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3 Ways to Recession-Proof Your Company & Why Right Now Is the Best Time to Do It

David Barrett survived the Great Recession by making his business as boring as possible.In 2007, the founder and CEO of Expensify was trying to launch a prepaid debit card that would enable–and hopefully encourage–charitable giving to panhandlers in San Francisco. But, as forecasts of economic turmoil mounted, investors were interested only in ideas that sounded “sane and reasonable,” he says. So Barrett started pitching the safest related product he could imagine: an automated expense-report management system.

That worked; Barrett secured enough money to quit his full-time job in April 2008. He still intended to pursue the card idea, but soon hit a production snag–and with the economy in free fall, Barrett recalls thinking, “Shit, I really need to make a business out of this right now.” So he doubled down on business-expense management.

Almost 1.4 million small businesses with employees closed from 2008 through 2010, according to the U.S. Small Business Administration. Expensify, now with five offices and a staff of 120, wasn’t one of them–a feat Barrett attributes to those pre-recession pivots. They taught him to “build a product that is needed in a downturn,” he says. “Sell aspirin, not vitamins.”

Recession war stories may seem out of place during this prolonged period of economic growth, but there are signs that a slowdown is on the way. A June 2019 survey from the National Association for Business Economics put the risks of a recession beginning before the end of 2020 at 60 percent. A third of the 2019 Inc. 5000 CEOs expect a recession to begin this or next year, with another third bracing for one in 2021. Whenever the downturn hits, these steps can help your business weather it.

Fundraise.

Build your cash reserves while you can. Serial entrepreneur Mitch Grasso had a potential downturn in the back of his mind while raising capital for his latest venture, Beautiful.ai. The presentation software company raised $11 million in Series B funding in March 2018, just 17 months after a $5.25 million Series A round. “I chose to raise money earlier than I would have otherwise, even though it cost me probably a little more” in terms of valuation, says Grasso. “If there’s money on the table, take it sooner rather than later. You’ll always find a way to spend it.”

Conduct consumer research.

You might not be able to pivot your entire business model, so figure out what products and services your customers will need even in poor conditions, says Carlos Castelán, managing director of the Navio Group, a retail business consulting firm.

Ryan Iwamoto, co-founder of caregiving service 24 Hour Home Care, started asking his customers for their input when the federal government introduced sweeping rules for home health care agencies in 2016. He wanted to be “the first in market to educate them on all the regulations coming down in our industry,” Iwamoto says. “It allowed us to build better relationships”–and has helped boost his company’s revenue by more than 68 percent since the law changed, he reports.

Ink multiyear contracts with clients, not vendors.

Earlier this year, during a regular assessment of her company’s revenue targets, Sandi Lin considered the potential impact of an economic slowdown. The co-founder and CEO of Skilljar was happy to discover half of the customer training platform’s revenue was on multiyear contracts, meaning “at least theoretically, that even if all of our other customers went bankrupt,” Skilljar would have some runway–and less pressure to scramble for new business.

Lin applies the opposite approach for vendor contracts; while Skilljar is sponsoring a major customer conference this fall, she negotiated a minimal commitment on room nights and seats with the hotel and venue. Which is a smart business practice in good times, too; as Lin says, “the most important job of an entrepreneur is to survive.”

By: Jeanine Skowronski

Source: 3 Ways to Recession-Proof Your Company–and Why Right Now Is the Best Time to Do It

