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The latest news on Startups from Business Insider

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    wine tasting room in Bordeaux France

    Vivino is a startup that is opening up the world of fine wine for everyone through a clever app.

    If you see a wine that interests you, you take a photo of the label. That takes you to a page on the app for the wine, and you can see reviews and rankings on your phone.

    Vivino isn't a small, niche community. It told us that on an average Saturday, 400,000 wines are scanned using the app. And in total, almost 100 million bottles of wine have been scanned. Vivino also has over 7 million users using the network to scan and rate wine.


    Lots of apps have tried to help people with ranking and collections, but what's interesting about Vivino is that it's built up a large amount of data through its app. That's important when it comes to recommendations, which can turn apps into something that's genuinely useful (as well as providing a revenue opportunity). 

    Another useful part of allowing users to rate wines is that Vivino can use that data. Yesterday it published a collection of rankings made using ratings input using the app.

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    classpass payal

    Every year on December 31 we make a vow to ourselves to change something we don't like: our weight, our marital status, our alcohol consumption, our skill sets.

    There are a few startups and apps that are perfect for self-improvement.

    This New Years, if you resolve to be more stress free, give the app Headspace a try.

    Headspace is an app that makes meditation simple with 10-minute sessions led by a soothing Australian man, Andy. Andy tells you to breath deeply, close your eyes, and let your mind rest.

    For non-meditators, Headspace may sound ridiculous. But the amount of revenue it's generating is nothing to laugh at. A source close to the company tells us Headspace is "growing like mad" and generating roughly $1 million per month, and sometimes $500,000 per month in free cash flow. Headspace is raising a round of financing right now from investors who are loving the app's freemium model (Headspace offers the first few lessons for free then is able to convert a number of users into paying subscribers).


    Want to lose weight? Try signing up for ClassPass.

    If the gym doesn't do it for you and you hate running on treadmills, ClassPass might be a good solution. ClassPass works like a gym membership but instead of going to Equinox, LA Fitness or New York Sports Club, you pay $99 for access to hundreds of studios in your neighborhood. ClassPass partners with spin, pilates, yoga, dance, barre and many other types of studios, and you can visit each studio up to three times per month, or multiple studios unlimited times per month.

    ClassPass is a New York-based startup that has raised $14 million and it just launched an iPhone app. The service is currently available in New York, LA, Chicago, Boston, Washington D.C., Seattle, Portland, San Diego and San Francisco. Business Insider reviewed the service in San Francisco and New York here.


    Want to learn a language like Mark Zuckerberg? Try Duolingo.

    Duolingo is a language learning app that offers game-like mobile lessons on Spanish, French, English, German, Portuguese, Italian, Dutch, Danish and Swedish. It has raised more than $38 million and it's gotten praise from top Silicon Valley executives such as Pinterest CEO Ben Silbermann. Unfortunately if you want to learn Mandarin like Mark Zuckerberg, you'll have to find another solution. Duolingo doesn't offer Mandarin lessons yet, but other apps like MindSnacks and Brainscape do.


    Want to learn to code? Try Codecademy or Udemy.

    Codecademy and Udemy offer great introductions to coding. Udemy has all sorts of lesson plans on it, one of which is coding. Codecademy focuses on it and starts out with simple tasks such as writing your name in code or using code to solve basic math problems. Michael Bloomberg tried it in 2012 and participated in Codecademy's New Years Resolution program, CodeYear.

    codecademy bloomberg

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    Instacart Team

    Earlier this week, Re/code reported that Instacart, a startup that delivers groceries on demand, had raised $220 million at a nearly $2 billion valuation. 

    Instacart hires shoppers to buy groceries at local stores and then deliver them to customers within a few hours. Unlike competitors, like Fresh Direct, who keep their own inventory, Instacart relies on grocery stores to fulfill orders.

    I decided to try out Instacart to see if it lived up to the hype. 

    To get started, first enter your zip code to see if Instacart delivers in your area. The entry page boasts that it will deliver your groceries in an hour.

    You then get to choose the grocery store you want to order from.

    After I chose Fairway as my store, the app showed me what food items I could buy from there.

    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    business man confused

    Startups usually have a lot of partial owners: founders, investors, and early employees.

    Unfortunately, a lot of startups do a terrible job of tracking who owns these shares, and this creates big problems down the line.

    That's according to a post by eShares CEO Henry Ward, which is generating a lot of discussion today from investor Fred Wilson and others.

    eShares helps privately held companies build their capitalization table, or "cap table"— the official record of who owns what. Because eShares helps companies clean up their cap tables, they see a lot of broken ones along the way.

