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This Kombucha Entrepreneur Hired a Man Who Spoke No English. He Is Now a Company Executive

Fifteen years ago, a non-English-speaking man applied to work at GT’s Living Foods. In Spanish, he told the hiring manager, “I am willing to do anything.” He got the job.

Originally, his job was to sweep and mop the floors. He moved up to housekeeping, and later was promoted to work on the bottling line.

“Every month, every quarter, every year he grew, and his attitude got better,” says GT Dave, founder and CEO of GT’s Living Foods. “He promised he would do anything, and he did. He had zero ego, zero pride, and the best attitude I’ve ever seen.”

Dave even goes so far as to say that this hire is better at his job than any other employee–even those with more education and industry experience. Unlike many people, who are specifically good at only one or two tasks, this employee has an affinity for quickly learning how to do many different things. And now he’s an executive at GT’s Living Foods. His job is to develop kombucha flavors and to run production lines. He’s also a general problem solver for the company.

In a company like GT’s Living Foods, Dave says, he needs people who are scrappy, flexible, and quick to jump on problems that need solving. “We’re very, very lean. We’re very, very agile. We’re much more artistic than we are corporate,” Dave says. “It’s a hard environment for your typical executive to exist in.”

As such, Ivy League degrees and decades of experience don’t necessarily count for much. Dave says résumés don’t matter to him: He looks for the same can-do attitude in every applicant who walks in the door. And, once he hires someone, that person has to keep proving she’s worthy of the job.

“I want to see what you can do here, and now. That’s my litmus test for talent,” says Dave.

By: Lizabeth Frohwein

 

Source: This Kombucha Entrepreneur Hired a Man Who Spoke No English. He Is Now a Company Executive

Our Founder & CEO, GT Dave, speaks to industry leaders & entrepreneurial pioneers on “Keeping The Attachment” at BevNet Live Winter 2018 in Santa Monica, CA. Watch to the end to see the announcement of our newest offering, DREAM CATCHER: Our CBD-Infused Sparkling Wellness Water. For more information about GT Dave and GT’s Living Foods, visit GTsLivingFoods.com. Follow @GTsKombucha on Social Media! Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/GTsLivingFoods/ Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/gtskombucha/ Twitter: https://twitter.com/gtskombucha Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/gtskombucha/ LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/company/gts-… Website: https://gtslivingfoods.com

 

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Walmart Beats Q1 Earnings Forecast, Misses on Revenues; E-Commerce Sales Surge

Walmart Inc. (WMTGet Report) posted much stronger-than-expected first quarter earnings Thursday as same-store sales in the United States beat expectations amid a renewed push in the retailer’s e-commerce division.

Walmart said adjusted earnings for the three months ending in April, the retailer’s fiscal first quarter for the 2020 financial year, came in at $1.13 per share, well ahead of the $1.02 forecast. Reported earnings rose 84.7% from last year to $1.33 per share, reflecting a 20 cents per share gain from the group’s holding in China-based online retailer JD.com (JDGet Report) .

Download Now: To be a profitable investor you first need to know the rules. Get Jim Cramer’s 25 Rules for Investing Special Report

Group revenues, Walmart said, rose 1% to $123.925 billion, missing analysts’ forecast of $124.51 billion, as currency moves clipped the topline. Excluding currency impacts, Walmart said, revenues rose 2.5% to $125.8 billion, but the company cautioned currency moves would hit sales by around $1 billion over the current quarter.

“We’re changing to enable more innovation, speed and productivity, and we’re seeing it in our results,” said CEO Doug McMillon. “We’re especially pleased with the combination of comparable sales growth from stores and eCommerce in the U.S. Our team is demonstrating an ability to serve customers today while building new capabilities for the future, and I want to thank them for a strong start to the year.”

Walmart shares were marked 3.7% higher following the earnings release at $103.59 each, a move that would extend the stock’s year-to-date advance to around 11%.

U.S. same-store sales rose 3.4%, Walmart said, with net sales hitting $80.3 billion while e-commerce revenues surged 37%, although that growth rate slowed from 43% over the Christmas holiday quarter. International sales, however, fell 4.9% to $28.8 billion. Sam’s Club revenues rose 1.5% to $13.8 billion.

Earlier this week, Walmart said  it will launch a free, next-day delivery service to challenge its online rival Amazon Inc.  (AMZNGet Report) as retailers step-up their efforts to cater to changing consumption patterns in the world’s biggest economy.

Walmart’s NextDay delivery service will apply to around 220,000 frequently-purchased items on the Walmart.com website, the company said, and will be offered without a membership on all orders over $35. The new service will launch in Phoenix and Las Vegas, Walmart said, before expanding to Southern California in the coming days and around 75% of the broader U.S. population, including 40 of the top 50 major metro areas, by the end of the year.

Walmart’s move follows a similar offering from Amazon, the world’s largest online retailer, which shifted to one-day from two-day delivery for its Prime members last month — who pay $119 per year for the loyalty club membership — with a strategy it said will cost $800 million over its fiscal second quarter.

By:

Source: Walmart Beats Q1 Earnings Forecast, Misses on Revenues; E-Commerce Sales Surge

 

How Did This Phoenix Tech Company Achieve a Staggering 36,000 Percent Growth? A Mistake Had a Lot to Do With It

The story of the fastest-growing private company in America, a profitable technology startup called Freestar whose revenue growth since 2015 has been a staggering 36,680 percent, starts with a calendar.

Not a buzzy new calendar app. Not a life-altering meeting request. A printed wall calendar. One of those relics with pictures of animals or landscapes that we all used to tack up in the kitchen.