WATCH MY PREVIOUS VIDEO ► https://youtu.be/SCCMp_PVxz8 WATCH MY NEXT VIDEO ► https://youtu.be/9Pa7mAcKmXo ———————————————————– FINANCIAL STEWARDSHIP ACADEMY (USE DISCOUNT CODE: “FREEDOM” FOR 30% OFF) ► http://bit.ly/Buy-FSA-Webinar ———————————————————– ▼ 30 DAY GUIDE TO REDUCING STRESS AT WORK▼ ============== EBOOK FOR MOMS (30% OFF DISCOUNT CODE: STRESSFREE30) ► http://bit.ly/Reduce-Stress-eBook PAPERBACK (AMAZON) ► http://amzn.to/2yvaQaS KINDLE (AMAZON) ► http://amzn.to/2lUZ57W AUDIO (AUDIBLE) ► http://amzn.to/2oEp3sJ iBOOK (APPLE) ► http://bit.ly/StressiBook ———————————————————– FREE DETOX SYSTEM FOR MOMS ► http://bit.ly/10DayMBDS SMART MOM’S TRANSFORMATION SYSTEM ($100 OFF DISCOUNT CODE “TRANSFORM”) ► http://bit.ly/Buy-SMTS ———————————————————– Brief Overview: Small and Large businesses can get hit pretty hard during recessions so it’s important to choose a business that can withstand the ups and downs that come with the economy. There’s lots of different options and ideas to choose from if you are new to small business, but there’s also some ideas that you can choose to diversify your income streams if you already own a business or multiple businesses. The key is to pick a person, product, and/or company that you know, like, and trust to make sure you have the best chance of success during the ups and downs. ———————————————————– ▼ NEXT STEPS▼ ============== SUBSCRIBE ► http://bit.ly/LanceMcGowanYT SHARE ► This video with someone that would benefit from it COMMENT ► On what you liked most about this video! ———————————————————– ▼ SEARCH ▼ =========== #lancemcgowan #fsa #financial #financialstewardshipacademy #finances #finance #stewardship #biblical #bible youtube for more videos! ———————————————————– ▼ BUSINESS INQUIRIES▼ ===================== Email Lance at support@lancemcgowan.com with questions OR Email Tanner at frigaardtanner@gmail.com ———————————————————– ▼ SEND ME MAIL▼ ===================== Lance McGowan 11700 W Charleston Blvd #170-415 Las Vegas, NV 89135 ———————————————————– Disclaimer: The information contained on the Lance McGowan YouTube channel and videos are provided for general and educational purposes only and do not constitute any legal, medical or other professional advice on any subject matter. These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA and are not intended to diagnose, treat or cure any disease. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health professional prior to starting any new diet or treatment and with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. If you have or suspect that you have a medical problem, promptly contact your health care provider.

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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

 

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

How Leading Enterprises Are Building Blockchain Innovation On AWS

Blockchain hype—led by cryptocurrency headlines—obscures powerful enterprise applications of the technology. We aim to change that. In this series, we’ll bring you insights from Amazon Web Services customers and partners who are using blockchain to change the world.

The world grows more interconnected every day. Businesses collaborate across the globe. Transactions increase in volume and intricacy. Organizations that share sensitive information across public networks risk information leaks and the possibility of sophisticated cyber attacks.

Traditional methods of storing, verifying, and securing transactions struggle to keep pace with this rising complexity. Massive inefficiency results from the need to process and verify information spread across entities. Entire industries exist only to serve as trusted intermediaries between parties. Attempts at automation create fragile webs of APIs.

Blockchain and digital ledger technologies solve these problems by storing transactions in ways that are transparent, immutable, and verifiable. And they allow multiple parties to transact in a trustworthy and efficient manner, with or without a centralized authority.

Many exciting use cases are possible. Manufacturers could build track and trace ledgers that unify data from multiple systems, enabling faster identification of the reasons for product defects. Consumers could see the history of goods from raw materials to last-mile delivery. Insurers could pay claims in seconds. The time it takes to issue a bond through a securities exchange could shrink from months to minutes.

Companies are working to reap the benefits of blockchain, such as greater speed, efficiency, and reduced risk. For example, Gartner calls blockchain one of the top 10 strategic technologies of 2019. Eighty-five percent of enterprises in a Deloitte survey said they invest $500,000 or more annually in blockchain technologies.

Yet few have deployed these systems to production. Significant challenges hamper the transformative potential of blockchain. Businesses cite regulatory issues, technical barriers, security threats, uncertain ROI, and lack of in-house skills as the biggest barriers.

Many of our own customers, such as Nestlé and Singapore Exchange, have told us about the complexity of building scalable enterprise applications on blockchain. Setting up the hardware, networking, and software can be daunting, even before getting to the experimentation phase. This delays potentially life-changing innovations.

