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The Ebay Veteran Cashing In On The $369 Billion Returns Boom

He raised $1.2 million from friends at VC firms True Ventures and Harrison Metal in 2009 and has collected a total of $73 million from investors. “They’re just scratching the surface of what we think is a massive market,” says Pete Jenson, a partner at Spectrum Equity, which led a $65 million Series C round in 2018. Neither he nor the company would discuss the company’s valuation or their ownership stakes other than to confirm that Rosenberg has a minority stake. Based on the one publicly traded competitor, Liquidity Services, the company is likely worth at least $130 million, but that is likely low, given how fast it is growing.

“That is why Spectrum wrote us a check for $65 million. They like big markets,” agrees Rosenberg.

B-Stock isn’t the only option, of course. Washington, D.C.-based Optoro operates one warehouse but these days mostly sells software that helps chains identify the best way to offload unwanted inventory, whether by restocking merchandise, returning it to a vendor, refurbishing, donating or sending it to a secondary marketplace. It also operates Blinq.com, which sells one-off returns to consumers, and Bulq.com, a smaller B2B competitor to B-Stock. Happy Returns installs pop-up receiving sites for chains that have limited brick-and-mortar presence, and Liquidations.com similarly sells excess inventory via auction.

Rosenberg has taken a different tack, putting all of the burden back on the original sellers, who deal with sorting, packing and shipping items to buyers. No inventory risk, no shipping costs and all the pricing decisions are made by the buyers and sellers. Even the warehouses where all that stuff sits in are the domain of retailers or third-party logistics companies. Sellers pay an estimated 5%-to-10% transaction fee based on the amount of merchandise they move through some 175,000 auctions every year. That keeps overhead low–85% of Rosenberg’s costs consist of doling out paychecks–and that, he claims, has helped him produce net profits since the day he started in 2009.

To help retailers get the best price, B-Stock tinkers with things like whether to sell stuff together or separately, how big a lot should be, how long an auction should run, what pictures to use and what day it should close. It also helps leverage the power of brands–trusted retailers can command a 15% premium–with separate marketplaces for each customer.

“There are times when we get bogged down with returns,” says a manager at a Fortune 500 company that has worked with B-Stock for six years and declined to speak on the record. “We needed someone to help us find homes for product that might beforehand been thrown away.”

Who’s buying all this? People like Clayton Cook, 33, who runs three discount stores in Salt Lake City. He spends an hour every morning browsing B-Stock and typically places about 150 to 200 bids for toys, apparel and other items sold by Walmart, Target and Costco. He doesn’t have time to haggle, so he lowballs his bids and figures he will only win a fraction of them. “The biggest plus is that I get it directly from the source. Because of that I get a better variety and a better product,” says Cook, who expects sales of $8 million in 2019. The site has also attracted a lot of eBay and Poshmark sellers, although the company doesn’t keep track of just how many.

That’s not to say the business is hassle-free. The company’s Better Business Bureau page is littered with complaints from unhappy buyers, most of them upset by the actions of a retailer but blaming the middleman as the face of the transaction.

Rosenberg says the marketplace model has allowed him to build the biggest online liquidation business in town, yet he still only lays claim to less than 2% of a liquidation market that totals $100 billion. To continue cashing in on the returns boom, he wants to bring on outside companies who can offer various logistics services, including sorting and shipping, for an extra fee. He also has plenty of new business to chase: Only 18 of the top 100 retailers in the country are working with B-Stock, plus his current customers could be liquidating even more stuff through his platform.

“It’s a huge opportunity,” says Rosenberg. “And a really, really big market.”

COVER PHOTOGRAPH BY AARON KOTOWSKI FOR FORBES.

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I am a staff writer at Forbes covering retail. I’m particularly interested in entrepreneurs who are finding success in a tough and changing landscape. I have been at Forbes since 2013, first on the markets and investing team and most recently on the billionaires team. In the course of my reporting, I have interviewed the father of Indian gambling, the first female billionaire to enter the space race and the immigrant founder of one of the nation’s most secretive financial upstarts. My work has also appeared in Money Magazine and CNNMoney.com. Tips or story ideas? Email me at ldebter@forbes.com.

Source: The Ebay Veteran Cashing In On The $369 Billion Returns Boom

 

 

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Toxic Signs Of A Multifamily Investment

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When investing in multifamily properties, there are other factors outside the cap rate, P&L, rent rolls and cash on cash that you should consider. In fact, the numbers, although highly critical in your analysis, are only a portion of what should dictate the decision to proceed. As you begin your due diligence period, you may want to consider these other potential pitfalls before you seal the deal.

What To Look For

The pulse of a multifamily investment doesn’t always come from what the books are saying. In fact, if you fail to investigate the day-to-day culture of tenants and demeanor of the current property, you could be in for a big surprise.

Unless you have the privilege of being one of the few investors that can walk into a new property and completely clean house and not worry about cash flow, these indicators may be warning signs of a much deeper-rooted problem that may not be worth the investment.

• Excessive wear of interior of units: Normal wear and tear is one thing, but severe deferred maintenance found amongst a higher percentage of units could be a telling sign of trouble. Outside issues found in inspections, walking each unit is by far one of the most effective ways to determine if this is an issue.

• Consistent negative feedback from tenants: The key here is listing any repetitive, serious issues that keep coming up and being able to discern from the minor issues. Talking to tenants is a great resource for information, and you should capitalize on the opportunity while you are walking each unit. Understanding that tenants have no real incentive to speak anything but the truth typically makes the feedback more reliable and genuine.

• High traffic at night: How a property operates at night is another piece of the puzzle you may want to consider when analyzing a multifamily investment. Typically, during the day, people are at work and there is not much activity. A visit at night can give you the insight you may need to see if the safety of the property is adequate or not. Extremely high traffic at night could be a potential indicator of crime, but, more importantly, it can be a deterrent for future tenants.

• The unhappiness of tenants: Are the tenants unhappy or happy? It might seem like a silly question at first; however, the crux of the sustainability and future of the investment can lie within the answer. Do you see more positive feedback than negative? If this answer is no, you may want to find out why and see if the solutions are in line with the budget and the vision of the investment. Solutions to these issues could be as simple as a more secure entry room door or better lighting outside the walkways. However, if it’s due to criminal behavior or domestic issues in the complex, this can help open your eyes to the entire picture and consider factors the numbers fail to disclose.

