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Start-up

You probably didn’t lose this much on bitcoin

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Cryptocurrency has lost $400 billion… and this figure includes Sean Russell’s life savings. Russell invested $120,000 in bitcoin last November…and if you know anything about bitcoin, you would know that number magically grew. Scratch that – that number exploded to $500,000 in a month.

 

The highs and lows… bitcoin was once trading over $20,000 per unit; now it goes for around $6,300. Russell has lost 96% of his life savings, after initially quadrupling it. Yes, the once-promising returns of bitcoin seem to be gone for good. But how does something like this even happen?

 

It happens because… people have no clue what they’re doing. People that wouldn’t normally invest, like college students (no offense if you are one), started buying into the bitcoin frenzy and jacking the price up far beyond what it should have been. You know, like a bubble – and that bubble isn’t done bursting because, last week, bitcoin dropped another 20% in two days…just for good measure.

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Start-up

Everyone is ditching Snapchat

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Everyone’s leaving Snapchat… and now the list includes Imran Khan, the company’s chief strategy officer. Others that have left include CFO Drew Vollero and VP of Product Tom Conrad. The company has also been without a COO since Emily White left in 2015. And while there haven’t been any high profile departures, investors are still wondering what is going on at Snachat.

 

Hopefully, you didn’t buy Snap’s… IPO at $17 per share. Today, the stock was trading in the single digits and was at an all-time low last week. Needless to say, the revolving door of executives and the recent drop in daily users will continue to drive the share price down.

 

Investors seem to believe… that Snapchat could use an executive that can command both the respect of Silicon Valley and Wall Street. Currently, Snap appears to be run by a bunch of damn kids. But maybe the company just needs someone who will stick around…whether that be executives or daily users.

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Start-up

Here is a robot we could ALL use

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The future is upon us… and pretty soon we will have robots cleaning up after us – and what is more futuristic than that? Researchers at MIT are creating robots that can understand objects to help automate tedious chores like cleaning. This robot isn’t just useful for cleaning up your crap – it also could be used to pack boxes in warehouses.

 

Okay, we do already have robots… but these cannot think for themselves, which makes them so much less futuristic. Robots developed by MIT could understand how to pick-up and pack objects into boxes – just like humans already do. And I know what you’re thinking, ‘Robots are going 2 steal our jobz!!!!’ Well, yeah – probably…but maybe try doing a better job so that doesn’t happen.

 

Here’s how they work… it is actually a robotic arm that examines and analyzes different products to understand what they have in common. After looking over different shoes, this robot could learn where the laces should be. Okay, not that impressive, but we’re getting there people.

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Start-up

How this startup went from BILLIONS to BROKE

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That’s all she wrote… for Theranos, a biotech startup out of Silicon Valley once valued at $9 billion in its heyday. The blood-testing company promised a cheaper, more efficient alternative to medical tests.

 

Now, no one wants it… and the investment bank working with Theranos contacted over 80 potential buyers – and nothing. The downfall began after Wall Street investigative reporter John Carreyrou exposed the company’s technology and caused Theranos to void two years’ worth of blood tests. I don’t know anything about blood testing, but I do know that is two years down the drain.

 

99 problems… and regardless of what they are, that is a lot of problems. Last June, former CEO Elizabeth Holmes was indicted on federal wire fraud charges. Additionally, Holmes and former COO Ramesh Balwani allegedly schemed to defraud investors, doctors, and patients out of millions. You can see why these guys collapsed. The company still owes at least $60 million to creditors – I wonder if anyone will accept Schrute Bucks?

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Start-up

WeWork’s rent just went waaay up

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WeWork is currently… the second-largest renter in Manhattan only to JPMorgan. However, the company is looking to take on another 200,000 square feet and surpass the banking giant very soon. Not too shabby for a company that is just eight-years-old, right?

 

What do they do, exactly… well, WeWork offers tiered pricing for co-working spaces and can cost over $1,000 per month. A co-working space typically involves a shared workplace; but those co-working are not usually part of the same organization (i.e., single employees rent work space). Members can rent desks or entire offices. So you can see why the company needs the extra office space.

 

WeWork is valued at… around $20 billion and the company is looking to raise money that would value the company as high as $35 billion. WeWork is also expanding this idea with shared spaces for education (WeGrow), health and fitness (WeRise), and co-living (WeLive). All this after just eight years – you could say that WeImpressed…

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Start-up

Uber is sabotaging…themselves?