Amazon Web Services (AWS) solves these issues in two major ways. First, we built Blockchain on AWS—a set of massively scalable blockchain and distributed ledger services in the cloud. If all you need is a centralized ledger that immutably records all application data changes, there’s Amazon Quantum Ledger Database (Amazon QLDB). If you need to build a distributed application with ledger capabilities and the ability for multiple parties to transact without a trusted central authority, there’s Amazon Managed Blockchain.

Second, we collaborate closely with leading enterprises to speed innovation. From global manufacturers to finance-industry cornerstones, these companies are creating a more scalable, secure, efficient future. For example, they’ve demonstrated that blockchain delivers throughput to handle U.S. securities trading. Others have built solutions to connect small-scale farmers with consumers thousands of miles away.

We’ll highlight these and many other exciting use cases in the coming weeks. We’re thrilled to bring you along on the journey.

For 13 years, Amazon Web Services has been the world’s most comprehensive and broadly adopted cloud platform. AWS offers over 165 fully featured services for compute, storage, databases, networking, analytics, robotics, machine learning and artificial intelligence (AI), Internet of Things (IoT), mobile, security, hybrid, virtual and augmented reality (VR and AR), media, and application development, deployment, and management from 66 Availability Zones (AZs) within 21 geographic regions, spanning the U.S., Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, India, Ireland, Japan, Korea, Singapore, Sweden, and the UK. Millions of customers—including the fastest-growing startups, largest enterprises, and leading government agencies—trust AWS to power their infrastructure, become more agile, and lower costs. To learn more about AWS, visit aws.amazon.com.

Source: How Leading Enterprises Are Building Blockchain Innovation On AWS

 

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

How Effective CFOs Are Driving Companies to Success and Profitability

For more than 30 years, there have been articles touting the CFO as someone who “needs to be strategic: a business partner and not just a bean counter.”

Business writers still publish these articles today, but it’s time to stop. CFOs know they need to be strategic, and they know they need to operate the finance function. They don’t need an article to tell them that anymore. They do, however, need clear vision and technology to help them juggle new balls in the finance ecosystem: regulatory changes, artificial intelligence and Blockchain. Finance must add these balls to its mix while still juggling its “traditional” responsibilities of internal controls, compliance and closing the books quickly.

The future of finance is chockablock with new regulations, technologies and business models. The CFO must handle responsibilities beyond the finance function. They must also use strategic skills to transform the organization. Using the old, heavy, rigid ERP offerings will not provide the tools to nimbly break out of the “Old CFO” role.

This eBook provides a guide to the new technologies every CFO needs to succeed as well as a strategic framework for balancing traditional CFO responsibilities with their new, highly strategic ones.

By: Oracle View

 

Source: How Effective CFOs Are Driving Companies to Success and Profitability | Inc.com

Alphabet’s DeepMind Losses Soared To $570 Million In 2018

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DeepMind, the Google-owned artificial intelligence firm on a mission to create human-level AI, had an expensive year in 2018, according to documents filed with the U.K.’s Companies House registry on Wednesday.

The London-based AI lab—founded in 2010 by Demis Hassabis, Mustafa Suleyman and Shane Legg—saw its pretax losses grow to $570 million (£470 million), up from $341 million (£281 million) in 2017, and $154 million (£127 million) in 2016.

DeepMind’s losses are growing because it continues to hire hundreds of expensive researchers and data scientists but isn’t generating any significant revenue. Amazon, Apple, Facebook are locked in an expensive battle with DeepMind and Alphabet to hire the world’s best AI experts, with the goal of building self-learning algorithms that can transform industries.

In 2018, DeepMind spent $483 million (£398 million) on around 700 employees, up from $243 million (£200 million) in 2017. Other significant costs included technical infrastructure and operating costs. In addition, DeepMind spent $17 million (£14 million) on academic donations and sponsorships.

DeepMind also spent $12 million (£9 million) on construction and $1.2 million (£1 million) on furniture and fixtures. The company is planning to move out of Google’s office in King’s Cross and into a new property around the middle of 2020.