As investors scream through the numbers, it’s easy to bypass the human side of the transaction. Where the human component of multifamily should be considered just as crucial to the decision, it’s not uncommon to be an afterthought or one of the lower priorities of the analysis. Focusing solely on the bottom line and not taking this factor into consideration is a recipe for disaster.

The damage that a toxic culture in a property can do is much more impactful because it not only affects the individual, it can spread to the entire community. You can fix a leaky sink, a broken heater or clean up the landscaping, but not addressing these issues can take a major strain on the investment if you’re not prepared.

Forbes Real Estate Council is an invitation-only community for executives in the real estate industry. Do I qualify?

Owner and Qualifying Broker at Rhino Realty Property Management and Rhino Realty B&B, entrepreneur, investor, advisor, author and speaker. Read Alex Vasquez’ full executive profile here.

Source: Council Post: Toxic Signs Of A Multifamily Investment

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http://www.biggerpockets.com – The 50% Rule is a great tool for quickly estimating the potential cash flow from a real estate investment. This video will walk you step by step through the math and show you how quickly and easily a cash flow estimate can be – for any size real estate investment.

3 Purchases or Investments You Can Make to Save Money on Your Business Taxes

With a little over one month to go in 2019, small business owners should think about purchases or investments that make good business sense and will give them a break on their taxes.

Owners with available cash and a wish list should consider what equipment they need. Or, do they want to create a retirement plan or make a big contribution to an existing one? If they have home offices, are there repairs or improvements that can be done by Dec. 31? But owners should also remember the advice from tax professionals: Don’t make a decision based on saving on taxes. Any big expenditure should be made because it fits with your ongoing business strategy.

A look at some possible purchases or investments:

Need a PC or SUV?

Small businesses can deduct up-front as much as $1,020,000 in equipment, vehicles and many other types of property under what’s known as the Section 179 deduction. Named for part of the federal tax code, it’s aimed at helping small companies expand by accelerating their tax breaks. Larger businesses have to deduct property expenses under depreciation rules.

There is a wide range of property that can be deducted under Section 179 including computers, furniture, machinery, vehicles and building improvements like roofs and heating, air conditioning and ventilation systems. But to be deducted, the equipment has to be operational, or what the IRS calls in service, by Dec. 31. So a PC that’s up and running or an SUV that’s already in use can be deducted, but if that HVAC system has been ordered but not yet delivered or set up, it can’t be deducted.

It’s OK to buy the equipment and use it but not pay for it by year-end — even if a business buys the property on credit, the full purchase price can be deducted.

You can learn more on the IRS website, www.irs.gov. Search for Form 4562, Depreciation and Amortization, and the instructions for the form.

Home Office Repairs

Owners who run their businesses out of their homes and want to do some repairs, painting or redecorating may be able to get a deduction for the work. If the home office or work space itself is getting a makeover, those costs may be completely deductible. If the whole house is getting a new roof or furnace, then part of the costs can be deducted.

To claim the deduction, an owner can use a formula set by the IRS. The owner determines the percentage of a residence that is exclusively and regularly used for business. That percentage is applied to actual expenses on the home including repairs and renovation and costs such as mortgage or rent, taxes, insurance and maintenance.

There’s an alternate way to claim the deduction — the owner computes the number of square feet dedicated to the business, up to 300 square feet, and multiplies that number by $5 to arrive at the deductible amount. However, repairs or renovations cannot be included in this calculation.

Owners should remember that the home office deduction can only be taken if the office or work area is exclusively used for the business — setting up a desk in a corner of the family room doesn’t quality. And it must be your principal place of business. More information is available on www.irs.gov; search for Publication 587, Business Use of Your Home.

Retirement Plans

Owners actually have more than a month to set up or contribute to an employee retirement plans — while some can still be set up by Dec. 31, plans known as Simplified Employee Pensions, or SEPs, can be set up as late as the filing deadline for the owner’s return. If the owner gets a six-month extension of the April 15 filing deadline, a SEP can be set up as late as Oct. 15, 2020, and still qualify as a deduction for the 2019 tax year.

Similarly, contributions to any employee retirement plan can be made as late as Oct. 15, 2020, as long as the owner obtained an extension. This means owners can decide well into next year how much money they want to contribute, and in turn, how big a deduction they can take for the contribution.

You can learn more at www.irs.gov. Search for Publication 560, Retirement Plans for Small Business.

–The Associated Press

By Joyce M. Rosenberg AP Business Writer

Source: 3 Purchases or Investments You Can Make to Save Money on Your Business Taxes

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Silicon Valley Investors Are Bonkers For European Startups

Index Ventures partner Danny Rimer always planned to move back to London from Silicon Valley. But when Rimer returned to England a year ago after seven years establishing Index’s U.S. foothold with stakes in companies like Dropbox, Etsy and Slack, he had company: investors from U.S. venture capital firms Benchmark, NEA and Sequoia were also appearing at startup dinners, leading deals and even looking to open offices.

“We’ve always been surprised at how our U.S. peers flew over Europe,” says the Canada-born and Switzerland-raised Rimer, 49, who opened Index’s London office in 2002. As a full-time European resident again, he debuts at No. 3 on the 2019 Midas List Europe, thanks to multi-national investments including Discord, Glossier, Farfetch and Squarespace. Rimer says he watched as investors flocked to pour money into India, China, and Latin American countries, instead. “A very successful Welshman talked about Europe being a museum,” says Rimer, alluding to billionaire investor Michael Moritz, the Sequoia partner and Google and Yahoo investor who moved from Wales to Silicon Valley decades ago. “Now his firm is all over the geo looking.”

More money is flowing into European tech than ever, and it’s increasingly coming from venture capital’s elite U.S. firms. European startups are likely to receive a record $34.3 billion in investments this year, according to investment firm Atomico, with 19% of funding rounds including an American firm, double the portion when Atomico started tracking in 2015. Those American investors will account for about $10 billion, or nearly one-third, of the total amount invested.