This particular calendar–Tempe12–had, well, swimsuit models. Arizona State University co-eds in bikinis, to be exact. “All the girls had to have a minimum 3.0 GPA, so they had beauty and brains,” explains Freestar co-founder David Freedman, without a trace of sheepishness. Freedman, who launched the calendar when he was a 22-year-old fifth-year senior at ASU back in 2004, has come a long way since then. But he draws a straight line from that fairly crude start to his current success.

Freestar, you see, sells solutions and services that help publishers make more money online by optimizing their advertising operations. When Tempe12 was just getting started, Freedman sold all its ad space to local businesses. The calendar took off, expanded to 21 other colleges by its third year, and drew attention from Playboy and Howard Stern. Tempe12 had a website with photo archives and decent traffic–but no efficient way to make money.

In 2008, Freestar’s other co-founder, Chris Stark, joined Freedman, taught himself to code, and started scaling Tempe12’s online ad business. Other publishers noticed and asked for help, so Freedman and Stark launched a consultancy–DigitalMGMT.

“Smaller publishers would get requests from an advertiser to spend money on their website, and they didn’t even know how to sell it or how to serve it,” Freedman remembers. He and Stark could help. They had no secret formula, no proprietary technology, but they were crafty and entrepreneurial and understood an industry that was evolving every month.

“The biggest problem we had at that point was that we’d take a client from making five grand a month to 50 grand, and some other company would come in and buy them,” says Stark. “Our success meant having to always find new clients.”

In 2014, Freedman and Stark set out to raise around a million dollars and then spent most of it purchasing nine small publishers–webdesignledger.com, webresourcesdepot.com, a stock photography site called lostandtaken.com–thinking that they’d “juice the revenue and sell them off,” Freedman recalls. It was the birth of Freestar–and it was a big mistake.

Almost immediately, Freedman and Stark realized that publishing a swimsuit calendar didn’t give them any real editorial expertise. They also realized that focusing on scaling their own websites put them in competition with the sites for which they consulted.

But around the same time, Stark began experimenting with a new technology that was revolutionizing online advertising: header bidding. Until then, many Web ads had been bought in a split-second auction process that went like this: A publisher sent out a request to advertisers to bid on an ad space, and the software would automatically accept the first qualifying offer.

Ads could be sold in real time–but publishers couldn’t weigh offers against one another, potentially missing the best ones. Publishers also had little sense of who was buying ads, which left their sites vulnerable to shady operators. “It was as if you were selling your car at an auction, and they let only one person into the room at a time,” Stark explains. “That person could offer whatever they wanted–and you had to either accept or reject their offer.”

With header bidding, a snippet of code sent a request to all potential advertisers simultaneously–and then selected the best offer. Suddenly, publishers earned more from each ad, and they had more control over which ads ran on their sites. A decade after Freedman started dabbling in ad sales, Freestar took off like a rocket.

“The beautiful thing is, when you start making people more money and helping them run their businesses better, they typically have pretty big mouths,” says Freedman. “Word travels quickly.” Today, Freestar works with more than 300 publishers, including Barstool Sports, Snopes, and Fortune.

Coindesk, which covers all things cryptocurrency, saw ad revenue increase 300 percent in the first month it worked with Freestar, says Jacob Donnelly, the publisher’s managing director of digital operations. Freestar, he says, has made it unnec­essary for Coindesk to hire anyone to handle advertising operations. “That lets me think more strategically about revenue generation,” he says, “which is huge.”

Freestar generates its own revenue by taking a small percentage of the ad dollars that flow through its technology. The company hauled in $37 million last year and expects to cross the $100 million mark soon. It now employs 40–including a new face up top. Freedman and Stark aren’t big on job titles, and neither was ever formally CEO or president.

About a year into the company’s breakout growth, the founders tried to hire Kurt Donnell, a well-regarded media executive in their hometown of Phoenix, but failed to bring him on.

Two years later, they tried again, and Donnell joined as president this past January. What changed Donnell’s mind? “They had executed on everything they said they were going to do two years prior,” he says. And, he adds, “the growth was just astonishing.”

By: Tom Foster

 

 

Source: How Did This Phoenix Tech Company Achieve a Staggering 36,000 Percent Growth? A Mistake Had a Lot to Do With It

He Built A $2.5 Billion Business At Age 50 That Is Disrupting A 7,000 Year Old Industry

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Dr. Joe DeSimone took his own path to entrepreneurship. His latest venture, Carbon, is changing the way things are made.

He’s assembled one of the most impressive Board of Directors and line up of investors to transform the $300 billion manufacturing industry.

Joe recently appeared as a guest on the DealMakers Podcast. During his exclusive interview, he shared how his team is transforming how the world makes things, the fundraising process, what it’s like building a nearly 500 person company in less than 6 years, and many more topics.

From Academia to Entrepreneurship

Joe DeSimone was born and raised in the suburbs of Philadelphia. Ever since high school, Joe found he had a knack for chemistry. For both understanding it and for teaching it.

He attended Ursinus College, and then Virginia Tech for his Ph.D. On a tip from a faculty advisor, he went to check out the University of North Carolina, at Chapel Hill—-one of the top 10 chemistry departments in the country.

If he would teach organic and polymer chemistry, then they would give him $500,000 to start a research program. He was convinced. At UNC, he enjoyed a highly successful career as a professor for 25 years.

Joe taught a lot of students chemistry and mentored many researchers. He learned that people have very different learning styles. From his perspective, if you want to be a great teacher, you have to take responsibility for explaining complicated topics in accessible ways.

