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The week in Valley bankruptcies: Valley Hospice of Arizona and Agavero Readymix

Phoenix area bankruptcy courts recorded two business filings - including one with total debt above $1 million - during the week that ended November 19, 2021. Year to date through November 19, the court recorded 47 Chapter 7 or Chapter 11 business bankruptcy filings, a 36% decrease from the same span the prior year. Chapter 7 bankruptcy protection typically provides for the liquidation of a business’ assets to satisfy creditor claims, while Chapter 11 protection enables a business to restructure….....»»

Category: topSource: bizjournalsNov 25th, 2021

Transcript: Sukhinder Singh Cassidy

     The transcript from this week’s, MiB: Sukhinder Singh Cassidy, is below. You can stream and download our full conversation, including the podcast extras on iTunes, Spotify, Stitcher, Google, Bloomberg, and Acast. All of our earlier podcasts on your favorite pod hosts can be found here. ~~~ BARRY RITHOLTZ, HOST, MASTERS IN BUSINESS: This… Read More The post Transcript: Sukhinder Singh Cassidy appeared first on The Big Picture.      The transcript from this week’s, MiB: Sukhinder Singh Cassidy, is below. You can stream and download our full conversation, including the podcast extras on iTunes, Spotify, Stitcher, Google, Bloomberg, and Acast. All of our earlier podcasts on your favorite pod hosts can be found here. ~~~ BARRY RITHOLTZ, HOST, MASTERS IN BUSINESS: This week on the podcast, I have an extra special guest. Her name is Sukhinder Singh Cassidy and she has had a fascinating career in technology, starting as an analyst in the investment banking group at Merrill Lynch before going west to join a company that ends up getting purchased by Amazon and she stays at Amazon for a while before leaving to join another startup then ends up doing well. She eventually takes a couple of roles at Google, Google Maps, and then running a couple of other projects, Google International Commerce. And from there, ends up launching a couple of more startups, all of which that have done very, very well. She talks about the process of risk-taking and decision-making and why you can’t think about the risk reward calculus in terms of one big win or lose choice. You have to think about a series of smaller incremental steps that all involve risk and eventually determine the path you take. It’s a good framework for both technology and finance. I thought this conversation was quite fascinating and I found her book to be intriguing as well, “Choose Possibility.” With no further ado, my conversation with Sukhinder Singh Cassidy. VOICEOVER: This is Masters in business with Barry Ritholtz on Bloomberg Radio. SUKHINDER SINGH CASSIDY, PRESIDENT, STUBHUB: My special guest this week is Sukhinder Singh Cassidy. She is a technology executive and serial entrepreneur. Previously, she was president of StubHub, her new book is “Choose Possibility: Take risks and Thrive (Even When You Fail). Sukhinder Singh Cassidy, welcome to Bloomberg. CASSIDY: Thank you so much for having me. Excited to be here. RITHOLTZ: So, let’s talk about your career which is really so interesting. It covers everything from finance and investing banking to technology. Let’s begin at the beginning. You started at Merrill Lynch in the early ’90s, a great time to start in investment banking. What motivated that decision to go into finance? CASSIDY: Well, a couple of things. Number one, I’d say the most more intelligently reason was because I wanted, sort of a base in financial literacy and financial analysis which I thought would be great for any career I had. And then the more emotional reason, honestly, I was at a top undergraduate business school in Canada and all my friends were doing it. RITHOLTZ: Right. CASSIDY: I was like, well, if they’re doing it, I should be doing it too. So, in some ways I call it — I call it a couple cat goal. I’m sure there are many ways I could’ve gotten financial literacy but I was bound and determined to keep pace with my rather competitive colleagues to get a job n Wall Street. RITHOLTZ: So, you head to New York, you start at Merrill Lynch. Any formative experiences stay with you years later, what do you most remember from that era? CASSIDY: Well, the first is, honestly, just the struggle to get the job, believe it or not. And I say that to people because often, when you look back on the careers of others, that they’re — they look so pretty from the outside. But from the inside, it took me a good year plus to get that job. I was rejected by a number of banks. Merrill didn’t even come to Canada to recruit. And they offered me one of those polite informational letters which said something like if you’re ever in New York City, we’d be happy to give you 15 — a 15-minute informational interview. And I remember saying to my father, I’m like, well, look at that. They just rejected me and he said, well, why don’t you take a train to get it, down to New York. You’ll never know. And I was at the end of my rope. I’d been searching for jobs for over a year. I said — as I said, determined to get this job and not successful and I took that train ride and 15 minutes turned into a three-hour interview. RITHOLTZ: Wow. CASSIDY: And then they accelerated me to the final process, which is for investment, it’s very competitive. I came down on a weekend and competed with all the sort of Ivy League American kids who had been through rounds of interviews, undoubtedly. And I got the job. So, it was a pretty sweet — it’s a pretty sweet success after a year and a half of trying. But it was very formative for me because it really informed and, I guess, my view of how often you have to choose keep choosing in order to get to the goal you want. RITHOLTZ: Keep banging away. So, what — what did you do for Merrill when you — when you get the job, what was it that they had you do? What were your responsibilities and what was the job like? CASSIDY: Well, and I think this is probably the second formative experience I had at Merrill. So, my role was financial analyst. Anybody who maybe has studied finance know that that’s really a job where you create pitchbooks. RITHOLTZ: Right. CASSIDY: The books with facts and details about different industries. I was in the financial services industry. And that was the entry (ph) that I was assigned to and you really create those books or what’s called managing directors who go out and pitch large companies on using their services, M&A services, IPO services, what have you. And so, the average analyst is spending, you know, days and nights, often through the night, toiling to create these perfect pitchbooks. So, I certainly had that experience but I ended up working for a pretty eclectic young managing director called Henry Michaels and Henry was, as detailed as they could get, pipe smoking, definitely capable of driving others crazy but he took a really deep and really interest in just teaching me about, believe it or not, the savings and loan industry. And I think he found me to be maybe a rough (ph) student and, I freely admit, after taking a year to get that job, I was bound and determined to be successful at it. So, I would, very inquisitive, very curious. And as a result, Henry kept stuffing me and putting me, I would say on the — on jobs with increasing responsibility. And so, pretty early on, I was going to meetings with CEOs that he would — he would set up and let me attend. Of course, I was carrying the pitchbook, but that didn’t really matter to me, the exposure did. And as a result, I ended up working on an IPO early, the Long Island Savings Bank. Henry kept giving me more and more responsibility. And in my second year, Merrill sent me to London which was unusual as well to send somebody that early and I got to go work on banking in the — in the European banking industry and had just an amazing experience. So, I give Henry Michaels a lot of credit. Henry, definitely, skipped a bunch of layers to teach me and I, as I said, maybe my best contribution was I was a rough (ph) student but the result was that, an experience where I’ve got a lot of exposure very quickly to kind of senior executive. RITHOLTZ: Really interesting. I have a specific recollection of the Long Island Savings Bank going IPO in the early, I want to say mid ’90s and eventually … CASSIDY: That was me. I was the analyst. RITHOLTZ: And eventually, it got acquired and then that company got acquired. And in a certain point, you just lose track. But this leads to an obvious question, all of your background is finance related, how did you transition to tech and what made you decide to leave the East Coast and the world of finance for the West Coast which has more of a technology bend? CASSIDY: Well, I — so, ironically, I made my way to the West Coast, not from the East Coast but via London because if you recall, Merrill sent me to London. And when I was in London, I had spent, maybe two years with the bank and its classic length of each program for two years and then they expect you, actually, to move on. So, analyst programs are two years in investment banks. So, I spent two years. They offered me a third and I really want to be, quote-unquote, “in industry.” Now, I had no idea what that meant but I wanted to work for one company. RITHOLTZ: Right. CASSIDY: And so, I was able to secure a role with the CFO at a company called British Sky Broadcasting, one of the biggest satellite broadcasters in the world. If you recall, this is part of the News Corporation, its kind of empire. And luckily, for me, I parted with my job in finance to a job in finance inside of a company at BSkyB and then I was promoted to working for the CEO and the COO there. So, actually, it’s probably a more dramatic story. I was promoted. I was working on the top floor for the — one of the two top bosses and I’d been there, I’ve been at BSkyB for only a year and I walked into my bosses’ office and I told them I quit. And he was shocked. And I said, two things are true, David. Number one, I have this epic promotion. I sit down the hallway from you, I get — I get lunch every day, I’m on the — I’m on the executive floor, I’m like but you don’t really use me. It’s true. My boss is very used to sort of operating like lone wolf as that as sort of effectively president of the company. And I said, number two, I think I want to head back to North America. I’ve been there for two and a half years and a girlfriend of mine, a very dear friend from Stanford Business School, I had visited her the year early — earlier and I fell in love with the weather in the Bay Area and this kind of sense of entrepreneurship. That’s true. I mean, for a girl who comes from Ontario, Canada, where it gets pretty darn cold, once you visit California, you sort of realize that it’s possible to live in good weather all year long. RITHOLTZ: Right. CASSIDY: But the other — but the other truth is I wanted to be an entrepreneur. My father, loves running some business. I had no idea how. I love the Bay Area for the weather and I sense that it was, that there were a lot of people starting companies. So I quit my job, I went skiing for three months and Whistler, and I moved to the — I moved to California and bought a car, drove up the coast from L.A. to San Francisco. Luckily, those friends of mine, their parents put me up at their very nice house in California until I found the job and I started over. RITHOLTZ: And how did you end up at Junglee? CASSIDY: If you can’t tell already, I was a fairly impatient young woman because, I moved a fair amount in that first six years of my career. I, as I said, I was looking for a job in the Valley. I found, what, unfortunately, the job I found was not nearly as positive experience as I’d hope. As you — as we just talked about, I actually had a really good experience with Merrill. I even had a good experience with BSkyB, if you look at the fact that I got responsibility, I was promoted. And I got to this, I found a startup end in Silicon Valley that was in interactive television which is we somewhat related to what I’ve just got in at Sky, which is a TV industry. And on second day on the job, my boss told me I was scaring the secretaries and I was like, what — what do you mean? RITHOLTZ: What does that mean? CASSIDY: What do you mean? Yes, what do you mean? I’m like I just come from two industries that are highly male dominated, nobody ever told me I was scary. And that began a rapid decline in our relationship. I felt like I wasn’t getting a lot of responsibility. He kept telling me I was the rookie that needed to be coached. And I quit six months later. Actually, fairly deflated, because I was, like, if this is what it means to be in Silicon Valley, I must be this meritocracy. I’m supposed to be having the time of my life. Maybe I’m not meant for this place. Luckily for me, I started thinking about getting another job and a recruiter called and pitched this idea of a company started by four Stanford Ph.Ds. in — who have this very cool technology. I took the interview I didn’t really understand fully the technology but I loved that. They were smart, they were thunderous. And so I switched, and luckily for me, I made the switch, Junglee ended up building a whole engine for shopping, for comparing prices across the Internet and Amazon bought the company six months later and that was the really the start of my career in Silicon Valley. Just a great experience. But following a very poor one. RITHOLTZ: Really — well, everything can’t all be wine and roses. Sometimes, they’re going to miss. Tell us a little bit about what it was like working for Amazon in ’98 and how closely did you work with Bezos back then? CASSIDY: Well, believe it or not, back then, it was a pretty small company. There was about 1,200 people. We were public. So, everybody got exposure to Jeff, myself included. And so, what are some of those early year — those early times like at Amazon? Well, first of all, as I said, everybody was — it was a small enough company that you could sit most of Amazon in one or two buildings, so we made a couple of moves where — we were all in the same building. Number two, we all had to work in the warehouse including like the very top executives at Amazon. Jeff and Rick Dalzell, like everybody had shifts over Christmas. You had no day job. You literally all had shifts in the warehouse which was a pretty amazing cultural feel. And by the way, that included, like overnight shifts. You work taking and packing books and music — books, CDs, and videos. That’s true. Jeff had bought the company because he, believe it or not, in 1998 still had this vision of a day where Amazon show you every product on the Internet whether or not they had it in stocks, so this early vision of marketplace. But Amazon at the time was just building out its own verticals. So, what was sit like? He was really the main champion of this acquisition of buying us for our technology. He used it to start version one of Amazon marketplace which he shut down several years later. So, he’s made many attempts at marketplace before he got the one that worked. And by the way, before the