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Lower sales now… for higher profits later? That may be true as Uber begins encouraging customers to book bicycles and scooters instead of cars to get around. Lately, the ride-share company has been focusing heavily on offering means of transportation outside of automobiles. Crazy? Not necessarily because with a $6 trillion mobility market, there are far more to transportation options than just cars.

 

It’s for the long run… and lowered sales are okay if it means a better company in the future. The users win, the cities win, and Uber eventually wins – so a win-win-win by offering various modes of transportation. These “wins” include less traffic and more ways to get around.

 

What about the drivers… because believe it or not, this is good news for Uber drivers. Bicycles and scooters allow drivers to avoid the low-cost short trips and take on longer better-paying ones (or so they say). Regardless, Uber is showing us why the big picture trumps any short-term outlook – and remember this when the company goes public in 2019…

Start-up

You look like you could use a ‘Handy’

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It took a $900 phone bill for ‘Handy’ to be born. Although many of us have smartphones, using these devices overseas can cost an arm and a leg. However, Handy is out to change that. Handy is a cell phone used by guests traveling abroad that allows hotel guests to use 3G internet and make unlimited phone calls (and your limbs will remain intact).

 

Born in Hong Kong… this is where Handy began, and this is also one of the world’s top travel destinations. The device was initially available to rent at airports – now it is exclusively for hotel guests. Other features of the device include local travel guides, lighting and curtain control, and coupons. Sound helpful?

 

It proved helpful… because what was once a one-person show turned into 400 employees in 52 countries. The company is also looking to add more features to Handy, such as keyless room entry and express check-out. So maybe one man’s ridiculous $900 roaming charge is another man’s treasure? Something like that…

Start-up

Uber: when they settle, they settle high

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The new CFO won’t like this… because Uber has agreed to pay $1.9M to 56 current and former employees to settle claims of harassment, gender discrimination, and a hostile work environment. Actually, that sum is nothing to Uber – the real damage is likely to be found in the negative PR the company continues to receive. Additionally, $5.1M will be divvied up amongst 480 workers included in the lawsuit.

 

So, what is this all about… the lawsuit was filed in October of last year and focused on unequal pay between Latina engineers and their white and Asian coworkers. The women in the suit alleged that female and employees of color were receiving unfair performance reviews due to their gender and race. The performance reviews would go on to negatively impact their pay at the company.

 

Uber fixed this… by increasing pay and making pay equal for all based on cut-and-dry metrics like location, job, and tenure. The company also took a second look at salaries after paying out bonuses in March. In July, the company’s head of human resources resigned after an internal investigation regarding how she handled such racial discrimination claims within the company. So it looks like this matter has been resolved – but we’ll see if Uber can put their disastrous PR days behind them…

Start-up

Marijuana stocks reach new highs

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Here is what’s happening… Rival Cronos Group is up 40% over the past seven days and 11% on Tuesday alone. Tilray went public on the Nasdaq and is up over 60% since Friday, up 10% on Tuesday. Canopy Growth is up 30% since striking a deal with Corona last week. As you can see, weed stocks are going up into the clouds with these gains, and it is mostly thanks to that Corona deal.

 

Also thanks to Canada… don’t forget about Canada. Our neighbors to the north (or maybe just your regular neighbors, if you live there), were pioneers in legalizing recreational marijuana nationwide. Cronos, Tilray, and Canopy are all looking to capitalize on the new law and have been announcing plans left and right.

 

There needs to be a first… and Canada has done just that. Now, investors are hoping that other countries, especially the United States, will follow suit. However, Constellation investing in Canopy seems to be enough for investors to get that warm, fuzzy feeling that the green is known to give.

Start-up

Uber can’t go public without one of these…

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Believe it or not… Uber didn’t have a CFO until today. That’s right – Uber has been operating without a CFO since 2015. But have no fear because Nelson J. Chai is here! Chai has experience as a CFO for Merrill Lynch & Co., and in case you didn’t know, Uber is going public pretty soon so this move makes a lot of sense.

 

They were very selective… as the ride-share company should be because it isn’t like there was a shortage of applicants. Moreover, Uber now has their guy, and he looks to be a good one. The new hire is also good news for the company because the finance department at Uber was hurting after their head of global finance left to play CFO at DoorDash.

 

The latest hire… out of several new hires to improve the executive ranks at Uber. The company also got another “chief” last week in former NSA official Matt Olsen. Olsen will be taking over as the chief security officer at the company. Talk about getting your $#!% together right before making the leap to go public.