It turns out that is a really important trait for entrepreneurs too. It’s a valuable skill whether you’re doing it in a classroom setting, talking to VCs or investors, or your own employees. The importance of bringing people along with you.

His position in academia enabled Joe DeSimone to pursue a handful of interesting startups based on his research before he launching his newest venture, Carbon, in 2013.

His first company was BioStent. A partnership with an interventional cardiologist at Duke University. They developed a coronary stent that is polymeric instead of metal-based. It dissolves in the body after 18 months, once blood vessels can operate on their own again. The company was acquired by Guidant, and then Abbott.

Next, it was Liquidia Technologies, a partnership with one of Joe’s Ph.D. students including Jason Rolland, now SVP of Materials at Carbon. Liquidia went IPO last year.

They developed technology that leveraged tools from the computer industry to make precision nanoparticles. It spawned new and more effective ways to deliver medicines to the airway.

It has proven valuable in improving treatment approaches for diseases like pulmonary arterial hypertension, and in creating next-generation vaccine platforms for infectious diseases and certain cancers.

After spending 25 as a faculty member at UNC, the opportunity to go to Silicon Valley and take on a new entrepreneurial challenge was something Joe couldn’t pass up.

UNC agreed he could take a sabbatical to pursue his idea. That was five years ago.

Departing Academia for Silicon Valley 

When Joe left North Carolina for Silicon Valley to found Carbon, he didn’t know what the future would hold. Carbon is now one of the world’s leading digital manufacturing companies.

Based in Redwood City, Carbon’s mission is to enable companies to make breakthrough products that can improve human health and well being, transform industries, and change the world.

Joe launched the company and its groundbreaking Digital Light Synthesis™ (DLS) technology on the TED stage in 2015.  DLS fuses light and oxygen to rapidly produce products from a pool of resin. Using DLS technology, Carbon is enabling companies like Adidas, Riddell, Ford and Johnson & Johnson to create breakthrough products at speeds and volumes never before possible, finally fulfilling the promise of 3D printing.

Joe believes that empowering product teams to make breakthrough products and bring them to market faster will change the way we live.

Carbon has cracked the code on 3D printing at scale. The manufacturing industry is a $12 trillion market and manufacturing polymers is a $330 billion market. There is enormous potential here for Carbon to lead the digital revolution in manufacturing.

Creating a Company Differentiated by its Technology, Business Model and Team 

With a team of nearly 500 employees around the world, Carbon has also assembled an impressive team of board members and investors while raising $680 million in the process at a $2.5 billion valuation.

Carbon’s board includes former Chairman and CEO of DuPont, Ellen Kullman, former CEO of Ford Motor Company, and former CEO of Boeing’s Aircraft Division, Alan Mulally, and Sequoia’s Jim Goetz.

Some of their investors include Sequoia, Google Ventures, GE, Adidas, BMW, Johnson & Johnson, and JSR. They’ve also got Fidelity, Baillie Gifford, and Madrone Capital Partners as well as investment from additional international sovereign funds.

Storytelling is everything in fundraising and Carbon was able to master this. Being able to capture the essence of what you are doing in 15 to 20 slides is the key. For a winning deck, take a look at the pitch deck template created by Silicon Valley legend, Peter Thiel (see it here) that I recently covered. Thiel was the first angel investor in Facebook with a $500K check that turned into more than $1 billion in cash.

Critical Ingredients for a Successful Company

During the interview, Joe shared three of the most important components of building a successful company as being:

1. The importance of IP and patent-protection

2. Building highly differentiated technology

3. Assembling a world class team of people that are committed, passionate, and talented

DeSimone also shared his thoughts on the similarities between academia and entrepreneurship such as the importance of bringing people along with you and painting a vision for the future and how the world can be different.

Listen in to the full podcast episode to find out more, including:

  • Joe’s advice for starting your own company
  • How he created a purpose-led company
  • Building a successful business model
  • Putting your customers first
  • Future-proofing from obsolescence

Alejandro Cremades is the author of The Art of Startup Fundraising, co-founder of Panthera Advisors (M&A and fundraising advisory), and creator of Inner Circle (fundraising tools & resources)

 

I am a serial entrepreneur and the author of the The Art of Startup Fundraising. With a foreword by ‘Shark Tank‘ star Barbara Corcoran, and published by John Wiley & Sons, the book was named one of the best books for entrepreneurs. The book offers a step-by-step guide to today‘s way of raising money for entrepreneurs. Most recently, I built and exited CoFoundersLab which is one of the largest communities of founders online. Prior to CoFoundersLab, I worked as a lawyer at King & Spalding where I was involved in one of the biggest investment arbitration cases in history ($113 billion at stake). I am an active speaker and have given guest lectures at the Wharton School of Business, Columbia Business School, and at NYU Stern School of Business. I have been involved with the JOBS Act since inception and was invited to the White House and the US House of Representatives to provide my stands on the new regulatory changes concerning fundraising online

Source: https://www.forbes.com

It’s August, and All of Europe Is on Vacation. How Do You Run Your Global Business?

Paid vacation time is mandatory in the European Union–four weeks is a minimum. That number can seem crazy to people in the United States, where it takes 20 years of service to reach an average of 20 vacation days a year–and even when we have it, we don’t use it all.

But, in my experience, Europe embraces vacation–sometimes in ways that make no sense. I’ve frequently found restaurants that close for two weeks during peak tourist season–because the owners want to take their own vacation time. I’d think they would close in the offseason and make money while they could, but the vacation culture is strong.

This summer, my family is basically staying put, for a variety of reasons. We’re making a couple of short trips, but otherwise staying in our home in Switzerland (which, admittedly, is a prime vacation spot in and of itself). And it’s impossible to get anything done.