While losses at DeepMind have grown, so to have the company’s revenues. Turnover almost doubled in 2018 to £103 million, up from £48 million in 2017. The firm sold some of its software to Google, which has used DeepMind’s AI systems to make the cooling units in its data centers more energy efficient, and improved battery life on Android devices. DeepMind does not make any money from its work with Britain’s National Health Service.

A DeepMind spokesperson provided Forbes with the following statement:

“We’re on a long-term mission to advance AI research and use it for positive benefit. We believe there’s huge potential for AI to advance scientific discovery and we’re really proud of the impact our work is already having in areas such as protein folding.

“Our DeepMind for Google team continues to make great strides bringing our expertise and knowledge to real-world challenges at Google scale, nearly doubling revenues in the past year. We will continue to invest in fundamental research and our world-class, interdisciplinary team, and look forward to the breakthroughs that lie ahead.”

In 2018, DeepMind also passed its Streams application for clinicians to Google. However, this transaction had not been completed by the time the financial statements were filed.

Yann LeCun, chief AI scientist at Facebook, said in an interview last year that he does not think DeepMind has yet proved its worth to Google, adding that DeepMind is too isolated to have a significant impact on the tech giant. “I wouldn’t want to be in the situation Demis [the CEO] is in,” he said.

Follow me on LinkedIn. Send me a secure tip.

I’m a Staff Writer covering tech in Europe. Previously, I was a News Editor for Business Insider Australia, and prior to that I was a Senior Technology Reporter for Business Insider UK. My writing has also appeared in The Financial Times, The Telegraph, The Guardian, Wired, The Independent, and elsewhere. I have also appeared on the BBC, Sky News, Al Jazeera, Channel 5, Reuters TV, and spoken on Russia Today and Shares Radio. In 2015, I was shortlisted for Technology Journalist of the Year by the UK Tech Awards and in 2016 I was nominated as one of the 30 young journalists to watch by MHP Communications.

Source: https://www.forbes.com

 

He Was Employee Number 7 At Tesla And Now Has Built A $1 Billion Business That Makes Your Phone Or Car Run Longer

Gene Berdichevsky was one of the early team members at Tesla. Now he’s building his own unicorn startup, Sila Nanotechnologies, which is valued at over $1 billion. One which looks like it will fuel every way you travel from the road to being in the air.

Berdichevsky recently appeared as a guest on the Dealmakers Podcast. During his exclusive interview, he shared his journey, building his first solar car, and how he’s raised hundreds of millions of dollars for his own technology startup that is growing at an incredible pace.

Thousands of Miles & Designing Your Own Education

He was born on the Black Sea in Ukraine, spent time in St. Petersburg, Russia, and even lived north of the arctic circle for five years. All before landing with his family in Richmond, Virginia, and attending college in California.

Gene was fortunate to grow up in an entrepreneurial family, and see his father start his own small businesses. Both of his parents were software engineers and worked on nuclear submarines.

So, the one thing he says he knew was, “I definitely wasn’t going to be a software engineer.” He did enjoy math and science a lot. That led him to study mechanical engineering.

Within his first year at Stanford, he got involved in their solar car project. Students would compete to build a solar-powered car and race it across the country, 2,300 miles, from Chicago to Los Angeles.

Gene’s team built the car chassis from scratch, built a carbon fiber body, and powered it with a battery with about the same strength as the toaster in your kitchen.

That was it. He fell in love with energy, problem-solving and building, and was really energized by having really built something from the ground up.

Mastering Energy

Berdichevsky went on to get a Master’s in energy engineering from Stanford. There was really no such program in existence at the time. So, he put together his own curriculum. He dove into materials, semiconductor physics, quantum mechanics, and solar.

Many people are already struggling with the decision to go to university. So, why go, and even create your own studies, when you can piece everything you want to know together online these days?

As with many of the other highly successful startup founders I’ve interviewed who have come out of Stanford, Gene found the network you gain access to very valuable. Some of those people still work for him at Sila today. He also credits the value of learning from your peers there.