    Ward breaks the problem down into four main buckets:

    • Most cap tables are wrong. A lot of companies track share ownership in Excel or Google Sheets, but fail to keep those spreadsheets up to date as they issue new shares and options. Cleaning up a dirty cap table is pretty expensive for a startup — between $5,000 and $15,000. So a lot of startups don't bother to do it, or don't do it regularly enough.
    • Investors don't track their stakes very well. This is partly because most startups never issue stock certificates. Also, a lot of investors know only how many shares they hold, not the total number of shares issued, so they don't actually know the percentage they own. New stock issues and splits complicate things even more.
    • Note holders are often forgotten. Some early investors loan startups money in the form of a convertible note — debt that is supposed to convert to partial ownership when the company raises a later round. But a lot of companies misfile or incorrectly record these convertible notes, and less sophisticated investors don't track them.
    • Early employees often don't take advantage of the equity they were granted. There are a lot of reasons for this, including lack of information, poor tax treatment, and the inability for quitting employees to pay cash to exercise their options. Ward also says that a lot of companies simply don't want to bother with the legal fees necessary to allow employees to exercise stock options early, which means employees don't get the same preferential tax treatment as founders.

    This fourth point is particularly troublesome because a lot of employees at tech startups take a lower salary than they'd get at a big company like Google, in exchange for equity — they're basically betting a few years of their careers on a chance at a huge payoff. But these problems mean they may not get the payoff they were hoping for even if the company goes big.

    Read the whole post here>>

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    We see a lot of cap tables at eShares. For every new company we onboard we clean up the table and verify it against the legal documentation. These days we onboard about 100 cap tables each month. I want to share the four things we learned in the last year that surprised us most. They are:

    1. Most cap tables are wrong
    2. Most investors don’t track their shares
    3. Note holders are often forgotten
    4. Employees suffer most

    1. Most cap tables are wrong

    More precisely, nearly all cap tables are wrong. Most cap tables are manually tracked in Excel. The “truth” of the cap table is held in the signed and dispersed paper documents (i.e. option grants) and the “model” is in excel. Frequently transactions (option grants, notes, exercises, etc..) are issued (the truth) but not recorded (the model). And the further away from a financing (when the cap table is normally cleaned up) the worse the entropy.

    cap table entropy

    Entropy is amplified by the legal cost of maintaining the cap table. Law firms are pressured to defer cap table maintenance to a financing round when it is more natural to charge for clean up time. The formal name for this clean-up is called “issuing an opinion” and it costs between $5K and $15K. Cap table cleanup is usually the majority of an early stage company’s legal bill.

    We also see a lot of mistakes. Vesting schedule errors are the most ubiquitous. We find terms where the wrong vesting schedule is used, the schedule is ambiguous, or the math doesn’t add. Mistakes enter the legal documentation often and spread like memes thru copy and paste. And because terms are captured in language rather than formulas they are difficult to verify. It is funny that mathematical expressions like vesting schedules, liquidation preferences, conversion ratios, and acceleration provisions are defined in prose. Generating a spreadsheet of vesting events would be more precise and less ambiguous than writing paragraphs.

    2. Investors don’t track their shares

    Cap table errors are a natural side effect of a manually recorded ledger without counter-party verification. Think of a cap table as a blockchain of a company’s liabilities. Every stock certificate, option grant, exercise, transfer, or debt issue is a transaction that updates the ledger. Every transaction should be verified by the counterparty and the network as a whole. And by network I mean all stakeholders in the cap table who are required to verify the aggregate correctness (fully diluted count) of the table.

    When railroads were startups, stock certificates were the original “miners” for recording investments. They were “proof-of-work” of the transaction for both parties. The issuer knew that few people had the resources to print an original watermarked copy of a stock certificate. Nowadays you can buy a book of certificates and run them through a printer though they still serve as confirmation of the transaction, albeit poorly.

    The last vestigial use case for stock certificates is at an acquisition or IPO. The paying agent or transfer agent usually require investors to submit stock certificates as a check against the cap table record before transferring money. This is why institutional funds make a deal a big deal about receiving stock certificates. They don’t get paid without them.

    The majority of investors (especially angel investors) never receive certificates. Delaware corporate law requires companies to issue stock certificates but most rarely do. Usually the issuer’s law firm (not the investors) will tell shareholders they are holding the stock certificates for safe-keeping. There are obvious practical issues with this arrangement not to mention the glaring conflict of interest. Andy Palmer sums them up nicely in Did the Lawyer Lose Your Stock Certificate?

    twitter embed

    The other big problem with stock certificates as a two-sided record transaction is that the certificates don’t track the percentage ownership. An investor may know the number of shares but they don’t know the denominator. This is especially problematic when companies start doing things like splits and recaps.