American interest in European companies isn’t new: Palo Alto, California-founded Accel opened a London office nearly twenty years ago, and other firms followed suit. But many retreated in subsequent economic down cycles, says Philippe Botteri, No. 6 on Midas List Europe. Botteri, a French citizen, started his venture career at Bessemer Venture Partners in San Francisco and joined Accel in London in 2011. The years leading up to the U.S. firms’ return witnessed a global economic crisis, while access to customers, engineering talent and programs like startup accelerator Y Combinator drove a host of European founders, such as Stripe’s Collison brothers, to relocate to the U.S. Considered a splintered market with regional regulations and languages, Europe faced a fresh hurdle with “Brexit,” when the United Kingdom voted in a 2016 referendum to leave the European Union, a process still ongoing. Its ruling body, the European Union, has made an anchor policy of challenging big tech companies on how they use data.

Blossom Capital founder Ophelia Brown says she was met with incredulity when, as a young investor at Index Ventures between 2012 and 2016, she visited West Coast counterparts and described the opportunity in European tech. “Everyone would push back: Europe was a little travel, a little ecommerce, a little gaming,” she says. “They felt there was nothing of substance.” In 2017, when she set out to raise Blossom’s first fund, many U.S. investors told her the opportunity for new firms seemed greater in the U.S. and China. Just two years later, Brown says she now hears from institutions asking how to get more exposure to Europe’s startup scene.

What’s changed: A mix of high-profile public offerings such as Adyen and Spotify and a maturing ecosystem that’s made it a much easier draw for U.S. firms, facing intense competition at home, to risk millions in Europe. Spotify, the Stockholm-based music streaming service that went public via direct listing in April 2018, and Adyen, the Amsterdam-based payments company that went public two months later, have created nearly $50 billion in combined market value. The IPOs of Criteo in Paris and Farfetch in London have also produced a network of millionaires primed to write “angel investor” personal checks into smaller tech companies. Today there are 99 unicorns, or companies valued at one billion dollars or more, compared to 22 in 2015, according to Atomico’s data.

“The question used to be, can Europe generate a $1 billion outcome, and then you had Spotify and Adyen creating tens of billions of market cap,” says Botteri, who notes that winners are also coming from a broader base of cities in Europe – 12 hubs, not all from London and Tel Aviv. (As on the Midas List Europe, European investors often include Israel’s tech-heavy startup scene.) “Now the question is, can Europe generate a $100 billion company? And my answer is, just give it a few years.”

For startups in far-flung places like Tallinn, Estonia, where Pipedrive was founded in 2010, or Bucharest, where UiPath got its start, the influx of U.S. venture capital counts for more than just money – it means access to former operators who helped scale businesses like Facebook, Google and Slack, introductions to customers in New York or executive hires in San Francisco. And with their stamps of approval comes buzz that can still kickstart a startup’s brand recognition, investors say.

But they also come with a risk: heightened pressure to deliver, board members who may be 5,000 miles away, and potentially overheated valuations that can prove onerous should a founder misstep. Sarah Noeckel, a London-based investor at Dawn Capital and the publisher of women-in-tech newsletter Femstreet, has tracked a number of recent seed-stage deals in which a U.S. investor swooped in with an offer too rich for local alternatives to match, for companies that sometimes haven’t sold anything yet. “I think there’s little validation at this point how it actually plays out for them,” she says.

For the U.S. investors, there’s a clear financial incentive to “swoop in.” On average over the past year, one dollar’s worth of equity in a European startup in a Series A funding round would have cost $1.60 in the U.S. for a comparable share, according to the Atomico report. Investors insist that for the most in-demand companies in Europe, such as London-based travel startup Duffel, which raised $30 million from Index Ventures in October, prices already match Silicon Valley highs.

All the more reason that as U.S. investors hunt in Europe like never before, they’re doing so quietly. Though Lightspeed Venture Partners announced its hiring of a London-based partner, Rytis Vitkauskas, in October, other U.S. firms have been on the ground without advertising it publicly. Leaders from NEA, with $20 billion in assets under management, passed through London in recent weeks on a venture capital tour as the firm plans to invest more heavily in Europe moving forward, sources say. Sequoia partners Matt Miller and Pat Grady, meanwhile, have been spotted around town meeting with potential job candidates. (Sequoia’s never employed a staffer in Europe before.) NEA and Sequoia declined to comment.

“Everyone would push back: Europe was a little travel, a little ecommerce, a little gaming. They felt there was nothing of substance.”

Blossom Capital founder Ophelia Brown

Many more U.S. investors now pass through London; some even stretch the meaning of what it means to visit a city through months-long stays. “I always used to have to travel to the West Coast to see friends that I made from the show,” says Harry Stebbings, who has interviewed hundreds of U.S. venture capitalists on his popular podcast, ‘The Twenty Minute VC.’ “Now, every week I can see three to five VCs in London visiting.” For the past several months, longtime Silicon Valley-based Accel partner Ping Li has lived in London with his family. Asked if he’d moved to the city without any public announcement, Li demurred – “I would argue that I’m spending a lot of time on British Airways,” he says – before insisting he plans to return to California in three to six months. “I don’t think you can actually be a top-tier venture capital firm without being global,” he says. Firms without plans for a permanent presence in London are creating buzz among local investors, too. Kleiner Perkins investors Mamoon Hamid and Ilya Fushman have been active in Europe recently, they confirm. Benchmark, the firm behind Snap and Uber, invested in Amsterdam-founded open-source software maker Elastic, which went public in 2018, and more recently London-based Duffel and design software maker Sketch, based in The Hague. “Europe’s just more in the spotlight now,” partner Chetan Puttagunta says.

Against the backdrop of Brexit, the inbound interest can feel like a surprise. London-based investors, however, appear to be shrugging off concerns and hoping for the best. “In and of itself, it means nothing,” says Index Ventures’ Martin Mignot, a French and British citizen investing in London and No. 7 on the Midas List Europe. “The only real question is around talent, whether it’s going to be more difficult for people to come and work in London, but how difficult that is remains to be seen.” Or as his colleague Rimer quips: “Having spent seven years in the U.S., I don’t exactly think the political climate of the U.S. was necessarily more welcoming.”