world was ready for it. So, it was pretty — it was a pretty neat look into how sort of visionary he was even early on, of course, not nearly as sort of daunting a presence as he might be now. Just like very accessible, pretty goofy, actually pretty quirky sense of humor. And I got to work with him specifically because I was one of the people selling new merchants, like people like Macy’s and others on the idea of putting their products on the Amazon’s website. So, I got to pitch a few different retailers with Jeff which was really cool (ph). VOICEOVER: ESG, it’s not quite as easy as ABC. Environmental, social, and governance factors now influence more than $20 trillion in assets. We’ll tell you how the ESG movement started and where it’s going on the OUTThinking Investor. A new podcast from PGIM. Listen today. RITHOLTZ: So, I know this is going to be a very fanboy question, but I have to ask because there’s a broader component about understanding or not the future, in the late ’90s, in the early 2000s, did you have any indication that Amazon would become the juggernaut that it became or was — that was early days. Hey, we think we’re going to be successful, we could be a real solid company, like, what was the view like from back then? CASSIDY: The view was not that we were going to become the juggernaut we are today as defined by Amazon’s not just a retailer but it’s like a dominant movie studio. It’s not just a movie studio, it owns a grocer. It’s not just a grocer, but it happens to own the largest infrastructure, backbone of the web called Amazon Web Services and other merchants, like no way was that obviously. As I said, like, literally, the days where we’re selling books, music, and video and launching new categories. And, Jeff, as I said, like, he was impressive but he was also a very accessible, funny, young, like, he’s only a few years older than I am, at best. And so no, I don’t, I mean, all the people that you think of now who’s quite famous, there was no indication. As I said, now, you might and I might say, wow, buying a company in 1998 to launch Amazon marketplace, certainly there were early inklings that he has a vision to sell a lot of stuff. As we say, hey, should I see this company becoming one of the larger retailers, sure? But it’s defined by what Amazon is today, yes, no way to connect it. RITHOLTZ: Quite fascinating. That’s quite fascinating. So, let’s talk about your transition from Amazon to your next venture, you co-founded a startup, tell us a little bit about Yodlee and what made you decide to say, well, this Amazon company is kind of fund, but let me see what I can build on my own. CASSIDY: Well, remember we were chatting about that rather restless and impatient young woman. I don’t think any of that dissolved when I was at Amazon, it was a great experience, by the way, and remember, I had never gone intending to be in Amazon, I had gone to a startup, right, which got buy — bought. And while Amazon was a great company, that’s in Seattle, it was now public and so there is me thinking, gosh, when am I going to get the chance to start my own company and I know many people listening to this podcast would be like, really, you left Amazon to start your own company? Is that a really smart decision? But in some ways, Amazon to me, still at the time, felt very big and I want to get there. So, I’m at Amazon, and remember, many of the founders of Junglee, you know, has made a lot of wealth. They’re certainly mentors of mine. They are even today. And they start angel investing in a number of companies in the valley. And knowing that I have this ambition, I’ve been at Amazon about a year and I get into the — I get a call one weekend that sort of said, hey, there’s this professor from UCSD who’s a computer science professor and he built this really cool technology that goes out of across the web and it gets all your financial information behind all of those sites with passwords and it puts them in one place. You can have an aggregated view of your financial life. And by the way, the technology is not the same as Junglee but it has some analogy. And they’re like, and they’re lucky for a business cofounder. They have all these engineers that they need someday to establish but there’s this model, raise the money. And so I got one of those inbound calls and through that network of angel investors who’s — who were the founders of Junglee. I flew down from Seattle to San Francisco for a weekend. I took one look at the technology and I’m suitably impressed. I was like, wow. You just grabbed all my credit balances and my bank balance and my brokerage balance in one place and gave me this aggregated view. Nobody can do that. It’s pretty revolutionary technology at the time. And they offered me the opportunity, at 29 years old, to become what’s called a cofounder of the company and the first business executive. And I just jumped at the chance. I love the technology, I love the fact that I would be with — they were engineers that this company do, again, very similar to Junglee but now, I was going to get a seat at the table as literally one of the executive team at such a young age and get to raise the money for venture capitalists, make the business plan. So, I said yes. RITHOLTZ: So they were really very early stage. CASSIDY: Yes. Yes, yes. I mean, it was 12 engineers in a room and as I said, I was the — I was effectively the first business leader to be hired at the company. RITHOLTZ: And so, I gave my notice at Amazon maybe a month later and moved right into Junglee and we raised $15 million from venture capitalists within a month of that and we were off to the raises. And thus, began kind of the six-year journey to build what today many would consider the pioneer in really aggregate your financial information. I’m really proud of the fact that Yodlee really did create a whole industry of companies that were able to access financial information using our services and our kind of technology backbone and build many of the financial outfit people use today. So, Yodlee, Yodlee had a 15-year run before it became public and I was there for the first five of those years. RITHOLTZ: So, let’s work our way through this chronology a little bit. You ended up at Junglee which gets acquired by Amazon in ’98. From ’98 to … CASSIDY: Ninety-nine, I’m at Amazon. RITHOLTZ: And then when do you leave ’90 — when do you leave Amazon … CASSIDY: Mid ’99. RITHOLTZ: So you were only — OK. Got you. CASSIDY: Yes. I was there a year, I mean. It was a year. RITHOLTZ: And you stayed — did you stay with Yodlee until they were acquired by Envestnet? CASSIDY: No. I stayed with Yodlee for five years and that time, I had every job under the son. I was predominantly responsible for the executives for not just raising the money, we’ve raised about a 100 million in the time I was there in several rounds of financing but I was — I was just responsible for sales and business development, selling our technology to all the banks and brokerage companies. And so, I stayed until in 2004. I (inaudible) our CEO at 2000 and he wasn’t going anywhere, by the way. So I always say the people tapped out of my own startup, like, literally I’d had every job. I’ve done sales, I’ve done marketing, I’ve done PR. I was our spokesperson, I raised money. And I — an in many ways, I was partnered very closed with the CEO and we had a great relationship. And in 2004, I was like, OK, now, what’s my next horizon? Like I’ve been here five years and I’ve done all of these roles but there’s like the company’s not growing fast enough to give me an entirely new career. RITHOLTZ: Right. CASSIDY: With set of challenges. And so that, I actually, for the first time, did what I call a more studied search, thinking I might start another company but also thinking that I wanted to find the right idea so I was pondering my next move, presuming I would start a company when I got the opportunity to start a new service at Google which, today we would call Local and Maps. RITHOLTZ: And let’s talk a little bit about Google Maps. It’s funny because it’s so ubiquitous today, we don’t even think twice about the miracle that is Google Maps. But back in the mid-2000s, did anybody have any idea of what a massive technological breakthrough G maps were? I remember playing with early versions of it and just head exploding, What was the thoughts like within Google about Google Maps? CASSIDY: Well, it’s — it’s a couple things. So, first of all, when I got the call, Google originally called me to come join them and I actually said no. And I said, gosh, you guys are also quite big. You’re 1,200 people. Remember in my work frame, Amazon is big at 1,2000 people, so is Google. And I says I’m going to start another company. RITHOLTZ: Hard pass. CASSIDY: I know. So funny. And Google called me back seven months later. They said — you said you wanted a startup opportunity. We have it. We have something greenfield called Maps and we said -they said, Yahoo! has a product called Yahoo! Maps, AOL has what they call MapQuest, Google has no product to help you search locally or find — navigate locally. Either you find goods or services locally or business — and navigate, right? Because Google Local is like search for business, Google Maps is search for a place. In fact, today, they’re very merged. Nobody thinks of them as different. RITHOLTZ: Right. CASSIDY: And I studied the landscape, I went into interview with Google and within two weeks, I said yes to the job because I was like, holy smokes, the yellow page industry, we have the time with those thick yellow books that everybody got to find places was a $23 billion industry in annual advertising. And I was like surely, if Yahoo! has a product and AOL has a product, Google should have a product and look at all the ad dollars available in those category and look at all the usage, it’s pretty antiquated. RITHOLTZ: Yes. CASSIDY: So, I said yes very quickly. And I do … RITHOLTZ: I have to point out that yellow books are $23 billion in revenue, the obvious answer is but not for long. CASSIDY: But not for long. I mean, look, digital really wiped that business over. By the way, there still yellow pages around the country and … RITHOLTZ: Right. CASSIDY: … around the globe but nobody would think of that as a juggernaut industry. So, yes, online really changed and transformed the face of local advertising fundamentally. But I would say I knew it would be big. I mean, that’s what lead me to go in that direction. I say what was unknown about Google service and you appreciate this, even by me, is I was paired with a product manager, I was the business person, meaning I had to go license the data for like, roads and businesses to put underneath inside of that service, right? All that data was not online. I had one product manager, Bret Taylor. Ironically, now the president of Salesforce. He was my — he’s my product manager and we had 10 engineers and the 12 of us build that product (ph) effectively. I did the business DLT, he guided the engineers. So, on one hand, the product could have been pretty straightforward like Yahoo!, AOL. But Google made two innovations that I think people will remember to this day. Number one, believe it or not, just putting the name of the road inside of the road, not on top of the road was one innovation. You’re like, the name of the road is like on the road. And visually, it’s just like a prettier experience and it’s — it’s like the map is less crowded that way. But the second innovation, and this I give a lot of credit to Sergei and Larry, early on, a guy named John Hanke showed Google, once we’ve launched local and maps, this cool technology that had satellite imagery called Keyhole and Larry and Sergei were like, we need to buy that. We’re going to overlay that on Maps. And that was the innovation, right? Overlaying satellite technology on top of maps, like hey, you can’t give me any credit as a business p person for seeing that, that was really product vision. And in that case, led by the founders. I mean, Bret like the product too but from what I recall, Larry and Sergei was really gung-ho on buying the compo and overlaying satellite technology on top of Maps. And that’s an example of sort of one of the things I admired about Google. They didn’t really care about how it would make money, it was just a very cool and differentiated in — it turns out, very useful feature to have Google Earth on top of Google Maps. But with no commercial application, just super cool, at least not then. RITHOLTZ: Well, eventually, right? Eventually. CASSIDY: Yes. But not — but like when we laid over — overlaid it, I was like, ok, I guess that this cool. I’m not going to (inaudible) to anybody but what a — what a great kind of product feature and like kind of great vision. So, those are some of the finer experiences about building Maps and then Local as well. RITHOLTZ: You mentioned the integration of Local with Google Maps. I have a suspicion that a lot of people don’t realize how tightly integrated it actually is. What — I was in pre-pandemic, I was in Paris, and we were looking for a specific restaurant and you just punched restaurant in and Google Maps knows where you are and it just shows you on the Maps, it populates all the restaurants of that type in that area. And it’s absolutely seamless and I’ve showed that the people who are much, much younger than me and they’re like, I didn’t know I could do that with Google Maps. It’s almost like a surprise feature, when really, it’s a core part of Google Maps. It’s on an Easter egg. CASSIDY: Yes. Absolutely. And to be honest, when we started the product local in maps with different things, you could type in to the Search Box, like movie theater near me and you would get literally a listing of results. Today, of course, they’ll show you the results on a Google Map as the preferred way for you to see those results. RITHOLTZ: Right. CASSIDY: I guess you could get a listing if you want but every Google search result has a map embedded and like you, I actually often do all my local searching on Google Maps. I don’t even go to the main Google website. I can, but I just go to, like, Google Maps, and I type in, like restaurants near me, and I get all of them with the reviews and the results. And so, look, very, very, very fun product to have launched into the system (ph). RITHOLTZ: So, what led you to leave Google to start Joyous? CASSIDY: Well, remember, I have one more big chapter at Google that’s probably ironically even bigger than my Local and Maps chapter because I’m — I’m at Google. We’ve launched Local and Maps and what’s happening is people are saying to me, well saying to my boss, he was the cheap business officer at Google, um, hey we have all these products that need us to license data, like we want to have — we want to have a library product, we want to have a solar product, we want to have a shopping product. By the way, we want to have a video product. So, I’ve ended up building a team that is all the licensing for all these other data, types of data that we want to put online. And so, I’m running that team, my team’s gone — I’ve gone from being individ.....»»