    It is standard practice not to issue new stock certificates after a stock split.Early investors of companies that have multiple stock splits have no idea how many actual shares they own in the current capitalization. At a liquidity event the shareholder has no way of knowing between which split the certificate was issued and what the multiplier or divider should be.

    There are many semi-famous disaster stories of incorrect cap tables and lost stock certificates. There is the urban legend of Larry Ellison’s ex-wife putting up a $20M bond for her lost NetSuite stock certificate. More recent are the $100M cap table mistake by Tibco and the DTCC losing some of the 3.7M stock certificates they held during hurricane Sandy. But as bad as these mistakes are for equity investors, it is worse for debt-investors.

    3. Note holders are often forgotten

    Convertible notes are rarely recorded in a ledger or cap table. Docs are dumped into a folder with the expectation they will be formally recorded when the company raises a conversion triggering equity round. In equity financings there is a Schedule of Purchasers which, along with the proforma cap table, acts as a checksum for the post-money capitalization. Because there is no Schedule of Purchasers for convertible notes, there is no way for anybody to know if a convertible note is wrong or missing.

    We see forgotten note investors about once a month. It is surprisingly common. Usually it is because a founder was running around closing deals (usually a long time ago) and forgot to put the right document in the right folder. And the investor has no way to ensure the founder correctly recorded the investment.

    We discover these errors when a founder says “Oh shit! I forgot about…”. I often wonder how many we have missed. This problem will get worse as the pool of early investors grows. The larger and more sophisticated investors make a point to verify and track investments. Otherwise it is too easy to be forgotten.

    I would describe the system as mildly broken for investors. Some investors get burned but most don’t. Larger investors get burned less often than smaller investors. And, in an oddly reassuring way, the majority of companies fail so most wronged investors don’t become burned investors. But if the system is mildly broken for investors, it is busted for employees.

    4. Employees suffer most

    Sam Altman described four problems with employee equity. I would like to add a fifth — the practice of equity administration is systemically biased against employees. Three examples:

    1. Tax benefits are not offered to employees because processing early-exercise paperwork is too expensive
    2. Former employees are not given an easy way to exercise options after termination
    3. Employee-shareholders are treated as second-class to investor-shareholders

    Tax benefits: Employees don’t receive the same preferential tax treatment as founders because most companies don’t allow them to early exercise options. Early exercise is especially valuable to early employees who have low strike prices in-line with the founder’s purchase price. It costs about $200–$300 per exercise in paralegal time to create the paperwork and stock certificates.

    It is important to understand that the company is not the other side of the transaction i.e. it doesn’t cost them anything. The government provides the rebate via preferential tax treatment. Early exercise is free money to early employees but most companies don’t allow it because of legal fees. If 10 early stage employees early exercise it would cost $2K-$3K. Better not to allow it.

    Former employees: Departing employees typically have 90 days to exercise their options or lose them. The exercise process is initiated by the employee calling the CEO or CFO to get the correct paperwork, ask how much to pay, and then deliver the docs and check. Employees usually find this an awkward situation after leaving a company. It is standard practice for exit interviews to help employee with signing up for COBRA, severance pay, etc… however, exercising options are rarely part of the discussion. Less than 5% of employee option grants are exercised. The vast majority are forfeited and recycled back into the company’s option pool.

    Employee-shareholders: A company has an economic and fiduciary duty to assist employees with understanding, valuing, and realizing their options. Shareholders are different. They are expected to care for themselves. Most employees have never been a private company shareholder and don’t understand their options or rights. Investors often co-invest alongside colleagues and friends giving them a network of other shareholders with similar economic interests. They share information and collaborate both legally and as corporate influencers. They also have fund management attorneys to help guide them. Employee-shareholders don’t.

    Below is an email from a former employee of a late stage venture backed company asking for his stock certificate after exercising.

    employee asking for stock cert

    It is hard to imagine a venture fund receiving an email like this. This works because employees have no recourse and influence.

    The future

    It is hard to imagine a future where investments are recorded in Excel and stock certificates are kept in a filing cabinet. A better way to say it is — it would be surprising if that, meaning this, is the future. Admittedly, I am surprised that the current system has worked for this long. There is something paradoxical about funding companies building virtual reality, autonomous drones, and Bitcoin markets, using Excel and paper certificates.

    It is easy to describe the problem but harder to predict how it will be solved. However, it is safe to say the days of Excel and paper stock certificates are numbered. It can’t scale with the growth of investment activity. The system will break. The question is what will replace it and when. Time will tell. Hopefully eShares will be part of the answer. But even if it isn’t us, somebody else will fix it. They just have to.


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    Screen Shot 2015 01 05 at 9.49.36 AM

    Gogoro, a mysterious startup that raised $150 million and has been working in stealth mode for the past four years, is launching its first product at CES.