My lawyer has been on vacation for the past three weeks and will be back next week. I have some things I need her to look at, and they have to wait.

Getting a doctor’s appointment? Good luck! At least the walk-in clinic runs year-round.

While this affects my day-to-day life because I’m physically here, it can also affect your business, even if you’re based in the United States. When someone says, “The Geneva office is closed for three weeks,” they aren’t joking, and no one around here even bats an eyelash. So, how do you do the international part of your business when everyone else is at the beach? Here are some ideas:

Plan ahead

This is going to happen every year. Some countries are worse than others, with everyone going at the same time. One of the problems is that European schoolchildren tend to have shorter summer vacations–six weeks is common–compared with the 10 to 12 weeks American schoolchildren get. Don’t cry for the poor, suffering schoolchildren here–they get an additional eight weeks throughout the school year.

But those six weeks are going to vary from country to country. German and British schools tend to get out at the end of July, while Swiss schools close the last week in June. So, you’ll have better luck with your London office in July than you will with your Swiss office. Go ahead and ask when peak vacation season is and plan accordingly.

Partner with larger companies

While small businesses can be excellent partners, if you will need people year-round, without fail, a large company will be a better bet than a small one. The multinational corporation isn’t going to shut down its Paris office for the summer, but the small business might close its doors for the entire month of August. Ask when you are building relationships. They won’t think to bring it up, because it’s often a normal part of doing business here.

Embrace vacation yourself

Go. Take a vacation. Step away from the office and your phone and your laptop. Europeans have proved that the world doesn’t end if you go on a vacation. If you’re good at what you do, people will be waiting for you when you get back. It’s OK to take some downtime.

Just make sure that if you do come to Europe for your vacation that the restaurants will be open in the small village you thought looked charming. Otherwise, you may be miserable during your vacation.

By: Suzanne Lucas, Freelance writer @RealEvilHRLady

Source: It’s August, and All of Europe Is on Vacation. How Do You Run Your Global Business? | Inc.com

Employers’ New Perk for Millennials: Extra Help Repaying Student Loan Debt

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Like millions of her peers, Nicole Read graduated with thousands of dollars of debt. Unlike most of them, she’s getting direct help from her employer to pay it back.

The 26-year-old’s job at event organizer Live Nation Entertainment in Beverly Hills, California, comes with a benefit that may be starting to catch on at U.S. companies: Contributions to her student loan bills. Offering such an incentive helps businesses lure prospective employees as they grapple with tight labor market conditions marked by a jobless rate near its lowest in almost five decades.

In Read’s case, it’s $100 a month. As a result, “I’m paying like $30 over my minimum payment every month, so it’s gotten me to pay off my interest a little quicker,” she said. “It just kind of gives me a bit of breathing room.”

Such plans are spreading. They were on offer to staff at about 8% of U.S. employers in 2019, more than double the 2015 level, according to an April survey by the Society for Human Resource Management.

Another study by business adviser Willis Towers Watson found that 32% of firms are considering introducing a similar benefit by 2021.

“If you have a young demographic, offering benefits like student loan repayment could be the way to go,” said Alex Alonso, chief knowledge officer for SHRM.

Pronounced competition for talent and the elevated debt burden for a generation of Americans making their way into the workforce are driving the change. Millennials make up more than half of Live Nation’s U.S. labor force.

The balance on outstanding student loans reached $1.6 trillion at the end of the first quarter, and more than a quarter of that is held by people younger than 30. The effects reverberate through their social and economic lives, making it harder to start a family, buy a home or purchase big-ticket items, research shows.

The federal government is considering giving companies a break for helping employees with their debt.

The Employer Participation in Repayment Act, introduced in the House and Senate in February, would provide tax relief to firms that do so. It has bipartisan sponsors, including Democratic presidential candidates Seth Moulton and Amy Klobuchar.

Other Democratic contenders, like Senators Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren, have proposed more sweeping fixes that include writing off loans.

’Win-Win’

“Helping employees get out of debt faster is a win-win, both for the employee and for our productivity,” said Katie Wandtke, director of human resources at Cybrary, a cyber-security firm based in College Park, Maryland.

It’s not just smaller shops adopting the benefit. Larger companies, including professional services powerhouse PricewaterhouseCoopers, are catching on too.

Live Nation began offering the benefit in early 2017 and has helped employees save over $4 million. More than 80 of the company’s workers have been able to completely pay off their loans, according to Live Nation.

The event organizer works with startup Tuition.io, which specializes in helping companies set up such programs and has clients including Estee Lauder Cos. and Staples Inc. There are other platforms in the market too, including Goodly, which works with Cybrary, and Gradifi, used by PwC since 2016.

Paying an extra $30 a month more than the minimum, like Read says she does with her employer’s help, makes a difference.

For example, for a 10-year loan of $50,000 at 5%, it would save close to $1,000 in interest payments over the life of the loan – allowing the borrower to clear the slate eight months early.

“Jobs in the entertainment industry like this one, they’re not high-paying jobs necessarily,” said Read. “So this kind of helps offset that wage difference and it’s really helpful for people like me.”

 

By Alex Tanzi and Shelly Hagan / AP

Source: https://time.com

Here’s The Case For A $100,000 Bitcoin Price By The End Of 2021

The Bitcoin price has been on a tremendous run in 2019, roughly tripling its price in U.S. dollars since the start of the year. That said, Morgan Creek Digital co-founder

Anthony Pompliano thinks the party is just getting started.Pompliano has predicted that the Bitcoin price will reach $100,000 by the end of 2021, and he was recently asked to explain his point of view during an interview with CNN’s Julia Chatterley.