Tesla & Battery Issues

At the end of his junior year, Gene became the seventh Tesla employee as a tech lead for battery system architectural development.

It’s no secret that there were plenty of early challenges for Tesla. They started out literally supergluing laptop batteries together to make the battery pack.

Then with safety the main concern was avoiding random failures. They happen in batteries. Even being rare, when you are using 10,000 batteries to run a single vehicle you really have to expect this to happen and preempt that.

Tesla grew from around 10 people when Berdichevsky started there, to around 300 when he left. About 30x in just four years. Tesla now has over 45,000 employees with a market cap of $40 billion.

His big lesson from Tesla was that as a startup founder, you want to go after really big problems. Ironically, Gene says sometimes it is easier to solve a really big problem, than a smaller one. For a start, it enables you to attract incredible talent. It is also both incredibly rewarding and reduces your competition.

From Tesla, he saw that you need to be willing to do things the world doesn‘t think are possible. This requires a mindset and a culture that is self-reliance where you are willing to do a lot of things in house.

Entrepreneurship In The Making

From the day he walked into Tesla, Gene says his brain was already fixated on “How do I start my own company? How do I build something like this?” He had even previously written a business plan for making electric cars in the U.S. market in his junior year at Stanford.

He then did a stint at Sutter Hill Ventures where he understood the VC lens when identifying entrepreneurs that have the potential for success. The key ingredients and how the lens is used to identify patterns includes the following:

1) Great markets defined by a great distribution

2) A strong product that captures the value

3) Founding teams equipped to resolve complex technical problems

Gene was traveling the world meeting many founders. During his time with Sutter Hill Ventures, Gene met his future co-founder, Gleb Yushin. Shortly after, Gene’s former Tesla colleague Alex Jacobs joined them as Sila Nano’s third co-founder.

After multiple conversations and understanding the value that each one of them brought to the table, they got started with a 1,000 sq. ft. lab in a basement at Georgia Tech and Sila Nanotechnologies was born.

Financing The Next Big Thing

Right after forming the team they went out to raise financing. They had a big advantage and that was the intellectual property Gleb had amassed which included six patents and four years of technical data around the problem they wanted to resolve.

They knew the technology was fully compatible and had a clear understanding of the road ahead given the years of experience at Tesla from Gene and his co-founder Alex.

They went out and raised a Series A round with Sutter Hill and Matrix as co-leads. Both of whom have continued investing in every round.

Sila’s most recent round of financing was a $170 million round led by Daimler. So far they’ve raised around $295 million.

The business positioning was critical as a lot of people had lost money in battery companies. From day one they were very clear they were not a battery company, but a technology company that makes materials for batteries. Batteries are a low margin market but the materials have a very healthy market as the better the product the higher the sales.

They are valued now at over $1 billion where storytelling played a big role. 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.

Sila Nanotechnologies

During the early days, the cofounders were able to recruit a group of talented engineers to join them and from there started to build the business.

Their business model revolves around inventing, developing, manufacturing and selling their product.

In this regard, their product is a powder that replaces graphite powder in existing lithium-ion batteries. The more efficiently you can store lithium, the less material you need for the same amount of energy. Sila Nano’s material can store energy more densely, giving you more energy at similar volume and weight.

Sila can reduce battery weight by approximately 20 percent or increase energy stores by approximately 20 percent with it’s material. Meaning vehicles have the potential to go 20% further than anyone else’s.

Consider that every electric vehicle will need around 15 to 20 kilos of this material. Think forward to a few years from now when all vehicles are electric. You’re talking about a market of 100 million new vehicles per year. At 20 kilos per car, you’re talking about 2 billion kilos of this entirely new-to-the-world material that has to be produced, every year.

This material could also be used to fuel new air taxis, and change the way we travel, and the aerospace industry.

Sila has been growing by around 40-50% every year for the past five years, and there are no indications of that slowing down anytime soon.

