Day: February 25, 2021

What We’re Reading



Demographics:

Longer term what I worry about is that before COVID arrived, it was clear that we were hitting a steady reduction in growth rate, which had not been fully appreciated by the authorities. And the main reason was the population bust. When I came to America in the sixties, we were having years where you’d have as much as one and a half percent increase in labor force, natural growth.

And now we’re down to 0.2, and within 10 years we’ll be about minus 0.2. Europe is already flat to down. Japan has been down for over 20 years, and South Korea will be down momentarily. And China, incredibly important, will be having declines in the 20 year old’s coming into the workforce pretty soon. So all over the world, you’re having declining growth rates of workforce workers. And then the second part of growth is productivity. And if you look at the data, whether it’s the US or international in the developed world in particular, it’s clear that for 50, 60 years, the productivity level has been wending its way down. From in the sixties, which was pretty much a peak almost 3% a year, and today somewhere in the 1% to 1.5%. So if you have 1% to 1.5% productivity and minus 0.2 growth rate in the workforce, and if you keep up the tendency for everybody to work a little bit less, about 0.2 in the US. We like working here. But still 0.2 is (Read more...)

The Death of a Retailer


This post is by Om Malik from On my Om


Not every brick and mortar retail chain selling goods that people can get more easily — even instantly — online gets the GameStop treatment. Some of them (most of them) just quietly fade. But that doesn’t mean they weren’t loved.

Younger generations might wonder why so many old farts are moaning about Fry’s Electronics shuttering. Isn’t it outdated? Hasn’t it been dying a slow death for a while? And the answer to such (snotty, if you ask me) questions is: Yes, of course!

Fry’s was built for a world that no longer exists. We live in a world where Amazon’s revenues ballooned 38% to $386 billion in the middle of the worst health crisis. We live in a world where stock markets value a food delivery company at roughly $55 billion. The elders are lamenting not the death of a store but the slow fading of Silicon Valley itself. 

“It looks like Fry’s is going the way of Netscape, SGI, and Sun Microsystems, and I for one, am pretty bummed,” wrote Mike Cassidy, about the slowly withering retail pioneer. “In fact, in many ways, it is more representative of the valley than any of the region’s famous start-ups.”

***

First, a bit of history!

In 1985, three Fry brothers, John, Randy, Dave, and Kathy Kolder, opened the first store in Sunnyvale, California. Retailing was in the Frys’ blood. Their dad, Charles, started Fry Food Stores. He sold the company for $14 million in 1972. He gave his boys a million (Read more...)

Mapped: The Greenest Countries in the World


This post is by Therese Wood from Visual Capitalist


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Mapped: The Greenest Countries in the World

From widening wealth disparity to the environmental ramifications of economic development—the growing focus on global sustainability is a clear sign of the times.

Research reveals that when a sustainable ethos is applied to policy and business, it typically bodes well for economies and people alike. By providing benchmarks for those decisions, indexes like Yale’s Environmental Performance Index (EPI) can be critical to measuring national sustainability efforts.

The above map interprets the EPI ranking of 180 economies across 32 environmental health indicators by narrowing in on the top 40 greenest countries.

Who’s the Greenest of them All?

Despite the decades-long trend of globalization, national environmental policies have proved to be widely divergent. The EPI report confirms that those policies—and their positive results—are highly correlated with national wealth.

This is evidenced in the global EPI distributions, seen below:

OVERALL RANKCOUNTRYSCOREREGIONAL RANK
1Denmark82.51
2Luxembourg82.32
3Switzerland81.53
4United Kingdom81.34
5France805
6Austria79.66
(Read more...)

DigitalOcean’s IPO filing shows a two-class cloud market



This morning DigitalOcean, a provider of cloud computing services to SMBs, filed to go public. The company intends to list on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) under the ticker symbol “DOCN.”

DigitalOcean’s offering comes amidst a hot streak for tech IPOs, and valuations that are stretched by historical norms. The cloud hosting company was joined by Coinbase in filing its numbers publicly today.

DigitalOcean’s offering comes amidst a hot streak for tech IPOs.

However, unlike the cryptocurrency exchange, DigitalOcean intends to raise capital through its offering. Its S-1 filing lists a $100 million placeholder number, a figure that will update when the company announces an IPO price range target.

This morning let’s explore the company’s financials briefly, and then ask ourselves what its results can tell us about the cloud market as a whole.

DigitalOcean’s financial results

TechCrunch has covered DigitalOcean with some frequency in recent years, including its early-2020 layoffs, its early-2020 $100 million debt raise and its $50 million investment from May of the same year that prior investors Access Industries and Andreessen Horowitz participated in.

From those pieces we knew that the company had reportedly reached $200 million in revenue during 2018, $250 million in 2019 and that DigitalOcean had expected to reach an annualized run rate of $300 million in 2020.

Those numbers held up well. Per its S-1 filing, DigitalOcean generated $203.1 million in 2018 revenue, $254.8 million in 2019 and $318.4 million in 2020. The company closed 2020 out with (Read more...)

Crypto company Anchorage raises $80 million after getting federal banking charter



Anchorage has raised an $80 million Series C funding round led by GIC, also known as Singapore’s sovereign wealth fund. Andreessen Horowitz, Blockchain Capital, Lux and Indico are also participating in today’s funding round.

The thinking behind this funding round is quite simple. Some companies, such as Tesla or Square, have recently chosen to invest in cryptocurrencies. They’re converting a small portion of their cash balance into cryptocurrencies. Some investors choose to invest in companies that help you add cryptocurrencies to your cash balance — Anchorage is one of them.