Digital Gold and Loose Monetary Policy

In the past, Pompliano has described the trend towards loose monetary policy combined with Bitcoin’s upcoming halving event as the “perfect storm” for the rise of the digital asset. Pompliano explained this theory during his CNN interview.

“Whenever we get to a recessive period or kind of slowing growth, central banks have kind of two tools: They can cut interest rates, which they did yesterday, and they can print money (quantitative easing). And so, when they do both of those things, it usually takes anywhere between 6 to 18 months to feel the effect of those tools, and what it’s going to do is it’s going to coincide with the Bitcoin halving,” said Pompliano.

A halving event in Bitcoin is when the amount of Bitcoin that are generated by miners every ten minutes is cut in half. Bitcoin’s monetary policy was “set in stone” when the network went live back in 2009, and the scheduled issuance of new Bitcoin is halved roughly every four years.

Originally, 50 Bitcoin were created every ten minutes. Next year, the number of new Bitcoin created in each new block will drop from 12.5 to 6.25.

While gold has historically been viewed as a safe haven asset in times of monetary easing, Pompliano covered a couple of the benefits of Bitcoin over gold during his CNN interview.

“The difference is, between Bitcoin and gold, with Bitcoin, we know exactly how many is getting created, so 1,800 Bitcoin are going to be created today. The second thing is we know the total supply available, which is 21 million. So, it’s not: Hey I wonder how much is in the ground. We know exactly how much it is, and we can actually go and audit or verify the software code of the system,” said Pompliano.

Pompliano is Not Alone

It should be noted that, back in 2017, Pompliano also predicted a $100,000 Bitcoin price by 2019. However, he’s not exactly alone with his latest forecast for 2021.

Pantera CEO Dan Morehead has said there’s a “good shot” the Bitcoin price will hit $42,000 by the end of 2019, and the data used as the basis for his prediction is even more bullish than Pompliano’s $100,000 price point.

Additionally, Tetras Capital’s Brendan Bernstein gave an in-depth presentation on the macroeconomic factors that could lead to a higher Bitcoin price in the coming years at the Bitcoin 2019 conference, and just last week, digital asset research firm Delphi Digital released a report covering Bitcoin’s utility as “digital gold” in the context of more dovish monetary policies from central banks and the possibility of an upcoming recission.

In addition to the macroeconomic trends that could help Bitcoin thrive, some members of the Bitcoin industry have pointed out that Facebook’s Libra cryptocurrency project could benefit Bitcoin in a roundabout way. President Trump has also inadvertently illustrated the utility of a permissionless, apolitical money like Bitcoin.

On top of all that, members of Congress are realizing they wouldn’t be able to ban Bitcoin in a situation where they wanted to implement such a policy.

Follow me on Twitter. Check out my website.

I’m a writer who has been following Bitcoin since 2011. I’ve worked all over the Bitcoin media space — from being editor-in-chief at Inside Bitcoins to contributing to Bitcoin Magazine on a regular basis. My work has also been featured in Business Insider, VICE Motherboard, and many other financial and tech media outlets. I’m mostly interested in the use of Bitcoin for transactions that would be censored by the traditional financial system (think darknet markets and ransomware) in addition to the use of bitcoin as an unseizable, digital store of value. Altcoins, appcoins, and ICOs don’t make much sense to me. Find all of my work at kyletorpey.com. Disclosure: I hold some bitcoin.

Source: Here’s The Case For A $100,000 Bitcoin Price By The End Of 2021

More Selloff Strategies: Cramer’s ‘Mad Money’ Recap

When investors encounter tough days in the stock market, they need a game plan for how to respond, Jim Cramer told his Mad Money viewers Friday. That means knowing what type of selloff you’re dealing with and how best to navigate it. Fortunately, history can be your guide in identifying those inevitable moments of weakness and keep you from panicking.

Stocks finished down Friday, as Donald Trump’s recent threat to levy 10% tariffs on an additional $300 billion of Chinese imports overshadowed the latest U.S. jobs data.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average, which hit a session low of 334 points, finished down 98 points, or 0.37%, to 26,485. The S&P 500, which saw its worst week of the year, fell 0.73% and the Nasdaq dropped 1.32%. The Dow had its second worst week of the year as it fell 2.6%.

Cramer told his viewers that the U.S. stock markets have only seen two truly horrendous selloffs since he began trading in 1979. Those were the Black Monday crash in October 1987 and the rolling crash of the financial crisis from 2007 through 2009. But while both of these declines saw huge losses, they were in fact very different.

Many investors don’t remember Black Monday, where the Dow Jones Industrial Average lost 22% in a single day. Even fewer remember that the market lost 10% during the week prior, and continued its losses on the Tuesday after. While it wasn’t known at the time, this crash was mechanical in nature, caused by a futures market that overwhelmed the ability to process the flood of transactions. In the confusion, buyers stepped aside and prices plunged.

The carnage wasn’t stemmed until the Federal Reserve stepped in with promises of extra liquidity. But in the end, the economy was strong. There was nothing wrong with the underlying companies, the market just stopped working. That’s why it only took 16 months to recover to their pre-crash levels.

Investors witnessed similar mechanical meltdowns in the so-called “flash crash” of 2010 and its twin in 2015. On May 6, 2010 at precisely 2:32 p.m. Eastern, the futures markets again overwhelmed the markets, only this time machines were doing most of the trading. The crash lasted for a total of 36 minutes, during which time the Dow plunged 1,000 points from near the 10,000 level.