Category: blogSource: TheBigPictureOct 25th, 2021

Transcript: Soraya Darabi

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

Category: blogSource: TheBigPictureOct 20th, 2021

Saturday links: sticking to principles

On Saturdays we catch up with the non-finance related items that we didn’t get to earlier in the week. You can check... AutosFord ($F) is spending big to locate EV battery production in the U.S. (businessinsider.com)Five Midwest states are working together to build a charging network. (npr.org)Radar is still a valuable tool in auto safety systems. (wsj.com)Why economists are now obsessed with used car prices. (nytimes.com)TransportThe FAA is rolling out new software to reduce delays and save fuel along the way. (wired.com)Bike sharing services are switching to e-bikes. (axios.com)Are drone landing pads going to dot cityscapes? (axios.com)EnergyScotland is turning to floating wind turbines as North Sea oil production slows. (nytimes.com)Increasing solar power will for awhile require relying on imported panels. (politico.com)ESS Inc. is building 'iron-flow batteries' for utility scale storage. (bloomberg.com)WaterFEMA's old flood models date from 1986. A lot has changed since then. (washingtonpost.com)FEMA's new risk ratings are already facing opposition from politicians. (housingwire.com)FireHomes can be built to be more fire resistant, but it costs more. (npr.org)How drones can be used to reforest burned areas. (techcrunch.com)This year's fires has affected some giant Sequoias. (sfchronicle.com)EnvironmentThe agricultural heartland of Brazil is drying out. (bloomberg.com)South America is already seeing the adverse effects of climate change. (washingtonpost.com)Why cases of valley fever are on the rise in the American West. (wired.com)Geoengineering vs. carbon removal: which would work best? (nytimes.com)ScienceThe term 'junk DNA' is a bit of a misnomer. (quantamagazine.org)You can't have ecological balance without healthy predators. (nautil.us)How researchers treat 'sudden oak disease.' (wired.com)Elephants are no fans of bees. (scientificamerican.com)AppleWhat you need to know if you are upgrading to an iPhone 13. (sixcolors.com)iOS 15 will tell if you are gait is unsteady. (wsj.com)Safari 15 is a bit of a mess. (daringfireball.net)BehaviorHow to decide if in-person or online therapy works better for you. (nytimes.com)Five insights from Matthew Pollard's book "The Introvert’s Edge to Networking: Work the Room. Leverage Social Media. Develop Powerful Connections." (nextbigideaclub.com)HealthRansomware attacks on hospitals cost lives. (scmagazine.com)What's really behind 'Havana syndrome.' (theconversation.com)In praise of wearing earplugs. (gq.com)FitnessResearch shows being fitter trumps losing weight. (nytimes.com)Work out at least two hours before going to bed for better sleep. (newatlas.com)WeedAs marijuana becomes normalized it is making its way into the workplace. (wsj.com)Will DNA testing make for a better high? (bloomberg.com)RestaurantsWhy this San Francisco chef kicked his Michelin stars to the curb. (sfchronicle.com)"Be Kind or Leave" is a new motto for restaurants. (wsj.com)FoodRaising livestock will become more challenging as temperatures rise. (modernfarmer.com)Reducing food waste helps solve a couple of big problems. (scientificamerican.com)Higher pea prices are putting the hurt on alternative meat companies. (ft.com)The story of a farm that donates 90% of its products to food banks. (nytimes.com)CollegeHow community colleges provide jobs skills for adult learners. (wsj.com)Why elite colleges don't expand incoming classes. (marginalrevolution.com)Earlier on Abnormal ReturnsCoronavirus links: pandemic preparedness. (abnormalreturns.com)What you missed in our Friday linkfest. (abnormalreturns.com)Podcast links: pandemic lessons. (abnormalreturns.com)Lived experiences affect how we think (and feel) about money. (abnormalreturns.com)On the benefits of leaving room for the unexpected. (abnormalreturns.com)Are you a financial adviser looking for some out-of-the-box thinking? Then check out our weekly e-mail newsletter. (newsletter.abnormalreturns.com)Mixed mediaSchool districts are struggling with a shortage of cafeteria workers. (nytimes.com)A visualization of all the MSAs in the U.S. (visualcapitalist.com).....»»

Category: blogSource: abnormalreturnsOct 2nd, 2021

Pamper yourself at these 10 hotel spas in the US, from Arizona"s hot springs to New York"s Finger Lakes

