to raised its $25 million Series BSimplifying quant modelsKirat Singh and Mark Higgins, Beacon's cofounders.BeaconA fintech that helps financial institutions use quantitative models to streamline their businesses and improve risk management is catching the attention, and capital, of some of the country's biggest investment managers.Beacon Platform, founded in 2014, is a fintech that builds applications and tools to help banks, asset managers, and trading firms quickly integrate quantitative models that can help with analyzing risk, ensuring compliance, and improving operational efficiency. The company raised its Series C on Wednesday, scoring a $56 million investment led by Warburg Pincus with support from Blackstone Innovations Investments, PIMCO, and Global Atlantic. Blackstone, PIMCO, and Global Atlantic are also users of Beacon's tech, as are the Commonwealth Bank of Australia and Shell New Energies, a division of Royal Dutch Shell, among others.The fintech provides a shortcut for firms looking to use quantitative modelling and data science across various aspects of their businesses, a process that can often take considerable resources if done solo.Here's the 20-page pitch deck Beacon, a fintech helping Wall Street better analyze risk and data, used to raise $56 million from Warburg Pincus, Blackstone, and PIMCOSussing out bad actorsFrom left to right: Cofounders CTO David Movshovitz, CEO Doron Hendler, and chief architect Adi DeGaniRevealSecurityAn encounter with an impersonation hacker led Doron Hendler to found RevealSecurity, a Tel Aviv-based cybersecurity startup that monitors for insider threats.Two years ago, a woman impersonating an insurance-agency representative called Hendler and convinced him that he made a mistake with his recent health insurance policy upgrade. She got him to share his login information for his insurer's website, even getting him to give the one-time passcode sent to his phone. Once the hacker got what she needed, she disconnected the call, prompting Hendler to call back. When no one picked up the phone, he realized he had been conned.He immediately called his insurance company to check on his account. Nothing seemed out of place to the representative. But Hendler, who was previously a vice president of a software company, suspected something intangible could have been collected, so he reset his credentials."The chief of information security, who was on the call, he asked me, 'So, how do you want me to identify you? You gave your credentials; you gave your ID; you gave the one time password. How the hell can I identify that it's not you?' And I told him, 'But I never behave like this,'" Hendler recalled of the conversation.RevealSecurity, a Tel Aviv-based cyber startup that tracks user behavior for abnormalities, used this 27-page deck to raise its Series AA new data feed for bond tradingMark Lennihan/APFor years, the only way investors could figure out the going price of a corporate bond was calling up a dealer on the phone. The rise of electronic trading has streamlined that process, but data can still be hard to come by sometimes. A startup founded by a former Goldman Sachs exec has big plans to change that. BondCliQ is a fintech that provides a data feed of pre-trade pricing quotes for the corporate bond market. Founded by Chris White, the creator of Goldman Sachs' defunct corporate-bond-trading system, BondCliQ strives to bring transparency to a market that has traditionally kept such data close to the vest. Banks, which typically serve as the dealers of corporate bonds, have historically kept pre-trade quotes hidden from other dealers to maintain a competitive advantage.But tech advancements and the rise of electronic marketplaces have shifted power dynamics into the hands of buy-side firms, like hedge funds and asset managers. The investors are now able to get a fuller picture of the market by aggregating price quotes directly from dealers or via vendors.Here's the 9-page pitch deck that BondCliQ, a fintech looking to bring more data and transparency to bond trading, used to raise its Series AFraud prevention for lenders and insurersFiordaliso/Getty ImagesOnboarding new customers with ease is key for any financial institution or retailer. The more friction you add, the more likely consumers are to abandon the entire process.But preventing fraud is also a priority, and that's where Neuro-ID comes in. The startup analyzes what it calls "digital body language," or, the way users scroll, type, and tap. Using that data, Neuro-ID can identify fraudulent users before they create an account. It's built for banks, lenders, insurers, and e-commerce players."The train has left the station for digital transformation, but there's a massive opportunity to try to replicate all those communications that we used to have when we did business in-person, all those tells that we would get verbally and non-verbally on whether or not someone was trustworthy," Neuro-ID CEO Jack Alton told Insider.Founded in 2014, the startup's pitch is twofold: Neuro-ID can save companies money by identifying fraud early, and help increase user conversion by making the onboarding process more seamless. In December Neuro-ID closed a $7 million Series A, co-led by Fin VC and TTV Capital, with participation from Canapi Ventures. With 30 employees, Neuro-ID is using the fresh funding to grow its team and create additional tools to be more self-serving for customers.Here's the 11-slide pitch deck a startup that analyzes consumers' digital behavior to fight fraud used to raise a $7 million Series AAI-powered tools to spot phony online reviews FakespotMarketplaces like Amazon and eBay host millions of third-party sellers, and their algorithms will often boost items in search based on consumer sentiment, which is largely based on reviews. But many third-party sellers use fake reviews often bought from click farms to boost their items, some of which are counterfeit or misrepresented to consumers.That's where Fakespot comes in. With its Chrome extension, it warns users of sellers using potentially fake reviews to boost sales and can identify fraudulent sellers. Fakespot is currently compatible with Amazon, BestBuy, eBay, Sephora, Steam, and Walmart."There are promotional reviews written by humans and bot-generated reviews written by robots or review farms," Fakespot founder and CEO Saoud Khalifah told Insider. "Our AI system has been built to detect both categories with very high accuracy."Fakespot's AI learns via reviews data available on marketplace websites, and uses natural-language processing to identify if reviews are genuine. Fakespot also looks at things like whether the number of positive reviews are plausible given how long a seller has been active.Fakespot, a startup that helps shoppers detect robot-generated reviews and phony sellers on Amazon and Shopify, used this pitch deck to nab a $4 million Series AHelping fintechs manage dataProper Finance co-founders Travis Gibson (left) and Kyle MaloneyProper FinanceAs the flow of data becomes evermore crucial for fintechs, from the strappy startup to the established powerhouse, a thorny issue in the back office is becoming increasingly complex.Even though fintechs are known for their sleek front ends, the back end is often quite the opposite. Behind that streamlined interface can be a mosaic of different partner integrations — be it with banks, payments players and networks, or software vendors — with a channel of data running between them. Two people who know that better than the average are Kyle Maloney and Travis Gibson, two former employees of Marqeta, a fintech that provides other fintechs with payments processing and card issuance. "Take an established neobank for example. They'll likely have one or two card issuers, two to three bank partners, ACH processing for direct deposits and payouts, mobile check deposits, peer-to-peer payments, and lending," Gibson told Insider. Here's the 12-page pitch deck a startup helping fintechs manage their data used to score a $4.3 million seed from investors like Redpoint Ventures and Y CombinatorE-commerce focused business bankingMichael Rangel, cofounder and CEO, and Tyler McIntyre, cofounder and CTO of Novo.Kristelle Boulos PhotographyBusiness banking is a hot market in fintech. And it seems investors can't get enough.Novo, the digital banking fintech aimed at small e-commerce businesses, raised a $40.7 million Series A led by Valar Ventures in June. Since its launch in 2018, Novo has signed up 100,000 small businesses. Beyond bank accounts, it offers expense management, a corporate card, and integrates with e-commerce infrastructure players like Shopify, Stripe, and Wise.Founded in 2018, Novo was based in New York City, but has since moved its headquarters to Miami. Here's the 12-page pitch deck e-commerce banking startup Novo used to raise its $40 million Series AShopify for embedded financeProductfy CEO and founder, Duy VoProductfyProductfy is looking to break into embedded finance by becoming the Shopify of back-end banking services.Embedded finance — integrating banking services in non-financial settings — has taken hold in the e-commerce world. But Productfy is going after a different kind of customer in churches, universities, and nonprofits.The San Jose, Calif.-based upstart aims to help non-finance companies offer their own banking products. Productfy can help customers launch finance features in as little as a week and without additional engineering resources or background knowledge of banking compliance or legal requirements, Productfy founder and CEO Duy Vo told Insider. "You don't need an engineer to stand up Shopify, right? You can be someone who's just creating art and you can use Shopify to build your own online store," Vo said, adding that Productfy is looking to take that user experience and replicate it for banking services.Here's the 15-page pitch deck Productfy, a fintech looking to be the Shopify of embedded finance, used to nab a $16 million Series ADeploying algorithms and automation to small-business financingJustin Straight and Bernard Worthy, LoanWell co-foundersLoanWellBernard Worthy and Justin Straight, the founders of LoanWell, want to break down barriers to financing for small and medium-size businesses — and they've got algorithms and automation in their tech arsenals that they hope will do it.Worthy, the company's CEO, and Straight, its chief operating and financial officer, are powering community-focused lenders to fill a gap in the SMB financing world by boosting access to loans under $100,000. And the upstart is known for catching the attention, and dollars, of mission-driven investors. LoanWell closed a $3 million seed financing round in December led by Impact America Fund with participation from SoftBank's SB Opportunity Fund and Collab Capital.LoanWell automates the financing process — from underwriting and origination, to money movement and servicing — which shaves down an up-to-90-day process to 30 days or even same-day with some LoanWell lenders, Worthy said. SMBs rely on these loans to process quickly after two years of financial uncertainty. But the pandemic illustrated how time-consuming and expensive SMB financing can be, highlighted by efforts like the federal government's Paycheck Protection Program.Community banks, once the lifeline to capital for many local businesses, continue to shutter. And demands for smaller loan amounts remain largely unmet. More than half of business-loan applicants sought $100,000 or less, according to 2018 data from the Federal Reserve. But the average small-business bank loan was closer to six times that amount, according to the latest data from a now discontinued Federal Reserve survey.Here's the 14-page pitch deck LoanWell used to raise $3 million from investors like SoftBank.Branded cards for SMBsJennifer Glaspie-Lundstrom is the cofounder and CEO of Tandym.TandymJennifer Glaspie-Lundstrom is no stranger to the private-label credit-card business. As a former Capital One exec, she worked in both the card giant's co-brand partnerships division and its tech organization during her seven years at the company.Now, Glaspie-Lundstrom is hoping to use that experience to innovate a sector that was initially created in malls decades ago.Glaspie-Lundstrom is the cofounder and CEO of Tandym, which offers private-label digital credit cards to merchants. Store and private-label credit cards aren't a new concept, but Tandym is targeting small- and medium-sized merchants with less than $1 billion in annual revenue. Glaspie-Lundstrom said that group often struggles to offer private-label credit due to the expense of working with legacy players."What you have is this example of a very valuable product type that merchants love and their customers love, but a huge, untapped market that has heretofore been unserved, and so that's what we're doing with Tandym," Glaspi-Lundstrom told Insider.A former Capital One exec used this deck to raise $60 million for a startup helping SMBs launch their own branded credit cardsCatering to 'micro businesses'Stefanie Sample is the founder and CEO of FundidFundidStartups aiming to simplify the often-complex world of corporate cards have boomed in recent years.Business-finance management startup Brex was last valued at $12.3 billion after raising $300 million last year. Startup card provider Ramp announced an $8.1 billion valuation in March after growing its revenue nearly 10x in 2021. Divvy, a small business card provider, was acquired by Bill.com in May 2021 for approximately $2.5 billion.But despite how hot the market has gotten, Stefanie Sample said she ended up working in the space by accident. Sample is the founder and CEO of Fundid, a new fintech that provides credit and lending products to small businesses.This May, Fundid announced a $3.25 million seed round led by Nevcaut Ventures. Additional investors include the Artemis Fund and Builders and Backers. The funding announcement capped off the company's first year: Sample introduced the Fundid concept in April 2021, launched its website in May, and began raising capital in August."I never meant to do Fundid," Sample told Insider. "I never meant to do something that was venture-backed."Read the 12-page deck used by Fundid, a fintech offering credit and lending tools for 'micro businesses'Embedded payments for SMBsThe Highnote teamHighnoteBranded cards have long been a way for merchants with the appropriate bank relationships to create additional revenue and build customer loyalty. The rise of embedded payments, or the ability to shop and pay in a seamless experience within a single app, has broadened the number of companies looking to launch branded cards.Highnote is a startup that helps small to mid-sized merchants roll out their own debit and pre-paid digital cards. The fintech emerged from stealth on Tuesday to announce it raised $54 million in seed and Series A funding.Here's the 12-page deck Highnote, a startup helping SMBs embed payments, used to raise $54 million in seed and Series A fundingSpeeding up loans for government contractors OppZo cofounders Warren Reed and Randy GarrettOppZoThe massive market for federal government contracts approached $700 billion in 2020, and it's likely to grow as spending accelerates amid an ongoing push for investment in the nation's infrastructure. Many of those dollars flow to small-and-medium sized businesses, even though larger corporations are awarded the bulk of contracts by volume. Of the roughly $680 billion in federal contracts awarded in 2020, roughly a quarter, according to federal guidelines, or some $146 billion that year, went to smaller businesses.But peeking under the hood of the procurement process, the cofounders of OppZo — Randy Garrett and Warren Reed — saw an opportunity to streamline how smaller-sized businesses can leverage those contracts to tap in to capital.  Securing a deal is "a government contractor's best day and their worst day," as Garrett, OppZo's president, likes to put it."At that point they need to pay vendors and hire folks to start the contract. And they may not get their first contract payment from the government for as long as 120 days," Reed, the startup's CEO,  told Insider. Check out the 12-page pitch deck OppZo, a fintech that has figured out how to speed up loans to small government contractors, used to raise $260 million in equity and debtHelping small businesses manage their taxesComplYant's founder Shiloh Jackson wants to help people be present in their bookkeeping.ComplYantAfter 14 years in tax accounting, Shiloh Johnson had formed a core philosophy around corporate accounting: everyone deserves to understand their business's money and business owners need to be present in their bookkeeping process.She wanted to help small businesses understand "this is why you need to do what you're doing and why you have to change the way you think about tax and be present in your bookkeeping process," she told Insider. The Los Angeles native wanted small businesses to not only understand business tax no matter their size but also to find the tools they needed to prepare their taxes in one spot. So Johnson developed a software platform that provides just that.The 13-page pitch deck ComplYant used to nab $4 million that details the tax startup's plan to be Turbotax, Quickbooks, and Xero rolled into one for small business ownersAutomating accounting ops for SMBsDecimal CEO Matt Tait.DecimalSmall- and medium-sized businesses can rely on any number of payroll, expense management, bill pay, and corporate-card startups promising to automate parts of their financial workflow. Smaller firms have adopted this corporate-financial software en masse, boosting growth throughout the pandemic for relatively new entrants like Ramp and massive, industry stalwarts like Intuit. But it's no easy task to connect all of those tools into one, seamless process. And while accounting operations might be far from where many startup founders want to focus their time, having efficient back-end finances does mean time — and capital — freed up to spend elsewhere. For Decimal CEO Matt Tait, there's ample opportunity in "the boring stuff you have to do to survive as a company," he told Insider. Launched in 2020, Decimal provides a back-end tech layer that small- and medium-sized businesses can use to integrate their accounting and business-management software tools in one place.On Wednesday, Decimal announced a $9 million seed fundraising round led by Minneapolis-based Arthur Ventures, alongside Service Providers Capital and other angel investors. See the 13-page pitch deck for Decimal, a startup automating accounting ops for small businessesInvoice financing for SMBsStacey Abrams and Lara Hodgson, Now co-foundersNowAbout a decade ago, politician Stacey Abrams and entrepreneur Lara Hodgson were forced to fold their startup because of a kink in the supply chain — but not in the traditional sense.Nourish, which made spill-proof bottled water for children, had grown quickly from selling to small retailers to national ones. And while that may sound like a feather in the small business' cap, there was a hang-up."It was taking longer and longer to get paid, and as you can imagine, you deliver the product and then you wait and you wait, but meanwhile you have to pay your employees and you have to pay your vendors," Hodgson told Insider. "Waiting to get paid was constraining our ability to grow."While it's not unusual for small businesses to grapple with working capital issues, the dust was still settling from the Great Recession. Abrams and Hodgson couldn't secure a line of credit or use financing tools like factoring to solve their problem. The two entrepreneurs were forced to close Nourish in 2012, but along the way they recognized a disconnect in the system.  "Why are we the ones borrowing money, when in fact we're the lender here because every time you send an invoice to a customer, you've essentially extended a free loan to that customer by letting them pay later," Hodgson said. "And the only reason why we were going to need to possibly borrow money was because we had just given ours away for free to Whole Foods," she added.Check out the 7-page deck that Now, Stacey Abrams' fintech that wants to help small businesses 'grow fearlessly', used to raise $29 millionCheckout made easyRyan Breslow.Ryan BreslowAmazon has long dominated e-commerce with its one-click checkout flows, offering easier ways for consumers to shop online than its small-business competitors.Bolt gives small merchants tools to offer the same easy checkouts so they can compete with the likes of Amazon.The startup raised its $393 million Series D to continue adding its one-click checkout feature to merchants' own websites in October.Bolt markets to merchants themselves. But a big part of Bolt's pitch is its growing network of consumers — currently over 5.6 million — that use its features across multiple Bolt merchant customers. Roughly 5% of Bolt's transactions were network-driven in May, meaning users that signed up for a Bolt account on another retailer's website used it elsewhere. The network effects were even more pronounced in verticals like furniture, where 49% of transactions were driven by the Bolt network."The network effect is now unleashed with Bolt in full fury, and that triggered the raise," Bolt's founder and CEO Ryan Breslow told Insider.Here's the 12-page deck that one-click checkout Bolt used to outline its network of 5.6 million consumers and raise its Series DPayments infrastructure for fintechsQolo CEO and co-founder Patricia MontesiQoloThree years ago, Patricia Montesi realized there was a disconnect in the payments world. "A lot of new economy companies or fintech companies were looking to mesh up a lot of payment modalities that they weren't able to," Montesi, CEO and co-founder of Qolo, told Insider.Integrating various payment capabilities often meant tapping several different providers that had specializations in one product or service, she added, like debit card issuance or cross-border payments. "The way people were getting around that was that they were creating this spider web of fintech," she said, adding that "at the end of it all, they had this mess of suppliers and integrations and bank accounts."The 20-year payments veteran rounded up a group of three other co-founders — who together had more than a century of combined industry experience — to start Qolo, a business-to-business fintech that sought out to bundle back-end payment rails for other fintechs.Here's the 11-slide pitch deck a startup that provides payments infrastructure for other fintechs used to raise a $15 million Series ABetter use of payroll dataAtomic's Head of Markets, Lindsay DavisAtomicEmployees at companies large and small know the importance — and limitations — of how firms manage their payrolls. A new crop of startups are building the API pipes that connect companies and their employees to offer a greater level of visibility and flexibility when it comes to payroll data and employee verification. On Thursday, one of those names, Atomic, announced a $40 million Series B fundraising round co-led by Mercato Partners and Greylock, alongside Core Innovation Capital, Portage, and ATX Capital. The round follows Atomic's Series A round announced in October, when the startup raised a $22 million Series A from investors including Core Innovation Capital, Portage, and Greylock.Payroll startup Atomic just raised a $40 million Series B. Here's an internal deck detailing the fintech's approach to the red-hot payments space.Saving on vendor invoicesHoward Katzenberg, Glean's CEO and cofounderGleanWhen it comes to high-flying tech startups, headlines and investors typically tend to focus on industry "disruption" and the total addressable market a company is hoping to reach. Expense cutting as a way to boost growth typically isn't part of the conversation early on, and finance teams are viewed as cost centers relative to sales teams. But one fast-growing area of business payments has turned its focus to managing those costs. Startups like Ramp and established names like Bill.com have made their name offering automated expense-management systems. Now, one new fintech competitor, Glean, is looking to take that further by offering both automated payment services and tailored line-item accounts-payable insights driven by machine-learning models. Glean's CFO and founder, Howard Katzenberg, told Insider that the genesis of Glean was driven by his own personal experience managing the finance teams of startups, including mortgage lender Better.com, which Katzenberg left in 2019, and online small-business lender OnDeck. "As a CFO of high-growth companies, I spent a lot of time focused on revenue and I had amazing dashboards in real time where I could see what is going on top of the funnel, what's going on with conversion rates, what's going on in terms of pricing and attrition," Katzenberg told Insider. See the 15-slide pitch deck Glean, a startup using machine learning to find savings in vendor invoices, used to raise $10.8 million in seed fundingReal-estate management made easyAgora founders Noam Kahan, CTO, Bar Mor, CEO, and Lior Dolinski, CPOAgoraFor alternative asset managers of any type, the operations underpinning sales and investor communications are a crucial but often overlooked part of the business. Fund managers love to make bets on markets, not coordinate hundreds of wire transfers to clients each quarter or organize customer-relationship-management databases.Within the $10.6 trillion global market for professionally managed real-estate investing, that's where Tel Aviv and New York-based startup Agora hopes to make its mark.Founded in 2019, Agora offers a set of back-office, investor relations, and sales software tools that real-estate investment managers can plug into their workflows. On Wednesday, Agora announced a $9 million seed round, led by Israel-based venture firm Aleph, with participation from River Park Ventures and Maccabee Ventures. The funding comes on the heels of an October 2020 pre-seed fund raise worth $890,000, in which Maccabee also participated.Here's the 15-slide pitch deck that Agora, a startup helping real-estate investors manage communications and sales with their clients, used to raise a $9 million seed roundAccess to commercial real-estate investing LEX Markets cofounders and co-CEOs Drew Sterrett and Jesse Daugherty.LEX MarketsDrew Sterrett was structuring real-estate deals while working in private equity when he realized the inefficiencies that existed in the market. Only high-net worth individuals or accredited investors could participate in commercial real-estate deals. If they ever wanted to leave a partnership or sell their stake in a property, it was difficult to find another investor to replace them. Owners also struggled to sell minority stakes in their properties and didn't have many good options to recapitalize an asset if necessary.In short, the market had a high barrier to entry despite the fact it didn't always have enough participants to get deals done quickly. "Most investors don't have access to high-quality commercial real-estate investments. How do we have the oldest and largest asset class in the world and one of the largest wealth creators with no public and liquid market?" Sterrett told Insider. "It sort of seems like a no-brainer, and that this should have existed 50 or 60 years ago."This 15-page pitch deck helped LEX Markets, a startup making investing in commercial real estate more accessible, raise $15 millionInsurance goes digitalJamie Hale, CEO and cofounder of LadderLadderFintechs looking to transform how insurance policies are underwritten, issued, and experienced by customers have grown as new technology driven by digital trends and artificial intelligence shape the market. And while verticals like auto, homeowner's, and renter's insurance have seen their fair share of innovation from forward-thinking fintechs, one company has taken on the massive life-insurance market. Founded in 2017, Ladder uses a tech-driven approach to offer life insurance with a digital, end-to-end service that it says is more flexible, faster, and cost-effective than incumbent players.Life, annuity, and accident and health insurance within the US comprise a big chunk of the broader market. In 2020, premiums written on those policies totaled some $767 billion, compared to $144 billion for auto policies and $97 billion for homeowner's insurance.Here's the 12-page deck that Ladder, a startup disrupting the 'crown jewel' of the insurance market, used to nab $100 millionData science for commercial insuranceTanner Hackett, founder and CEO of CounterpartCounterpartThere's been no shortage of funds flowing into insurance-technology companies over the past few years. Private-market funding to insurtechs soared to $15.4 billion in 2021, a 90% increase compared to 2020. Some of the most well-known consumer insurtech names — from Oscar (which focuses on health insurance) to Metromile (which focuses on auto) — launched on the public markets last year, only to fall over time or be acquired as investors questioned the sustainability of their business models. In the commercial arena, however, the head of one insurtech company thinks there is still room to grow — especially for those catering to small businesses operating in an entirely new, pandemic-defined environment. "The bigger opportunity is in commercial lines," Tanner Hackett, the CEO of management liability insurer Counterpart, told Insider."Everywhere I poke, I'm like, 'Oh my goodness, we're still in 1.0, and all the other businesses I've built were on version three.' Insurance is still in 1.0, still managing from spreadsheets and PDFs," added Hackett, who also previously co-founded Button, which focuses on mobile marketing. See the 8-page pitch deck Counterpart, a startup disrupting commercial insurance with data science, used to raise a $30 million Series BSmarter insurance for multifamily propertiesItai Ben-Zaken, cofounder and CEO of Honeycomb.HoneycombA veteran of the online-insurance world is looking to revolutionize the way the industry prices risk for commercial properties with the help of artificial intelligence.Insurance companies typically send inspectors to properties before issuing policies to better understand how the building is maintained and identify potential risks or issues with it. It's a process that can be time-consuming, expensive, and inefficient, making it hard to justify for smaller commercial properties, like apartment and condo buildings.Insurtech Honeycomb is looking to fix that by using AI to analyze a combination of third-party data and photos submitted by customers through the startup's app to quickly identify any potential risks at a property and more accurately price policies."That whole physical inspection thing had really good things in it, but it wasn't really something that is scalable and, it's also expensive," Itai Ben-Zaken, Honeycomb's cofounder and CEO, told Insider. "The best way to see a property right now is Google street view. Google street view is usually two years old."Here's the 10-page Series A pitch deck used by Honeycomb, a startup that wants to revolutionize the $26 billion market for multifamily property insuranceHelping freelancers with their taxesJaideep Singh is the CEO and co-founder of FlyFin, an AI-driven tax preparation software program for freelancers.FlyFinSome people, particularly those with families or freelancing businesses, spend days searching for receipts for tax season, making tax preparation a time consuming and, at times, taxing experience. That's why in 2020 Jaideep Singh founded FlyFin, an artificial-intelligence tax preparation program for freelancers that helps people, as he puts it, "fly through their finances." FlyFin is set up to connect to a person's bank accounts, allowing the AI program to help users monitor for certain expenses that can be claimed on their taxes like business expenditures, the interest on mortgages, property taxes, or whatever else that might apply. "For most individuals, people have expenses distributed over multiple financial institutions. So we built an AI platform that is able to look at expenses, understand the individual, understand your profession, understand the freelance population at large, and start the categorization," Singh told Insider.Check out the 7-page pitch deck a startup helping freelancers manage their taxes used to nab $8 million in fundingDigital banking for freelancersJGalione/Getty ImagesLance is a new digital bank hoping to simplify the life of those workers by offering what it calls an "active" approach to business banking. "We found that every time we sat down with the existing tools and resources of our accountants and QuickBooks and spreadsheets, we just ended up getting tangled up in the whole experience of it," Lance cofounder and CEO Oona Rokyta told Insider. Lance offers subaccounts for personal salaries, withholdings, and savings to which freelancers can automatically allocate funds according to custom preset levels. It also offers an expense balance that's connected to automated tax withholdings.In May, Lance announced the closing of a $2.8 million seed round that saw participation from Barclays, BDMI, Great Oaks Capital, Imagination Capital, Techstars, DFJ Frontier, and others.Here's the 21-page pitch deck Lance, a digital bank for freelancers, used to raise a $2.8 million seed round from investors including BarclaysSoftware for managing freelancersWorksome cofounder and CEO Morten Petersen.WorksomeThe way people work has fundamentally changed over the past year, with more flexibility and many workers opting to freelance to maintain their work-from-home lifestyles.But managing a freelance or contractor workforce is often an administrative headache for employers. Worksome is a startup looking to eliminate all the extra work required for employers to adapt to more flexible working norms.Worksome started as a freelancer marketplace automating the process of matching qualified workers with the right jobs. But the team ultimately pivoted to a full suite of workforce management software, automating administrative burdens required to hire, pay, and account for contract workers.In May, Worksome closed a $13 million Series A backed by European angel investor Tommy Ahlers and Danish firm Lind & Risør.Here's the 21-slide pitch deck used by a startup that helps firms like Carlsberg and Deloitte manage freelancersPayments and operations support HoneyBook cofounders Dror Shimoni, Oz Alon, and Naama Alon.HoneyBookWhile countless small businesses have been harmed by the pandemic, self-employment and entrepreneurship have found ways to blossom as Americans started new ventures.Half of the US population may be freelance by 2027, according to a study commissioned by remote-work hiring platform Upwork. HoneyBook, a fintech startup that provides payment and operations support for freelancers, in May raised $155 million in funding and achieved unicorn status with its $1 billion-plus valuation.Durable Capital Partners led the Series D funding with other new investors including renowned hedge fund Tiger Global, Battery Ventures, Zeev Ventures, and 01 Advisors. Citi Ventures, Citigroup's startup investment arm that also backs fintech robo-advisor Betterment, participated as an existing investor in the round alongside Norwest Venture partners. The latest round brings the company's fundraising total to $227 million to date.Here's the 21-page pitch deck a Citi-backed fintech for freelancers used to raise $155 million from investors like hedge fund Tiger GlobalPay-as-you-go compliance for banks, fintechs, and crypto startupsNeepa Patel, Themis' founder and CEOThemisWhen Themis founder and CEO Neepa Patel set out to build a new compliance tool for banks, fintech startups, and crypto companies, she tapped into her own experience managing risk at some of the nation's biggest financial firms. Having worked as a bank regulator at the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency and in compliance at Morgan Stanley, Deutsche Bank, and the enterprise blockchain company R3, Patel was well-placed to assess the shortcomings in financial compliance software. But Patel, who left the corporate world to begin work on Themis in 2020, drew on more than just her own experience and frustrations to build the startup."It's not just me building a tool based on my personal pain points. I reached out to regulators. I reached out to bank compliance officers and members in the fintech community just to make sure that we're building it exactly how they do their work," Patel told Insider. "That was the biggest problem: No one built a tool that was reflective of how people do their work."Check out the 9-page pitch deck Themis, which offers pay-as-you-go compliance for banks, fintechs, and crypto startups, used to raise $9 million in seed fundingConnecting startups and investorsHum Capital cofounder and CEO Blair SilverbergHum CapitalBlair Silverberg is no stranger to fundraising.For six years, Silverberg was a venture capitalist at Draper Fisher Jurvetson and Private Credit Investments making bets on startups."I was meeting with thousands of founders in person each year, watching them one at a time go through this friction where they're meeting a ton of investors, and the investors are all asking the same questions," Silverberg told Insider. He switched gears about three years ago, moving to the opposite side of the metaphorical table, to start Hum Capital, which uses artificial intelligence to match investors with startups looking to fundraise.On August 31, the New York-based fintech announced its $9 million Series A. The round was led by Future Ventures with participation from Webb Investment Network, Wavemaker Partners, and Partech. This 11-page pitch deck helped Hum Capital, a fintech using AI to match investors with startups, raise a $9 million Series A.Helping LatAm startups get up to speedKamino cofounders Gut Fragoso, Rodrigo Perenha, Benjamin Gleason, and Gonzalo ParejoKaminoThere's more venture capital flowing into Latin America than ever before, but getting the funds in founders' hands is not exactly a simple process.In 2021, investors funneled $15.3 billion into Latin American companies, more than tripling the previous record of $4.9 billion in 2019. Fintech and e-commerce sectors drove funding, accounting for 39% and 25% of total funding, respectively.  However, for many startup founders in the region who have successfully sold their ideas and gotten investors on board, there's a patchwork of corporate structuring that's needed to access the funds, according to Benjamin Gleason, who was the chief financial officer at Groupon LatAm prior to cofounding Brazil-based fintech Kamino.It's a process Gleason and his three fellow Kamino cofounders have been through before as entrepreneurs and startup execs themselves. Most often, startups have to set up offshore financial accounts outside of Brazil, which "entails creating a Cayman [Islands] holding company, a Delaware LLC, and then connecting it to a local entity here and also opening US bank accounts for the Cayman entity, which is not trivial from a KYC perspective," said Gleason, who founded open-banking fintech Guiabolso in Sao Paulo. His partner, Gonzalo Parejo, experienced the same toils when he founded insurtech Bidu."Pretty much any international investor will usually ask for that," Gleason said, adding that investors typically cite liability issues."It's just a massive amount of bureaucracy, complexity, a lot of time from the founders. All of this just to get the money from the investor that wants to give them the money," he added.Here's the 8-page pitch deck Kamino, a fintech helping LatAm startups with everything from financing to corporate credit cards, used to raise a $6.1M pre-seed roundThe back-end tech for beautyDanielle Cohen-Shohet, CEO and founder of GlossGeniusGlossGeniusDanielle Cohen-Shohet might have started as a Goldman Sachs investment analyst, but at her core she was always a coder.After about three years at Goldman Sachs, Cohen-Shohet left the world of traditional finance to code her way into starting her own company in 2016. "There was a period of time where I did nothing, but eat, sleep, and code for a few weeks," Cohen-Shohet told Insider. Her technical edge and knowledge of the point-of-sale payment space led her to launch a software company focused on providing behind-the-scenes tech for beauty and wellness small businesses.Cohen-Shohet launched GlossGenius in 2017 to provide payments tech for hair stylists, nail technicians, blow-out bars, and other small businesses in the space.Here's the 11-page deck GlossGenius, a startup that provides back-end tech for the beauty industry, used to raise $16 millionRead the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderJun 30th, 2022