When Rimer attended the Slush conference, a tech conference of 25,000 in Helsinki in November, he brought along a guest: Dylan Field, the CEO of buzzy San Francisco-based design software maker Figma. If Field were European, Index would be leading him around Silicon Valley; instead, with 80% of Figma’s business outside of the U.S., Rimer wanted Field to experience the energy of Europe’s tech community first-hand. Explains Rimer: “It’s just a reflection of the reality today.”

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I’m an associate editor at Forbes covering venture capital, cloud and enterprise software out of New York. I edit the Midas List, Midas List Europe, Cloud 100 list and 30 Under 30 for VC. I’m a Fortune Magazine and WNYC alum. My tech focus would’ve perplexed my college self, as I studied medieval history and archaeology at Harvard University. Follow me on Twitter at @alexrkonrad and email me at akonrad@forbes.com. Securely share tips at https://www.forbes.com/tips/

Source: Silicon Valley Investors Are Bonkers For European Startups

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A interview with Venture Capitalist and Co-Founder of Andreessen Horowitz, Marc Andreessen In this interview, Marc discusses how Silicon Valley works and why it is so hard to replicate. Marc also talks about what he looks for in investments and gives advice to students. 📚 Marc Andreessen’s favourite books are located at the bottom of the description❗ Like if you enjoyed Subscribe for more:http://bit.ly/InvestorsArchive Follow us on twitter:http://bit.ly/TwitterIA Other great Venture Capitalists videos:⬇ Marc Andreessen: Venture Capital Investment Philosophy:http://bit.ly/MAndreessenVid1 Billionaire Chris Sacca on Investing, Venture Capital and Life:http://bit.ly/CSaccaVid1 Billionaire Peter Thiel on Entrepreneurship, Innovation and Competition: http://bit.ly/PTheilVid1 Video Segments: 0:00 Introduction 1:58 Something you really screwed up? 3:09 How does Silicon Valley work? 6:33 Why has Silicon Valley never been replicated? 10:24 Where does the value of cryptocurrency come from? 12:46 Is it going to disrupt governments? 14:26 What makes a fundable company? 19:23 What do you see in the future? 22:48 Advice to students? 24:52 How do you get rid of fear? Marc Andreessen’s Favourite Books🔥 Life: The Movie:http://bit.ly/LifeTheMovie Confessions of an Economic Hit Man:http://bit.ly/ConfessionsEconomic And the Money Kept Rolling In (and Out) Wall Street:http://bit.ly/MoneyKeptRolling Last Call:http://bit.ly/LastCallMA Startup Rising:http://bit.ly/Startuprising Interview Date: 29th March, 2018 Event: Udacity Original Image Source:http://bit.ly/MAndreessenPic1 Investors Archive has videos of all the Investing/Business/Economic/Finance masters. Learn from their wisdom for free in one place. For more check out the channel. Remember to subscribe, share, comment and like! No advertising.

Measuring The Total Economic Impact Of Unified Endpoint Management

Today, the average IT organization is spending at least 5% of their organization’s annual revenue on IT investments – and the cost of each investment spans far beyond its price tag. Each one needs to be deployed and maintained by IT staff that is grappling with more tools and software products than ever before. Of course, supporting an IT staff comes with its own set of costs and challenges. CIOs, CTOs, and their teams are human resource scarce and spread extremely thin, so the opportunity cost of focusing on one tool versus another has never been greater.

This complexity comes at a time where clearly defined IT strategies that bring about positive impact to the business are non-negotiable. According to IDG’s 2019 State of the CIO report, “62% of CIOs say that the creation of new revenue generating initiatives is among their job responsibilities.” 88% claim to be “more involved in leading digital transformation initiatives compared to their business counterparts.” Net-net, the onus is on IT leaders to streamline efficiencies, reduce total cost of ownership (TCO), and net a return on investment (ROI) for the business.

IT investment decisions driven by real customer data

Forrester has been instrumental in helping business decision-makers overcome their resource, budget, and investment challenges by introducing a Total Economic Impact™ (TEI) methodology. Not only does the TEI take costs and benefits into account, but also the time saved and economic impact of strategic decisions made. Forrester’s TEI assessments are drawn from real client experiences with vendor products and services. The team diligently documents customer outcomes to better understand their positive or negative business impact. Consulting this unique research methodology helps business decision makers justify and future-proof their investments.

Making the transition to unified endpoint management

If your organization is like most, it has a mix of devices that employees use to get work done – whether they’re corporate-liable or supported under a bring your own device (BYOD) program. With 464 custom apps deployed across the average enterprise, procuring a means to manage devices and everything on them (not just apps, but also content and data) has become mission-critical for businesses.

Traditionally, mobile device management (MDM), enterprise mobility management (EMM), and client management tools (CMTs) have been relied upon to get the job done. However, business use cases for devices have become more complex and wide ranging. These shifts are necessitating a tool that makes it possible to manage everything from one place. This is unified endpoint management (UEM).

Commissioned by IBM, Forrester Consulting recently conducted a TEI analysis of IBM Security MaaS360 UEM customers to determine whether they are reducing TCO and netting a quick break-even on their investment. The Forrester team took the time to glean feedback from 19 MaaS360 UEM clients representing financial services, nonprofit, utilities, manufacturing, and professional services industries. These individuals are responsible for managing anywhere from 500 to 100,000 devices for their respective businesses each day.

How UEM from IBM resulted in significant ROI1

Across the 19 clients that were interviewed, Forrester identified the following key benefits. These amount to a three-year 160% ROI and payback in less than 3 months:

  • Endpoint configuration: a 96% reduction in time spend provisioning devices
  • End-user setup: a 47% reduction in time spent getting employees up and running
  • Modern management: $22,960 saved from simplifying their management approach
  • Support ticket remediation: 50% fewer tickets and 55% less time taken to resolve them
  • Security breach remediation: 80% reduction in number of incidents experienced

Of course, these benefits were experienced by a composite organization used to represent the 19 customers surveyed by Forrester. Organizations considering UEM that are actively seeking their own customized TEI assessment can now work with IBMers to do just that. Request your own complementary assessment today to understand whether you can expect a return on your UEM investment, and if so, how quickly you can expect your payback period to arrive.