We found the best hotels with spas in the US for self-care, from restorative treatments to guided meditation and holistic wellness. When you buy through our links, Insider may earn an affiliate commission. Learn more. Aman Resorts A getaway to de-stress sounds more enticing than ever. Many hotels have incredible spas rooted in helping you relax; some of the best are in the US. The best hotels with spas range from $97 to well over $1,000 - no passport required. Table of Contents: Masthead StickyMany of us are looking to finally return to travel with a focus on much-needed wellness. Fortunately, the US offers some of the best destination spas on the planet in hotels housed everywhere from urban oases in major metros to remote retreats nestled on beaches and islands.As a travel writer with an emphasis on luxury, I've experienced hotels with spas that are simply otherworldly. My top picks boast expansive facilities with soothing designs, innovative technologies, and holistic approaches like meditation and acupuncture. If you're ready to invest in some serious self-care, keep reading for the best hotels with spas in the US. Though, if you're looking for something more far-flung while keeping to a budget, we also rounded up the most affordable hotel spas around the world.Browse all the best hotels with spas below, or jump directly to a specific area here:The best hotels with spas in the USFAQ: Hotels with spasHow we selected the best hotels with spasMore of the most incredible hotelsThese are the best hotels with spas in the US, sorted by price from low to high. Resorts World Las Vegas Resorts World Las Vegas opened in June as the first integrated complex to go up on the Strip in over a decade. Tripadvisor Book Resorts World Las VegasCategory: BudgetLocation: Las Vegas, NevadaTypical starting/peak price: $97/$263Best for: Families, couples, groups of friends, solo travelers, business travelersOn-site amenities: An enormous slate of dining, entertainment, nightlife, and retail options, plus pools, spa, fitness center, casinoSpa features: The theatrical Art of Aufguss experience (the first of its kind in the US), Fountain of Youth experience with six vitality pools, foot spa lounge, bodywork, facialsPros: As the newest full-scale resort-casino property on the strip, Resorts World is a buzzy new option with a full suite of amenities in addition to the next-level spa.Cons: Although it's the newest, this isn't the poshest hotel in Vegas compared with pricier, more upscale resorts with tricked-out guest rooms.The Strip's newest integrated resort (that is, a major resort property that includes a hotel, casino, entertainment, convention facilities, retail, and more) comes with a unique and Vegas-worthy spa experience: Awana Spa. The spa offers an experience not available anywhere else in the country, known as the Art of Aufguss. This unique treatment-slash-show within the spa was inspired by European saunas that provide rejuvenation and socializing with the communal goal of wellness. The spa showcases a theater-inspired heated room with aromatherapy, choreographed music, lighting, and dancing towels, and it's as avant garde as it is relaxing. Here, each "sauna meister" curates a 30-minute themed experience.The Fountain of Youth is an experience within the spa that houses a network of six vitality pools, heated crystal laconium room, tepidarium chairs, vapor-filled steam rooms, cool mist showers, and an experiential "rain walk." The huge co-ed facility features LED screens and immersive experiences that change throughout the day; when the projection transports guests to various picturesque destinations, the room's temperature and other details change to match the displayed setting. The spa also offers traditional facials and body work, and has a foot spa lounge. Resorts World is the first complex like it to be built on the Las Vegas Strip in more than a decade. The $4.3 billion property has 3,500 guest rooms and suites, gaming, more than 40 food and beverage options, and nightlife. Through its partnership with Hilton, the development includes the Las Vegas Hilton, Conrad Las Vegas, and Crockfords Las Vegas. COVID-19 procedures are available here. Inns of Aurora Inns of Aurora is a luxury lakeside boutique resort in the Finger Lakes with a 15,000-square-foot spa. Inns of Aurora Book Inns of AuroraCategory: BoutiqueLocation: Aurora, New YorkTypical starting/peak price: $187/$360Best for: Families, couples, groups of friends, business travelersOn-site amenities: Multiple dining options, spa, activity center, meeting and event spaceSpa features: Indoor and outdoor hydrotherapy pools, meditation spaces, 10 treatment rooms (4 with fireplaces), inclusive gender-neutral spacesPros: The location is dreamy and remote with stunning lake views, and the spa is new and expansive.Cons: While most reviews are overwhelmingly positive, some critical reviewers noted there were limited food options.Founded in 1789, the Village of Aurora is a tiny, serene village in New York's pristine Finger Lakes region. Set on 350 acres of rolling farmland overlooking the lake, the property has five inns in all. Entry-level accommodations at the Aurora Inn have luxurious Queen beds outfitted in Frette linens, a comfortable seating area, and a writer's desk. Balconies with rocking chairs add charm in warmer months, as do gas fireplaces in the cooler ones.Known for its extensive wellness offerings, the Inns of Aurora has a 15,000-square-foot spa and healing center, The Spa at the Inns of Aurora, which takes a holistic approach to wellness. Indoor and outdoor spaces offer views of Cayuga Lake and there are six indoor and outdoor hydrotherapy pools, multiple meditation spaces, 10 treatment rooms (four outfitted with warming fireplaces), and inclusive gender-neutral spaces, along with unobstructed access to lush lavender fields for outdoor massages and relaxing strolls among nature trails. COVID-19 procedures are available here. Carillon Miami Wellness Resort At 70,000 square feet, Carillon Miami Wellness Resort is the largest spa center on the Eastern seaboard. Tripadvisor Book Carillon Miami Wellness ResortCategory: LuxuryLocation: Miami, FloridaTypical starting/peak price: $298/$625Best for: Couples, groups of friendsOn-site amenities: Multiple dining options, spa, wellness activities, fitness classes, beach clubSpa features: 70,000-square-foot Finnish spa and wellness facility with vitality tub, steam room, foot spa, cooling "igloo" room, experiential rain showers, thermal loungers, salt float bathPros: The spa has every treatment you could imagine, including innovative and high-tech approaches. Apartment-style lodgings are large and offer homey comfort.Cons: Critical reviews say the rooms are due for a sprucing.Located on the white sands of Miami Beach, Carillon Miami Wellness Resort is the only fully dedicated wellness resort in South Florida. Indeed, the 70,000-square-foot spa is the largest on the Eastern seaboard.Everything about staying here is plush, starting with well-appointed, apartment-sized accommodations that range from one- to two-bedroom layouts, starting at 720 square feet. They feature floor-to-ceiling windows with ocean views, a separate living room, a fully equipped kitchen, and a spa-like bathroom.Wellness offerings are abundant, including a range of ultra-high-tech services and amenities such as a futuristic cabin with a height-adjustable water bed, heated water mattress, color therapy, steam bath with aromatherapy, Vichy shower with six jets, and Vibro massage.​​Carillon also recently launched a touchless wellness program meant to target a range of issues like sleep health, anxiety, muscle recovery, weight loss, respiratory health, and mental and spiritual wellness.Come here to indulge with a one-of-a-kind thermal therapy experience, or sweat it out in 65 fitness classes held each week. Traditional Chinese medicine and a medical wellness division are also offered. Just note that spa treatments are not included in the room rate.COVID-19 procedures are available here. Peninsula Chicago Peninsula Chicago has 339 guest rooms and a sleek spa with an indoor pool. The Peninsula Chicago Book Peninsula ChicagoCategory: LuxuryLocation: Chicago, IllinoisTypical starting/peak prices: $399/$720Best for: Families, couples, groups of friends, business travelers On-site amenities: Multiple restaurants, rooftop lounge, spa, fitness center, pool, event venuesSpa features: Rejuvenation lounge with fireplace, yoga room, fitness center, half-Olympic poolPros: Peninsula Chicago is known for its top-end service, luxurious accommodations, and supremely walkable location on Chicago's Michigan Mile.Cons: Among mostly glowing reviews, few critical guests expressed higher hopes for the property given other experiences with the Peninsula brand.Located on the Magnificent Mile in the heart of Chicago's premier shopping district, this 339-guest room hotel features three restaurants, a rooftop lounge, and glam rooms. Even the entry-level guest rooms are some of the most spacious accommodations in town. Facing south over Superior Street, the Superior rooms are bright and airy with sophisticated decor in muted earth tones and signature blues alongside rich wood and cream leather accents.The Peninsula Chicago's spa is an exquisite urban retreat, with an indoor half-Olympic length swimming pool surrounded by floor-to-ceiling windows for jaw-dropping views of the city from the 19th floor.This Peninsula Chicago spa is the first hotel spa destination in the city to offer ultra-posh treatments using the famously expensive and splurge-worthy Biologique Recherche. There's also a relaxation lounge with a fireplace, a fully-equipped fitness center, and a yoga room. COVID-19 procedures are available here. Lake Austin Spa Resort Lake Austin Spa Resort covers 19 lakefront acres for a wellness getaway that feels a world away. Tripadvisor Book Lake Austin Spa ResortCategory: LuxuryLocation: Austin, TexasTypical starting/peak prices: $525/$1,450Best for: Couples, groups of friends, solo travelersOn-site amenities: Spa, pool, restaurant, boutique, fitness center, water sportsSpa features: Aster Café, private couples suites, more than 100 treatments and services, day passesPros: Room rates are all-inclusive, meaning your overnight price comes with three gourmet meals per day and all the fitness classes you can handle.Cons: The all-inclusive rate isn't totally all-encompassing as spa treatments are not included.Located 30 minutes from downtown Austin and speak on 19 lakefront acres, the Lake Austin Spa Resort feels tucked far away from any urban bustle. As an all-inclusive resort, the majority of offerings are covered by the rate. While it doesn't include spa treatments, it does include three gourmet meals made from ingredients grown on-site each day, as well as morning yoga classes, water sports on the lake, and stargazing sessions with an astrologer. Think of this as an adult version of a summer camp, where the emphasis is on mindfulness and fitness.Overnight guests stay in one of 40 French country-style accommodations, which range from quaint rooms with private meditation gardens to the elaborate Lady Bird Suite with a private hot tub. Each comes with fresh-cut daily flowers, Veuve Clicquot champagne upon arrival, a De'Longhi Lattissima Pro Espresso Machine, and toiletries with the spa's signature lavender scent, created from plants grown on-site.The 25,000-square-foot LakeHouse Spa offers fresh, seasonal dining at Aster Café, private couples suites, and a range of treatments using ancient and modern therapeutic techniques in a serene setting. COVID-19 procedures are available here. The Ritz-Carlton Bacara, Santa Barbara The Ritz-Carlton Bacara in Santa Barbara has the largest spa of any Ritz-Carlton in the country. Tripadvisor Book The Ritz-Carlton Bacara, Santa BarbaraCategory: LuxuryLocation: Santa Barbara, CaliforniaTypical starting/peak prices: $779/$1,379Best for: Couples, families, groups of friends, business travelersOn-site amenities: Pools, spa, multiple dining options, a 12,000-bottle wine collection and tasting room, event spaceSpa features: 42,000 square feet of indoor-outdoor space with fireside lounges, rooftop terrace, poolPros: The pools, beaches, and gardens here are all spectacular and the views can't be beaten. There is also a full suite of amenities and the service is exceptional.Cons: The large, sprawling property can pose a challenge for travelers with mobility issues.The Spa atThe Ritz-Carlton Bacara, Santa Barbara is a magnificent retreat, sprawling across 78 acres of lush land overlooking the Pacific. It has access to two beaches and offers three infinity-edge pools, two of which have gorgeous ocean views.Guest accommodations also have views of the sea, or the pool or garden from individual patios or balconies, and entry-level rooms start at a generous 450 square feet. The design is coastal, with dark woods and beams, Frette linens, deep soaking tubs, marble showers, and Asprey bath amenities. Newly debuted fireside garden rooms offer patios with private fire pits.The spa, however, is the standout feature, a stunning 42,000-square-foot sanctuary — and the largest out of all the Ritz-Carlton properties in the country. There are abundant indoor and outdoor spaces for relaxation, with fireside lounges, a rooftop terrace, a swimming pool, and more.The spa menu features locally inspired, luxury rituals that pay tribute to the scenic California landscape. For instance, the Hollywood facial is a decadent treatment integrating three of the industry's top-trending technologies: HydraFacialä, Nutraceuticals, and NuFace Microcurrent. Or branch out with the Spirulina Wrap, which uses live spirulina algae to revitalize the skin. Other services include acupuncture, massages, skincare, and hair and nail services.When it's time to eat, on-site restaurants Angel Oak steakhouse and 'O' Bar + Kitchen offer locally sourced cuisine and wines.COVID-19 procedures are available here. Castle Hot Springs Castle Hot Springs dates back to 1896 and was recently renovated. Tripadvisor Book Castle Hot SpringsCategory: LuxuryLocation: Morristown, ArizonaTypical starting/peak prices: $1,500/$2,100Best for: Couples, families, groups of friendsOn-site amenities: Resort pool, hot springs pools, on-property farm, Arizona's first Via Ferrata cable climbing courseSpa features: Multiple mineral pools, spa treatments in alfresco cabanas, yoga, meditationPros: Meals are included at this recently overhauled resort. Deeply steeped in history, it's all about wellness through local, natural means, such as an on-site farm operation and hot springs. Cons: While most reviews are overwhelmingly positive, critical reviewers noted spotty service compared with their expectation for the price point.Castle Hot Springs is Arizona's first luxury resort, originally founded in 1896 as a holistic wellness retreat. Situated 50 miles outside of Phoenix in the Sonoran Desert, the 34-room resort feels a world apart from the demands of urban life and incorporates ancient hot springs and a digital detox philosophy into every stay.Historically, visitors came for the minerals' cures for ailments like rheumatism, gout, arthritis, and general aches and pains, which the pools were said to relieve. More than 200,000 gallons of mineral-rich water still flow through the pools each day.All guest suites (bungalows, cottages, and cabins) feature outdoor stone tubs plumbed with hot springs water, and telescopes outside lodgings encourage stargazing. Wellness features heavily, with a slate of offerings including access to thermal waters, which cascade into three pools ranging from 96 degrees to 86 degrees. The natural waters take on colors that reflect the minerals running through them: Lithium is a deep purple shade, iron looks red, and oxidized copper is in blues and greens. Other wellness spa services, yoga, and meditation are provided in custom cabanas set along the spring water creek under palm trees for a wholly rejuvenating experience.COVID-19 procedures are available here. Miraval Arizona Resort & Spa Arizona's Miraval is known around the world as a go-to destination for wellness enthusiasts. Tripadvisor Book Miraval Arizona Resort & SpaCategory: LuxuryLocation: Tucson, ArizonaTypical starting/peak price: $1,138/$1,518Best for: Couples, groups of friends, solo travelersOn-site amenities: Spa, pool, fitness and wellness classes, tennis, golf, hiking on Camelback MountainSpa features: Ayurveda, energy work, traditional massage, acupuncture, multiple meditation spaces including two labyrinthsPros: Meals and activities are included, which packs the steep nightly room rate with value.Cons: Not everything is included. Expect to splash out a lot more for spa treatments and other extras. Situated on 400 acres outside Tucson, nestled in the Santa Catalina Mountains, Miraval is a well-established and world-renowned domestic wellness getaway.Guests are asked to unplug and tuck their devices away before checking into spacious suites that come with hot tubs, walk-in showers, fireplaces, dining areas, and private patios. Extra wellness-minded touches include an organic pillow menu, a Tibetan singing bowl, coloring books, a community journal, and an essential oil diffuser, available on request. Room rates also include a nightly credit, all meals, and more than 200 classes and activities. Spa treatments are not included, but shouldn't be missed at the Life in Balance Spa, which features a myriad of services including Ayurveda, energy work, traditional massage, and acupuncture.Many spaces on-site encourage reflection and meditation including two labyrinths, an outdoor kiva, and a designated quiet room with mountain views. Experiences here combine yoga, meditation, and wellness, with spiritual journeys, culinary workshops, and outdoor activities.COVID-19 procedures are available here. Four Seasons Resort Lanai and Sensei Lanai, A Four Seasons Resort Four Seasons Resort Lanai and Sensei Lanai offer wellness, activities, and natural beauty on the Hawaiian island. Tripadvisor Book Four Seasons Resort Lanai and Sensei Lanai, A Four Seasons ResortCategory: LuxuryLocation: Lanai, HawaiiTypical starting/peak prices: $1,700/$2,585Best for: Families (Four Seasons Resort Lanai only), couples, business travelers, groups of friends, solo travelers (Sensei Lanai)On-site amenities: Pools, gardens, wellness offerings, activities (including archery and shooting range), food and drink from celebrity chef Nobu Matsuhisa Spa features: Private spa hales with steam and infrared saunas, traditional Japanese soaking tubs, outdoor showers, pools, one-on-one healing sessions like guided meditation or nutrition, couples suites, locally inspired treatmentsPros: Wellness offerings here are unparalleled, especially at Sensei where it's the focus. Airfare from Honolulu on Lanai Air is always included with Sensei Lanai. The natural beauty and service are among the world's most impeccable. Cons: Kids are not permitted at Sensei Lanai, although they are doted upon at Four Seasons Resort Lanai.This secluded 90,000-acre paradise on Hawaii's island of Lanai offers luxe accommodations at the beachfront Four Seasons Resort Lanai or wellness destination, Sensei Lanai, A Four Seasons Resort.The Four Seasons Resort Lanai is perfectly luxe with 213 guest rooms, multiple outdoor restaurants (including Nobu Lanai), Four Seasons' Kids for All Seasons kids' club, a beach and pool with seating areas tucked among tropical gardens, luxury boutiques, and an array of included classes and events.But if wellness is on your mind, and you don't have kids in tow, choose the adults-only Sensei Lanai, A Four Seasons Resort instead, set on 24 acres where spa where wellness is the top priority.Visitors select a curated well-being experience or design their own a la carte itineraries from options that include guided sessions on mindset or nutrition, as well as spa treatments, salon services, and a range of land and sea activities. Daily small-group yoga, fitness, and meditation, as well as guided hikes and weekly lectures are included.The 96-room resort offers Chef Nobu Matsuhisa's classics as well as menu selections that incorporate Sensei's nutritional philosophy created in partnership with Sensei's co-founder Dr. David Agus. The outdoor facilities include a 24-hour fitness center, movement studios, a yoga pavilion and outdoor yoga spaces, an 18-hole putting course, onsen baths, an oasis pool with lap lanes, and gardens with lush flora as well as sculpture and art. COVID-19 procedures are available here. Amangiri Amangiri is the wellness favorite for celebrities and A-listers looking to recharge in the desert. TripAdvisor/emtrip27 Book AmangiriCategory: LuxuryLocation: Canyon Point, UtahTypical starting/peak prices: $1,931/$3,500Best for: Couples, familiesOn-site amenities: Restaurant, 25,000-square-foot Aman Spa, national park tours, private air toursSpa features: Redwood-paneled treatment rooms, movement and fitness studios, 2 steam rooms, yoga, pilates, holistic Navajo-inspired therapiesPros: Amangiri is surrounded by unparalleled natural beauty and privacy. The design and service are otherworldly, equally indulgent for adventurers and luxury lovers.Cons: Though this property is close to flawless, for the over-the-top price point, guests expect impeccable service and are hyper-aware of even the smallest shortcomings.Amangiri is a celeb-adored Utah property situated on 600 acres in a protected valley, famous for sweeping views over towering mesas and dramatically stratified rock facing Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument. The resort is built around a spectacular swimming pool defined by a jaw-dropping stone escarpment. There are 34 suites, many with private swimming pools and roof terraces. Suites are large with clean lines and natural materials, reflecting the surrounding Utah desert. Think white stone floors, concrete walls, natural timbers, and blackened steel finishings. Each suite has a fireplace and an outdoor lounge area. The Wellness Center at Amangani is a relaxing retreat with four redwood-paneled treatment rooms, movement and fitness studios and two steam rooms. Book beauty treatments and restorative therapies inspired by the holistic wellbeing traditions of the Navajo, or sign up for a day of wildlife treks, a private yoga, or a pilates session. Nourishing treatments, seasonal rituals, and holistic massages are all designed to help you unwind. In 2021, the resort introduced the Cave Peak Stairway, an installation that rises 400 feet above the ground, for outrageous views of the property. Thrill-seekers can climb the 120 steps leading from the resort's existing Cave Peak Via Ferrata Trail with just open air below.COVID-19 procedures are available here. FAQ: Hotels with spas Can I use a hotel spa without staying overnight?Whether or not you may use a hotel spa without staying overnight depends on the individual hotel and its policies. In some cases, hotels restrict the use of their spas and pool facilities to guests only in order to keep the experience intimate and private. In other cases, non-overnight guests may pay for a day pass to access the facilities, either directly through the hotel or through a third-party platform such as ResortPass, or visit simply by booking a treatment.Does spa access always come with the cost of a room night?Staying at a hotel doesn't always guarantee spa entry. In some cases, such as Awana Spa in Las Vegas, the room night might cost as low as $97 but using the spa is not included in the price, and spa access starts at $100 for hotel guests. Access is included, however, with the purchase of a 50-minute or longer treatment. Most hotels on this list have similar policiesWhere are the best hotels with spas in the US?As demonstrated by this list, there are excellent destination hotel spas throughout the United States, from urban day spas to remote retreats. Many are clustered around destinations known for wellness, such as Arizona and California, or destinations known for healing natural environments, like Hawaii. Others are simply known for providing flat-out luxury to travelers with money to spend, such as in Miami or Las Vegas.Is it safe to stay in a hotel?The CDC advises that fully vaccinated people can safely travel domestically. While hotels do provide opportunities for face-to-face interactions with staff and other guests in common spaces like check-in desks, lobbies, and dining venues, experts say guests who exercise proper precautions can stay safely in hotels. No travel is completely risk-free and we recommend following CDC current guidelines as well as all applicable local protocols at the time of travel. How we selected the best hotels with spas Hotels with spas are located throughout the US only.Each has a Trip Advisor rating of "Very Good" or above with a substantial number of reviews, and is highly rated on other trusted traveler platforms like Booking.com.We focused on amenity-rich properties at a range of price points, starting from just $97 and ranging to well over $1,000 per night for famously posh properties with lavish inclusions.We looked for hotels with spas that had extensive offerings including innovative technologies and holistic wellness approaches. We also sought spas that were large and beautifully designed.In addition to spas, we selected properties with notable amenities like pools, restaurants, and other notable features. And we focused on desirable destinations, from flashy urban to serene natural settings.Each hotel promotes rigorous COVID-19 policies and protocols to reassure and protect guests. More of the most incredible hotels Tripadvisor The best luxury hotels in the USThe most affordable spa hotels in the worldThe best hotel pools in the USThe best hotels with private plunge poolsThe most romantic hotels in the USThe best hotels with affordable overwater bungalowsThe best beach hotels in the USThe best island hotels in the US Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: worldSource: nytSep 22nd, 2021