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

  • The essential ingredients for raising money
  • Gene’s top piece of advice for his younger self and new founders
  • How to grow as a leader when your team is growing at 92% in two years
  • His approach to solving strategic problems

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 & 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: He Was Employee Number 7 At Tesla And Now Has Built A $1 Billion Business That Makes Your Phone Or Car Run Longer

How This 28-Year-Old Couple Quit Their Jobs And Make $100,000 Year Working From Home

The Savvy Couple - Brittany & Kalen Kline with daughter Kallie

It sounds like an impossible dream…an ordinary couple launches a blog that become so successful that they’re able to quit their jobs and live lives of freedom and adventure after just three short years.

Impossible? Actually, thousands of people have already successfully made that journey into blogging, with many making six figures.

Kelan and Brittany Kline are such a couple, and they think you can do just what they did: Get out of the rat race, create a successful online business, work from home, have complete control of your time, and live lives of greater freedom and adventure.

Who Are Kelan and Brittany Kline?

In most respects, Kelan and Brittany Kline fit neatly within the definition of an ordinary couple. Not quite 30, they reside in upstate New York with their daughter Kallie and their dog, Charlie.

Brittany is a teacher by trade, the fulfillment of a lifelong career dream. She holds an M.S. degree in education, and began teaching after graduation.

Kelan’s career path has been less settled. After receiving his B.B.A with a concentration in finance, he bounced between several different occupations within a few years including insurance sales, UPS driver, ecommerce, jail deputy, and most recent office manager.

How did their occupations lead them into blogging?

While Brittany was comfortable as a teacher, Kelan was not. With each job change he hoped to find a position that would bring him that elusive combination of happiness and more freedom.

None of it was leading in that direction.

To remedy the situation, he was beginning a home inspection business. That’s when he discovered blogging. It held the prospect of making money online, which is hardly an uncommon desire these days.

And apart from Kelan’s career conundrum, there were other factors in the couple’s lives providing additional motivation. With Brittany working days as a teacher, Kelan worked nights as a jail deputy. They also had more than $40,000 in student loan debts that they couldn’t seem to crack, even with Kelan working overtime shifts.

The combination of all the above – along with the missing sense of control – was what turned them to blogging. The original strategy was to start a blog focusing on personal finance. Specifically living a happy life on a frugal budget. That was something they had experience in and knew they could help others with.

They reckoned if their blog could be a good side hustle and earn them an extra $500 per month it would help them find that better future.

It did that, and more. A whole lot more!

The Road from Start-up Blog to a Six Figure Income

The Klines began their blog, The Savvy Couple, in July of 2016. That means they went from zero to $100,000-plus in barely three years! That’s what makes their story compelling, in addition to the fact that they used blogging as their path out of the rat race.

As you might imagine, the trek toward six figures started off inconspicuously. They made no money at all for the first eight months.

If you’re considering taking the plunge into blogging, this is an outcome you should fully expect. It can be shorter or longer, but going several months – or even a year or more – without earning any income is a big part of what causes so many blogs to fail, and would-be bloggers to quit.

But the Klines didn’t quit. In Month #9, they finally hit paid dirt – $50! 

And that’s when Kelan did quit – his job that is. He made the decision to become a full-time blogger.

Risk Reduction and Taking the Dreaded “Leap of Faith”

Now that isn’t advice he’d give to other would-be bloggers, but he made the decision because the couple had “removed most of the risk involved with that decision”. That risk removal included the following:

  • They had close to a year’s worth of salary saved up.
  • They cut their living expenses in their budget to a minimum.
  • Kelan had a back-up plan to revive the home inspection idea in case the blog didn’t work.
  • He also took freelance work after quitting his job.

That freelance work included a remote digital marketing position that also helped him learn online marketing. He also taught English online every morning. The basic idea was to make sure there was at least some income coming in at all times.

Kelan took that step that all entrepreneurs will eventually face – the leap of faith to make the new venture a full-time occupation. By doing what was necessary to make it work, he replaced the income from his full-time job in just a few short months.

The next goal: to spring Brittany out of her job and into the blogging venture.