Request a custom Forrester TEI assessment now

1 The Total Economic Impact™ Of IBM MaaS360 With Watson, a commissioned study conducted by Forrester Consulting, April 2019

John Harrington is a Program Director at IBM Security, overseeing product marketing for data security and unified endpoint management (UEM). In this capacity, he works with product managers, product marketers, and account managers to provide guidance for businesses encountering modern cybersecurity challenges. He’s focused on helping clients learn how to establish digital trust and the various ways Guardium and MaaS360 can help them keep their data and endpoints protected. John is also working towards an MBA graduate degree at Villanova School of Business, and spends his spare time exploring the city of Philadelphia with his wife and their two beagles.

Source: IBM Security BrandVoice: Measuring The Total Economic Impact Of Unified Endpoint Management

Keeping Up With E-commerce: Last-Mile Delivery Service Deploys ‘Ninjas’ In Online Shopping Boom

Packages are piled higher than people at Ninja Van’s biggest sorting center at a freight facility near Singapore’s Jurong port. Southeast Asia’s big e-commerce operator, Shopee, has just finished its “9/9” online shopping sale and says it got a record 17 million orders in one day. Ninja Van now has the task of delivering most of those orders. “We spend months preparing for how much capacity they require, making sure that we change our processes and have enough drivers,” says Ninja Van’s 32-year-old founder Lai Chang Wen.

Today, Ninja Van delivers on average one million parcels a day around the region, deploying some 20,000 full-time delivery staff, who are dubbed ninjas. Ninja Van’s sales in 2017 rose 9% from a year ago to $13 million and Singaporean Lai was inducted into Forbes 30 Under 30 Asia in 2016.

Ninja Van has so far raised $140 million from a group of investors that includes B Capital and super app Grab. “They’ve really been a leader in last-mile delivery. They are today, we believe, the best service in terms of delivery rates. Everything they’ve achieved using technology is driven to increase customer satisfaction,” says B Capital cofounder Eduardo Saverin, who is a director on the company’s board (and cofounder of Facebook).

Today In: Asia

Lai cofounded Ninja Van in 2014 after a stint as a derivatives trader at Barclays and then setting up Marcella, a custom menswear shop based in Singapore. Monk’s Hill Ventures Managing Partner Lim Kuo-Yi remembers passing on Lai’s pitch to invest in Marcella, but was intrigued by Lai’s proposed solution to the firm’s delivery hurdles.

That proposal is now Ninja Van. Its value proposition is providing a more effective way for Southeast Asia’s small and midsized enterprises to deliver their products as e-commerce in the region explodes. Over 150 million Southeast Asians are now buying and selling online, triple the number from 2015, according a recent report by Bain, Google and Temasek. “What Ninja Van has shown in the last four or five years is the ability to grow the business threefold year-on-year,” says Lim.

Ninja Van is one of a slew of companies offering logistics services for e-commerce deliveries such as Lalamove, GoGoVan and UrbanFox. Competing on cost, speed and reliability isn’t enough, Lai says. Ninja Van also works with SMEs to cut costs and expand their markets. Ninja Van in September introduced a program in Indonesia called Ninja Academy that teaches SME owners about social marketing, inventory management, procurement and sales strategy. “A big part of the question around Ninja Van is how do I evolve my customer base to enable the long tail of commerce,” says Saverin.

Ninja Van entered the logistics scene at an opportune time. Photo: Sean Lee for Forbes Asia

Sean Lee for Forbes Asia

Ninja Van also mines its data to find hidden efficiencies. For example, when multiple merchants are buying the same raw material or product, Ninja Van can then broker a deal to buy in bulk for a lower price on behalf of several customers. The same goes for freight space. “We are the biggest purchaser of air cargo across Indonesia,” says Lai.

With as much as 70% of its transactions still cash on delivery, Ninja Van processes more than a billion dollars in payments a year. While processing those payments, it’s sitting on a massive pool of liquid capital. “There’s opportunity there to extend some level of working capital financing to bridge that gap,” says Lim.

Grab’s investment in Ninja Van is the culmination of an ongoing discussion about collaboration. “We kept finding ways to work together,” says Lai, who first started talking with Grab’s cofounder Anthony Tan four years ago about merging their fleets to improve efficiency.

The two eventually decided that having separate, specialized fleets was more efficient than a combined one, but they have developed a special partnership. Grab customers can access Ninja Van on Grab’s app depending on the kind of delivery. Grab deploys its drivers for on-demand pickups and deliveries, but offers Ninja Van as a discount option for less urgent, next-day courier service to SMEs. Grab has already integrated Ninja Van into its service offering in Indonesia and the Philippines, and plans to do so in Vietnam later this year.

Lai, meanwhile, spends much of his time now in Malaysia and Indonesia, where Ninja Van launched in 2015. “The landscape is very exciting right now, comprised of a lot of small merchants selling on marketable channels,” Lai says. But the real prize, he says, lies beyond Southeast Asia. “There’s a lot more global flow,” he says. Lai won’t name any potential partners, but says the U.S. is “definitely a target.”

Pamela covers entrepreneurs, wealth, blockchain and the crypto economy as a senior reporter across digital and print platforms. Prior to Forbes, she served as on-air foreign correspondent for Thomson Reuters’ broadcast team, during which she reported on global markets, central bank policies, and breaking business news. Before Asia, she was a journalist at NBC Comcast, and started her career at CNBC and Bloomberg as a financial news producer in New York. She is a graduate of Columbia Journalism School and holds an MBA from Thunderbird School of Global Management. Her work has appeared in The New York Times, Washington Post, Yahoo, USA Today, Huffington Post, and Nasdaq. Pamela’s previous incarnation was on the buy side in M&A research and asset management, inspired by Michael Lewis’ book “Liar’s Poker”. Follow me on Twitter at @pamambler

Source: Keeping Up With E-commerce: Last-Mile Delivery Service Deploys ‘Ninjas’ In Online Shopping Boom

220K subscribers
Sick of online shopping deliveries that go MIA or take forever? Ninja Van’s Lai Chang Wen saw how traditional couriers were spoiling the experience – so he jumped in to spoil the market. Even though he had zero experience. Catch the series Game Changers on Monday, 8pm SG/HK. Watch catch-up episodes on Toggle http://bit.ly/2nRyB7Q

Former Uber CEO Adapts A Copy From China Idea With His U.S. Startup CloudKitchens

The latest example of the copy from China innovation trend comes from former Uber CEO Travis Kalanick and his new startup CloudKitchens, a kitchen sharing concept for restaurants and take-out orders.