    That product is a smart, electric scooter that you'll never have to plug in to charge.

    Instead, the scooter is powered by a small, portable battery that you can swap out at battery-swapping stations across major cities, Greg Kumparak at TechCrunch reports. 

    "By 2030, there’s going to be 41 megacities, the majority in the developing world," Gogoro CEO Horace Luke tells The Verge.  

    The battery-swapping stations would initially just provide batteries for scooters, however as Gogoro builds out a wider range of products, the batteries could also power other vehicles.

    Screen Shot 2015 01 05 at 9.50.02 AM

    The batteries are built with the same lithium-ion cells used in the Tesla Model S. They contain a couple dozen sensors inside and each one weighs about 20lbs.

    When your Smartscooter runs low on juice, Gogoro’s complementary smartphone app redirects you to the nearest “GoStation” hub where you can swap batteries. Each weather-proofed hub can hold and charge eight batteries at a time.

    When you purchase a Gogoro Smartscooter you’re also sold a subscription plan that gives you access to the charging hubs. The subscription cost theoretically replaces what you’d spend on gas, though Gogoro hasn’t announced pricing on either the scooter itself or the charging costs.

    Aside from its plugless charging, the scooter is similar to other electric scooters. With a max speed of around 60 mph and a maximum range of around 100 miles, it’s ideal for short trips and commuting. Its system connects to the cloud via cellular network and provides onboard diagnostics through a connected smartphone app.

    Additional Smartscooter specs and information can be found on Gogoro’s website.


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    The days of waiting for movies, music, and photos to transfer through USB drives may be over pretty soon. Startup Keyssa's new technology allows you to transfer large files in less than five seconds, with no plugging required.

    Keyssa's "kiss connectivity" lets you send information back and forth by tapping one device against another, sort of like Near Field Communication. Keyssa's technology, however, is much faster. Essentially, the technology uses high-frequency radios to send information between devices.

    The startup is backed by Tony Fadell, who led Apple's iPod team and then founded of smart home company Nest. 

    We wrote about Keyssa's "kiss connectivity"back in November, but at this year's Consumer Electronics Showcase we got to experience it.

    During a demo, Keyssa's Vice President of Product Mariel van Tatenhove transferred a 1.8GB file — about the size of a standard-definition movie — in just three seconds. 

    Van Tatenhove simply rested a small hard drive with the Keyssa connector on a laptop, counted to three, and the file was transferred.

    The connector's tiny size is just as impressive. Some hardware manufacturers are forced to add some extra thickness to smartphones, tablets, and laptops in order to fit a USB drive. But since Keyssa's technology a fraction of the size of a traditional USB connector, future mobile devices could be razor thin while still providing incredibly fast file transfers.

    Keyssa says its first clients are smartphone, tablet, and computer companies, but wouldn't name names. And it might have other uses as well: Bloomberg Businessweek previously reported that the technology will eventually enable users to download music and movies almost instantly from kiosks at places like concert venues and airports.

    SEE ALSO: Samsung Just Released A Tiny Flash Drive That Can Transfer Movies In 8 Seconds

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    Building Blocks

    While it's often thought that you need a significant amount of capital to start a business, this isn't always the case.

    Yes, many successful companies were launched with a significant amount of funding, but it's important to realize that the chances of a business' success are not directly related to the amount of capital that the company was started with. You really need less money than you think.

    If you're discouraged by lack of funding, don't be. While it may sound counterintuitive, in many cases, starting with a small amount of capital is preferable to launching with a large chunk of cash.

    Related: Great Idea But Little Capital? Don't Let That Hold You Back.

    When starting out with limited resources, you're forced to use this money wisely. I started my first company with just $3,000 — a loan from my dad that I used to take a real estate course. This was a pivotal starting point for me, and what enabled me to go on to found my company, Renters Warehouse. It wasn't a huge amount of money, but it was what just I needed, and it was well spent.

    If you're considering starting a business, a small amount of money can go a long way towards building your future success. Here's how entrepreneurs who are big on ideas, but short on cash can get started:

    1. Bootstrap for as long as possible.

    Bootstrapping prevents you from having to give up valuable equity in your company. If you don't need outside funding to start, don't take it.

    Many startups will reach a point where it becomes necessary to seek outside funding, but securing backing too soon is a mistake. Seeking funding too early results in dilution, and the sooner you become subject to this, the less equity you will have in your company in the future.

    Bootstrapping for as long as possible gives your product or service time to gain traction and catch on. Only when you can demonstrate to investors that a new influx of capital will go towards clearly defined milestones should you look for funding.

    2. Watch out for debt.

    New office furniture is nice, but is it necessary at this stage? Do you really need a $20,000 marketing budget at this point in the game?