In August of 2015, another flash crash occurred at the open, with the Dow again falling 1,000 points in the blink of an eye. In the confusion, traders couldn’t tell which prices were real and which ones were pure fantasy. Only those with strong stomachs risked trading at the heart of the decline, but those traders were rewarded handsomely.

In all of these cases, Cramer said, the machinery of the markets was broken. Even the circuit breakers put in place after 1987 were not able to stem the declines and in fact, did very little to even slow them down. But for those investors who were able to recognize what was actually happening, these declines were a once- (well, twice-) in-a-lifetime gift.

Cramer and the AAP team are making three more trades as they reposition on this week’s selloff, including Burlington Stores, (BURLGet Report) and Home Depot (HDGet Report) . Find out what they’re telling their investment club members and get in on the conversation with a free trial subscription to Action Alerts Plus.

The Great Recession

The Great Recession was a totally different animal. The market began falling in October 2007, but didn’t bottom until March 2009, almost two years later. Afterwards, it took until March of 2013, four years later, for the markets to get back to even. Cramer said this kind of decline is the most dangerous, but fortunately, it’s truly a once-in-a-lifetime event, only occurring every 80 years or so.

The Great Recession was caused by the Fed raising interest rates 17 times in lock step, trying to cool an already cooling economy. The recession could have been avoided had the Fed done their homework and actually talked to CEOs, as Cramer did at the time.

Cramer recalled talking to the CEOs of banks, all of whom told him that defaults on mortgages were on the rise in a fashion none of them had seen before. Cramer’s famous “They know nothing” rant on CNBC stemmed from those conversations, as the Fed did nothing until the first banks began to collapse. The market fell 40% before finally finding its footing.

How can investors identify this type of devastating decline? Cramer said investors can ask whether the economy is on a solid footing. Is business declining? Is employment falling? Are interest rates still rising even as cracks are appearing? If big companies are unable to pay their bills, the problem could be a lot deeper than you think.

On Real Money, Cramer keys in on the companies and CEOs he knows best. Get more of his insights with a free trial subscription to Real Money.

Today’s Market

Today’s market is not like 2007, however, Cramer said. Business is stronger, our banking system is stronger and there’s still time for the Fed to take their foot off the brakes and wait for more data before proceeding.

So you’ve just spotted a mechanical breakdown in the market, what should you buy? Cramer said he’s always been a fan of accidental high-yielders, companies whose dividend yield is spiking because their share prices are falling with the broader averages.

He said that these stocks are always among the first to rebound, as their dividends help protect them. He advised always buying in wide scales as the market declines. That way, if the rebound is swift, you’ll still make a little money, but if it’s a larger, multiday sell off, you’ll make even more.

Cramer reminded viewers that when the Fed is cutting interest rates, almost every market dip is a buying opportunity. But when it’s raising rates, things get tricky. Not every rate hike causes a crash, however, only ones that push rates high enough to break the economy.

During these times, it’s important to remember that stocks aren’t the only investment class out there. You can also invest in gold, bonds or real estate to stay diversified.

It’s Not Just the Fed

The Fed isn’t the only reason why the market declines, and Cramer ended the show with a list of the other common culprits.

The first sell-off culprit are margin calls. Too often, money managers borrow more money than they can afford and when their bets turn south, they are forced to sell positions to raise money. We saw this happen in early 2018 when traders were betting against market volatility by shorting the VIX. When volatility returned, these traders lost a fortune and the whole market suffered.

There are also international reasons for the market to sell off, including crises in Greece, Cyprus, Turkey and Mexico, among others. Cramer said in these cases, it’s important to ask whether your portfolio will actually be impacted by these events. Usually, the answer is no.

Then there’s the IPO market. Stocks play by the laws of supply and demand after all, so when tons of new IPOs are hitting the markets, money managers often have to sell something in order to buy them. Declines can also stem form multiple earnings shortfalls as well as, yes, political rhetoric coming from Washington.

Cramer said many of these declines happen over multiple days. The key is to watch if the selling ends by 2:45 p.m. Eastern. If so, it may be safe to buy. But if not, there will likely be more selling the following day and it will pay to be patient.

By:

Search Jim Cramer’s “Mad Money” trading recommendations using our exclusive “Mad Money” Stock Screener.

To watch replays of Cramer’s video segments, visit the Mad Money page on CNBC.

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Source: More Selloff Strategies: Cramer’s ‘Mad Money’ Recap

 

He Built A $1 Billion Business Where All 700 Employees Work Remotely

Sid Sijbrandij knows a thing or two about building, scaling and even walking away from companies. His current venture is doing over $100 million in revenue and is valued at over $1 billion.

Originally from the Netherlands, Sid Sijbrandiij is now the founder of one of Silicon Valley’s unicorns that is powering the web through developers worldwide. It’s not his first startup rodeo either.

Sid Sijbrandij recently appeared on the DealMakers podcast. During the exclusive interview, he shared his entrepreneurial journey, the process of finding cofounders, bootstrapping versus raising millions, his addiction to fast-growth startups, and many more topics.

Seizing Opportunities

Sid Sijbrandi seems to have always had a gift for spotting business opportunities.

During high school, he studied applied physics and management science. He chose a kind of program that blends the benefits of an M.B.A., with getting good at several engineering disciplines.

In his first year at college, he also started his first company.

The idea came from a fellow Ph.D. student that had made an infrared receiver you could use to skip to the next song on your computer (the only thing that played an MP3 song at the time). He started buying these infrared receivers from him and selling them in the U.S. You’d send him an envelope of dollar bills, and he would then send you a printed circuit board.