The week in bankruptcies: Eatertainment Milwaukee LLC

Milwaukee area bankruptcy courts recorded one business filing - including one with total debt above $1 million - during the week that ended November 5, 2021. Year to date through November 5, 2021, the court recorded 11 Chapter 7 or Chapter 11 business bankruptcy filings, a -54 percent decrease from the same span the prior year. Chapter 7 bankruptcy protection typically provides for the liquidation of a business’ assets to satisfy creditor claims, while Chapter 11 protection enables a business to….....»»

Category: topSource: bizjournals14 hr. 6 min. ago

This week in bankruptcies: The Hills SF LLC

San Francisco area bankruptcy courts recorded one business filing - including one with total debt above $1 million - during the week that ended November 26, 2021. Year to date through November 26, 2021, the court recorded 91 Chapter 7 or Chapter 11 business bankruptcy filings, a -1 percent decrease from the same span the prior year. Chapter 7 bankruptcy protection typically provides for the liquidation of a business’ assets to satisfy creditor claims, while Chapter 11 protection enables a business….....»»

Category: topSource: bizjournalsDec 2nd, 2021

The week in bankruptcies: ES1 LLC

Seattle area bankruptcy courts recorded one business filing during the week that ended Nov. 26, 2021. Year to date through Nov. 26, 2021, the court recorded 35 Chapter 7 or Chapter 11 business bankruptcy filings, a 42% decrease from the same span the prior year. Chapter 7 bankruptcy protection typically provides for the liquidation of a business’s assets to satisfy creditor claims, while Chapter 11 protection enables a business to restructure its creditor obligations with the goal to remain a going….....»»

Category: topSource: bizjournalsDec 2nd, 2021

This week in bankruptcies: Sausalito Music Factory LLC

San Francisco area bankruptcy courts recorded one business filing - including zero with total debt above $1 million - during the week that ended November 19, 2021. Year to date through November 19, 2021, the court recorded 90 Chapter 7 or Chapter 11 business bankruptcy filings, a -2 percent decrease from the same span the prior year. Chapter 7 bankruptcy protection typically provides for the liquidation of a business’ assets to satisfy creditor claims, while Chapter 11 protection enables a business….....»»

Category: topSource: bizjournalsNov 28th, 2021

The week in bankruptcies: BlueAvocado

San Antonio area bankruptcy courts recorded one business filing - including one with total debt above $1 million - during the week that ended November 19, 2021. Year to date through November 19, 2021, the court recorded 57 Chapter 7 or Chapter 11 business bankruptcy filings, a -3 percent decrease from the same span the prior year. Chapter 7 bankruptcy protection typically provides for the liquidation of a business’ assets to satisfy creditor claims, while Chapter 11 protection enables a business….....»»

Category: topSource: bizjournalsNov 26th, 2021

The week in bankruptcies: Carpenter Realty Corp., Briardale Farms Inc. and 3 more

Philadelphia-area bankruptcy courts recorded five business filings - including five with total debts above $1 million - during the week that ended November 19, 2021. Year to date through November 19, 2021, the court recorded 72 Chapter 7 or Chapter 11 business bankruptcy filings, a 7% increase from the same span the prior year. Chapter 7 bankruptcy protection typically provides for the liquidation of a business’ assets to satisfy creditor claims, while Chapter 11 protection enables a business to….....»»

Category: topSource: bizjournalsNov 26th, 2021

The week in Valley bankruptcies: Valley Hospice of Arizona and Agavero Readymix

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Category: topSource: bizjournalsNov 25th, 2021

The week in bankruptcies: Whisper Lake Development Inc.

Seattle area bankruptcy courts recorded one business filing with total debt above $1 million during the week that ended Nov. 19. Year to date through Nov. 19, the court recorded 34 Chapter 7 or Chapter 11 business bankruptcy filings, a 41% decrease from the same span the prior year. Chapter 7 bankruptcy protection typically provides for the liquidation of a business's assets to satisfy creditor claims, while Chapter 11 protection enables a business to restructure its creditor obligations with the….....»»

Category: topSource: bizjournalsNov 25th, 2021

The week in bankruptcies: Connacht Corp. dba Colorize of Pittsburgh, Lucas Auto Transport Inc. and 1 more

Pittsburgh area bankruptcy courts recorded three business filings - including one with total debt above $1 million - during the week that ended November 19, 2021. Year to date through November 19, 2021, the court recorded 46 Chapter 7 or Chapter 11 business bankruptcy filings, a -10 percent decrease from the same span the prior year. Chapter 7 bankruptcy protection typically provides for the liquidation of a business’ assets to satisfy creditor claims, while Chapter 11 protection enables a business….....»»