    Of course, if you're trying to start a factory or go into the retail business, that's another story, but the vast majority of startups often require less capital than they think. Rushing out and putting everything on credit cards may be tempting, but in most cases this is a bad idea.

    A successful business is the result of making the most of available opportunities. It's about using what you have to make things happen and ensuring that you make the right decisions for the stage you're at.

    3. Be prepared to put in the time.

    Hard work is the prerequisite for any small business, especially when you don't have the luxury of purchasing extra resources, or hiring additional help right away. What you don't have in capital, you'll have to make up for in sweat.

    Be prepared for long days and sleepless nights when starting up a small business, and don't be afraid to wear a number of different hats in the beginning. You'll have to be your own receptionist, bookkeeper, marketing director and financial director when you first start out.

    Related: How a Startup Made It During Its First Two Years Without Relying on Investors

    4. Take opportunities when they come.

    One important key to business success is learning to recognize opportunities as they come up. This is true no matter how much capital you're starting out with. Identify gaps in the market. If you can find a need, and figure out how to fulfill it, you'll be on your way.

    One excellent example of gauging the market and seizing opportunities as they arise is one of Renters Warehouse's franchises that is operating in Phoenix. This franchise is three years old, and it's on course to do $2.5 million in revenue this year.

    The owner started out just like me, with just $3,000 — and he's now the owner of four property management franchises. He bought one and loved it so much and it's growing so well for him that's he jumped on the opportunity to buy three more, and has since then diversified himself into major markets.

    5. Take action.

    There's a phrase that's often used in upper management: "Don't talk about it, be about it." Good ideas are worthless. Your ability to execute them will bring value. This is true no matter how much capital you have to invest into your business.

    Taking action is what brings your ideas to life. Set your goals, outline a course of action and then get started. Do something! Will it be perfect? No, but few things are. Remember, done is better than perfect, so fill up your calendar and start making things happen.

    6. Be passionate. 

    No amount of capital can make up for a lack of passion. If you truly believe in your idea, take the risk and dive in. Remember why you're doing this, and don't let anything stop you from achieving your goals. You will need that drive and passion to remind yourself that all of your sacrifices are worth it, and to help you to stay the course.

    If you have a great idea for a company, don't let a lack of funding hold you back. These days, it's becoming easier and easier to start out a company with less than what was needed in previous years. Many companies today are founded with little more than a laptop, a simple website and a registered domain name.

    Conversely, many companies that receive hundreds of thousands in venture capital fizzle out and go bust. The point is that capital, even a significant amount, will never be adequate enough to compensate for a bad idea, or a good idea that's poorly executed.

    The future is open to those who are able to spot opportunities as they arise. Success will always belong to those who are willing make sacrifices and work hard towards their goals.

    SEE ALSO: Why Smart People Make Bad Entrepreneurs

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    robot hugs costume

    Amazon is quietly working on a new program to connect the company with inventors and early-stage hardware and electronics startups, Re/code's Jason Del Rey reports

    Based on a few job postings, Del Rey's sources describe it as Amazon's attempt to get these innovative startups and small businesses to use Amazon as their main sales channel. 

    In some cases, Amazon is offering hardware startups perks like enhanced marketing on its site, one source told Del Rey. A former Amazon employee speculated that Amazon could provide funding and mentorship to fledgling companies. 

    While specialty marketplaces like Etsy and crowd-funding sites like Kickstarter are generally more common outlets for experimental new products and smaller sellers, Amazon likely wants to swoop in on promising hardware companies early before their sales take off. 

    "Are you inspired by inventors who develop and launch new products?"one job ad asks. "Do you want to build the world's best end-to-end platform for startups? Do you see the opportunity to connect these entrepreneurs with Amazon’s hundreds of millions of customers?"

    Business Insider reached out to Amazon for more information. 

    SEE ALSO: GOOGLE'S $500 MILLION MAN: Meet The 'Weird' Guy Trying To Invent A New Computing Platform

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    Everyone knows smartphones and tablets aren't going away anytime soon. The ability to build websites that can adapt seamlessly from desktop computers to tablets to mobile phones (to whatever is next) is increasing in importance everyday. That's responsive web design. Ethan Marcotte has a great explanation here from 2010. He was right that mobile web browsing would overtake desktop within 5 years, and now, many major websites have more than 50% of their traffic coming from mobile devices, and over 25% of all internet traffic is mobile. Charts courtesy of Business Insider Intelligence's THE FUTURE OF DIGITAL: 2014.

    BI Intelligence

    However, it is not a mobile-only world.

    BI Intelligence

    The online world is fragmenting, which makes responsive design the path forward for major websites.