That meant the income from the blog would need to be enough to support the entire family. By their reckoning, they needed to hit $10,000 per month – six months in a row – before making the full transition into blogging for Brittany as well.

They hit the $10,000 income mark on the blog for the first time in June, 2018. But as is typical of blogging, that income level didn’t prove consistent.

The Savvy Couple’s Income Pattern

The graph prepared by the Klines below tracks the progress of The Savvy Couple’s income since the blog began, through this past May when it earned more than $43,000:

The Savvy Couple blogging income

The Savvy Couple blogging income

The Savvy Couple

The up-and-down nature of the income is a situation nearly all successful bloggers are very familiar with. But notice on the graph the general trend line is moving consistently higher. Though the blog may not earn at least $10,000 each and every month, the higher earning months easily offset the lower ones.

And as you can see from the graph, the couple have clearly made well in excess of $100,000 from their blog in the past 12 months. That income level has enabled them to pay off their remaining student loan debt of $25,000 in just five months, as well is to grow their net worth to over $100,000 before turning 30!

What Blogging Has Done for The Klines, Apart from Money

If you’re at all curious about blogging, the income it can produce is a natural attraction. But like many other successful bloggers, the Klines have discovered the incredible satisfaction that goes beyond income.

“Being a teacher was my dream, but also God put me on this Earth to be a mother,” says Brittany. “I want to be able to teach my daughter and spend as much time as possible together with my family. We only get one life to live. I want to spend mine making unforgettable memories with my family. I did not want to look back on my life and think I gave more to my students than to my own children.”

Kelan adds: “We now have complete control over our lives. We have no one else telling us when to come to work, how long we are going to stay, and how much we are going to make. We get to decide all of that on our own. If we want to take a vacation, we just take it. We get to travel so much more than we used to.”

The couple makes an effort to finish working each day by 3 pm or 4 pm, giving them more family time. This is especially important now they have their daughter, Kallie. They wake up around 5 am to get in a few hours of uninterrupted work, then head to the gym as a family at mid-morning.

They also embrace the idea of being able to use their blog to help families take complete control over their time and money, so they too will find freedom to do more of the things they love in life.

Blogging has been so good for the Klines that they openly share their success and strategies with others.

What Does it Take to Be a Successful Blogger?

By now, you’re probably wondering if you can do what Brittany and Kelan have done by starting your own blog. They believe you can, and in fact they dedicate much of their blog to help you do just that.

We’ve already discussed how the Klines pre-positioned Kelan to transition into blogging full-time by removing risks. That included saving money for living expenses, doing freelance work to generate a steady income, and having a Plan B in case the blog failed.

If you hope to make blogging a full-time venture, you should use a similar strategy.

The Klines also warn that building a successful blog will take a lot of hard work. This is a critical realization going into the venture, since your effort can be short-circuited early if you think it will be easy. It will take months before you begin seeing your first revenue, and several years before it becomes a full-time income.

Choosing the right blogging niche is also mission-critical. There are hundreds of different blogging niches, but it’s important to choose those that will be easiest to monetize.

Kelan recommends the following niches:

  • How to make money
  • Personal finance
  • Health and fitness
  • Food
  • Beauty and fashion
  • Lifestyle
  • Personal development

The Savvy Couple focuses on how to make money online and personal finance, but adds a solid mix of lifestyle and personal development.

They also recommend reinvesting a significant percentage of your blogging income – as much as 50% early on – back into the blog. Blogging is like any other type of business, where you will need to spend a certain amount of money to make more money.

Specific Strategies Kelan and Brittany Recommend for Would-be Bloggers

The Klines recommend doing plenty of research before launching your blog. Learn the ins and outs of popular blogging tools, like WordPress – a very common blogging dashboard, and learn all you can about social media marketing. Follow other blogs regularly, and carefully study how they create content, what social media platforms they focus on, and how they monetize their blogs.

“A good exercise we have anyone do that is considering starting a blog is have them sit down for 10 minutes and write down as many article ideas as possible,” advises Kelan. “You should be able to come up with at least 100. If you struggle to come up with that many, you might adjust your niche.”