This shared kitchen model originated in China, with a Beijing-based startup named Panda Selected. Little doubt that Kalanick saw this idea at work in China. He has China experience and some scars to show from his ventures a few years ago with Uber in China doing battle with Chinese ride-sharing leader Didi and eventually selling to the rival.

These shared food preparation services are part of the sharing economy that has blossomed in China. Sharing has extended from taxi rides to bikes to even shared umbrellas and battery chargers.

The shared kitchen could disrupt the traditional restaurant business. It caters to a young on-the-go population who order food by mobile app and get quick take-out deliveries. No need for large dining areas or kitchens that serve just one restaurant. The shared model lowers the cost of doing business for commercial restaurants and makes it easier to do business around the clock in a hurry and manage operations.

Today In: Innovation

The model has already caught on in China, where new business ideas particularly for mobile gain traction quickly and have no problem in attracting customers. Panda Selected, which was started in 2016 by CEO Li Haipeng, has more than 120 locations in China’s major business hubs.

This shared kitchen concept could gain quick uptake in the U.S. too. On-demand instant delivery for take-out food ordered by mobile app hasn’t yet caught on in the U.S. like it has in China’s congested cities but that doesn’t mean that the model can’t work in the U.S.

Venture capital investors have already decided the business could scale quickly and have funded the shared kitchen business model. CloudKitchens has funding of $400 million from Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund on top of initial seed capital from Kalanick. Panda Selected has attracted $80 million in funding from DCM Ventures, Genbridge Capital and Tiger Global.

It is interesting to see successful serial entrepreneurs like Kalanick trying their hand at new ideas they’ve seen work in China. No doubt more ideas from China’s advanced digital economy will filter into the U.S. Already, we have digital entertainment app. How long before we see the social commerce model that Pinduoduo has perfected in China get transported over to the U.S.?

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Rebecca A. Fannin is a leading expert on global innovation. As a technology writer, author and media entrepreneur, she began her career as a journalist covering venture capital from Silicon Valley. Following the VC money, she became one of the first American journalists to write about China’s entrepreneurial boom, reporting from Beijing, Shanghai and Hong Kong. Today, Rebecca pens a weekly column for Forbes, and is a special correspondent for CNBC.com. Rebecca’s journalistic career has taken her to the world’s leading hubs of tech innovation, and her articles have appeared in Harvard Business Review, Fast Company and Inc., and Techonomy. Her next book. Tech Titans of China, is being published this year. (Hachette Book Group, 2019).Rebecca’s first book, Silicon Dragon: How China is Winning the Tech Race (McGraw-Hill 2008), profiled Jack Ma of Alibaba and Robin Li of Baidu, and she has followed these Chinese tech titans ever since. Her second book, Startup Asia (Wiley 2011), explored how India is the next up and comer, which again predicted a leading-edge trend. She also contributed the Asia chapter to a textbook, Innovation in Emerging Markets (Palgrave Macmillan 2016). Inspired by the entrepreneurs she met and interviewed in China, Rebecca became a media entrepreneur herself. In 2010, she formed media and events platform Silicon Dragon Ventures, which publishes a weekly e-newsletter, produces videos and podcasts, and programs and produces events annually in innovation hubs globally. Rebecca also frequently speaks at major business, tech and policy forums, and has provided testimony to a US Congressional panel about China’s Internet. She resides in New York City and San Francisco, and logs major frequent flier miles in her grassroots search to cover the next, new thing.

Source: Former Uber CEO Adapts A Copy From China Idea With His U.S. Startup CloudKitchens

11K subscribers
Business Insider reports that former Uber CEO Travis Kalanick is making progress with his food-delivery and “dark kitchen” startup. CloudKitchens is the venture, it’s one of the units of Kalanick’s company City Storage Systems. The CloudKitchens unit builds kitchens for chefs who want to start food-delivery businesses. CloudRetail builds facilities to support online retailers. The company has hired dozens of people including former Uber employees. Employees are being asked to keep mum about it all, not even publicly acknowledging they work there. Kalanick is said to be focused on growing his food delivery fast as he did with Uber. https://www.businessinsider.com/stock… http://www.wochit.com This video was produced by YT Wochit Tech using http://wochit.com

Last Week Confirms It. Goodbye, Recession – Hello, Bull Market

 

It is time to get excited, optimistic and bullish. Last week put the final nails in the “Oh, woe is me” recession coffin. RIP.

Last week’s good news supported and confirmed recent anti-negative and pro-positive improvements. Here is the wonderful list:

Earnings reports are driving a shift to the positive

Compare these two headlines from The Wall Street Journal:

  • October 9: “U.S. Earnings Flash a Worrying Signal”
  • November 2: “Earnings Tide Lifts Most Stocks – Investors are getting a more positive picture of American corporations’ health than that painted by analysts in buildup to earnings season”
Today In: Money

The cause? Earnings reports continue to be positive on balance, with most of the September quarter-end earnings reports now in. The 336 S&P 500 companies reporting September results so far (from October 15 through November 1) represent 67% of the 500 companies and 75% of the $27T market capitalization. (Many of the remaining 164 companies will report October or November quarter-end results later.)

While reports of companies beating expectations are widespread, a good way to view investors’ complete evaluation is by examining stock performance. Below is a graph of the one-month returns (including dividend income) for all of the 336 reporting companies. I have broken out the so-called “safe” stocks (REITs and utilities) because they have been beneficiaries of both reduced interest rates and bearish thinking – therefore, expect them to underperform.

Clearly, Wall Street views this earnings report season as favorable. Additionally, the need and desire for “safe” stocks has given way to the pursuit of growth.

The Federal Reserve cuts and quits

Finally! While rates remain abnormally low (meaning there is music to be faced in the future), at least the game of will-they-or-won’t-they looks over for now. That is helpful because businesses, consumers and investors now can make decisions based on a stable rate environment.