Category: topSource: bizjournalsNov 25th, 2021

Here"s Why You Should Retain Kimco Realty (KIM) Stock Now

Kimco Realty (KIM) is likely to benefit from its focus on the grocery-anchored centers and balance-sheet strengthening moves, though store closures and higher e-commerce adoption remain woes. Kimco Realty Corp. KIM, the owner and operator of open-air, grocery-anchored shopping centers and mixed-use assets, has properties in the drivable first-ring suburbs of its top 20 major metropolitan Sunbelt and coastal markets, which offer several growth drivers. Also, the company’s acquisition of the grocery-anchored shopping center owner — Weingarten Realty Investors — has helped it to benefit from an increased scale, density in the key Sun Belt markets and a broader redevelopment pipeline.The grocery component has been the saving grace of the retail REITs and 79.4% of Kimco’s annual base rent came from the grocery-anchored centers in the third quarter. With a well-located and largely grocery-anchored portfolio that offers essential goods and services, the retail REIT witnessed a decent leasing activity in the third quarter. Kimco signed 411 leases, aggregating 2.1 million square feet of gross leasable area. The favorable trend is expected to continue. The rent-collection figures were also healthy. The company collected approximately 98% base rents during the third quarter.Along with focus on the grocery and home-improvement tenants, Kimco emphasizes the mixed-use assets clustered in the strong economic metropolitan statistical areas. Particularly, KIM is targeting an increase in the net asset value through a selected collection of mixed-use projects, redevelopments and an active investment management.Also, retailers are utilizing these last-mile stores as the indispensable fulfilment and the distribution centers to serve the dense population close by, and outperform the pure e-commerce players on delivery time and cost efficiency. Also, the curbside pick-up, combined with click-and-collect options, will likely continue to gain attention amid the current environment and in the post-COVID era, and the company is focused to capitalize on such trends. Such efforts are likely to enhance Kimco’s competitive advantage in current times.Kimco has been making efforts to bolster its financial flexibility. The retail REIT had more than $2.4 billion of immediate liquidity at the end of the reported quarter, including full availability under its $2-billion unsecured revolving credit facility. Kimco’s consolidated debt maturity profile is 8.7 years. Kimco has 474 unencumbered properties, which represent around 87% of its properties and 88% of its total net operating income.Shares of Kimco have gained 17.8% over the past six months, outperforming its industry’s increase of 4.6%. Moreover, the recent estimate revision trend indicates a favorable outlook as the Zacks Consensus Estimate for the 2021 funds from operations (FFO) per share has been revised marginally upward in the past week. Given the progress on fundamentals and the upward estimate revisions, the stock has decent upside potential for the near term.Image Source: Zacks Investment ResearchHowever, over the recent years, the retail real estate traffic has continued to suffer amid a rapid shift in the customers’ shopping preferences and patterns with online purchases growing by leaps and bounds. These have made retailers reconsider their footprint and eventually opt for store closures.Also, retailers unable to cope with competition are filing bankruptcies. This has emerged as a pressing concern for the retail REITs like Kimco as the trend is curtailing demand for retail real estate space. The situation has been further aggravated amid the social-distancing requirements and higher e-commerce adoption due to the COVID-19 crisis.Currently, Kimco carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here.Key PicksSome key picks from the retail REIT sector include Simon Property Group SPG, Federal Realty Investment Trust FRT and STORE Capital Corporation STOR.Simon Property Group holds a Zacks Rank of 2 (Buy) at present. Its 2021 FFO per share is expected to increase 23.8% year over year.The Zacks Consensus Estimate for Simon Property Group’s 2021 FFO per share has been revised nearly 3.8% upward in a month. Its long-term growth rate is projected at 8.70%.Federal Realty holds a Zacks Rank of 2 at present. Its long-term growth rate is projected at 8.40%.The Zacks Consensus Estimate for Federal Realty’s 2021 FFO per share has been revised 4.1% upward in a month to $5.32. This suggests a 17.7% increase year over year.The Zacks Consensus Estimate for STORE Capital’s ongoing-year FFO per share has moved marginally north to $1.89 over the past week.STORE Capital’s 2021 FFO per share suggests an increase of 3.3% year over year. Currently, STOR carries a Zacks Rank of 2.Note: Anything related to earnings presented in this write-up represents funds from operations (FFO) — a widely used metric to gauge the performance of REITs. Zacks’ Top Picks to Cash in on Artificial Intelligence This world-changing technology is projected to generate $100s of billions by 2025. From self-driving cars to consumer data analysis, people are relying on machines more than we ever have before. Now is the time to capitalize on the 4th Industrial Revolution. Zacks’ urgent special report reveals 6 AI picks investors need to know about today.See 6 Artificial Intelligence Stocks With Extreme Upside Potential>>Want the latest recommendations from Zacks Investment Research? Today, you can download 7 Best Stocks for the Next 30 Days. Click to get this free report Simon Property Group, Inc. (SPG): Free Stock Analysis Report Kimco Realty Corporation (KIM): Free Stock Analysis Report Federal Realty Investment Trust (FRT): Free Stock Analysis Report STORE Capital Corporation (STOR): Free Stock Analysis Report To read this article on Zacks.com click here. Zacks Investment Research.....»»

Category: topSource: zacksNov 24th, 2021

The week in bankruptcies: Colorado Homes LLC

Denver area bankruptcy courts recorded one business filing - including one with total debt above $1 million - during the week that ended Nov. 12, 2021. Year to date through November 12, 2021, the court recorded 66 Chapter 7 or Chapter 11 business bankruptcy filings, a -36% decrease from the same span the prior year. Chapter 7 bankruptcy protection typically provides for the liquidation of a business's assets to satisfy creditor claims, while Chapter 11 protection enables a business to restructure….....»»

Category: topSource: bizjournalsNov 24th, 2021

Brits Google "Energy Bill Help" As More Suppliers Go Bankrupt

Brits Google "Energy Bill Help" As More Suppliers Go Bankrupt Via OilPrice.com, Extreme gas price volatility has led to a string of bankruptcies among British energy suppliers UK Household gas bills have risen by 28.1 percent and electricity bills 18.8 percent in the year to October Germany’s recent decision to halt approval of the Nord Stream 2 pipeline has added to UK energy woes Google searches for ‘energy bill help’ exploded over three thousand percent in the UK on November 17, the same day two more energy suppliers collapsed. Neon Energy and Social Energy Supply both ceased trading earlier this week, leaving 35,000 more customers in need of rescue from market regulator Ofgem. Recent analysis of Google data from energy experts Boiler Central showed a massive spike in people looking for help with their energy bills. This included a whopping 212 percent increase in searches for cheaper heating alternatives including ‘portable heater’ on November 17 as well. Since the start of September, 21 energy companies have ceased trading due to soaring wholesale costs, while half of the country’s dual-suppliers have crashed out of the market in the past 12 months. Household gas bills have risen by 28.1 percent and electricity bills 18.8 percent in the year to October, according to the ONS. Germany’s recent decision to halt approval of a gas pipeline from Russia has also caused wholesale gas prices to jump 17 percent in the UK and EU. Meanwhile, Ofgem is set to examine and potentially increase the energy price cap from its current £1,277 average use limit next year. A spokesperson for Boiler Central said: “The rise in searches for help with energy bills in the UK, as well as an increase in searches for portable heaters, exposes how much recent soaring energy bills are affecting people.” The organisation also pointed to grants and schemes available to help people on low incomes or universal credit with energy bills, such as a winter fuel payment or the warm home discount scheme – which could provide £140 discounts off electricity bills, in the form of vouchers for a household prepayment meter. Tyler Durden Tue, 11/23/2021 - 03:30.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeNov 23rd, 2021