They also recommend the most basic first step of getting started. “Don’t over analyze things,” says Kelan. “Take massive action and make things happen in your life.”

Kelan also recommends surrounding yourself with other bloggers. Follow other successful bloggers on a regular basis. Comment on their websites, swap emails, and join blogger  networking groups, especially on Facebook.

The Klines even have their own Facebook group, Blogging With Purpose.

Other resources they offer include their step-by-step tutorial on how to start a successful money-making blog and their free Profitable Blog Bootcamp and Workbook.

The bootcamp and workbook will show you how to:

  • Create a successful mindset
  • Design an ideal avatar
  • Develop a workable monetization strategy
  • Create purposeful content
  • Drive traffic to your blog
  • Implement email marketing
  • Create systems to save time and scale

The Klines are so dedicated to helping others follow their path into income earning blogging that they make all these resources available to their readers for free.

What Not to Do If You Want to Become a Successful Blogger

Kelan warns that you should not think of blogging as a get rich quick scheme. “It’s the most challenging job I’ve ever had in my life,” he warns. “And I used to babysit 53 violent inmates by myself when I was a jail deputy.”

He stresses being ready for a learning curve. If you’ve never had a blog in the past, especially one that generates income, you’ll be learning the business from the ground up. You’ll need to be open and teachable.

The time factor is another hurdle many new bloggers may not be ready for. Kelan stresses it will take a good 6 to 12 months before you even begin to make money, and get a grasp of how to run a successful money-making blog.

Most of all, he stresses the need to treat your blog as a business, not a hobby. That means having a good work ethic, and working on your blog on a daily basis.

Can Anyone Really Create a Money-Making Blog?

If “anyone” includes those who are willing to put in the time and effort to learn the business of blogging, then the answer is a resounding yes!  But don’t think it will happen without those important first ingredients of time and effort.

The Klines had very ordinary jobs before going into blogging, and had to learn the whole process from scratch. But now that they’ve been working at for three years, they’ve hit pay dirt with a six-figure income.

They, and many other bloggers, are willing to share their blogging secrets with others. It’s a matter of being ready to commit to a journey that will be difficult at first, but will lead to a life of higher income, more freedom, and options most only dream of.

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

I am a certified financial planner, author, blogger, and Iraqi combat veteran. I’m best known for my blogs GoodFinancialCents.com and LifeInsurancebyJeff.com

 

Source: How This 28-Year-Old Couple Quit Their Jobs And Make $100,000 Year Working From Home

Global 2000 – The World’s Largest Public Companies 2019

  • The List: 2019 Global 2000

    • Filter list by:
    • #1 ICBC
    • #2 JPMorgan Chase
    • #3 China Construction Bank
    • #4 Agricultural Bank of China
    • #5 Bank of America
    • #6 Apple
    • #7 Ping An Insurance Group
    • #8 Bank of China
    • #9 Royal Dutch Shell
    • #10 Wells Fargo
  • Inside The Global 2000

  • Methodology

  • We compile our Global 2000 list using data from FactSet Research systems to screen for the biggest public companies in four metrics: sales, profits, assets and market value. Our market value calculation is as of April 18, 2019, closing prices and includes all common shares outstanding.

    All figures are consolidated and in U.S. dollars. We use the latest-12-months’ financial data available to us. We rely heavily on the databases for all data, as well as the latest financial period available for our rankings (the final database screen was run in early-April). Many factors play into which financial period of data is available for the companies and used in our rankings: the timeliness of our data collection/screening and company reporting policies, country-specific reporting policies and the lag time between when a company releases its financial data and when the databases capture it for screening/ranking. We quality-check the downloaded financial data to the best of our ability using other data sources, including Bloomberg and available company financial statements.

    Publicly traded subsidiaries for which the parent company consolidates figures are excluded from our list. For most countries, the accounting rules for the consolidation of a subsidiary is when the parent’s ownership (control) of the subsidiaries stock is more than 50%. Some countries accounting rules allow for the consolidation of a subsidiary at less than 50% ownership.

Source: Global 2000 – The World’s Largest Public Companies 2019

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