Bill Gates and George Soros among billionaires denouncing Roe v. Wade decision

Some of the world's best-known business identities have condemned the ruling, while Warren Buffett could donate tens of billions for abortion rights. Bill Gates voiced opposition to the Roe v. Wade decision, while Warren Buffett is reportedly planning a big investment in abortion rights.Spencer Platt/Getty Images The Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade on Friday, stripping back abortion rights nationally. Billionaires including Bill Gates, Melinda French Gates, and George Soros tweeted their opposition.  Warren Buffett could huge sums to a foundation funding abortion rights: The Wall Street Journal. Some of America's most prominent billionaires have denounced the overturning of Roe v. Wade, as Warren Buffett reportedly sets in motion plans for big donations to reproductive rights.Bill Gates, Melinda French Gates, and George Soros all tweeted their opposition to the Supreme Court decision to roll back abortion rights nationally, overturning a near-50-year precedent. Abortion was automatically banned in 13 states that have trigger laws, while others are expected to follow.Bill Gates tweeted: "This is a sad day. Reversing Roe v. Wade is an unjust and unacceptable setback. And it puts women's lives at risk, especially the most disadvantaged."—Bill Gates (@BillGates) June 24, 2022Gates' ex-wife French Gates, who shares the Gates foundation with the Microsoft co-founder, tweeted: "Today, a government in which women have never had an equal voice reached deep into the most private corners of a woman's life to tell her the choice over what she does with her body is no longer her own. This is America taking a big step backward."She added: "But one court decision was never going to be enough to protect women's equality. And it will not be enough to dismantle it either. Right now, there are people all over the U.S. who are recommitting to the work ahead."—Melinda French Gates (@melindagates) June 24, 2022George Soros, who according to the Bloomberg Billionaires' Index is worth $8.5 billion said: "The U.S. Supreme Court's decision to overturn #RoeVWade ends federal protections for abortion, diminishes human rights, and greatly threatens reproductive care. We have invested in reproductive rights organizations that are fighting back at this moment." —George Soros (@georgesoros) June 24, 2022Other billionaires have joined Soros - who has significantly more wealth tied up in his Open Society foundations - in investing heavily in access to abortion prior to the Supreme Court's decision.Jeff Bezos' ex-wife MacKenzie Scott has been another proponent of reproductive rights, and donated a record $275 million to Planned Parenthood last year. The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has planned to invest $1 billion in family planning by 2030.But a reported windfall from Warren Buffett - worth $97 billion - could pump tens of billions of dollars into the ongoing battle. In 2006, Buffett pledged to donate 85% of his shares in Berkshire Hathaway to charity. Most of that has gone to the Gates Foundation. But according to documents reviewed by The Wall Street Journal, the Susan Thompson Buffett Foundation – named after Buffett's late wife – is preparing for a huge windfall.According to tax filings, the bulk of the Buffett Foundation's funds have gone to abortion and reproductive rights. The Wall Street Journal reported that Buffett could donate in excess of $70 billion to his late wife's foundation, according to filings the paper reviewed.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderJun 25th, 2022

Doodles NFTs hit $500 million in sales and could still weather recession, says CEO who"s tapped Pharrell Williams and Reddit"s Alexis Ohanian to build a Web3 media giant

"We've communicated from the very beginning...that our purpose is to elicit joy," the Doodles CEO told Insider in an exclusive interview at NFT.NYC. Doodles CEO, Julian Holguin in NYC at a Doodles event in June, 2022.Phil Rosen/Insider In an exclusive interview with Insider, the CEO of Doodles broke down why its NFTs could hold value through a recession.  Doodles has cleared over $500,000 in sales volume, hired Pharrell Williams as an exec, and received funding from a VC firm led by Reddit's co-founder.  "We've communicated from the very beginning...that our purpose is to elicit joy," the CEO said.  Since launching last October, Doodles has erupted in popularity to become one of the top non-fungible token collections on the market. Doodles features 10,000 pastel-colored, squiggly drawings living on the ethereum blockchain, with the cheapest one trading at just under $17,000, or about 15 ETH. Newly appointed chief executive Julian Holguin — who just left his post as the president of Billboard — has plans to push the NFTs beyond the $500 million in trading volume they've already seen. "We want to create joyful experiences for people no matter what product we create, whether it's a video game, a profile picture for Instagram, the music you listen to, [or] real-life attractions," Holguin told Insider during an interview at the NFT.NYC conference Wednesday.A screenshot of Doodles NFTs from OpenSea in June 2022.OpenSeaBut it isn't just cute JPEGs Holguin aspires for — his vision is to transform the company into a Web3 multimedia and entertainment brand that features film, music, and animation. The company named musician Pharrell Williams as the chief brand officer this week. "I'm a big fan of the brand," Williams said in a video message at NFT.NYC. "We're going to build from the core community outward and bring Doodles to new heights."On the same day, Doodles announced it had also raised its first funding round led by the venture capital firm Seven Seven Six, a firm helmed by the co-founder of Reddit, Alexis Ohanian.Doodles' in-person event during NFT.NYC saw enthusiasts and token holders wait in line for up to three hours to gain access to a colorful, real-life Doodles environment. In the 24 hours leading up to Thursday, which coincided with the event in New York, Doodles' online sales volume surged over 1,000% to surpass $3.2 million, according to Cryptoslam data.NFTs for an economic downturnDespite the breakthrough year NFTs had in 2021, weekly sales have declined by more than 80% from a January peak of almost $1 billion, data from nonfungible.com shows. And the size of the total cryptocurrency market has fallen below $1 trillion dollars this month, after having topped $3 trillion last year.Bitcoin, the most widely traded cryptocurrency, is hovering around $20,000 currently, after hitting a record $69,000 in November. A slowing economy, coupled with rising interest rates and red-hot inflation has turned investors away from riskier assets.Still, Holguin said the upcoming Doodles 2 collection will cost less, which will lower the barrier to entry. —doodles (@doodles) June 22, 2022 "The economy presents a macro challenge right now for everyone," Holguin said. "But we're really diversifying our business so we're not completely tethered to the price of crypto. Plus Doodles 2 is going to be the most easily accessible project from a price perspective."In the event of a recession, Holguin said, the last thing people will get rid of will be something like a Netflix or Spotify account — and those kinds of platforms are exactly what Doodles aims to develop on the blockchain.The line outside the Doodles event in NYC, June 22, 2022.Phil Rosen/Insider"If people are at home, and don't have the means to go out and do the things they'd do if they have more disposable income, they're going to be home engaging with online content," he said. "So they'll be right there engaging with our products because we're creating easier points of entry."He said the current rout in the digital asset market was a sign of a "big maturation process" and echoed the belief of both the founder of NFT.NYC as well as the US CEO of The Sandbox: Stronger projects with supportive communities are going to be the ones that emerge stronger than before. "Yeah, the economy is going through a down period right now, but this isn't going to last forever," Holguin said. "Doodles is here to let everyone channel their inner child, and understand that everything's possible with the power of your imagination. We're as bullish as ever."Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: personnelSource: nytJun 23rd, 2022

These 44 pitch decks helped fintechs disrupting trading, investing, and banking raise millions in funding