A Brief History Of West African Slavery

A Brief History Of West African Slavery Submitted by ICE-9 via The Burning Platform Slave [sleyv] from Middle English, from Old French sclave, from Medieval Latin sclāvus (“slave”), from Late Latin Sclāvus (“Slavic Person”), from Byzantine Greek Σκλάβος (Sklábos), from Proto-Slavic slověninъ … The seminal image many 50+ year old Americans have regarding the West African slave trade’s operating model can be traced back to the 1977 television miniseries Roots.  Some of you may recall sitting in front of your CRT television screen unknowingly watching the roots of a future social justice movement unfold before your eyes as a gang of European men magically appear deep within the Heart of Darkness wielding nets, superior numbers, and incredible brutality and snatch up a young and happy Kunta Kinte from his ancestral homeland. Like me, I bet the knot in your gut got tighter at each stage as Kunta Kinte was first shipped off in chains to a slave depot, sold at auctioned, and finally sent to America where his foot got cut off and he was renamed Toby.  The miniseries was a monumental success at implanting those first seeds of suburban white guilt into what had previously been infertile terrain.  Afterwards, many Americans could never innocently watch OJ Simpson run through airports in quite the same way. Roots was the initial vector that dug its pernicious roots into the formerly oblivious white collective consciousness.  It succeeded where back in the 1960s continuous years of three minute lead story action clips on the Six O’clock Evening News showing groups of helpless southern Negroes getting pummeled by police truncheons and slammed with water cannons had failed.  Thus those January nights back in 1977 unleashed the power of humanized myth that unequivocally proved superior to the old ways of cold impersonal facts.  It was through this new found power of myth and the visceral emotions it conjured that a primordial wokeness was spawned. Today, when discussing even the most oblique references to slavery in America, the emotions ignite, misguided passions reign supreme, facts equate to racism, and the phenomenology of history devolves into one where history becomes but a construct derived to aid and abet a white supremacist patriarchy.  Case in point – according to current woke orthodoxy, evil cis-male Europeans just up and sailed 3,500 miles south to forgotten lands like Zenaga, trekked hundreds of miles inland without roads, maps, or logistic support, and – according to some extraordinary unverified estimates – kidnapped up to six million innocent Africans. But was this the reality on the ground in West Africa circa 1619, or did Europeans instead rely on intermediaries to conduct their dangerous, high opex dirty work and if so, who were these intermediaries?  Do Americans have an accurate understanding of the West African slavery supply chain, or have they instead meekly decided to go along to get along and ingest without question a toxic narrative that is an antipathy encumbered product tainted by a combination of pop culture and political agenda?  And last, did slavery in West Africa materialize out of thin air with the first appearance of Europeans, or did it exist long before their arrival? The answer to this last question is both morally and legally significant, as it could nullify any and all claims to both tangible and ethical debts of reparation borne by ancestral liability.  For if Caucasian Americans are collectively guilty – including those who immigrated here after the Civil War – as a result of their ancestors’ theoretical participation in the West African slave trade, would not a basis be equally established to extend slavery’s collective culpability to African Americans if it were shown that their ancestors too participated to an equal degree in the West African slave trade?  Would not equal culpability on both ancestral sides of the Atlantic nullify any and all claims by one party against the other?  Further still, if slavery in West Africa was shown to be prevalent long before the arrival of Europeans, based on the premise of hereditary culpability, then slavery in America could no longer exist as some kind of alleged “Original Sin”. The forthwith exposition can be considered a template for countering the unreasonable and fanciful woke dogma surrounding the realities of West African slavery and specifically, the false claims regarding Europe’s and America’s sole complicity in this industry.  It is an attempt – described here in broken wokespeak – to deconstruct the prevailing narrative derived to aid and abet a People of Color aligned, non-binary, trans-supremacist heterarchy.  Let us begin our journey of enlightenment. The Songhai Empire as Gateway to Europe’s Appetite for African Slaves Between the 4th and early 16th centuries AD, through a succession of kingdoms that included Wagadou (Ghana), Mali, and Songhai, the West African Sahel was among the wealthiest regions on earth during a period when most of Europe wallowed in medieval feudalism.  Prior to the discovery of the Americas, West Africa was the world’s largest source of gold – so much gold in fact that when the Malian king Mansa Musa visited Mecca during his 14th century hajj, his 60,000 strong retinue (including 12,000 slaves) distributed so much gold that he crashed its value and created a decade of economic chaos on the Arabian peninsula. The Niger River during this time possessed six times more arable land than the Nile.  In the adjacent Sahara to the north, Africans operated extensive salt mining operations.  With the arrival of the Arabs in the 8th century AD, a prodigious iron smelting and blacksmithing industries occupied entire villages from one end of the Sahel to the other.  The West African political economy was such that no king ever enforced strict ownership over the entirety of his realm, so after the millet harvest an African peasant could earn good extra income panning for alluvial gold, mining iron ore, harvesting trees to make charcoal fuel for iron smelting, or travelling north to labor in the salt mines. The Sahel during this period was awash in food and gold and large prosperous cities like Gao grew into architectural wonders.  So what happened that would drain not only the wealth of an established long-standing power center yet leave nothing behind but piles of dirt from what were formerly majestic structures of timber and adobe brick?  The short answer is that it all fell to pieces due to horses. In the 9th and 10th centuries AD, trade caravans from what are today Morocco and Algeria began regularly making their way south through the Sahara desert during the winter months. These caravans initially brought with them manufactured goods and luxury items to exchange for gold, ivory, specialty woods, animal skins, and salt.  But during the 13th century these caravans started supplying a vital military component to the various competing rulers of the Sahel – Barb horses.  Ownership of horses gave each ruler a cavalry, and ownership of large herds could facilitate military superiority over rivals. The Malian, Hausa, Mossi, Bornu, Kanem and Songhai cavalries regularly battled each other for over three hundred years to what could be considered an equilibrium sometimes punctuated with transient victories and an occasional ebb or flow of juxtaposed borders.  Continuous combat was made possible only by a steady supply of Barb horses from the Maghreb, a market that traders were happy to oblige as the supply of gold from the Sahel appeared endless. But with its monsoonal climate and tropical diseases like trypanosomiasis, the Sahel Africans found it difficult to breed horses – the local Dongola sub-breed had a short life expectancy – and thus a steady flow of imported Barb horses were required to both replenish the high equine mortality rates and maintain at least military parity with the surrounding kingdoms. These imported horses were expensive and were initially paid for with alluvial gold, which was starting to go into productive decline during the 15th century at about the same time the Songhai king Sonni Ali Ber led a successful campaign to defeat his enemy Mali and consolidate rule over the Sahel from Lake Chad to the Cap-Vert peninsula.  So the height of Songhai power coincided with maximum operating costs to retain that power just as alluvial gold production from the Niger River went into decline. Saddled with the mounting expense of maintaining many cavalry regiments stretching across an 1,800 mile expanse, the Songhai lords began to launch slave raids upon the various Sahel peoples.  So as the 15th and 16th centuries progressed, slaves rather than gold became more and more the medium of exchange between the Songhai lords and the horse traders of the Maghreb.  As these traders brought more and more slaves to the Mediterranean coast of North Africa, most were purchased by Arabs but many were sold on to Europeans where they were employed as domestic servant in wealthy cities like London and Antwerp and were considered a high status symbol – the “negars and blackmoores” of 16th century Elizabethan England.  So it was not the Europeans that first procured slavery in West Africa, but the Songhai themselves that introduced Europe to African slaves via Arab and Berber intermediaries.  Europeans at this time were a minor end customer, where the primary slave demand was provided by Arabs. As the 16th century ground out successive years, the gold really began to play out.  Continuous and devastating slave raids depopulated the Niger River goldfield regions – crashing not only gold but also food production – and drove its inhabitants onto marginal lands that had been earlier deforested to manufacture charcoal for the formerly prodigious iron smelting industry.  Over a period of 200 years the once prosperous Sahel was transformed into a land inhabited by subsistence food scavengers and all powerful cavalry lords where the incessant demand for horses laid economic waste to this once prosperous region. With Songhai power in the late 16th century at its nadir as a result of internecine strife and succession wars among the dead king Askia Daoud’s many sons, the Sultan of Morocco, Ahmad al-Mansur, took advantage of the ensuing political instability and sent a military expedition across the Sahara and in 1591 these 4,000 Moroccans and their cannons defeated the Songhai at the battle of Tondibi. Thus with the defeat of the powerful Songhai Empire the coast of West Africa south of the Arab stronghold Nouakchott was left wide open to European maritime exploitation.  By 1625 the Dutch had established a permanent settlement at Gorée and the Portuguese likewise at Portudal, both located in modern day Senegal.  These initial European forays onto West African soil provided the vital resupply anchorage that enabled further permanent settlements along the entirety of the Gulf of Guinea and as far south as Namibia.  And it is at this point where the Kunta Kinte mythology begins with the permanent settlement of Europeans on African soil who allegedly trekked hundreds of miles inland into dangerous areas they did not control to randomly kidnap happy Africans into slavery.  Was this the reality on the ground in Africa back in 1619?  The Angolan experience provides the answers. The Angolan Model of Contracted Slave Procurement The gradual encroachment of European settlements down the Atlantic coast of West Africa did not lead to immediate mass colonization as malaria and tsetse flies kept out all but the hardiest and most rapacious adventurers.  But how did these Europeans procure so many slaves to service the burgeoning and incredibly profitable sugar and tobacco charters of the Caribbean?  The Kunta Kinte procurement model would have eventually led to depopulation of the local areas as the traditionally semi-mobile Africans would have just up and moved out of reach like they did to avoid the Songhai lords, and Africans were beginning to adopt European weapons in their defense.  So – how did so many Africans end up as slaves in the Americas despite their overwhelming numbers back in Africa? The answer lies in the Angolan model which was by no means confined to this region alone.  During the first half of the 16th century the Portuguese established a permanent trading station at the port of Soyo, a province within the Kingdom of Kongo on the south bank at the mouth of the Congo River.  The significance of Soyo was it established the first European occupation in West Africa outside the provenance of the tsetse fly, and with trypanosomiasis absent, colonists could settle and import European livestock for the first time on the African Atlantic coast.  Entire families of Portuguese colonists began to arrive and by 1575 the city of Luanda was founded, followed by Benguela in 1587.  With Angola’s drier, more temperate climate, these early European colonists got to the business of building homes, clearing land, farming, fishing, and raising their livestock.  But one thing they did not do was get to the business of travelling hundreds of miles inland to hunt down and capture slaves.  They left that to others – and these others weren’t Europeans. Soon after the Portuguese planted their flag at Soyo, they granted a trade monopoly to the Kingdom of Kongo which ruled over what is now northwestern Angola.  But as Portugal established colonies to the south of Soyo, these new colonies were located in lands claimed by Kongo but occupied by Ambundu peoples of the N’Dongo and Kisama states within the Kwanza River valley.  Because of the trade monopoly specifics granted to Kongo, the Bakongo could sweep through the Kwanza River valley and capture the local Ambundu and sell them into slavery to the Portuguese, but the Ambundu could not capture these Bakongo raiders and sell them into slavery to the same customer.  This egregious injustice incensed the N’Dongo king to the point of declaring war on – not the Portuguese – but the Bakongo in an attempt to break the discriminatory trade monopoly.  The Ambundu were successful and in 1556 they defeated the Bakongo in a war fought not to end the enslavement of their fellow Africans, but to extend to themselves the right to capture, enslave, and sell their Bakongo neighbors to the Portuguese. Despite the N’Dongo victory and elimination of Kongo influence in the Kwanza River valley, the Portuguese insisted on upholding their original trade agreement, so the Kongo trade monopoly remained in place with the Ambundu still cut out of all commercial activity with the Portuguese.  Realizing they had prosecuted a war for nothing, the N’Dongo spent the next several decades threatening colonists and harassing Portuguese interests up and down the Kwanza River valley without any penetration into the colonial economy.  In 1590 N’Dongo had had enough of the commercial status quo so it allied itself with its eastern Ambundu neighbor Matamba and together they declared war on all Portuguese interests across Angola. This war led the Portuguese to construct a network of fortalezas up and down the Angolan coastline and after years of protracted violence the Portugal finally defeated the N’Dongo in 1614.  Portugal’s first act after victory was to invite their old trading partner – the Bakongo – to commence mop-up operations across the Kwanza River valley in order to clear out the defeated Ambundu and bring them in chains to the new network of fortalezas, which not only served as troop garrisons and acropoli for the local inhabitants, but also as slave depots that accommodated the swelling numbers of captured Ambundu before being auctioned off and sent to Brazil. With the defeat of the Ambundu the N’Dongo matriarchal dynasty fled east to their ally Matamba.  There, a royal refugee named N’Zinga M’Bandi betrayed the hospitality shown her by Matamba and began secret negotiations with Luanda for a return of the Ambundu to the Kwanza River valley.  N’Zinga M’Bandi secured agreements that not only deposed the sitting Matamban queen – handing her the crown by subterfuge – but also convinced the Portuguese to nullify their long standing trade monopoly granted to the Kingdom of Kongo which, in effect, established the Ambundu peoples in the slave procurement business. The new Matamban queen made haste regarding her political and business affairs and quickly consolidated N’Dongo and the neighboring Kasanje states under her rule.  By 1619, Queen N’Zinga had grown her realm into the most powerful African state in the region using the wealth generated from her industrial scale slave procurement undertaking.  Within a few decade of Queen N’Zinga’s ascension, the regions surrounding central Angola were depopulated of not only the rival Bakongo peoples, but of its Ovimbundu, Ganguela, and Chokwe peoples too. The lucrative Angolan slave trade not only flourished under female African leadership, but grew scientific and efficient and continued unabated until the Portuguese crown outlawed the colonial slave trade in 1869.  However, avarice and ingenuity always prevail so after this slavery prohibition a vibrant slave black market continued unabated as abolition only served to drive up the price of slaves and therefore the incentive to procure them in the field.  These lucrative smuggling operations from Angola lasted up until the day its primary customer Brazil abolished slavery in 1888. Today the dominance of the Ambundu peoples in the business, political, and military affairs of modern day Angola is directly traced to the business acumen, organizational skills, and operational efficiency that the Ambundu peoples’ developed during their 269 year monopoly over slave procurement in Angola.  From the tens of thousands of their fellow African “brothers” and “sisters” that the Ambundu sold into slavery, they accumulated incredible wealth that enabled them to occupy a position of respect, influence, and near equality in colonial Angola unparalleled anywhere in colonial Africa.  They became, in a sense, the “Master Ethnicity” of the region. Twilight of the Woke Idols The irony behind the etymology for the word slave, lost upon the woke and the allies of Critical Race Insanity, is that slave derives from ancient words describing Caucasian Slavic peoples.  If slavery were at the core of the “American Experience”, America long ago would have adopted a word for slave that describe African peoples just as the Romans employed Sclāvus to describe a Slav.  But in the 402 years since 1619, Americans have not made this linguistic transition because there is an older and deeper collective history of slavery that can be traced back millennia to Eastern Europeans who constitute a large proportion of the American population. Yet somehow this deeper history has not affected Caucasians of eastern European descent – even the generational poor – in the same way it has tormented the collective psyche of African Americans.  Maybe these demons are not so much the product that African Americans were once slaves, but instead a manifestation of the incessant bombarded of acerbic messages from the Academia-Media-Technocracy Complex demanding that African Americans play the role of perpetual victims and that they deserve some abstract redress from those who themselves have never benefitted from systemic anything. Or is there a deeper pathological diagnosis, a sepsis of personal ontology whereby the current woke narrative is a desperate attempt at mass cognitive dissonance to blot out the humiliating reality that one’s ancestors were traded in bulk by one’s own kind for the likes of a horse? Africans were one of many peoples in a long line of slaves procured by Europeans but they are the last group before the prohibitions of the Utilitarian campaigns of universal human rights put an end to the practice. Thus it is this ‘Last In, First Out” queuing that gives African Americans claim to their title of “systemic victims” without regard to the broader history of European slavery during the preceding two millennia – including Medieval feudalism.  The reality on the ground for centuries in Europe was that slave relations were between Caucasian Master and Caucasian slave. And with the advent and maturing scientific efficiency of institutions such as central banking, nation states, denominational religions, non-governmental organizations, together with the application of mass psychology, one finds upon further scrutiny that this predominant relationship between Master and slave has changed little over the millennia.  We Americans are, in a sense, all slaves – caught in a systemic nexus of control with few options of escape.  Therefore, claims of “systemic injustice” and demands for redress are nothing more than demands to be promoted from field hand to domestic slave unless the true, invisible system of enslavement is abolished for all Americans. Slavery existed for millennia throughout the entirety of the Bantu populated African continent prior to the arrival of Europeans.  African slaves were captured, worked hard in the millet fields, scolded, beaten, sold multiple times, raped, and murdered well before the first European footprint was impressed on a West African beach.  Slavery was the natural African social condition, it continued as Europeans colonized the continent, and in some places it continues today after most Europeans have left.  Thus any conception of an “Original Sin” borne by Americans through ancestry lies not with Caucasians, but with those of African ancestry as Africans themselves were the origination point for the West African slavery supply chain where they occupied the roles of contractor, planner, procurer, and transporter to distribution hubs. The indigenous Africans were, in modern terms, the Chief Operating Officers of the West African slave trade.  Europeans played the roles of wholesale customer, clearing house, and retail distributor of a product offered to them by brazen and entrepreneurial local rulers who amassed great wealth from their endeavors and whose ancestors today are the beneficiaries of an “ethnic privilege” derived from this wealth and societal status as former Masters. The truth is that this seminal enduring image created with Kunta Kinte’s abduction is a fraud and was fabricated to not only impugn the Caucasian audience and henceforth brand them evil and complicit through ancestry, but was also consciously constructed to expiate the guilt surrounding the ugly and brutal truth that Africans themselves were the culpable party.  Had indigenous Africans not captured and sold so many of their brethren into slavery, there would likely be very few African Americans today. Epilogue The woke will never mention the 800 years of an East African slave trade conducted by Arab merchants up and down the Indian Ocean coast.  The woke won’t utter a word regarding present day slavery across the Sahel countries of Mauritania, Mali, Niger, Chad, and Sudan.  One hears only silence from the woke when one mentions the “Systemic Ethniscism” that permeates every Bantu nation where wealth and power are concentrated into the hands of a dominant ethnic group. The woke ignore the 3,000+ freed African slaves who show up in the ante bellum US census who were granted manumission, inherited plantations from their former owners, and kept the slaves.  No woke person ever admits that American Indians owned African slaves nor will they / them accept that slavery permeated Nahuatl culture even as they / them espouse the virtues of Greater Aztlán.  And the woke will never accept that it was Europeans who eventually stamped out slavery within the Bantu cultural world despite it being the natural human condition there for centuries. And, most importantly, the woke will never acknowledge that all Americans are trapped in a nexus of corporate, bureaucratic, technological, and psychological control where the true “American Experience” has devolved into one where everyone is a slave serving invisible Masters. Until these Masters’ hands are removed from every lever of power and influence in our nation – by any means necessary – abstractions like “equality” and “equity” are nothing more than job promotions on the American plantation.  The woke will never become unwoke because they love their servitude, it has opened the door for them to serve an irresponsible existence free of rationality, logic, true meaning in their existence.  Through their wokeness, they have essentially been freed from Freedom – they can place no hope in death, and their blind lives are so abject that they are envious of every other fate.  The world should let no fame of theirs endure; both true Justice and Compassion must disdain them. One final comment about those 4,000 Moroccans at the Battle of Tondibi.  The invading Moroccan army was commanded by a one Judar Pasha, but he was not always known by this name.  Judar was born Diego de Guevara, an inhabitant of the Spanish region of Andalusia who as a boy was captured by Arab slave raiders, packed off in chains to Morocco, and sold into slavery to the Moroccan Sultan.  And just like Kunta Kinte, Diego’s name got changed, but where Kunta Kinte had his foot cut off, Judar was castrated and forced to serve this foreign Sultan as a eunuch.  But we will never see a TV miniseries where an Arab slave wrangler hangs one Diego de Guevara upside down by his ankles, thrashes him with a bull whip, and screams repeatedly, “Your name is not Diego, your name is Judar!” Tyler Durden Fri, 11/19/2021 - 23:40.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeNov 20th, 2021