    Enroll in this project-based course that will walk you through strategies, tools, tips, and tricks for web design in HTML5 and CSS3, as well as Bootstrap 3, the top skills you need to build responsive websites. If you're looking to make a move to a startup, or already work at one and want to increase your value, go with a skill that won't be outdated anytime soon.

    Thanks to our friends at Stack Commerce, you can get this plan for 41% off the usual price.

    Get 80% off Responsive Web Design Course ($19)

    Full features below:

    • 24 lectures with over 4 hours of content
    • Project-based teaching style
    • Learn to build websites with HTML5, CSS3 and Bootstrap 3 by Twitter

    Get 80% off Responsive Web Design Course ($19)

    SEE ALSO:  New iPhone? Grab This Awesome Battery Case For The 6 Or 6+ [33% And 26% Off]

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    Marissa Mayer and the Fight to Save Yahoo!

    Business Insider's own Nicholas Carlson just published the first hot tech book of 2015, "Marissa Mayer and the Fight to Save Yahoo." We sat down with Carlson to get his thoughts on the book.

    Business Insider: Describe your new book for us.

    Nicholas Carlson: My book is a fast-paced, warts-and-all narrative about Marissa Mayer's efforts to remake Yahoo as well as her own rise from Stanford University undergrad to CEO of a $30 billion corporation by the age of 38.

    When Yahoo hired star Google executive Mayer to be its CEO in 2012, employees rejoiced. They put posters on the walls throughout Yahoo's California headquarters. On them there was Mayer's face and one word: HOPE.

    But one year later, Mayer sat in front of those same employees in a huge cafeteria on Yahoo's campus and took the beating of her life. Her hair wet and her tone defensive, Mayer read and answered a series of employee-posed questions challenging the basic elements of her plan. There was anger in the room and, behind it, a question: Was Mayer actually going to be able to do this thing?

    My book is the inside story of how Yahoo got into such awful shape in the first place, Mayer's controversial rise at Google, and her desperate fight to save an Internet icon.

    BI: Who wants to read this book?

    NC:Anyone interested in a fast-paced business thriller about the downfall of an iconic company and a superhero CEO's attempts to save it.

    BI: Where can we get a copy?

    NC: Thanks to Amazon ending their recent battle with Hachette, you can find the hard cover, Kindle ebook, and audio book all on Amazon.

    SEE ALSO:  New iPhone? Grab This Awesome Battery Case For The 6 Or 6+ [33% And 26% Off]

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    Knowing how to code has become a life skill, but it is also a skill in demand. Startups need talent, and are willing to pay top dollar for it — the average salary of a US programmer is now over $100,000. Likewise, if you’re thinking of going it alone in the world of business, being able to build your own product is invaluable.

    To help get you started, here’s a list of great e-learning courses (and bundles of courses) at major discounts.

    Pay What You Want Learn-to-Code Bundlemedium_Learn2Code_MF Bundle_1214

    It can be daunting trying to pick out a single language to specialize in, so this bundle is great for beginners — it covers web design and development, native OSX, iOS and Android programming, and fresh multi-purpose languages like Python. Best of all, you pay whatever you like for Programming Java for Beginners and PSD to HTML5/CSS3, but beat the average price paid, and you get the other six courses, too.

    Get the Pay What You Want Learn-to-Code Bundle

    MySQL5: A User-Friendly MySQL Course (80% off)


    Pretty much every major site and platform stores data in a relational database, so learning how to maintain a healthy one is a good idea. MySQL is a particularly popular database system, and this course shows you the ropes, from the basics of programming in SQL to building your own database from scratch. It also has 80% off via the link below.

    Get 80% off MySQL5: A User-Friendly MySQL Course ($19)

    Pure Python Hacker Bundle: Master Python & Django Programming (91% off)

    medium_PurePython_MF Bundle_1214

    Python is a programming language on the up, with major companies like Google, Dropbox and Pinterest utilizing it in their products. This bundle teaches the language from the ground up, including real-world projects, and it also covers Django, the popular web framework for Python builds. Check out the link for a 91% discount.

    Get 91% off Pure Python Hacker Bundle ($49)

    The Jam-Packed JavaScript Bundle (91% off)


    As one of the three fundamentals of front-end web development, JavaScript is a must-know for anyone thinking about designing websites from scratch. It is covered from beginner to advanced skill levels in this bundle, including how to use JS to kickstart entrepreneurial ideas, and how to use the language for full-on programming. Grab the 91% discount via the link.

    Get 91% off the Jam-Packed JavaScript Bundle ($39)

    Ruby On Rails Rookie To Rockstar Bundle (92% off)


    One other language that is quickly spreading around the web is the versatile Ruby, partly thanks to the much loved Ruby on Rails framework. You get a comprehensive education with this bundle, which includes courses on developing and launching web apps, getting started with Heroku, and moving on to advanced Ruby programming. Visit the link for the 92% discount.