Looking for examples of real fintech pitch decks? Check out pitch decks that Qolo, Lance, and other startups used to raise money from VCs. Check out these pitch decks for examples of fintech founders sold their vision.Yulia Reznikov/Getty Images Insider has been tracking the next wave of hot new startups that are blending finance and tech.  Check out these pitch decks to see how fintech founders sold their vision. See more stories on Insider's business page. Fintech funding has been on a tear.In 2021, fintech funding hit a record $132 billion globally, according to CB Insights, more than double 2020's mark.Insider has been tracking the next wave of hot new startups that are blending finance and tech. Check out these pitch decks to see how fintech founders are selling their vision and nabbing big bucks in the process. You'll see new financial tech geared at freelancers, fresh twists on digital banking, and innovation aimed at streamlining customer onboarding. New twists on digital bankingZach Bruhnke, cofounder and CEO of HMBradleyHMBradleyConsumers are getting used to the idea of branch-less banking, a trend that startup digital-only banks like Chime, N26, and Varo have benefited from. The majority of these fintechs target those who are underbanked, and rely on usage of their debit cards to make money off interchange. But fellow startup HMBradley has a different business model. "Our thesis going in was that we don't swipe our debit cards all that often, and we don't think the customer base that we're focusing on does either," Zach Bruhnke, cofounder and CEO of HMBradley, told Insider. "A lot of our customer base uses credit cards on a daily basis."Instead, the startup is aiming to build clientele with stable deposits. As a result, the bank is offering interest-rate tiers depending on how much a customer saves of their direct deposit.Notably, the rate tiers are dependent on the percentage of savings, not the net amount. "We'll pay you more when you save more of what comes in," Bruhnke said. "We didn't want to segment customers by how much money they had. So it was always going to be about a percentage of income. That was really important to us."Check out the 14-page pitch deck fintech HMBradley, a neobank offering interest rates as high as 3%, used to raise an $18.25 million Series APersonal finance is only a text awayYinon Ravid, the chief executive and cofounder of Albert.AlbertThe COVID-19 pandemic has underscored the growing preference of mobile banking as customers get comfortable managing their finances online.The financial app Albert has seen a similar jump in activity. Currently counting more than six million members, deposits in Albert's savings offering doubled from the start of the pandemic in March 2020 to May of this year, from $350 million to $700 million, according to new numbers released by the company. Founded in 2015, Albert offers automated budgeting and savings tools alongside guided investment portfolios. It's looked to differentiate itself through personalized features, like the ability for customers to text human financial experts.Budgeting and saving features are free on Albert. But for more tailored financial advice, customers pay a subscription fee that's a pay-what-you-can model, between $4 and $14 a month. And Albert's now banking on a new tool to bring together its investing, savings, and budgeting tools.Fintech Albert used this 10-page pitch deck to raise a $100 million Series C from General Atlantic and CapitalG 'A bank for immigrants'Priyank Singh and Rohit Mittal are the cofounders of Stilt.StiltRohit Mittal remembers the difficulties he faced when he first arrived in the United States a decade ago as a master's student at Columbia University.As an immigrant from India, Mittal had no credit score in the US and had difficulty integrating into the financial system. Mittal even struggled to get approved to rent an apartment and couch-surfed until he found a roommate willing to offer him space in his apartment in the New York neighborhood Morningside Heights.That roommate was Priyank Singh, who would go on to become Mittal's cofounder when the two started Stilt, a financial-technology company designed to address the problems Mittal faced when he arrived in the US.Stilt, which calls itself "a bank for immigrants," does not require a social security number or credit history to access its offerings, including unsecured personal loans.Instead of relying on traditional metrics like a credit score, Stilt uses data such as education and employment to predict an individual's future income stability and cash flow before issuing a loan. Stilt has seen its loan volume grow by 500% in the past 12 months, and the startup has loaned to immigrants from 160 countries since its launch. Here are the 15 slides Stilt, which calls itself 'a bank for immigrants,' used to raise a $14 million Series AAn IRA for alternativesHenry Yoshida is the co-founder and CEO of retirement fintech startup Rocket Dollar.Rocket DollarFintech startup Rocket Dollar, which helps users invest their individual retirement account (IRA) dollars into alternative assets, just raised $8 million for its Series A round, the company announced on Thursday.Park West Asset Management led the round, with participation from investors including Hyphen Capital, which focuses on backing Asian American entrepreneurs, and crypto exchange Kraken's venture arm. Co-founded in 2018 by CEO Henry Yoshida, CTO Rick Dude, and VP of marketing Thomas Young, Rocket Dollar now has over $350 million in assets under management on its platform. Yoshida sold his first startup, a roboadvisor called Honest Dollar, to Goldman Sachs' investment management division for an estimated $20 million.Yoshida told Insider that while ultra-high net worth investors have been investing self-directed retirement account dollars into alternative assets like real estate, private equity, and cryptocurrency, average investors have not historically been able to access the same opportunities to invest IRA dollars in alternative assets through traditional platforms.Here's the 34-page pitch deck a fintech that helps users invest their retirement savings in crypto and real estate assets used to nab $8 millionA trading app for activismAntoine Argouges, CEO and founder of TulipshareTulipshareAn up-and-coming fintech is taking aim at some of the world's largest corporations by empowering retail investors to push for social and environmental change by pooling their shareholder rights.London-based Tulipshare lets individuals in the UK invest as little as one pound in publicly-traded company stocks. The upstart combines individuals' shareholder rights with other like-minded investors to advocate for environmental, social, and corporate governance change at firms like JPMorgan, Apple, and Amazon.The goal is to achieve a higher number of shares to maximize the number of votes that can be submitted at shareholder meetings. Already a regulated broker-dealer in the UK, Tulipshare recently applied for registration as a broker-dealer in the US. "If you ask your friends and family if they've ever voted on shareholder resolutions, the answer will probably be close to zero," CEO and founder Antoine Argouges told Insider. "I started Tulipshare to utilize shareholder rights to bring about positive corporate change that has an impact on people's lives and our planet — what's more powerful than money to change the system we live in?"Check out the 14-page pitch deck from Tulipshare, a trading app that lets users pool their shareholder votes for activism campaignsDigital tools for independent financial advisorsJason Wenk, founder and CEO of AltruistAltruistJason Wenk started his career at Morgan Stanley in investment research over 20 years ago. Now, he's running a company that is hoping to broaden access to financial advice for less-wealthy individuals. The startup raised $50 million in Series B funding led by Insight Partners with participation from investors Vanguard and Venrock. The round brings the Los Angeles-based startup's total funding to just under $67 million.Founded in 2018, Altruist is a digital brokerage built for independent financial advisors, intended to be an "all-in-one" platform that unites custodial functions, portfolio accounting, and a client-facing portal. It allows advisors to open accounts, invest, build models, report, trade (including fractional shares), and bill clients through an interface that can advisors time by eliminating mundane operational tasks.Altruist aims to make personalized financial advice less expensive, more efficient, and more inclusive through the platform, which is designed for registered investment advisors (RIAs), a growing segment of the wealth management industry. Here's the pitch deck for Altruist, a wealth tech challenging custodians Fidelity and Charles Schwab, that raised $50 million from Vanguard and InsightRethinking debt collection Jason Saltzman, founder and CEO of ReliefReliefFor lenders, debt collection is largely automated. But for people who owe money on their credit cards, it can be a confusing and stressful process.  Relief is looking to change that. Its app automates the credit-card debt collection process for users, negotiating with lenders and collectors to settle outstanding balances on their behalf. The fintech just launched and closed a $2 million seed round led by Collaborative Ventures. Relief's fundraising experience was a bit different to most. Its pitch deck, which it shared with one investor via Google Slides, went viral. It set out to raise a $1 million seed round, but ended up doubling that and giving some investors money back to make room for others.Check out a 15-page pitch deck that went viral and helped a credit-card debt collection startup land a $2 million seed roundHelping small banks lendTKCollateralEdgeFor large corporations with a track record of tapping the credit markets, taking out debt is a well-structured and clear process handled by the nation's biggest investment banks and teams of accountants. But smaller, middle-market companies — typically those with annual revenues ranging up to $1 billion — are typically served by regional and community banks that don't always have the capacity to adequately measure the risk of loans or price them competitively. Per the National Center for the Middle Market, 200,000 companies fall into this range, accounting for roughly 33% of US private sector GDP and employment.Dallas-based fintech CollateralEdge works with these banks — typically those with between $1 billion and $50 billion in assets — to help analyze and price slices of commercial and industrial loans that previously might have gone unserved by smaller lenders.On October 20th, CollateralEdge announced a $3.5 million seed round led by Dallas venture fund Perot Jain with participation from Kneeland Youngblood (a founder of the healthcare-focused private-equity firm Pharos Capital) and other individual investors.Here's the 10-page deck CollateralEdge, a fintech streamlining how small banks lend to businesses, used to raise a $3.5 million seed roundA new way to assess creditworthinessPinwheel founders Curtis Lee, Kurt Lin, and Anish Basu.PinwheelGrowing up, Kurt Lin never saw his father get frustrated. A "traditional, stoic figure," Lin said his father immigrated to the United States in the 1970s. Becoming part of the financial system proved even more difficult than assimilating into a new culture.Lin recalled visiting bank after bank with his father as a child, watching as his father's applications for a mortgage were denied due to his lack of credit history. "That was the first time in my life I really saw him crack," Lin told Insider. "The system doesn't work for a lot of people — including my dad," he added. Lin would find a solution to his father's problem years later while working with Anish Basu, and Curtis Lee on an automated health savings account. The trio realized the payroll data integrations they were working on could be the basis of a product that would help lenders work with consumers without strong credit histories."That's when the lightbulb hit," said Lin, Pinwheel's CEO.In 2018, Lin, Basu, and Lee founded Pinwheel, an application-programming interface that shares payroll data to help both fintechs and traditional lenders serve consumers with limited or poor credit, who have historically struggled to access financial products. Here's the 9-page deck that Pinwheel, a fintech helping lenders tap into payroll data to serve consumers with little to no credit, used to raise a $50 million Series BAn alternative auto lenderTricolorAn alternative auto lender that caters to thin- and no-credit Hispanic borrowers is planning a national expansion after scoring a $90 million investment from BlackRock-managed funds. Tricolor is a Dallas-based auto lender that is a community development financial institution. It uses a proprietary artificial-intelligence engine that decisions each customer based on more than 100 data points, such as proof of income. Half of Tricolor's customers have a FICO score, and less than 12% have scores above 650, yet the average customer has lived in the US for 15 years, according to the deck.A 2017 survey by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation found 31.5% of Hispanic households had no mainstream credit compared to 14.4% of white households. "For decades, the deck has been stacked against low income or credit invisible Hispanics in the United States when it comes to the purchase and financing of a used vehicle," Daniel Chu, founder and CEO of Tricolor, said in a statement announcing the raise.An auto lender that caters to underbanked Hispanics used this 25-page deck to raise $90 million from BlackRock investors A new way to access credit The TomoCredit teamTomoCreditKristy Kim knows first-hand the challenge of obtaining credit in the US without an established credit history. Kim, who came to the US from South Korea, couldn't initially get access to credit despite having a job in investment banking after graduating college. "I was in my early twenties, I had a good income, my job was in investment banking but I could not get approved for anything," Kim told Insider. "Many young professionals like me, we deserve an opportunity to be considered but just because we didn't have a Fico, we weren't given a chance to even apply," she added.Kim started TomoCredit in 2018 to help others like herself gain access to consumer credit. TomoCredit spent three years building an internal algorithm to underwrite customers based on cash flow, rather than a credit score.TomoCredit, a fintech that lends to thin- and no-credit borrowers, used this 17-page pitch deck to raise its $10 million Series AHelping streamline how debts are repaidMethod Financial cofounders Jose Bethancourt and Marco del Carmen.Method FinancialWhen Jose Bethancourt graduated from the University of Texas at Austin in May 2019, he faced the same question that confronts over 43 million Americans: How would he repay his student loans?The problem led Bethancourt on a nearly two-year journey that culminated in the creation of a startup aimed at making it easier for consumers to more seamlessly pay off all kinds of debt.  Initially, Bethancourt and fellow UT grad Marco del Carmen built GradJoy, an app that helped users better understand how to manage student loan repayment and other financial habits. GradJoy was accepted into Y Combinator in the summer of 2019. But the duo quickly realized the real benefit to users would be helping them move money to make payments instead of simply offering recommendations."When we started GradJoy, we thought, 'Oh, we'll just give advice — we don't think people are comfortable with us touching their student loans,' and then we realized that people were saying, 'Hey, just move the money — if you think I should pay extra, then I'll pay extra.' So that's kind of the movement that we've seen, just, everybody's more comfortable with fintechs doing what's best for them," Bethancourt told Insider. Here is the 11-slide pitch deck Method Financial, a Y Combinator-backed fintech making debt repayment easier, used to raise $2.5 million in pre-seed fundingQuantum computing made easyQC Ware CEO Matt Johnson.QC WareEven though banks and hedge funds are still several years out from adding quantum computing to their tech arsenals, that hasn't stopped Wall Street giants from investing time and money into the emerging technology class. And momentum for QC Ware, a startup looking to cut the time and resources it takes to use quantum computing, is accelerating. The fintech secured a $25 million Series B on September 29 co-led by Koch Disruptive Technologies and Covestro with participation from D.E. Shaw, Citi, and Samsung Ventures.QC Ware, founded in 2014, builds quantum algorithms for the likes of Goldman Sachs (which led the fintech's Series A), Airbus, and BMW Group. The algorithms, which are effectively code bases that include quantum processing elements, can run on any of the four main public-cloud providers.Quantum computing allows companies to do complex calculations faster than traditional computers by using a form of physics that runs on quantum bits as opposed to the traditional 1s and 0s that computers use. This is especially helpful in banking for risk analytics or algorithmic trading, where executing calculations milliseconds faster than the competition can give firms a leg up. Here's the 20-page deck QC Ware, a fintech making quantum computing more accessible, used to raised its $25 million Series BSimplifying quant modelsKirat Singh and Mark Higgins, Beacon's cofounders.BeaconA fintech that helps financial institutions use quantitative models to streamline their businesses and improve risk management is catching the attention, and capital, of some of the country's biggest investment managers.Beacon Platform, founded in 2014, is a fintech that builds applications and tools to help banks, asset managers, and trading firms quickly integrate quantitative models that can help with analyzing risk, ensuring compliance, and improving operational efficiency. The company raised its Series C on Wednesday, scoring a $56 million investment led by Warburg Pincus with support from Blackstone Innovations Investments, PIMCO, and Global Atlantic. Blackstone, PIMCO, and Global Atlantic are also users of Beacon's tech, as are the Commonwealth Bank of Australia and Shell New Energies, a division of Royal Dutch Shell, among others.The fintech provides a shortcut for firms looking to use quantitative