GDP growth is just fine

A good example of how negativity can take time to turn positive is the last week’s third quarter GDP growth report. Expectations had been for a seasonally adjusted, real (adjusted for inflation), annualized rate of 1.6%, down from 2% last quarter. Instead, it came in at 1.9%. That is good news, but most reports focused on the “continued slowing” instead of the desirable surprise.

Think of that report this way. For a quarter that had its problems, growth was still around 2%, in line with the average post-recession growth rate. Looking at a longer time period provides a good perspective for that 1.9% growth rate.

Employment and consumer spending are good

The recession pundits keep expecting these shoes to drop, but they do not. The problem is the factors leading up to reduced employment are absent. Following, so long as consumers are employed, they will spend. Therefore, in spite of that previous sharp drop in consumer confidence, consumer spending has remained strong and consumer confidence has improved.

The Wall Street Journal’s November 2 lead story (print edition) says it best: “Jobs, Consumers Buoy Economy, Defying Slowdown Across Globe.”

The bottom line

Last week offered an outstanding combination of good news that removes recession pessimism and reintroduces growth optimism for 2020. Stock ownership (excluding “safe” stocks) continues to look desirable.

Follow me on Twitter or LinkedIn.

During my 30-year career, I managed and consulted to multi-billion dollar funds. Using the “multi-manager” approach, I worked with leading investment managers. I now manage personal accounts and write about my analysis and decisions. … From my 50-year personal/professional investment experience, I developed the skills I use to find opportunities and avoid risks. Because markets are ever changing, I choose the strategies (safety, income, value and growth) that conditions warrant. … My one regular activity is to seek developments and trends being ignored or misinterpreted by investors. These are the situations that consistently produce higher return opportunities (or higher risk levels). … I am a CFA charterholder with an MBA from Stanford Graduate School of Business and a BS in Finance from San Diego State University. I am a former Washington DC CFA board member and currently serve on the AAUW Investment Advisers Committee and the City of Vista Investment Advisory Committee. … For more, please see my LinkedIn bio at http://www.linkedin.com/in/johntobeycfa

Source: Last Week Confirms It. Goodbye, Recession – Hello, Bull Market

292K subscribers
Traders Jon and Pete Najarian are joined by Sarat Sethi, managing partner at Douglas C. Lane & Associates, and Anastasia Amoroso, global investment strategist at J.P. Morgan Private Bank, to discuss calls on Netflix, Apple and Juniper Networks.

Now That Commissions Are Free, Here’s How To Avoid The Big Costs Of Investing

TRADE FOR FREE! NO COMMISSIONS! Sounds too good to be true? Well, it is and it isn’t. Allow me to explain.

Within the past few weeks, a slew of brokerage firms reduced the rate their customers pay for online stock and ETF trades. In fact, they reduced them to dust. Interactive Brokers (IB) started it. Schwab joined in. Then, the cavalry arrived. Many of the largest firms followed suit in different forms. They joined IB, Schwab and the many robo-advisors who have offered free trading for a while.

What does it all mean for you?

Let’s start with the simplest part. Whether you trade your own accounts, or a professional advisor manages your assets, there is a very good chance your costs to execute trades has been reduced. It might even be zero.

However, that does not mean that investing is now “free.” It never was. Now, I know what you are thinking. You don’t use mutual funds, and you don’t use ETFs. So, your returns are not reduced by those “expense ratios” that are embedded in managed funds. If you buy and sell individual stocks, that is true.

You may also point out that you have most of your assets in tax-deferred accounts, such as an IRA or your 401(k) plan. Again, you are correct in assuming that you will not be taxed on those assets until you take them out or reach age 70 1/2. So far, investing sounds pretty darn inexpensive to me!

Today In: Money

The real costs of investing

One of the most frustrating things to me after more than 3 decades in the investment business is how quickly people jump at the chance to get something for “free” without considering the whole picture. Zero commissions on stock and ETF trades is just the latest example.

Trading, execution (how good a price you get when you place an order with a brokerage firm), and expense ratios get all the hype in the “race to the bottom” that is today’s big Wall Street.

Taxes…and how Wall Street tries to make them exciting

Taxes get some respect as a cost to reckon with. However, here too, the industry (especially the Robo firms) has created unnecessary drama by touting something call “tax loss harvesting (TLH).” This is something many of us in the field have done religiously for taxable client accounts for years. And we have done so with a focus on each client’s specific tax situation.

Now, firms will put your account on an automated system that hyper-actively swaps you from one security to another similar one, in order to generate a constant stream of tax losses. These can be posted against gains to reduce your tax bill. Great in theory.

TLH does not mean TLC

However, from the live examples I have seen, these TLH programs crowd out some very good investment strategy work. This would take an entirely separate article to explain. Perhaps I will post one.

For now, suffice it to say that in some instances, investment firms are charging an extra fee for something that is potentially overkill. That same service can be done more carefully and inexpensively as custom work for each client. It is just one of those things that you need to be aware of.

In an era of zero commissions, these for-profit firms are not going to find other ways to profit. In no way am I saying they don’t provide a helpful service. Just don’t get caught up in the hype.

Money market rates…also going to zero?

For example, the interest rate paid on money market funds at brokerage firms is, shall we say, in a bear market. That is, the rates are plunging. This is because brokerages are returning to one of their most profitable business, now that short-term interest rates have popped up from 0%.

For example, if T-bills yield 1.50%, you would hope that the money market fund that is used to sweep cash in and out of when you trade would pay somewhere in that range. Check carefully. Many firms have dropped those rates so that they are way, way lower than T-bills.

Cash management: the new tool in your toolbox?

That does not mean that it is a bad deal for you. If you trade actively, and don’t hold a high cash balance anyway, your interest in dollar terms is quite tiny to begin with. But if this is not the case, perhaps you are better off sharpening your skills as a “cash manager.”

I know I have done this in the accounts I manage over the past year. There are ETFs that invest in short-term, high-quality bonds like Treasuries. And, now that there is no commission cost to trade them through many firms, they may be worth considering as a money market surrogate.