The startup originally offered a custody solution. It lets you keep your cryptocurrencies safe for you so that you don’t have to take care of the wallets and their public and private keys. But more recently, Anchorage received a federal banking charter, turning it into a digital asset bank.

Getting a thumbs-up sign from regulators should definitely help when it comes to confidence. Institutional investors are looking for trusty crypto partners to dip their toes into the crypto waters.

In addition to custody, Anchorage now offers several financial products, such as staking, crypto lending, etc. In other words, it wants to become a one-stop shop for institutional investors.

Interestingly, Anchorage also wants to become a crypto-banking-as-a-service startup. The startup thinks it could become the preferred crypto partner for both challenger banks and traditional banks.

The Monthly Rundown, Bonus Edition: January Venture Rounds for Black-founded and Co-founded U.S. Companies



We’re back with a special Black History Month bonus edition of the Monthly Rundown. Following the classic Monthly Rundown style, this edition highlights Black-founded and co-founded companies with new funding from the last month. 

According to Crunchbase Diversity Spotlight data, only 20 of the nearly 800 U.S. funding rounds in January went to Black-founded and co-founded companies, representing just 2.56 percent. Even after the many declarations from VC firms in 2020 and pledges to “make the hire, send the wire,” there remains a long way to go in investing in, and leveling the playing field for, Black founders. 

The 10 Black-founded and co-founded companies featured below are listed in order of total funding raised in January, starting with the largest funding rounds. You can find the full list of Black-founded and co-founded companies with new funding in January here. And, if you’re a founder looking to get discovered, make sure your company is registered in Crunchbase, and your Diversity Spotlight tags are up to date.  

 

1. Calendly

HQ: Atlanta, Georgia

Industry: Productivity Tools, Scheduling, Software

Funding: Raised a $350 million Series B on Jan. 26. Lead Investor: OpenView

About Calendly: Founded in 2013 by Tope Awotona, Calendly is an automated scheduling tool that takes the work out of connecting with others so that its users can accomplish more. The company’s latest raise puts it squarely in unicorn territory. Calendly was the second most highly valued new U.S.-based unicorn in January, (Read more...)

Stoke Space wants to take reusable rockets to new heights with $9M seed



Many launch providers think reusability is the best way to lower the cost and delay involved in getting to space. SpaceX and Rocket Lab have shown reusable first stages, which take a payload to the edge of space — and now Stoke Space Technologies says it is making a reusable second stage, which will take that payload to orbit and beyond, and has raised a $9.1M seed round to realize it.

Designing a first stage that can return to Earth safely is no small task, but the fact that it only reaches a certain height and speed, and doesn’t actually climb into orbit at an even higher velocity, means that it is simpler to try. The second stage takes over when the first is spent, accelerating and guiding the payload to its destination orbit, which generally means it will have traveled a lot farther and will be going a lot faster when it tries to come back down.

Stoke thinks that it’s not just possible to create a second stage that’s reusable, but crucial to building the low-cost space economy that will enable decades of growth in the industry. The team previously worked on the New Glenn and New Shepard vehicles and engines at Blue Origin, the Merlin 1C for the Falcon 9 at SpaceX, and others.

“Our design philosophy is to design hardware that not only can be reused, but is operationally reusable. That means fast turnaround times with low refurbishment effort. Reusability of that type has to be (Read more...)

Random Insights into “Walt Disney”


This post is by auren from Summation by Auren Hoffman


I loved the book “Walt Disney” by Neal Galber and highly recommend it. Disney was a fascinating person who captured the imagination of the world.   Two random insights from the book that are a bit non-obvious: Disney was ALWAYS out of money Much of the book is about how Walt Disney (and his brother Roy) […]

The post Random Insights into “Walt Disney” appeared first on Summation by Auren Hoffman.

Commerce Logistics | Mike Duboe, Casey Armstrong and Aaron Schwartz


This post is by Greylock Partners from Greymatter


In the second installment of Greylock’s podcast capsule series on commerce, general partner Mike Duboe talks with two experienced operators in the logistics side of the sector: Casey Armstrong, who is the Chief Marketing Officer at ecommerce fulfillment services provider Shipbob, and Aaron Schwartz, the co-founder of cross-border shipping services provider Passport Shipping. In this episode, Mike, Aaron and Casey discuss strategies and tools that ensure brands can deliver a frictionless experience to both consumers and the technology partners that power their platform.

4 Tips for Minorities Pursuing A Career In Finance



The professional playing field has never been even. Still today, we must acknowledge the fact that some runners start the race farther away from the finish line than others. This is particularly true in finance, where African Americans and Latinos — combined — make up only about 3.5 percent of all certified financial planners.

While too many of these obsolete ways are still alive, the new age of technology is changing the workplace landscape. In many ways, the professional office environment is incomparable to 20 years ago — with everything becoming quickly digitalized. For instance, pre-COVID, the workforce in the U.S. had grown by 15 percent since 2005, whereas the number of remote online workers had grown by 173 percent.

This tells us the winds of change are blowing, but how do you adapt to the new environment? This is not an easy question to answer, but it makes sense to start off by understanding key technological trends.

 

1. Embrace technology as the future of finance

This applies to everyone, not just minorities. But it’s so relevant to a career in finance that its significance cannot be ignored.

Historically speaking, the world of finance has largely been dominated by people in suits recording incredible amounts of data on paper. Now, everything is digitized as the financial world continues to integrate new technology at an astounding pace. While this generally comes as no surprise to most people, the implications are largely unnoticed.

Financial technology, commonly referred to as (Read more...)