modelling and data science across various aspects of their businesses, a process that can often take considerable resources if done solo.Here's the 20-page pitch deck Beacon, a fintech helping Wall Street better analyze risk and data, used to raise $56 million from Warburg Pincus, Blackstone, and PIMCOA new data feed for bond tradingMark Lennihan/APFor years, the only way investors could figure out the going price of a corporate bond was calling up a dealer on the phone. The rise of electronic trading has streamlined that process, but data can still be hard to come by sometimes. A startup founded by a former Goldman Sachs exec has big plans to change that. BondCliQ is a fintech that provides a data feed of pre-trade pricing quotes for the corporate bond market. Founded by Chris White, the creator of Goldman Sachs' defunct corporate-bond-trading system, BondCliQ strives to bring transparency to a market that has traditionally kept such data close to the vest. Banks, which typically serve as the dealers of corporate bonds, have historically kept pre-trade quotes hidden from other dealers to maintain a competitive advantage.But tech advancements and the rise of electronic marketplaces have shifted power dynamics into the hands of buy-side firms, like hedge funds and asset managers. The investors are now able to get a fuller picture of the market by aggregating price quotes directly from dealers or via vendors.Here's the 9-page pitch deck that BondCliQ, a fintech looking to bring more data and transparency to bond trading, used to raise its Series AFraud prevention for lenders and insurersFiordaliso/Getty ImagesOnboarding new customers with ease is key for any financial institution or retailer. The more friction you add, the more likely consumers are to abandon the entire process.But preventing fraud is also a priority, and that's where Neuro-ID comes in. The startup analyzes what it calls "digital body language," or, the way users scroll, type, and tap. Using that data, Neuro-ID can identify fraudulent users before they create an account. It's built for banks, lenders, insurers, and e-commerce players."The train has left the station for digital transformation, but there's a massive opportunity to try to replicate all those communications that we used to have when we did business in-person, all those tells that we would get verbally and non-verbally on whether or not someone was trustworthy," Neuro-ID CEO Jack Alton told Insider.Founded in 2014, the startup's pitch is twofold: Neuro-ID can save companies money by identifying fraud early, and help increase user conversion by making the onboarding process more seamless. In December Neuro-ID closed a $7 million Series A, co-led by Fin VC and TTV Capital, with participation from Canapi Ventures. With 30 employees, Neuro-ID is using the fresh funding to grow its team and create additional tools to be more self-serving for customers.Here's the 11-slide pitch deck a startup that analyzes consumers' digital behavior to fight fraud used to raise a $7 million Series AAI-powered tools to spot phony online reviews FakespotMarketplaces like Amazon and eBay host millions of third-party sellers, and their algorithms will often boost items in search based on consumer sentiment, which is largely based on reviews. But many third-party sellers use fake reviews often bought from click farms to boost their items, some of which are counterfeit or misrepresented to consumers.That's where Fakespot comes in. With its Chrome extension, it warns users of sellers using potentially fake reviews to boost sales and can identify fraudulent sellers. Fakespot is currently compatible with Amazon, BestBuy, eBay, Sephora, Steam, and Walmart."There are promotional reviews written by humans and bot-generated reviews written by robots or review farms," Fakespot founder and CEO Saoud Khalifah told Insider. "Our AI system has been built to detect both categories with very high accuracy."Fakespot's AI learns via reviews data available on marketplace websites, and uses natural-language processing to identify if reviews are genuine. Fakespot also looks at things like whether the number of positive reviews are plausible given how long a seller has been active.Fakespot, a startup that helps shoppers detect robot-generated reviews and phony sellers on Amazon and Shopify, used this pitch deck to nab a $4 million Series AHelping fintechs manage dataProper Finance co-founders Travis Gibson (left) and Kyle MaloneyProper FinanceAs the flow of data becomes evermore crucial for fintechs, from the strappy startup to the established powerhouse, a thorny issue in the back office is becoming increasingly complex.Even though fintechs are known for their sleek front ends, the back end is often quite the opposite. Behind that streamlined interface can be a mosaic of different partner integrations — be it with banks, payments players and networks, or software vendors — with a channel of data running between them. Two people who know that better than the average are Kyle Maloney and Travis Gibson, two former employees of Marqeta, a fintech that provides other fintechs with payments processing and card issuance. "Take an established neobank for example. They'll likely have one or two card issuers, two to three bank partners, ACH processing for direct deposits and payouts, mobile check deposits, peer-to-peer payments, and lending," Gibson told Insider. Here's the 12-page pitch deck a startup helping fintechs manage their data used to score a $4.3 million seed from investors like Redpoint Ventures and Y CombinatorE-commerce focused business bankingMichael Rangel, cofounder and CEO, and Tyler McIntyre, cofounder and CTO of Novo.Kristelle Boulos PhotographyBusiness banking is a hot market in fintech. And it seems investors can't get enough.Novo, the digital banking fintech aimed at small e-commerce businesses, raised a $40.7 million Series A led by Valar Ventures in June. Since its launch in 2018, Novo has signed up 100,000 small businesses. Beyond bank accounts, it offers expense management, a corporate card, and integrates with e-commerce infrastructure players like Shopify, Stripe, and Wise.Founded in 2018, Novo was based in New York City, but has since moved its headquarters to Miami. Here's the 12-page pitch deck e-commerce banking startup Novo used to raise its $40 million Series AShopify for embedded financeProductfy CEO and founder, Duy VoProductfyProductfy is looking to break into embedded finance by becoming the Shopify of back-end banking services.Embedded finance — integrating banking services in non-financial settings — has taken hold in the e-commerce world. But Productfy is going after a different kind of customer in churches, universities, and nonprofits.The San Jose, Calif.-based upstart aims to help non-finance companies offer their own banking products. Productfy can help customers launch finance features in as little as a week and without additional engineering resources or background knowledge of banking compliance or legal requirements, Productfy founder and CEO Duy Vo told Insider. "You don't need an engineer to stand up Shopify, right? You can be someone who's just creating art and you can use Shopify to build your own online store," Vo said, adding that Productfy is looking to take that user experience and replicate it for banking services.Here's the 15-page pitch deck Productfy, a fintech looking to be the Shopify of embedded finance, used to nab a $16 million Series ADeploying algorithms and automation to small-business financingJustin Straight and Bernard Worthy, LoanWell co-foundersLoanWellBernard Worthy and Justin Straight, the founders of LoanWell, want to break down barriers to financing for small and medium-size businesses — and they've got algorithms and automation in their tech arsenals that they hope will do it.Worthy, the company's CEO, and Straight, its chief operating and financial officer, are powering community-focused lenders to fill a gap in the SMB financing world by boosting access to loans under $100,000. And the upstart is known for catching the attention, and dollars, of mission-driven investors. LoanWell closed a $3 million seed financing round in December led by Impact America Fund with participation from SoftBank's SB Opportunity Fund and Collab Capital.LoanWell automates the financing process — from underwriting and origination, to money movement and servicing — which shaves down an up-to-90-day process to 30 days or even same-day with some LoanWell lenders, Worthy said. SMBs rely on these loans to process quickly after two years of financial uncertainty. But the pandemic illustrated how time-consuming and expensive SMB financing can be, highlighted by efforts like the federal government's Paycheck Protection Program.Community banks, once the lifeline to capital for many local businesses, continue to shutter. And demands for smaller loan amounts remain largely unmet. More than half of business-loan applicants sought $100,000 or less, according to 2018 data from the Federal Reserve. But the average small-business bank loan was closer to six times that amount, according to the latest data from a now discontinued Federal Reserve survey.Here's the 14-page pitch deck LoanWell used to raise $3 million from investors like SoftBank.Branded cards for SMBsJennifer Glaspie-Lundstrom is the cofounder and CEO of Tandym.TandymJennifer Glaspie-Lundstrom is no stranger to the private-label credit-card business. As a former Capital One exec, she worked in both the card giant's co-brand partnerships division and its tech organization during her seven years at the company.Now, Glaspie-Lundstrom is hoping to use that experience to innovate a sector that was initially created in malls decades ago.Glaspie-Lundstrom is the cofounder and CEO of Tandym, which offers private-label digital credit cards to merchants. Store and private-label credit cards aren't a new concept, but Tandym is targeting small- and medium-sized merchants with less than $1 billion in annual revenue. Glaspie-Lundstrom said that group often struggles to offer private-label credit due to the expense of working with legacy players."What you have is this example of a very valuable product type that merchants love and their customers love, but a huge, untapped market that has heretofore been unserved, and so that's what we're doing with Tandym," Glaspi-Lundstrom told Insider.A former Capital One exec used this deck to raise $60 million for a startup helping SMBs launch their own branded credit cardsCatering to 'micro businesses'Stefanie Sample is the founder and CEO of FundidFundidStartups aiming to simplify the often-complex world of corporate cards have boomed in recent years.Business-finance management startup Brex was last valued at $12.3 billion after raising $300 million last year. Startup card provider Ramp announced an $8.1 billion valuation in March after growing its revenue nearly 10x in 2021. Divvy, a small business card provider, was acquired by Bill.com in May 2021 for approximately $2.5 billion.But despite how hot the market has gotten, Stefanie Sample said she ended up working in the space by accident. Sample is the founder and CEO of Fundid, a new fintech that provides credit and lending products to small businesses.This May, Fundid announced a $3.25 million seed round led by Nevcaut Ventures. Additional investors include the Artemis Fund and Builders and Backers. The funding announcement capped off the company's first year: Sample introduced the Fundid concept in April 2021, launched its website in May, and began raising capital in August."I never meant to do Fundid," Sample told Insider. "I never meant to do something that was venture-backed."Read the 12-page deck used by Fundid, a fintech offering credit and lending tools for 'micro businesses'Embedded payments for SMBsThe Highnote teamHighnoteBranded cards have long been a way for merchants with the appropriate bank relationships to create additional revenue and build customer loyalty. The rise of embedded payments, or the ability to shop and pay in a seamless experience within a single app, has broadened the number of companies looking to launch branded cards.Highnote is a startup that helps small to mid-sized merchants roll out their own debit and pre-paid digital cards. The fintech emerged from stealth on Tuesday to announce it raised $54 million in seed and Series A funding.Here's the 12-page deck Highnote, a startup helping SMBs embed payments, used to raise $54 million in seed and Series A fundingHelping small businesses manage their taxesComplYant's founder Shiloh Jackson wants to help people be present in their bookkeeping.ComplYantAfter 14 years in tax accounting, Shiloh Johnson had formed a core philosophy around corporate accounting: everyone deserves to understand their business's money and business owners need to be present in their bookkeeping process.She wanted to help small businesses understand "this is why you need to do what you're doing and why you have to change the way you think about tax and be present in your bookkeeping process," she told Insider. The Los Angeles native wanted small businesses to not only understand business tax no matter their size but also to find the tools they needed to prepare their taxes in one spot. So Johnson developed a software platform that provides just that.The 13-page pitch deck ComplYant used to nab $4 million that details the tax startup's plan to be Turbotax, Quickbooks, and Xero rolled into one for small business ownersAutomating accounting ops for SMBsDecimal CEO Matt Tait.DecimalSmall- and medium-sized businesses can rely on any number of payroll, expense management, bill pay, and corporate-card startups promising to automate parts of their financial workflow. Smaller firms have adopted this corporate-financial software en masse, boosting growth throughout the pandemic for relatively new entrants like Ramp and massive, industry stalwarts like Intuit. But it's no easy task to connect all of those tools into one, seamless process. And while accounting operations might be far from where many startup founders want to focus their time, having efficient back-end finances does mean time — and capital — freed up to spend elsewhere. For Decimal CEO Matt Tait, there's ample opportunity in "the boring stuff you have to do to survive as a company," he told Insider. Launched in 2020, Decimal provides a back-end tech layer that small- and medium-sized businesses can use to integrate their accounting and business-management software tools in one place.On Wednesday, Decimal announced a $9 million seed fundraising round led by Minneapolis-based Arthur Ventures, alongside Service Providers Capital and other angel investors. See the 13-page pitch deck for Decimal, a startup automating accounting ops for small businessesInvoice financing for SMBsStacey Abrams and Lara Hodgson, Now co-foundersNowAbout a decade ago, politician Stacey Abrams and entrepreneur Lara Hodgson were forced to fold their startup because of a kink in the supply chain — but not in the traditional sense.Nourish, which made spill-proof bottled water for children, had grown quickly from selling to small retailers to national ones. And while that may sound like a feather in the small business' cap, there was a hang-up."It was taking longer and longer to get paid, and as you can imagine, you deliver the product and then you wait and you wait, but meanwhile you have to pay your employees and you have to pay your vendors," Hodgson told Insider. "Waiting to get paid was constraining our ability to grow."While it's not unusual for small businesses to grapple with working capital issues, the dust was still settling from the Great Recession. Abrams and Hodgson couldn't secure a line of credit or use financing tools like factoring to solve their problem. The two entrepreneurs were forced to close Nourish in 2012, but along the way they recognized a disconnect in the system.  "Why are we the ones borrowing money, when in fact we're the lender here because every time you send an invoice to a customer, you've essentially extended a free loan to that customer by letting them pay later," Hodgson said. "And the only reason why we were going to need to possibly borrow money was because we had just given ours away for free to Whole Foods," she added.Check out the 7-page deck that Now, Stacey Abrams' fintech that wants to help small businesses 'grow fearlessly', used to raise $29 millionCheckout made easyRyan Breslow.Ryan BreslowAmazon has long dominated e-commerce with its one-click checkout flows, offering easier ways for consumers to shop online than its small-business competitors.Bolt gives small merchants tools to offer the same easy checkouts so they can compete with the likes of Amazon.The startup raised its $393 million Series D to continue adding its one-click checkout feature to merchants' own websites in October.Bolt markets to merchants themselves. But a big part of Bolt's pitch is its growing network of consumers — currently over 5.6 million — that use its features across multiple Bolt merchant customers. Roughly 5% of Bolt's transactions were network-driven in May, meaning users that signed up for a Bolt account on another retailer's website used it elsewhere. The network effects were even more pronounced in verticals like furniture, where 49% of transactions were driven by the Bolt network."The network effect is now unleashed with Bolt in full fury, and that triggered the raise," Bolt's founder and CEO Ryan Breslow told Insider.Here's the 12-page deck that one-click checkout Bolt used to outline its network of 5.6 million consumers and raise its Series DPayments infrastructure for fintechsQolo CEO and co-founder Patricia MontesiQoloThree years ago, Patricia Montesi realized there was a disconnect in the payments world. "A lot of new economy companies or fintech companies were looking to mesh up a lot of payment modalities that they weren't able to," Montesi, CEO and co-founder of Qolo, told Insider.Integrating various payment capabilities often meant tapping several different providers that had specializations in one product or service, she added, like debit card issuance or cross-border payments. "The way people were getting around that was that they were creating this spider web of fintech," she said, adding that "at the end of it all, they had this mess of suppliers and integrations and bank accounts."The 20-year payments veteran rounded up a group of three other co-founders — who together had more than a century of combined industry experience — to start Qolo, a business-to-business fintech that sought out to bundle back-end payment rails for other fintechs.Here's the 11-slide pitch deck a startup that provides payments infrastructure for other fintechs used to raise a $15 million Series ABetter use of payroll dataAtomic's Head of Markets, Lindsay DavisAtomicEmployees at companies large and small know the importance — and limitations — of how firms manage their payrolls. A new crop of startups are building the API pipes that connect companies and their employees to offer a greater level of visibility and flexibility when it comes to payroll data and employee verification. On Thursday, one of those names, Atomic, announced a $40 million Series B fundraising round co-led by Mercato Partners and Greylock, alongside Core Innovation Capital, Portage, and ATX Capital. The round follows Atomic's Series A round announced in October, when the startup raised a $22 million Series A from investors including Core Innovation Capital, Portage, and Greylock.Payroll startup Atomic just raised a $40 million Series B. Here's an internal deck detailing the fintech's approach to the red-hot payments space.Saving on vendor invoicesHoward Katzenberg, Glean's CEO and cofounderGleanWhen it comes to high-flying tech startups, headlines and investors typically tend to focus on industry "disruption" and the total addressable market a company is hoping to reach. Expense cutting as a way to boost growth typically isn't part of the conversation early on, and finance teams are viewed as cost centers relative to sales teams. But one fast-growing area of business payments has turned its focus to managing those costs. Startups like Ramp and established names like Bill.com have made their name offering automated expense-management systems. Now, one new fintech competitor, Glean, is looking to take that further by offering both automated payment services and tailored line-item accounts-payable insights driven by machine-learning models. Glean's CFO and founder, Howard Katzenberg, told Insider that the genesis of Glean was driven by his own personal experience managing the finance teams of startups, including mortgage lender Better.com, which Katzenberg left in 2019, and online small-business lender OnDeck. "As a CFO of high-growth companies, I spent a lot of time focused on revenue and I had amazing dashboards in real time where I could see what is going on top of the funnel, what's going on with conversion rates, what's going on in terms of pricing and attrition," Katzenberg told Insider. See the 15-slide pitch deck Glean, a startup using machine learning to find savings in vendor invoices, used to raise $10.8 million in seed fundingReal-estate management made easyAgora founders Noam Kahan, CTO, Bar Mor, CEO, and Lior Dolinski, CPOAgoraFor alternative asset managers of any type, the operations underpinning sales and investor communications are a crucial but often overlooked part of the business. Fund managers love to make bets on markets, not coordinate hundreds of wire transfers to clients each quarter or organize customer-relationship-management databases.Within the $10.6 trillion global market for professionally managed real-estate investing, that's where Tel Aviv and New York-based startup Agora hopes to make its mark.Founded in 2019, Agora offers a set of back-office, investor relations, and sales software tools that real-estate investment managers can plug into their workflows. On Wednesday, Agora announced a $9 million seed round, led by Israel-based venture firm Aleph, with participation from River Park Ventures and Maccabee Ventures. The funding comes on the heels of an October 2020 pre-seed fund raise worth $890,000, in which Maccabee also participated.Here's the 15-slide pitch deck that Agora, a startup helping real-estate investors manage communications and sales with their clients, used to raise a $9 million seed roundAccess to commercial real-estate investing LEX Markets cofounders and co-CEOs Drew Sterrett and Jesse Daugherty.LEX MarketsDrew Sterrett was structuring real-estate deals while working in private equity when he realized the inefficiencies that existed in the market. Only high-net worth individuals or accredited investors could participate in commercial real-estate deals. If they ever wanted to leave a partnership or sell their stake in a property, it was difficult to find another investor to replace them. Owners also struggled to sell minority stakes in their properties and didn't have many good options to recapitalize an asset if necessary.In short, the market had a high barrier to entry despite the fact it didn't always have enough participants to get deals done quickly. "Most investors don't have access to high-quality commercial real-estate investments. How do we have the oldest and largest asset class in the world and one of the largest wealth creators with no public and liquid market?" Sterrett told Insider. "It sort of seems like a no-brainer, and that this should have existed 50 or 60 years ago."This 15-page pitch deck helped LEX Markets, a startup making investing in commercial real estate more accessible, raise $15 millionInsurance goes digitalJamie Hale, CEO and cofounder of LadderLadderFintechs looking to transform how insurance policies are underwritten, issued, and experienced by customers have grown as new technology driven by digital trends and artificial intelligence shape the market. And while verticals like auto, homeowner's, and renter's insurance have seen their fair share of innovation from forward-thinking fintechs, one company has taken on the massive life-insurance market. Founded in 2017, Ladder uses a tech-driven approach to offer life insurance with a digital, end-to-end service that it says is more flexible, faster, and cost-effective than incumbent players.Life, annuity, and accident and health insurance within the US comprise a big chunk of the broader market. In 2020, premiums written on those policies totaled some $767 billion, compared to $144 billion for auto policies and $97 billion for homeowner's insurance.Here's the 12-page deck that Ladder, a startup disrupting the 'crown jewel' of the insurance market, used to nab $100 millionData science for commercial insuranceTanner Hackett, founder and CEO of CounterpartCounterpartThere's been no shortage of funds flowing into insurance-technology companies over the past few years. Private-market funding to insurtechs soared to $15.4 billion in 2021, a 90% increase compared to 2020. Some of the most well-known consumer insurtech names — from Oscar (which focuses on health insurance) to Metromile (which focuses on auto) — launched on the public markets last year, only to fall over time or be acquired as investors questioned the sustainability of their business models. In the commercial arena, however, the head of one insurtech company thinks there is still room to grow — especially for those catering to small businesses operating in an entirely new, pandemic-defined environment. "The bigger opportunity is in commercial lines," Tanner Hackett, the CEO of management liability insurer Counterpart, told Insider."Everywhere I poke, I'm like, 'Oh my goodness, we're still in 1.0, and all the other businesses I've built were on version three.' Insurance is still in 1.0, still managing from spreadsheets and PDFs," added Hackett, who also previously co-founded Button, which focuses on mobile marketing. See the 8-page pitch deck Counterpart, a startup disrupting commercial insurance with data science, used to raise a $30 million Series BSmarter insurance for multifamily propertiesItai Ben-Zaken, cofounder and CEO of Honeycomb.HoneycombA veteran of the online-insurance world is looking to revolutionize the way the industry prices risk for commercial properties with the help of artificial intelligence.Insurance companies typically send inspectors to properties before issuing policies to better understand how the building is maintained and identify potential risks or issues with it. It's a process that can be time-consuming, expensive, and inefficient, making it hard to justify for smaller commercial properties, like apartment and condo buildings.Insurtech Honeycomb is looking to fix that by using AI to analyze a combination of third-party data and photos submitted by customers through the startup's app to quickly identify any potential risks at a property and more accurately price policies."That whole physical inspection thing had really good things in it, but it wasn't really something that is scalable and, it's also expensive," Itai Ben-Zaken, Honeycomb's cofounder and CEO, told Insider. "The best way to see a property right now is Google street view. Google street view is usually two years old."Here's the 10-page Series A pitch deck used by Honeycomb, a startup that wants to revolutionize the $26 billion market for multifamily property insuranceHelping freelancers with their taxesJaideep Singh is the CEO and co-founder of FlyFin, an AI-driven tax preparation software program for freelancers.FlyFinSome people, particularly those with families or freelancing businesses, spend days searching for receipts for tax season, making tax preparation a time consuming and, at times, taxing experience. That's why in 2020 Jaideep Singh founded FlyFin, an artificial-intelligence tax preparation program for freelancers that helps people, as he puts it, "fly through their finances." FlyFin is set up to connect to a person's bank accounts, allowing the AI program to help users monitor for certain expenses that can be claimed on their taxes like business expenditures, the interest on mortgages, property taxes, or whatever else that might apply. "For most individuals, people have expenses distributed over multiple financial institutions. So we built an AI platform that is able to look at expenses, understand the individual, understand your profession, understand the freelance population at large, and start the categorization," Singh told Insider.Check out the 7-page pitch deck a startup helping freelancers manage their taxes used to nab $8 million in fundingDigital banking for freelancersJGalione/Getty ImagesLance is a new digital bank hoping to simplify the life of those workers by offering what it calls an "active" approach to business banking. "We found that every time we sat down with the existing tools and resources of our accountants and QuickBooks and spreadsheets, we just ended up getting tangled up in the whole experience of it," Lance cofounder and CEO Oona Rokyta told Insider. Lance offers subaccounts for personal salaries, withholdings, and savings to which freelancers can automatically allocate funds according to custom preset levels. It also offers an expense balance that's connected to automated tax withholdings.In May, Lance announced the closing of a $2.8 million seed round that saw participation from Barclays, BDMI, Great Oaks Capital, Imagination Capital, Techstars, DFJ Frontier, and others.Here's the 21-page pitch deck Lance, a digital bank for freelancers, used to raise a $2.8 million seed round from investors including BarclaysSoftware for managing freelancersWorksome cofounder and CEO Morten Petersen.WorksomeThe way people work has fundamentally changed over the past year, with more flexibility and many workers opting to freelance to maintain their work-from-home lifestyles.But managing a freelance or contractor workforce is often an administrative headache for employers. Worksome is a startup looking to eliminate all the extra work required for employers to adapt to more flexible working norms.Worksome started as a freelancer marketplace automating the process of matching qualified workers with the right jobs. But the team ultimately pivoted to a full suite of workforce management software, automating administrative burdens required to hire, pay, and account for contract workers.In May, Worksome closed a $13 million Series A backed by European angel investor Tommy Ahlers and Danish firm Lind & Risør.Here's the 21-slide pitch deck used by a startup that helps firms like Carlsberg and Deloitte manage freelancersPayments and operations support HoneyBook cofounders Dror Shimoni, Oz Alon, and Naama Alon.HoneyBookWhile countless small businesses have been harmed by the pandemic, self-employment and entrepreneurship have found ways to blossom as Americans started new ventures.Half of the US population may be freelance by 2027, according to a study commissioned by remote-work hiring platform Upwork. HoneyBook, a fintech startup that provides payment and operations support for freelancers, in May raised $155 million in funding and achieved unicorn status with its $1 billion-plus valuation.Durable Capital Partners led the Series D funding with other new investors including renowned hedge fund Tiger Global, Battery Ventures, Zeev Ventures, and 01 Advisors. Citi Ventures, Citigroup's startup investment arm that also backs fintech robo-advisor Betterment, participated as an existing investor in the round alongside Norwest Venture partners. The latest round brings the company's fundraising total to $227 million to date.Here's the 21-page pitch deck a Citi-backed fintech for freelancers used to raise $155 million from investors like hedge fund Tiger GlobalPay-as-you-go compliance for banks, fintechs, and crypto startupsNeepa Patel, Themis' founder and CEOThemisWhen Themis founder and CEO Neepa Patel set out to build a new compliance tool for banks, fintech startups, and crypto companies, she tapped into her own experience managing risk at some of the nation's biggest financial firms. Having worked as a bank regulator at the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency and in compliance at Morgan Stanley, Deutsche Bank, and the enterprise blockchain company R3, Patel was well-placed to assess the shortcomings in financial compliance software. But Patel, who left the corporate world to begin work on Themis in 2020, drew on more than just her own experience and frustrations to build the startup."It's not just me building a tool based on my personal pain points. I reached out to regulators. I reached out to bank compliance officers and members in the fintech community just to make sure that we're building it exactly how they do their work," Patel told Insider. "That was the biggest problem: No one built a tool that was reflective of how people do their work."Check out the 9-page pitch deck Themis, which offers pay-as-you-go compliance for banks, fintechs, and crypto startups, used to raise $9 million in seed fundingConnecting startups and investorsHum Capital cofounder and CEO Blair SilverbergHum CapitalBlair Silverberg is no stranger to fundraising.For six years, Silverberg was a venture capitalist at Draper Fisher Jurvetson and Private Credit Investments making bets on startups."I was meeting with thousands of founders in person each year, watching them one at a time go through this friction where they're meeting a ton of investors, and the investors are all asking the same questions," Silverberg told Insider. He switched gears about three years ago, moving to the opposite side of the metaphorical table, to start Hum Capital, which uses artificial intelligence to match investors with startups looking to fundraise.On August 31, the New York-based fintech announced its $9 million Series A. The round was led by Future Ventures with participation from Webb Investment Network, Wavemaker Partners, and Partech. This 11-page pitch deck helped Hum Capital, a fintech using AI to match investors with startups, raise a $9 million Series A.Helping LatAm startups get up to speedKamino cofounders Gut Fragoso, Rodrigo Perenha, Benjamin Gleason, and Gonzalo ParejoKaminoThere's more venture capital flowing into Latin America than ever before, but getting the funds in founders' hands is not exactly a simple process.In 2021, investors funneled $15.3 billion into Latin American companies, more than tripling the previous record of $4.9 billion in 2019. Fintech and e-commerce sectors drove funding, accounting for 39% and 25% of total funding, respectively.  However, for many startup founders in the region who have successfully sold their ideas and gotten investors on board, there's a patchwork of corporate structuring that's needed to access the funds, according to Benjamin Gleason, who was the chief financial officer at Groupon LatAm prior to cofounding Brazil-based fintech Kamino.It's a process Gleason and his three fellow Kamino cofounders have been through before as entrepreneurs and startup execs themselves. Most often, startups have to set up offshore financial accounts outside of Brazil, which "entails creating a Cayman [Islands] holding company, a Delaware LLC, and then connecting it to a local entity here and also opening US bank accounts for the Cayman entity, which is not trivial from a KYC perspective," said Gleason, who founded open-banking fintech Guiabolso in Sao Paulo. His partner, Gonzalo Parejo, experienced the same toils when he founded insurtech Bidu."Pretty much any international investor will usually ask for that," Gleason said, adding that investors typically cite liability issues."It's just a massive amount of bureaucracy, complexity, a lot of time from the founders. All of this just to get the money from the investor that wants to give them the money," he added.Here's the 8-page pitch deck Kamino, a fintech helping LatAm startups with everything from financing to corporate credit cards, used to raise a $6.1M pre-seed roundThe back-end tech for beautyDanielle Cohen-Shohet, CEO and founder of GlossGeniusGlossGeniusDanielle Cohen-Shohet might have started as a Goldman Sachs investment analyst, but at her core she was always a coder.After about three years at Goldman Sachs, Cohen-Shohet left the world of traditional finance to code her way into starting her own company in 2016. "There was a period of time where I did nothing, but eat, sleep, and code for a few weeks," Cohen-Shohet told Insider. Her technical edge and knowledge of the point-of-sale payment space led her to launch a software company focused on providing behind-the-scenes tech for beauty and wellness small businesses.Cohen-Shohet launched GlossGenius in 2017 to provide payments tech for hair stylists, nail technicians, blow-out bars, and other small businesses in the space.Here's the 11-page deck GlossGenius, a startup that provides back-end tech for the beauty industry, used to raise $16 millionRead the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: personnelSource: nytJun 22nd, 2022