The BIG cost of investing that gets too little attention

Drum roll, please…its lousy performance in down markets. Or, as David Letterman said, its all fun and games until someone loses an eye. So, amid all of the excitement about how little it will cost you to “play the market” with no trading costs and low expense ratios, there is still an issue. If the stock market drops 20%, 30%, 40% or more, you had better have a plan.

And, the plan can’t be to figure it out on the fly. Ask the folks who were suddenly faced with that in 2000 and 2007, the winds shifted. We all want to get our “fair share” of the ups. But when markets freak out and $20 of every $100 you had in your portfolio can potentially vanish in a few weeks (as stock index funds did around this time last year), lack of risk-management becomes the only cost that matters.

To try to put a bow on this cost discussion, consider the following if you have $500,000 to invest, and you are not a day trader, nor a straight buy-and-hold investor:

* The cost of 40 trades a year used to be about $5 each. That’s $200 a year you saved, with commissions going to zero.

* You switched to index funds from active funds, and maybe mixed in some stocks. Let’s say that shaved your portfolio expense ratio from 1.00% to 0.20%. You saved $4,000 on that $500,000 portfolio.

* Taxes: you generated capital gains of $30,000, but used TLH to knock that down to $10,000. Assuming a 30% tax rate, you saved $6,000 in taxes. This is getting better and better!

Minimal risk-management: the market fell by 20%, and you escaped with “only” a 18% loss. But that’s still a $90,000 decline in the portfolio! If you had practiced risk-management using some of the techniques I discussed in recent articles (tactical positioning, options, inverse ETFs, etc.), you might have kept that loss to half that.

Naturally, everyone’s situation and objectives are different. However, the key is to recognize the relative impact of the different types of investment “cost.” In the examples above, the cost of trading was well under 1%. The impact of expense ratio was a bit under 1%. TLH helped (assuming you had gains to offset with losses), to the tune of just over 1%.

However, risk-management can be “worth” well over 1%. That’s the point, and what you should focus on when evaluating your total “cost” of investing.

Comments provided are informational only, not individual investment advice or recommendations. Sungarden provides Advisory Services through Dynamic Wealth Advisors

To read more, click HERE

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

I am an investment strategist and portfolio manager for high net worth families with over 30 years of industry experience. A thought-leader, book author and founder of a boutique investment advisory firm in South Florida. My work for Forbes.com aims to break investment myths and bring common sense analysis to my audience. Connect with me on Linked In, follow me on Twitter @robisbitts. Visit our website at http://www.SungardenInvestment.com.  What do you think? I welcome your questions and feedback at rob@sungardeninvestment.com. For more on this and related topics, click here.

Source: Now That Commissions Are Free, Here’s How To Avoid The Big Costs Of Investing

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https://www.sbmoneytips.com/ Learn the first secret of successful investing with Part I of our three-part series! *** Did you know that the average individual investor does worse in the stock market than the market itself? In other words, if you just held a broad index fund and did nothing but hold on until you hit retirement you would do better than most. It turns out that the problem has nothing to do with a lack of market savvy or anything like that. Instead, it has everything to do with human emotions. Once you learn the enemy you can master it! So let’s take a quick look in the mirror and get acquainted with our opponent! The first secret is simply to invest as soon as you can. Don’t sit on the sidelines! Start now and let compounding do the heavy lifting over time. Make the effort to learn something new: like how to set up an account and put some money to work. Either do it on line or call one of the big brokerages. You’ll be richly repaid for your efforts! The next secret is to avoid being too conservative when investing for long-term goals. Many people are reluctant to invest in the stock market because they are afraid they’ll lose money. And they’re right – they will! But allow enough time and the results come back to the long term averages. Take a look at this chart showing the S&P500’s results from 2007 through 2015. That drop in 2008-2009 was pretty terrifying – I know! I personally lost over a third of my money in it! And it was really uncomfortable. But look what happened after that. It took several years but the market came back and is now well above where it was before the great recession. The right thing to do is to stay the course. Invest when you have money to do so and only sell when you need the money. This is really important. Hang on when you’re in the middle of one of these lurches and don’t sell or change your game plan.

Investors Are Pouring Billions Into Proptech Here’s Who’s Getting It

The real estate business is finally getting renovated, as a new wave of startups build property-technology platforms that improve or simplify the complicated process of buying, selling, renting, or owning a home. And VCs have been more than willing to open their checkbooks: Since 2013, annual investment in U.S. proptech companies has grown at a rate five times that of investment in all U.S. businesses. In 2019, investment in U.S. proptech is on pace to exceed $10 billion. Here’s where some of this year’s money has gone.

$370 million

Compass hosts real estate listings on an easy-to-use online platform. It also provides tools for agents, including real-time pricing, marketing software, and automated multiplatform listings, leaving more time for face-to-face meetings with clients.

$300 million

Opendoor buys homes directly from sellers in exchange for cash, which helps them afford down payments on their new digs. The company holds DIY open houses that allow almost anybody with a smartphone to tour a home–without an agent–between 6 a.m. and 9 p.m.

$160 million

Better, a direct lender, allows homebuyers to quickly get a mortgage via a simple online application. Plus, no commissions and no fees mean borrowers pay only interest.

$170 million

Nextdoor keeps people up-to-date on events in their neighborhood. The social network also helps neighbors find babysitters and pet sitters, swap safety tips, and, of course, gossip.

$200 million

Clutter packs, stores, and moves its customers’ belongings­–and lets them track their inventory online. A forthcoming feature will help customers decide what to move, sell, or donate with a few clicks.

$300 million

Lemonade’s app lets homeowners and renters buy insurance against life’s lemons, such as losses from fire, water damage, and theft.

By: By Kevin J. RyanStaff writer, Inc. @wheresKR

 

Source: Investors Are Pouring Billions Into Proptech. Here’s Who’s Getting It

37K subscribers
Read the full report here: https://www.sbs.ox.ac.uk/news-and-eve… Will we soon be able to buy a house with the click of a button? A new report released by Saïd Business School, University of Oxford takes an expansive look at property technology (PropTech), and its findings detail the dramatic changes facing the real estate industry. The 95-page report was written by Andrew Baum, Visiting Professor of Management Practice at Oxford Saïd and real estate industry veteran, using data from PropTech venture capital firm PiLabs and interviews from over 50 real estate professionals.

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