Here"s Why You Should Retain Vornado (VNO) Stock for Now

Vornado (VNO) is poised to gain from high-quality assets and an improving office leasing market. However, stiff competition might act as a deterrent. Vornado Realty Trust VNO, with high-quality assets, is well-poised to benefit from an improving office leasing market. However, intense competition from developers, owners and operators of office properties poses a challenge to its office assets.The focus on having assets in a few select high-rent, high-barrier-to-entry geographic markets and a diversified tenant base, which includes several industry bellwethers, are expected to drive steady cash flows and fuel Vornado’s growth over the long term. Recently, Vornado entered into a 20-year lease agreement with Madison Square Garden Entertainment for 428,000 square feet at Vornado’s PENN 2.Additionally, Vornado enjoys a strong balance sheet position and has ample liquidly. As of Sep 30, 2021, VNO had $4.5 billion of liquidity, consisting of $2.3 billion cash and cash equivalents. Such a flexible financial position will enable it to take advantage of investment opportunities and fund its development projects.Shares of currently Zacks Rank #3 (Hold) Vornado have appreciated 9.2% in three months, outperforming the industry’s growth of 1.6%. Moreover, the trend in estimate revisions for 2021 funds from operations (FFO) per share indicates a favorable outlook for VNOas the same has moved 2% north in the past two months.Image Source: Zacks Investment ResearchHowever, Vornado faces fierce competition from developers, owners and operators of office properties and other commercial real estates. This downtrend affects VNO’s ability to attract and retain tenants at relatively higher rents than its competitors, affecting its profitability.Moreover, Vornado’s retail portfolio is suffering the rapid shift in customers’ shopping preferences and patterns, with online purchases growing by leaps and bounds. These made retailers reconsider their footprint and eventually opt for store closures. Additionally, retailers unable to cope with the competition are filing for bankruptcies. Such a situation emerged as a pressing concern for VNO as the trend is curtailing leasing velocity for the retail real-estate space and lowering absorption and rents.Key PicksSome better-ranked stocks from the REIT sector are Cedar Realty Trust CDR, Alpine Income Property Trust PINE and Apple Hospitality REIT APLE.The Zacks Consensus Estimate for Cedar Realty Trust’s 2021 FFO per share has been raised 2.6% in the past week.Cedar Realty Trust currently flaunts a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank stocks here.The Zacks Consensus Estimate for Alpine Income Property Trust’s ongoing year’s FFO per share has been raised 2.1% over the past month.Alpine Income Property Trust carries a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy), currently.The Zacks Consensus Estimate for Apple Hospitality REIT’s2021 FFO per share has moved 4.9% upward in the past month.Apple Hospitality REIT currently carries a Zacks Rank of 2.Note: Anything related to earnings presented in this write-up represent funds from operations (FFO) — a widely used metric to gauge the performance of REITs Infrastructure Stock Boom to Sweep America A massive push to rebuild the crumbling U.S. infrastructure will soon be underway. It’s bipartisan, urgent, and inevitable. Trillions will be spent. Fortunes will be made. The only question is “Will you get into the right stocks early when their growth potential is greatest?” Zacks has released a Special Report to help you do just that, and today it’s free. Discover 7 special companies that look to gain the most from construction and repair to roads, bridges, and buildings, plus cargo hauling and energy transformation on an almost unimaginable scale.Download FREE: How to Profit from Trillions on Spending for Infrastructure >>Want the latest recommendations from Zacks Investment Research? Today, you can download 7 Best Stocks for the Next 30 Days. Click to get this free report Vornado Realty Trust (VNO): Free Stock Analysis Report Cedar Realty Trust, Inc. (CDR): Free Stock Analysis Report Apple Hospitality REIT, Inc. (APLE): Free Stock Analysis Report Alpine Income Property Trust, Inc. (PINE): Free Stock Analysis Report To read this article on Zacks.com click here. Zacks Investment Research.....»»

Category: topSource: zacksNov 18th, 2021

Is The US Shale Patch Refusing To Pump For Political Reasons?

Is The US Shale Patch Refusing To Pump For Political Reasons? Authored by Irina Slav via OilPrice.com, President Biden’s calls on OPEC to increase production were received rather negatively by the U.S. shale patch which believes it can take care of the supply problem While some observers may see this as the shale patch being political, the reality is that shale drillers are actually reacting to both profit and fear Shale companies are making more profit than ever before and, while they are happy to help Biden bring the price of gasoline down, are eager to avoid another oil price crash When President Joe Biden first called on OPEC to increase production earlier this year, he drew an angry response from Texas Governor Greg Abbott, who told Biden to "back off" and let American companies take care of the supply problem that was pushing fuel prices higher. The awkward relationship between the current administration in Washington and the oil industry, which tends to lean to the right politically, has been highlighted repeatedly in the media along with Biden's anti-oil moves such as the killing of the Keystone XL pipeline project and the temporary moratorium on oil and gas drilling on federal lands. Yet political incompatibility alone cannot stand in the way of profiting from higher prices, so it is hardly the only - or even an important - reason for the U.S. oil industry's production restraint amid soaring prices for both crude and products. In fact, there are at least two more important reasons for this restraint. The first is that especially shale drillers are raking in much fatter profits right now at current production levels. According to Deloitte calculations cited by Bloomberg's Kevin Crowley, U.S. shale operators are currently booking the biggest profits since the start of the shale revolution. And that's saying something. The reason the shale play development earned the name revolution was that it happened so quickly, and it happened so quickly because it was profitable, for a time. By booking higher profits, shale drillers - at least the public ones among them - can keep their shareholders happier than they have been in years during the cash-burning phase of the shale revolution when everyone raced to boost output by the most, contributing to the two latest price crashes. Speaking of crashes, the other reason shale drillers are practicing restraint is OPEC. The cartel has already demonstrated twice that it has the power to cause a collapse in prices that may its members but seems to hurt U.S. shale producers more. After several waves of bankruptcies, shale drillers appear to have decided on a different approach to production, betting on fatter profits instead of higher production. Be that as it may, production in the U.S. shale patch is rising. Reuters reported earlier this week that production at the Permian was about to set a record, surpassing its pre-pandemic production levels next month. That's because the Permian has been the darling of the shale industry for years now, sporting some of the lowest production costs in some areas, drawing in more capital than other shale plays. Overall production is also on the rise. According to the Energy Information Administration's latest weekly industry update, the U.S. was producing 11.5 million bpd of crude, which puts it in the first place globally and represents a 1-million-bpd increase on the year. It is lower than the record 13-million-bod production rate right before the pandemic struck, but it is no small potatoes by any means. And, perhaps surprisingly to some, the industry is not averse to working with the federal administration to make gasoline more affordable. The messages coming from shale oil are not all in the same tone but they do tend to be encouraging. The chief executive of Occidental Petroleum, for instance, was quite blunt in telling Biden to "back off" the U.S. oil industry rather than calling on OPEC to increase oil production so U.S. drivers can pay less at the pump. The president, Scott Sheffield, said earlier this month that Biden has "got to back off his rhetoric on federal leases going forward." Occidental's Vicki Hollub was more delicate this week, when she said, in response to a question on whether Biden was wrong to call on OPEC to boost output, "if I were gonna make a call, it wouldn't be long-distance, it would be a local call." "I think first you, you stay home, you ask your friends, and you ask your neighbors to do it. And then if we can't do it, you call some other countries," Hollub told CNBC. Tyler Durden Thu, 11/18/2021 - 15:51.....»»

Category: smallbizSource: nytNov 18th, 2021

The week in bankruptcies: Marinia Towers LLC

Orlando area bankruptcy courts recorded one business filing - including one with total debt above $1 million - during the week that ended November 12, 2021. Year to date through November 12, 2021, the court recorded 62 Chapter 7 or Chapter 11 business bankruptcy filings, a 47% decrease from the same span the prior year. Chapter 7 bankruptcy protection typically provides for the liquidation of a business’ assets to satisfy creditor claims, while Chapter 11 protection enables a business to restructure….....»»

Category: topSource: bizjournalsNov 18th, 2021