Inside the "chaos" at New York City"s Eleven Madison Park

Once called the world's best restaurant, Eleven Madison Park relaunched as meat-free in June 2021. Insiders say it's been "chaos" ever since. Hi, I'm Matt Turner, the editor in chief of business at Insider. Welcome back to Insider Weekly, a roundup of some of our top stories. Happy Father's Day to those who celebrate. On the agenda today:Eleven Madison Park had long been a hot spot for the rich and powerful. Now, insiders say it's a "shit show."Silicon Slopes stood by as this Utah tech CEO partied nonstop and pushed antisemitic conspiracy theories.Don't move yet — soon there will be brand-new cities built around working from home.Index-rebalance traders have been demolished this month.But first: Today is also Juneteenth, a federal holiday that commemorates the freedom of enslaved African Americans in the US. We'll begin by sharing some important reads.Subscribe to Insider for access to all our investigations and features. New to the newsletter? Sign up here.  Download our app for news on the go – click here for iOS and here for Android.Honoring JuneteenthPeople carry a Juneteenth flag as they march during a Juneteenth reenactment celebration in Galveston, Texas, in 2021.MARK FELIX/Getty ImagesLast year, the US federal government officially recognized Juneteenth as a federal holiday. Many employers — including Insider — observe the day as well. And so, in honor of Juneteenth, here are three vital stories to read:A conversation with Google's head of diversity: Shootings in New York, Texas, and California prompted Google's Melonie Parker, who is Black, to reflect on the company's DEI progress. Read on to find out how Google plans to improve its internal culture.A Texas park founded by formerly enslaved people celebrates Juneteenth: Founded on June 19, 1872, Emancipation Park will hold its 150th anniversary today. Texas residents who lived by the park during the Jim Crow era shared memories with Insider. James Baldwin. Audre Lorde. Ta-Nehisi Coates: These are some of the most prominent Black writers in history. Insider checked in with several Black literary and historical experts to draw up a list of crucial texts about racism, reparations, and racial policies. Here are 14 eye-opening essays from Black writers.With that, let's look at this week's top stories.'Shit show' at NYC's best restaurantReutersEleven Madison Park in Manhattan had been named the best restaurant in the world in 2017 and counted the rich and powerful as fans. But in 2021, chef Daniel Humm reopened the restaurant as meat-free — and insiders say it's been a "shit show" ever since.One former staffer told us that while Humm — who dated Laurene Powell Jobs — describes the restaurant as farm to table, it's actually "farm to trash." Another recalled Chipotle founder Steve Ellis being "insulted" that staffers had to refuse a $1,000 tip. Others spoke of Humm dancing around the kitchen and lighting up a joint with Woody Harrelson.Read the full story here:Eleven Madison Park went vegan. It's been an understaffed, chaotic mess of a year.Who is Entrata CEO Dave Bateman?Excerpts from some of Dave Bateman's posts on social media.Stacie Scott/AP; Rachel Mendelson/InsiderFor many, the proptech founder only came into view this spring when he was ousted from the company for emailing antisemitic conspiracy theories to some of Utah's biggest politicos and tech leaders. But others, including people who have worked with him, say Bateman was a hard-partying CEO who thought he was too big to be stopped. Insider spoke with former Entrata employees who described his erratic behavior as an open secret — and one that no one did anything to address.Read the full story here:A Utah tech CEO partied nonstop and pushed antisemitic conspiracy theories. Silicon Slopes stood by and watched.Don't move just yet…Rebecca Zisser/InsiderThe future of remote work is now — and many Americans could soon work from cities that don't exist yet: WFH-ers may soon see a flourishing of "Remotevilles" created just for them. These "experiments'' will be on the fringe of metropolitan hubs and could have cheaper housing, better schools, and smarter government. So don't move just yet.Read the full story here:Remotevilles will need these three key ingredients before they're built.How the bubble in the index-rebalance trade popped REUTERS/China DailyBetting on the annual rebalancing of stock indexes has been easy money in recent years for many hedge funds, including Ken Griffin's Citadel and Steven Cohen's Point72. The stocks that are widely expected to be added to an index typically climb, while those being cast out, fall.  But a volatile stock market has turned that trade on its head, causing some portfolio managers to face steep losses. For example, the nearly 300 stocks expected to join the Russell 3000 Index later this month tumbled a combined 58% over the first two weeks of June. Alex Morrell explains what went wrong with this popular arbitrage strategy.Read the full story here:The bubble has popped on the mighty index-rebalance trade.This week's quote:Tesla and SpaceX CEO Elon MuskREUTERS/Steve Nesius"I'll stop trolling people about aliens because people really think — I've seen no actual evidence for aliens. I get asked that a lot and I'd think I'd know and I've not seen anything. Yet." One of the many major quotes from Elon Musk's first all-hands meeting with Twitter employees. We have the full transcript here — and the 12 biggest takeaways from the meeting here. More of this week's top reads:Tiger Global hacked venture capital — now that strategy is backfiring.How this 30-year-old rakes in about $89,000 a month from two online hustles.Google is going all in on a new internal AI project.Here's the salary breakdown for Harvard's most recent MBA class across industries.Crypto influencers open up about the portfolio wreckage they've suffered.The fracking boom has come to an end — and gas prices aren't immune. This Bolt engineer borrowed $100,000 for stocks, and then he was laid off. Plus: Keep updated with the latest business news throughout the week by checking out The Refresh from Insider, a dynamic audio-news brief from the Insider newsroom. Listen here tomorrow.Curated by Matt Turner. Edited by Lisa Ryan, Sarah Belle Lin, and Jordan Parker Erb. Sign up for more Insider newsletters here.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderJun 19th, 2022

Harry Jowsey wants to be the next Ashton Kutcher, but will he be too hot for startups to handle?

The Too Hot to Handle star plan to invest in dating apps, charging ports, and gaming sites, but some question whether they should accept his backing. Harry Jowsey.Tyler Patrick Kenny. Harry Jowsey is an influencer best known for appearing on Netflix's "Too Hot To Handle." He plans to invest in companies behind dating apps, phone charging ports and gaming sites. While some support his strategy, others say startups would be "foolish" to accept his backing.  Harry Jowsey is used to winning, sometimes by flouting the rules.Rising to fame in 2020 on the first season of "Too Hot to Handle", the Netflix game show where physical contact resulted in steep financial penalties, Jowsey made his name burning through the prize money.With more than 9 million fans on social media and a weekly live show on Spotify called Dating Harry Jowsey, he's now branching out into angel investing.Australian-born Jowsey aims to invest in about 10 companies including dating apps and gaming sites. Venture capitalists, though, are divided on how startups should respond to his overtures.Jowsey told Insider he was focused on building his brand and wealth after Too Hot to Handle, urging fellow contestants to make a website to understand who their fans are and how to sell to them.He said: "It's really easy to get a brand deal and to make amazing money – but it's really hard to create a company or something that you're passionate about, and don't mind taking a loss on."A social media extrovert with acting ambitions, Jowsey models himself on Ashton Kutcher, an actor and prankster-turned serial entrepreneur. He has become a successful venture capitalist through his company Sound Ventures, which has backed companies with hundreds of millions of dollars, according to Crunchbase.  'Value-add investor'But becoming the next Ashton Kutcher is easier said than done, venture capitalists told Insider.Like the actor, Jowsey has been backing companies he knows, funding startups linking tech and social media. They include a TikTok-style dating app called Lolly; VersusGame, a betting game backed by Snapchat; a production company; and a phone charging business called ChargeFuze, run by one of his friends."I'm not going to randomly start investing in a hammer company because I don't use hammers," he said of his tendency to back social media-focused companies, where he feels he can offer insights on their marketing and wider direction.Sanjay Wadhwani, founder and CEO of Podium Ventures, who has advised celebrities including pop star Robbie Williams on their investments, told Insider that Jowsey's strategy was not uncommon among influencers."The strategy here seems to be the right one - one where there is the opportunity to be a value-add investor and help grow the business beyond a small capital injection," he said. "In each of the cases the rounds have also been participated in by leading names or VCs, which also de-risks the opportunity."Despite the upheaval in the tech sector, with startups including the Kutcher-backed Bird laying off large swathes of their workforce, Jowsy has not been put off. "One of my friends said when there's blood in the street it's a good time to buy. There's opportunity wherever you look," he said.'Idiot money'This rise of "influencer investing," where schemes are fronted by a celebrity but operated by a team of professionals, can be a minefield.In a withering assessment Iliya Ribchin, a partner at Elixirr Consulting, a management consultancy, said the value an influencer brings to a startup is minimal, and can even damage its reputation. "Frankly, when evaluating a startup it's not as important to look at the startup's technology or business plan to predict success but whether this startup was foolish enough to take an investment from an influencer," Ribchin said, adding he "seriously questions" the business acumen of any founder that accepts an influencer's investment."I would say that when it comes to influencer investors, you can call it 'idiot money' because these vapid youngsters provide absolutely no value to a startup beyond hard abs, great hair, and a pretty smile," Ribchin said.But Mark Peter Davis, founder of VC firm Interplay, said influencers can add value to their investments if they are surrounded by a good team.Jowsey didn't respond to Ribchin's comments and the startups mentioned in this article didn't respond to a request for comment.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderJun 19th, 2022

Better Bean is the latest Portland-area brand to embrace small business bonds

In 2017 Better Bean was bought by The Hain Celestial Group. Now, founder Keith Kullberg has bought the brand back and has plans for growth......»»