Ultimately, his two cofounders didn’t agree on growth plans concerning hiring more people. Sid wanted to hire faster, so he didn’t have to spend as much time on it, while his cofounders wanted to optimize for free cash flow. They ended up parting ways amicably.

The Two Most important Things for Launching with Cofounders

Sid has experienced several startups and says his two big takeaways when it comes to cofounding a company are:

1) To be smart with the shares

2) To be sure you and your cofounders are aligned in vision

For example, automatically making everyone an equal cofounder, even if they come in way later in that process, can be a mistake.

Sid says it is important that shares “are aligned with their contribution to the company. It’s very important if you start a company to have vesting of your shares as well.”

This helps avoid the free rides, because if someone leaves with all the equity, then people that need to invest like VCs are going to be like, “Why am I investing for just 50% remaining of the business.”

In the Netherlands, Sid didn’t find the goal of local companies to grow really fast. If you do want to grow a company really fast, he says it is beneficial to be somewhere like the Bay Area, where everyone just assumes that is the goal.

Not just your cofounder, but also your accounts person and your lawyer, and everybody else requires the growth mindset.

Passion for Growth

After graduation, Sid spent a few months at IBM and could have stayed there. He had an interest in strategy consulting, as well as building a recreational submarine.

He made a balanced scorecard of all the different ways to make that decision. One of the criteria being, “Is this a good story to tell in a bar?” He showed his dad who said it was a ridiculous way to decide on your career but was very supportive either way.

So, he called someone interested in a submarine venture. His pitch was, “Look, you should really hire me because I have a job offer from IBM. Otherwise, I’ll start working there, and we both don’t want that.” He got the job.

He built the first onboard computer for the submarine. Today, U-Boat Worx is one of the biggest builders of recreational submarines. If you go on a cruise, and they have a submarine, it’s likely from U-Boat Worx.

Still, after five years, it just wasn’t growing at a pace that kept Sid interested. He then went on to do a part-time stint on an innovation project with the government as a civil servant.

During this time, he really got to know himself, and how fast-growing companies with a continuous string of problems to be solved were what kept him interested.

Funding Your Startup

After starting and selling app store Appappeal, Sid turned open-source software GitLab into a fast-growing venture that is on its way to an IPO in 2020.

He took the proceeds from his previous venture, doubled it in bitcoin, and began bootstrapping GitLab.com.

Sid got the first few hundred signups through an article posted on Hacker News. Then together with his cofounder applied and got into Y Combinator. The race to demo day, where they would present in front of top tier investors, was on.

Compressing their three-month plan into just two weeks, the GitLab team had a highly successful demo day, landing Ashton Kutcher as an investor.

There was so much interest in their seed round, they rolled right into the Series A financing round. They’ve since followed that up with a B, C and D financing rounds, raising a total of $158 million at $1.1 billion valuation.

Today, some of their investors include Khosla Ventures, Google Ventures, August Capital, ICONIQ Capital, 500 Startups, and Sound Ventures to name a few. It doesn’t get much better than that as a hyper-growth startup.

In order to do this, Sid and his team had to master storytelling. This is being able to capture the essence of the business in 15 to 20 slides. For a winning deck, take a look at the pitch deck template created by Silicon Valley legend, Peter Thiel (see it here) that I recently covered. Thiel was the first angel investor in Facebook with a $500K check that turned into more than $1 billion in cash.

Embracing The Remote Work

Sid states they “don’t do in person.“ At Gitlab they encourage having meetings with webcam. They believe there’s something to see in the other person even if it is via video.

To put this into perspective, every day, employees have a company call, and it’s a thing you do with a limited set of people. In this regard, there are about 20 in each group, and they just hangout.

During the group calls there are all types of topics discussed that vary from movies to magazines. Topics are not necessarily work-related.

Sid and his team very much believe that their company is more than just, “Hey your work…”

As part of Gitlab‘s culture, the social interaction plays a key role and they have a lot of ways in which they facilitate this inside the company. Even if this happens remotely.

M&A Made Simple

Recently Sid and GitLab have been very active when it comes to acquisitions on the buy-side. That includes Gitorious in 2015, Gitter in 2017 and Gemnasium in 2018.

When it comes to acquiring companies, they’ve made the process incredibly simple, and are actively looking for more companies to buy.

In this regard, they like to acquire teams that have built a product before. Preferably a team that made a great product, but didn’t get distribution. Especially because typically they shut their existing product down.

To make things easier, they have an acquisition offer page. It even includes a calculator, so you can go online and calculate how much they’re offering.

Listen in to the full podcast episode to find out more, including:

  • When to pull the plug on your startup
  • The advantages of SAFE notes for raising money
  • How GitLab does meetings and culture around the globe
  • Why they pay based on where team members live
  • Tips for recruiting top engineers
  • Why you should read the GitLab handbook

Follow me on Twitter or LinkedIn. Check out my website or some of my other work here.

I am a serial entrepreneur and the author of the The Art of Startup Fundraising. With a foreword by ‘Shark Tank‘ star Barbara Corcoran, and published by John Wiley

Source: He Built A $1 Billion Business Where All 700 Employees Work Remotely

Yields Up To 9.9% That Rich Guys Don’t Want You To Know About

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Not yet as rich as you always wanted to be? Don’t worry, because today we’re going to dial you in for some “rich guy” dividend favorites that’ll pay you up to 9.9% every year.

Private equity is a lucrative and secretive world. It’s often limited to accredited investors, which means these funds require you to have $200,000 or more in annual income to qualify.