    Get 92% off the Ruby On Rails Rookie To Rockstar Bundle ($49)

    SEE ALSO:  New iPhone? Grab This Awesome Battery Case For The 6 Or 6+ [33% And 26% Off]

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    Office Tour Pinterest23

    It's no secret that tech companies offer their employees extravagant perks — free meals, pet-friendly offices, housekeeping services, and more — to attract top talent. 

    Some companies offer so many benefits that it has spawned the creation of a new job category of people who manage company perks: the startup director of workplace.

    The insurance company Unum just published a list of the 40 best benefits offered by tech companies. The list offers insight into how these companies treat their employees.

    The perks range from some you might expect (like companies offering egg-freezing and paid sabbaticals) to more unorthodox benefits (free helicopter rides and unlimited Apple products). Several companies on the list might surprise you.

    unum tech company benefits

    NOW WATCH: These New Luxury Planes Feature $20,000 'Mini Apartments' With A Private Bathroom And A Butler



    SEE ALSO: Startups Offer So Many Extravagant Perks, They Have Begun Hiring People Just To Manage It All

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    Instacart Team

    Instacart, a startup that delivers groceries on demand, has raised $220 million at a nearly $2 billion valuation in a Series C round led by Kleiner Perkins. 

    Instacart hires shoppers to buy groceries at local stores and then deliver them to customers within a few hours. Unlike competitors such as Fresh Direct, which keep their own inventories, Instacart relies on grocery stores to fulfill orders.

    I decided to try out Instacart to see if it lives up to the hype. 

    To get started, first enter your ZIP code to see if Instacart delivers in your area. The entry page boasts that it will deliver your groceries in an hour.

    You then get to choose the grocery store you want to order from.

    After I chose Fairway as my store, the app showed me what food items I could buy.

    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    ship your enemies glitter

    The founder of the website Ship Your Enemies Glitter is now begging people to stop using his service.

    Mathew Carpenter, who created the site, desperately posted on Product Hunt last night: "Hi guys, I'm the founder of this website. Please stop buying this horrible glitter product — I'm sick of dealing with it. Sincerely, Mat."  

    The service is simple. For a mere $9.99 you can ship someone you (presumably) hate a heaping pile of glitter in an unmarked, anonymous envelope.

    The unlucky recipient will tear open the envelope, and voilà! They are blanketed in a cloud of glitter, which as we all know is impossible to get rid of. The glitter is even packaged with a note in order to achieve “maximum spillage.”

    Product Hunt founder Ryan Hoover described Ship Your Enemies Glitter as "the ultimate troll product."

    Unfortunately, the troll is now on Carpenter, who is being forced to work overtime to maintain his breakout hit.

    By midday yesterday, Ship Your Enemies Glitter had made the top of Product Hunt and been shared on Facebook over 80,000 times. "Enjoy your walk to the postal office," a friend of Carpenter commented on his Facebook page. 


    As thousands of orders poured in, the site snowballed on Reddit. “Within 24 hours a thread had nearly 3,900 upvotes and well over 1,000 comments,” Nancy L. Miller at Fast Company reported.

    Naturally, the site crashed under the weight of so much attention.

    “One of our websites is going viral. Can you please increase our resources?” Carpenter tweeted at his hosting company. 

    By 7:51 a.m. Wednesday morning, a little over 24 hours after the website's inception, Carpenter tweeted that he was ready to be done with it all.

    “ShipYourEnemiesGlitter with 1m visits, 270k social shares, $xx,xxx in sales, tonnes of people wanting to order. 24 hours old. For sale,” he said. “Glitter everywhere.”


    NOW WATCH: The Secrets Behind Getting Your Profile Viewed On LinkedIn


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    Second Home

    Tucked away inside a former carpet factory in trendy east London is a futuristic office space that London's most innovative companies all want to join. 

    Second Home was co-founded by Rohan Silva, the senior policy advisor to David Cameron who left government in 2013 to get into tech.

    We got a look inside.

    Second Home is inside an office building near Spitalfields Market and Brick Lane

    But it's not your average office building, as the main entrance shows

    The former carpet factory has been transformed into something very different

    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    It’s not every clothing manufacturer that claims its garments will provide a decade of fashionable comfort. But that is precisely what Flint and Tinder is offering with the Kickstarter-backed 10-Year Hoodie — and it is currently also on 29% discount.

    It seems like a bold claim, but the US-based company wants to take a different tack from that of many big brands, by making clothes that last — even going so far as to offer a 10-year warranty and free mending.

