Month: May 2022

Stuf Storage Co-Founder and CEO Katharine Lau on Going After the $48B Self-Storage Industry

The Crunchbase “Female Leader Series” is comprised of stories, Q&As and thought-leadership pieces from glass-ceiling-smashers who overcame the odds and are now leading successful companies.

Katharine Lau is CEO and co-founder of Stuf, a next-generation self-storage startup recently recognized as one of Fast Company’s list of The World’s Most Innovative Companies in 2022. Stuf partners with real estate owners to monetize underutilized space in commercial buildings as inviting, tech-enabled storage powered by hospitality-inspired service. 

Lau is passionate about reinventing consumer experiences in the physical world and leads the company’s vision and overall strategy in transforming the self-storage industry. Prior to founding Stuf, Lau led supply growth at Industrious, the nation’s largest premium shared-workplace provider, and pioneered an “industry first” asset and liability-light growth strategy. 

In this Q&A, Lau shares her journey to entrepreneurship, advice for aspiring entrepreneurs and her experience simultaneously running a startup and growing her family. 

Q: What inspired you to start your company? 

I lived in Hong Kong and Shanghai during my teenage years and saw entire cityscapes change overnight. I have been drawn to real estate ever since and made a career out of it. What I learned early on is that there are tons of underutilized real estate in commercial buildings all around us; and more often than not, it has set empty for years. That revelation inspired a years-long search for the right idea to breathe new life into these spaces. 

The “aha” moment came during the pandemic. Spring (Read more...)

When will augmented reality glasses be ready for consumers? Really?

This post is by Robert Scoble from Scobleizer

Unfortunately it has taken a lot longer to get augmented reality glasses to consumers than I expected. A lot longer. I thought we would be wearing them all day by now. Heck, when I got Google Glass years ago I thought I never would take those off. Boy, was I wrong.

Lots of people are trying to figure out what Apple is up to, using that as a sign that consumer products are close.

Many in Silicon Valley taunt me for my previous optimism, saying “not this year, not next year.”

That doesn’t mean they aren’t getting closer. For the past seven years I’ve been watching Lumus, a small company in Israel, that makes the best lenses/displays I’ve seen so far. Every two years they come and visit me and show me its latest. Every year they get brighter, lighter, more efficient, smaller, and more.

Here, in video, is Lumus’ head of marketing showing me its latest displays.

But since I have been so wrong before, I wanted to take a more sober look at these displays and ask myself “when will consumers buy these?”

That may just be the wrong question. Enterprise uses of these are coming right now. Just look at the revolution in robotics that is underway. AI pioneer Adrian Kaehler has been retweeting every amazing robot on Twitter (he is CEO of Giant AI, which makes manufacturing robots coming over the next year) and there are dozens that work on all sorts of production (Read more...)

Can Your Portfolio Company Cut Your Bad Cholesterol by More Than Half? It Can When It’s Culina Health.

The pandemic and parenthood hasn’t been great for either my eating habits or my activity level—not to mention the two month grandparent visit when we brought Mirren home.

Here’s my approach to my snacks: “I finished off this candy too fast. I can’t ever buy it again.”

Here’s my father-in-law’s approach to my snacks: “I saw that you finished off the candy so I ran out and bought you some more.”

So, it wasn’t too surprising when I got back my results from Base (a subscription data-driven personal health company also in the BBV portfolio) that my cholesterol, particularly by LDL (bad cholesterol) had ticked up to the point where I needed to do something about it. There are cholesterol issues in my family, too—which I don’t actually think is nearly as genetic as our love of cheese and ice cream, but still concerning.

My general approach to healthy habits has been to poke around the interwebs for ideas and see what I think I can integrate into my lifestyle that is backed by actual science. I guess I shouldn’t be surprised when the numbers didn’t really move that much the next time around.

Luckily, that’s when I met Culina Health—a new startup whose seed round Brooklyn Bridge Ventures co-led with Healthworx, the investment arm of CareFirst Blue Cross Blue Shield.