Category: topSource: bizjournalsJun 17th, 2022

Tiger Woods is now a billionaire — here"s how he spends his money and lives his life off the course

Tiger Woods is now a billionaire. Tiger Woods celebrates his first win in five years.Tim Bradbury/Getty Images Tiger Woods' career once looked over, but he solidified one of the biggest sports comebacks ever when he won the Masters a fifth time. Because of Woods' play on the course, he has plenty of money to spend on yachts, private jets, mega-mansions, and video games off the course. Woods is one of the highest-paid athletes of all time and according to Forbes, he is now a billionaire. Take a look at how he spends it all. Tony Manfred and Mary Hanbury contributed reporting to a previous version of this article.Tiger Woods has made more than $1.4 billion since turning pro in 1996.David Cannon/Getty ImagesSource: Golf Digest and ForbesMore than $122 million of that came from on-course winnings. He's No. 1 on the all-time money list, by far.Andrew Redington/Getty Images)Read more: The 30 highest-paid golfers of all timeHe won $4.6 million at the Tour Championship alone — $1.6 million for winning the tournament and $3.0 million for his second-place finish in the FedEx Cup — one of his biggest paydays ever in golf.Tiger Woods celebrates his first win in five years.Tim Bradbury/Getty ImagesRoger Federer recently passed Woods as the highest-paid athlete of all time from a non-team sport.Andrew Redington/Getty ImagesRead more: Roger Federer has overtaken Tiger Woods as the top money-maker in individual sports with $110.2 million in earnings »According to Forbes, Woods is now a billionaire, joining LeBron James as the only athletes to achieve the status while still active.Tiger Woods and Arnold PalmerDavid Cannon/Getty ImagesSource: ForbesBut the real money comes from off the course. At his peak in the late 2000s, Woods made $100 million annually off the course. In 2016, he earned more than $45 million in endorsement deals and course-design fees.YouTubeSource: ForbesDespite barely playing in 2017, Woods was still the 16th-highest-paid athlete in the world, according to Forbes, and had an estimated net worth of $740 million in 2016.REUTERS/Aaron JosefczykSource: ForbesWoods has hit other bumps in the road. In 2009, news broke that Woods had been cheating on his wife, Elin Nordegren. Two days later, he crashed his Cadillac Escalade into a fire hydrant outside his house.GettySource: Yahoo SportsHe was accused of having an affair with Rachel Uchitel, a New York nightclub manager. Months later, several other women came forward to say they had affairs with Woods.Frazer Harrison/Getty ImagesMany of Woods' endorsement partners dropped him over the controversy, including AT&T, Gatorade, Gillette, Golf Digest, and Tag Heuer.Chris O'Meara/APHis biggest partner, Nike, stuck with him.NikeWoods has been with Nike since he turned pro in 1996. In 2013 he signed a $200 million deal with the brand. Nike also stuck with Woods despite his DUI charges in 2017.Richard Heathcote/Getty ImagesSource: ESPN, ABC, Business InsiderThe divorce settlement cost him a reported $100 million in 2010.Elsa/Getty ImagesSource: ForbesAnd his golfing career started to turn sour. Woods hasn't won a major golf championship since 2008 and before the Tour Championship, he had not won on tour win since 2013.Stephen Dunn/Getty ImagesSource: TimeHe has also battled various injuries. When Woods was charged with driving under the influence, he blamed an "unexpected reaction to prescribed medications." Woods had recently had a fourth surgery on his back, and police later said he had five different drugs in his system at the time of the arrest.Twitter/Golf_ComSource: Business Insider, New York TimesBut Woods continues to live a lavish lifestyle. After the divorce settlement, there were reports that he considered selling his 155-foot long megayacht, "Privacy," for $25 million. The boat was not sold, however, and Woods now docks it in North Palm Beach, Florida.APSource: Wall Street JournalHe stayed on the yacht on Long Island during the 2018 US Open at Shinnecock Hills.AP ImagesRead more: Tiger Woods has reportedly docked his $20 million, 155-foot yacht in the Hamptons — and he apparently plans to stay there during the US Open »He owns a 10-acre property in Jupiter, Florida, that was built from scratch just for Woods at a cost of $55 million.Courtesy of Jeff RealtySource: Palm Beach PostIt has a pitch-and-putt golf course, as well as a private dock.Google MapsSource: Palm Beach PostGolf isn't his only passion — Woods is really into spearfishing. He learned how to free dive so he could spearfish without an air tank.APSource: Business InsiderHe loves spearfishing so much that he once called in sick to a tune-up tournament before the Open Championship just so he could spend time catching fish.Don ZurbrickRead more: A crazy story about Tiger Woods shows that he was never as obsessed with golfing greatness as everybody thoughtWoods is a die-hard Oakland Raiders fan. He tries to find time to support the silver and black whenever he can.Twitter/Tiger WoodsHe even has a Raiders-themed pool table in his house.Twitter/Tiger WoodsThe 80-time PGA Tour event winner is also a fan of the Los Angeles Dodgers. He turned out for multiple games during the 2017 World Series.Instagram/Tiger WoodsWoods likes tennis as well. He is good friends with Rafael Nadal and has sat in his box for a number of matches.mpi04/MediaPunch/IPxAside from watching sports, Woods also likes to spend his time working out — maybe too much. His old coach Hank Haney once said, "My opinion is he really overdoes that."Abbie Parr/Getty ImagesRead more: Tiger Woods is jacked now, and it could be hurting his golf game »Haney would also suggest that Woods pushed himself physically because he wanted to be viewed as an athlete, saying that Woods viewed injuries as "a way of being accepted into the fraternity of superstars who played more physical sports than golf."Jamie Squire/Getty ImagesRead more: An interesting theory explains why Tiger Woods keeps getting hurtWoods says he likes to practice all day, but when he was recovering from surgery he filled his time by playing "Call of Duty" eight hours a day with a 30-minute lunch break. Despite that, Woods said he was still getting beat by 7-year-olds when he played online.Youtube/The Late ShowRead more: Tiger Woods told Stephen Colbert a great story about how playing "Call of Duty" 8 hours a day humbled him »"He struggles to sleep," Rory McIlroy said of Woods, "which I think is an effect of overtraining, so I tell him to calm down sometimes. He'd be texting me at 4 o'clock in the morning: 'Up lifting. What are you doing?'"Jamie Squire/GettyRead more: Rory McIlroy says Tiger Woods texts him in the middle of the night from the gym because he can't sleep »He even has his own restaurant, called The Woods Jupiter. "After years of meals on the road, he decided to bring his vision of an elevated sports bar to life at home in Jupiter," the website says.Facebook/The Woods JupiterSource: The Woods JupiterEven when he isn't at home in Jupiter, Woods likes to bring a little bit of it with him. He reportedly replaces all the furniture in the houses he rents during tournaments with his own, even if he's only there for a few days.Francois Nel/Getty ImagesSource: Business InsiderHe likes to travel in style and owns a Gulfstream G550 private jet, worth about $54 million.Benjamin Zhang/Business InsiderIn January 2017, for the first time in 10 years, Woods took a commercial flight, from Los Angeles to Dubai.Source: Architectural Digest, GolfweekWoods has also been accused of being cheap. One story told of how Woods wanted to be just one of the guys when he was having lunch with a group of Navy Seals and did not pick up the check.Harry How/Getty ImagesRead more: Tiger Woods once baffled and irritated a group of Navy SEALs when he didn't pick up the check for lunch »He devotes a ton of time and money to his at-risk youth charity, the Tiger Woods Foundation. In 2012, he gave $12 million to the foundation.Logan Mock-Bunting/Getty ImagesSource: PGAAdditionally, he works with kids through the TGR Learning Lab, which provides opportunities for students to explore their passions by combining science with everyday tasks.Twitter/Tiger WoodsWoods doesn't just rely on his golf winnings and endorsements to fund his extravagant lifestyle — he also runs a golf-design business. He opened his first US course in Houston in 2015 and was said to be designing a Trump International Golf Club course in Dubai in 2017.Facebook/TGR VenturesSource: USA TodayHe is also picking up new endorsements. Since Nike got out of the equipment business, Woods has signed with Bridgestone to use its golf balls.Bridgestone GolfRead more: Tiger Woods announces his first major equipment endorsement deal since Nike stopped making golf equipment »He also signed with TaylorMade for its golf clubs. They recently released his first set of signature irons that go for $2,000.via TaylorMadeRead more: Tiger Woods' new TaylorMade clubs are now available for $2,000 after it took 'hundreds of hours' and numerous prototypes to build the originalsWoods was heavily involved in the design of the clubs, with TaylorMade spending "hundreds of hours" on testing and building several prototypes until they got them just right for Tiger.via TaylorMadeRead more: Tiger Woods' new TaylorMade clubs are now available for $2,000 after it took 'hundreds of hours' and numerous prototypes to build the originalsHe's even partnered with President Donald Trump. At the end of 2016, the two played at Trump International Golf Club in West Palm Beach, Florida. "What most impressed me was how far he hits the ball at 70 years old," Woods told CNN of Trump.Julio Cortez/APWoods has also played with Barack Obama, George Bush, and Bill Clinton in the past.Source: CNNWhile Woods is still mum about his private life, he is dating again. He spent a lot of time with Erica Herman at the Presidents Cup in 2017. She was the general manager for Woods' restaurant.Rob Carr/Getty ImagesRead more: Everything you need to know about Erica Herman, the former restaurant manager dating Tiger Woods »And she was at the Tour Championship and greeted Tiger after his win.PGA TourIt is Woods' first public relationship since Lindsey Vonn. In 2017, someone hacked and distributed nude photos of the couple.Evan Agostini/Invision/APRead more: Lawyer for Tiger Woods and Lindsey Vonn vows to pursue legal action 'swiftly and vigorously' against sites publishing their hacked nude photos »We will likely never see Tiger Woods play full-time again, but he is likely to still shoot for wins in the majors.Tiger Woods during his 2019 victory at the Masters.Augusta National via Getty ImagesNow check out the house Michael Jordan can't sell.Concierge Auctions; Stephan Savoia/APHere's Michael Jordan's 56,000-square-foot house in Chicago, and why it's still on the market after 6 yearsRead the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderJun 11th, 2022

Meet Rob Walton, the Walmart heir worth $58 billion who just bought the Denver Broncos in a record-breaking deal

Walmart heir Rob Walton has agreed to buy the Denver Broncos for $4.65 billion, becoming the NFL's wealthiest owner. Here's a closer look. Rob Walton, retired chairman of the board of directors of Walmart, attends a company shareholder meeting.Danny Johnston/AP Rob Walton, the oldest son of Walmart founder Sam Walton, will buy the NFL's Denver Broncos. His ownership group will pay $4.65 billion, breaking a record for pro-team sales in North America. Walton served as the chairman of Walmart's board until 2015 and is worth $58 billion.  Walmart billionaire Rob Walton will add a new title to his resume: owner of the Denver Broncos. Walton, along with an ownership group that includes his daughter and son-in-law, will buy Denver's NFL team for $4.65 billion, the team confirmed Tuesday. The sale breaks a record for the most-expensive professional sports team sale in North America, far eclipsing the sale price of any other NFL team. With a net worth of nearly $58 billion, Walton is among the 25 richest people in the US and one of the heirs to the Walmart empire. Here's what we know about Walton as he prepares to join the elite club of NFL owners — of which he'd be the wealthiest member by far.Rob Walton — whose full name is Samuel Robson Walton — is the oldest son of Walmart founder Sam Walton, who opened the original Walmart store in 1962.Sam Walton in 1984.Danny Johnston/APSource: InsiderSam Walton made specific plans for the future of the company before he died in 1992. He created a family partnership for his share of Walmart stock, which minimized the estate taxes on his will's beneficiaries. As a result, Rob and his three siblings were each granted 20%, while Sam and his wife, Helen, each held 10%.From left: Jim Walton, Alice Walton, and Rob Walton.April L. Brown/APSource: InsiderJohn, the second-oldest Walton sibling, died in a plane crash in 2005 and left his wealth to charity and to his wife, Christy, and son, Lukas. The other three Walton siblings — Rob, Jim, and Alice — have become some of the wealthiest people in the US. Today, Rob Walton is worth $58 billion, according to Forbes.From left: Jim Walton, Alice Walton, and Rob Walton.Rick Wilking/ReutersSource: Insider, ForbesRob Walton played football in high school — he was all-state his senior year — and spent two years at the College of Wooster in Ohio before transferring to University of Arkansas, where he majored in accounting. He graduated in 1966 then moved to New York City to attend Columbia Law School.Jim Walton, John T. Walton, Rob Walton, and Helen Walton in 1997.Spencer Tirey/APSource: FortuneAfter getting his degree, Walton practiced law at a firm in Tulsa. One of the firm's clients was his dad's company, and Walton helped out when Walmart went public in 1970. But by 1978, Walton was ready to rejoin the family business, so he moved back to Arkansas.Walton in 2008.Jessica Rinaldi/ReutersSource: FortuneWalton joined Walmart as a senior vice president and became a member of Walmart's board. He focused on real estate and expansion, pushing his dad to grow internationally. "Rob has no interest in discussions about whether the Clorox should be on the third shelf. But with real estate and legal and those sorts of areas, his knowledge base and his ability to drill down is remarkable. He also has a photographic memory," former Walmart CEO Lee Scott told Fortune in 2004.Walton in 2015.Danny Johnston/APSource: FortuneIn 1992, a day after his dad's death, Walton was named chairman of Walmart's board, a position he held until 2015.Rick T. Wilking / Stringer / Getty ImagesSource: The New York Times, Walton has been married three times and has three children. His daughter, Carrie Walton Penner, is a board member at the Walton Family Foundation, where she focuses on childhood education — her husband, Greg Penner, currently serves as Walmart's chairman.From left: Greg Penner, Walmart CEO Doug McMillon, and Rob Walton.Rick T. Wilking/Getty ImagesSource: The Wall Street Journal, Walton Family FoundationWhile Walton isn't as flashy as other billionaires, he has made some major acquisitions, including a home in Paradise Valley, Arizona; land on Hawaii's Big Island; and a piece of land near Aspen, Colorado, which he recently sold for $30.8 billion.Walton poses with Walmart e-commerce employees at the company's annual shareholders meeting.Rick Wilking/ReutersSource: Insider, The Wall Street Journal, Pacific Business NewsHe also collects vintage cars, and once wrecked his Shelby Daytona Cobra Coupe, estimated to be worth $15 million, on a race track.A 1965 Shelby Daytona Cobra Coupe, though not the one Walton owned.EMMANUEL DUNAND/AFP via Getty ImagesSource: InsiderIn June 2022, Walton made his biggest purchase to date: the Denver Broncos, an NFL team that has been mired in a messy ownership battle for several years. The new ownership group — which includes Walton, his daughter Carrie Walton Penner, son-in-law and Walmart Chairman Greg Penner, and Ariel Investments co-CEO Mellody Hobson — paid $4.65 billion for the franchise, more than double the price of any other NFL team.Denver Broncos fans at Mile High Stadium.Getty ImagesSource: The Wall Street Journal, Denver Broncos"Having lived and worked in Colorado, we've always admired the Broncos," Walton said in a statement. "Carrie, Greg and I are inspired by the opportunity to steward this great organization in a vibrant community full of opportunity and passionate fans."Rick Wilking/ReutersSource: Denver BroncosRead the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderJun 11th, 2022