If you’re living on dividends alone, this might be challenging. Fortunately, there are some private equity plays that you can buy just like individual stocks. They trade for as cheap as $12 per share and they’ll pay you dividends from 8.8% to 9.9% along the way:

Contrarian Outlook

Contrarian Outlook

Private equity (PE)—funds that can invest in the equity and debt of privately held companies, which we typically can’t get our hands on—is generally touted as outperforming the stock market.

The American Investment Council, which advocates for private investment, points out that research from the 1990s and early 2000s showed that “private equity outperformed public markets by 3 to 4 percent each year,” and a 2019 paper investigating more recent “vintage years” finds that “that private equity continues to generate returns that are 2 to 3 percent above the returns of public markets.”

The downside? Privately held private equity firms aren’t exactly easy to tap, and you typically need to have seven digits to get in.

But here’s a back door that you and I can access. We can buy PE-esque investments just like regular stocks with a single-click! The trick is handful of little-known publicly traded companies called business development companies (BDCs).

Congress created BDCs in the 1980s to spur investment in America’s small and midsize businesses, the same way they created REITs in the ‘60s to help mom ‘n’ pop investors tap the real estate markets. And like REITs, BDCs get a generous tax break—if they dole out 90% or more of their profits as dividends to you and me.

Thus, business development companies not only let us access a big pool of investments you and I otherwise couldn’t otherwise dream of accessing, but also deliver sky-high yields that are among the highest you can find in the stock market. The caveat, of course, is that they do come with heightened risk, and not all BDCs are gems.

Today, I’ll show you three notable BDCs—yielding between 8.8% and 9.9%—that should be on your radar screen.

PennantPark Floating Rate Capital (PFLT)

Dividend Yield: 9.7%

Let’s start out with a yield juggernaut: PennantPark Floating Rate Capital (PFLT), which will get investors awfully close to a double-digit yield at current prices.

PennantPark provides access to middle market direct lending with, as the name implies, a heavy focus on floating-rate loans, though it’ll invest anywhere across the capital structure (senior secured debt, subordinated debt and others).

Its primary target is private equity sponsor-backed companies with $10 million to $50 million in EBITDA. It avoids capex-heavy businesses, as well as fickle industries such as fashion and restaurants, but it still has plenty of sectors to play with. Portfolio companies include the like of primary-clinic operator Cano Health, marketing services provider InfoGroup, and WalkerEdison, whose furniture can be found online via companies such as Amazon.com (AMZN), Target (TGT) and Home Depot (HD).

PennantPark typically leans toward the low-risk but low-reward end of the BDC spectrum, which historically has served it just fine. However, the BDC’s last earnings report raised some credit-quality concerns. The company reported that four of its portfolio companies were on “non-accrual,” which essentially happens when a payment is more than a month overdue, or there’s some other concern about a company’s ability to make a payment.

The BDC was subsequently nailed in May on the news. That has me wary. And the floating-rate nature of its loans, while attractive during periods of rising rates, isn’t a significant advantage right now.

New Mountain Finance

Dividend Yield: 9.9%

New Mountain Finance (NMFC) targets companies middle-market companies, too, investing between $10 million to $50 million across the debt spectrum in businesses that generate annual EBITDA between $10 million and $200 million.

NMFC likes to say that it invests in “defensive growth” industries. It’s a silly, contradictory term, sure. But the qualities it covets in its portfolio companies are, in fact, pretty attractive: high barriers to competitive entry, recurring revenue, strong free cash flow and niche market dominance.

To be fair, New Mountain, like PennantPark, is heavily weighted toward floating-rate loans, which make up 93% of the portfolio. But NMFC is a few steps in the right direction. Its credit quality is stellar – only eight portfolio companies have gone on non-accrual since inception in 2008, and there were no new non-accruals over this past quarter. Better still, the company is a bastion of consistency when it comes to covering its healthy dividend with net interest income (a core measure of profitability for BDCs).

New Mountain, which trades at only a sliver of a premium to its net asset value right now, still should be fine in the current environment. Keep this BDC in mind should the Fed’s hawks ever take over again.

Ares Capital (ARCC)

Dividend Yield: 8.8%

Ares Capital (ARCC) is a slightly more modest yielder compared to the previous two picks, and you likely won’t snag it for a significant discount. But that’s OK—ARCC is worth a small premium.

I’ve beat the drum on ARCC a few times, including in February 2019, but also going back more than two years, in January 2017. I said at the time that the company’s investment spread, as well as a $3.4 billion merger with American Capital, “should benefit ARCC in just about any market environment,” and that “in short, ARCC is going places.”

Ares Capital, Wall Street’s largest BDC, invests primarily in first and second lien loans and mezzanine debt of middle-market companies. A high priority is placed on “market-leading companies with identifiable growth prospects that can generate significant cash flow.” Its portfolio of roughly 345 companies touches numerous sectors, including business services, food and beverage, healthcare, IT and light manufacturing.

Ares’ core earnings and net realized gains have exceeded dividends every year since 2011, by increasingly wide margins. In fact, the company’s operational performance has been so robust that it has hiked its payout twice since this time last year.

Bottom line: ARCC is a standout in what typically is a difficult industry to invest in.

However, I’m not sure I’d commit capital to this stock right now. Given its recent run up, I’d like to see a pullback for a lower risk entry point.

Brett Owens is chief investment strategist for Contrarian Outlook. For more great income ideas, click here for his latest report How To Live Off $500,000 Forever: 9 Diversified Plays For 7%+ Income.

Disclosure: none

I graduated from Cornell University and soon thereafter left Corporate America permanently at age 26 to co-found two successful SaaS (Software as a Service) companies.

Source: Yields Up To 9.9% That Rich Guys Don’t Want You To Know About

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