Culina is a personalized nutrition platform powered by registered dietitians to help patients prioritize the way they want to live. What I realized when I was googling around (Read more...)

Reid Hoffman | Crisis Management

This post is by Greylock Partners from Greymatter

Greylock general partner Reid Hoffman and his Blitzscaling co-author Chris Yey discuss the current crisis and its impact on startups. Entrepreneurship assumes an innate degree of optimism and perseverance. But even the most determined founders can feel subdued when faced with yet another crisis. That’s why adaptability is a startup’s strongest asset. As recent global events push us into a new era of market volatility and economic uncertainty, companies must be prepared to recalibrate their business to the new reality. Whether that means pausing their hiring plans, tempering their expansion efforts, redirecting resources, or any other number of operational activities, today’s startup leaders should have a set of defensive and offensive tactics they can quickly deploy during times of crisis. You can read a transcript of this episode here:

Ranked: Visualizing the Largest Trading Partners of the U.S.

This post is by Raul Amoros from Visual Capitalist

U.S. Largest Trading Partners

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Ranked: The Largest Trading Partners of the U.S.

The U.S. economy grew 5.7% in 2021, the fastest pace since 1984, bouncing back from the economic downturn created by the pandemic. But as supply chain issues reared their head and international restrictions came in and out of play, how did the country’s trade situation shape up?

America’s trade deficit of goods shot up to a whopping record $1.1 trillion in 2021 from $922 billion in 2020, leading to its largest ever deficit. Imports dwarfed exports, reaching new highs of $2.9 trillion in 2021, while U.S. exports to other countries added up to $1.8 trillion.

Using the latest data on international trade from the U.S. Census Bureau, we’ve visualized the flow of America’s annual imports and exports for selected countries. The difference between the two measures is the country’s trade deficit for goods.

Who Does the U.S. Trade Most With?

In 2021, U.S trade of goods amounted to nearly $4.6 trillion and Canada, Mexico, and China were America’s largest trading partners. Those three countries alone combined for (Read more...)

There’s no such thing as data

Technology is full of narratives, but one of the loudest is around something called ‘data’. AI is the future, and it’s all about data, and data is the future, and we should own it and maybe be paid for it, and countries need data strategies and data sovereignty. Data is the new oil!

This is mostly nonsense. There is no such thing as ‘data’, it isn’t worth anything, and it doesn’t really belong to you anyway.

Most obviously, ‘data’ is not one thing, but innumerable different collections of information, each of them specific to a particular application, that aren’t interchangeable. Siemens has wind turbine telemetry and Transport for London has ticket swipes, and you can’t use the turbine telemetry to plan a new bus route. If you gave both sets of data to Google or Tencent, that wouldn’t help them build a better image recognition system.

This might seem trivial put so bluntly, but it points to the uselessness of very common assertions, especially from people outside tech, on the lines of ’China has more data’ or ‘America will have more data’ - more of what data? Meituan delivers 50m restaurant orders a day, and that lets it build a more efficient routing algorithm, but you can’t use that for a missile guidance system. You might not even be able to use it to build restaurant delivery in London. ‘Data’ does not exist as one, single, unified thing, where you can add every row and table of every different kind (Read more...)

I Love YouTube

This post is by Howard Lindzon from Howard Lindzon

I spent two hours yesterday down a YouTube rabbit hole because of a comment someone left me on Twitter about Jerry Seinfeld.

There is no greater internet product/business/fun/deep learning/silly place than YouTube. I never ceased to be amazed. Nobody can copy, replace, build it again.

Like most of us, I am a huge fan of Seinfeld – the show, and I watched this great Seinfeld cast compilation interview.

Listening to Jason Alexander’s viewpoints was eye opening.

The one line that stuck with me from the great hour of discussions was ….’We sacrificed everything for the laugh’ (minute 19).

Have a great day.