    The Hoodie’s rare 18oz yarn is also designed to get softer over time, as well as provide shelter from the elements, and 3-end yarn has been used for a stronger knit. The whole garment is manufactured in the USA, in Toluca Lake, California. It comes in six tasteful colors and in sizes XS-3XL. Here’s a look at the story behind the Hoodie, and how it is made:

    For a limited time, The 10-Year Hoodie  29% off plus free shipping, along with the standard warranty and mending offer. Visit the link below to grab the deal.

    Get 29% off the Flint and Tinder 10-Year Hoodie ($69.99 incl. shipping)


    SEE ALSO:  New iPhone? Grab This Awesome Battery Case For The 6 Or 6+ [33% And 26% Off]

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    Clare Flynn-Levy

    London has become a global colossus for financial startups: the UK and Ireland accounted for more than half of Europe's Fintech deals in 2013, with the capital taking the lion's share of that. There are other pockets of Europe where financial startups also seem to thrive.

    Many of these companies are working at the intersection of tech and finance. Some are aiming to market a product to everyone, some just to businesses, and some to the biggest banks and financial institutions.

    What's common among all the companies is that they're actively making their own markets, fulfilling demand where there previously might have been none - especially since the financial crisis in 2008. But they're all offering something new, exciting, and financially promising.

    15. iZettle: Has a head start on Square in Europe

    iZettle is one of Square's major competitors outside of the US. The Sweden-based service, which launched in 2011, markets low-fee mobile payments technology.

    While Square had a year's head start on iZettle, the difference in card payments in the US and Europe gave iZettle an "in" before Square launched in Europe: card payments in the EU are almost all done by chip-and-pin; the US has yet to adopt the tech.

    The firm has received $108.5 million in four funding rounds, and launched in the Netherlands late last year.

    14. Eris Industries: All about data

    There are now a bundle of startups eager to try and capitalise on the cryptocurrency market. Eris is one of a number of companies, like Blockstream in the US, which aren't so interested in the cryptocurrencies as the ledger their transactions are recorded on: Blockchains. As Chief Operating Officer Preston Byrne puts it, "Blockchain 2.0 has nothing to do with money and everything to do with data".

    Eris plans to market that Blockchain technology for businesses with a "Distributed Application Software Stack". The key point is that this could be a huge cost-saver in terms of corporate infrastructure. For a more in-depth look, check this from the company itself.

    They received an undisclosed amount of seed funding in October 2014.

    13. Derivitec: Back-end derivatives software for the little guy

    Based in Canary Wharf, Derivitec is another startup that doesn't have to worry about reaching a mass market: It's only aiming to reach people who work with derivatives.

    The firm was set up in 2011 and provides cloud-based systems that help financial firms to manage their portfolio risk. It's set up by a team of quantitative and IT experts, several of whom have experience on derivatives desks at major banks. Here are the things they prioritise, in their own words

    1.) Nothing to download.

    2.) Agile updates. No need to wait months for your vendor to add new functionality.

    3.) A host of machines at your disposal. A small fund now has ready access to the compute power of a tier one bank.

    4.) How much you use just depends on what you need to run. You get billed for only as much compute as you need.

    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    paul graham

    If there's anyone you should trust when it comes to advice on how to build a startup, it's Paul Graham.

    He co-founded the renowned Y Combinator startup school that produced successes such as Dropbox and Airbnb, and he has a piece of advice regarding a common mistake among startups.

    According to Graham, too many startup founders spend time talking to corporate development executives from larger companies.

    That's the department you'll usually hear from if someone is interested in buying your startup.

    This is a bad thing, Graham wrote in a recent essay on his website, because many founders talk to corporate development at the wrong time.

    You should only talk to corporate development if you're ready to sell your company right now and believe you're going to get a sufficiently high offer, Graham writes.

    So, this means you should only engage in these discussions if your startup is doing really poorly or really well, since you'd either have nothing to lose or know that the offer would have to be high.

    Graham writes that too many founders talk to corporate development when their company is in that middle stage. This is bad, according to Graham, because it poses a distraction to the founder. Here's what he wrote:

    Distractions are the thing you can least afford in a startup. And conversations with corp dev are the worst sort of distraction, because as well as consuming your attention they undermine your morale.

    To be clear, Graham isn't saying you should never sell your company — he's just saying you should have a clear idea of whether or not you'd want to sell and avoid being manipulated.

    Check out his full essay for more detail. 

    Join the conversation about this story »

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    Second Home

    Tucked away inside a former carpet factory in trendy east London is a futuristic office space that London's most innovative companies all want to join. 

    Second Home was co-founded by Rohan Silva, the senior policy advisor to David Cameron who left government in 2013 to get into tech.

    We got a look inside.

    Second Home is inside an office building near Spitalfields Market and Brick Lane

    But it's not your average office building, as the main entrance shows

    The former carpet factory has been transformed into something very different

    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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