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The latest news on Startups from Business Insider

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    teespring pile (1)

    Glyn Williams was working as a morning show host and sales director at a radio station in Derbyshire, England, when he found out he had vocal cord cancer.

    The 51-year-old had spent 25 years selling everything you could think of, from radio advertising to industrial chemicals, but the cancer forced him out of the face-to-face sales game altogether. It derailed his career, and it was hard for him to find a foothold in another business.

    He left his job in early 2013 and starting writing eBooks. He churned out 22 titles that still bring him about $1,000 a month.

    But it was tough. After a year of this, Williams was still struggling, and beginning to get despondent.

    And then a bit of luck snuck into his life. A fellow author told him about Teespring, a new site where you could create custom tee shirts and sell them without having to keep any inventory. It requires no money down.

    This seems like a salesperson’s dream, but Williams was skeptical. But his friend showed him a shirt he’d made aimed at “country girls,” which had made $600 in one week.

    “Then I sat up and took notice,” Williams tells Business Insider.

    Williams has since become one of Teespring’s most successful “power sellers,” and has sold over $2 million in apparel in 2015 alone.

    But he's not the only one. Teespring CTO Evan Stites-Clayton says over 20 sellers have broken $1 million in sales.

    To understand how Williams did it, you first have to understand how Teespring works as a platform.

    How Teespring works

    Here’s the basic idea.

    First, you log onto the site and create your own tee shirt design. You can either upload an image file or use Teespring’s built-in tools. Then you decide how much you want to sell each shirt for, and by extension, how much profit you’ll get per shirt. Teespring handles the manufacturing and shipping, and takes a cut of the sales.

    Each tee shirt “campaign” works a bit like Kickstarter. People preorder your shirt, and when the campaign ends, Teespring ships them out — if you’ve sold a certain minimum number. When the campaign closes, Teespring transfers you the money you made. Simple.

    glyn williams screenshotWilliams’ first few attempts at a Teespring campaign completely flopped. One of his early designs featured the words “Stop Smoking and Vape Instead,” a nod to the at-the-time emerging trend of e-cigarettes. The sales? Zero.

    But Williams hit his stride quickly, partly because on Teespring there's no real downside to experimenting until you get it right. Since there’s is no money down, who cares if your first campaigns don’t take flight? All you are wasting is time.

    Just a month after whiffing on campaign after campaign, Williams cleared $35,000 in net profit.   

    “I started at just the right time and hit on a trend that went ballistic,” he explains.

    The big secret: Facebook

    There’s a secret to making boatloads of money on Teespring that all the big sellers know: Facebook marketing.

    Marc Boulos, another major seller who has made over $135,000 in profit in the last year, says you need to pay at least $10 in targeted Facebook advertising for every tee shirt campaign you launch. That’s the magic number when you can start to see whether your campaign has the potential to go viral.

    The top Teespring sellers are as intimately in touch with the concept of virality as YouTube stars, or digital media giants like BuzzFeed (which reportedly spends millions on social media advertising). Sellers like Williams and Boulos invest in Facebook advertising’s ability to push a piece of “content” over the edge, to get a tee shirt to a place where it can spread across the network if it hits a cultural vein.

    By the end of February, 2014, Williams was launching 20 shirts per day and working 16-hour days. He was a content machine, eventually having six computer screens running at once.

    st patricks day shirtHe pumped out 489 separate designs for St. Patrick’s day. One of his tactics was targeting different Irish last names with “personalized” campaigns, like this one for Gallagher.

    This “last name targeting” was a common method early pioneers of Teespring used, though the effectiveness of it has diminished over time, as copycat sellers have crashed into the market. The art of making a Teespring hit usually isn’t about any particular cleverness, but rather about finding an specific market and then throwing wave after wave of designs at it.

    Target: Veterans

    After Marc Boulos failed on his first 50 campaigns, and lost $500, he got his break by marketing to veterans and their families.

    “I made a shirt that said, ‘Some people call me a US military veteran, I prefer to be called a retired badass.’ It was red, white, and blue, and very patriotic,” Boulos says. “And it had the image of a dog tag on the top of it.”

    That shirt sold well, but Boulos’ first viral hit came by targeting a larger group: graduating high school seniors. Boulos replaced some letters in “Seniors” with the letters “15” (Sen1o5) — and then came up with shirt after shirt based on that theme. One was a little rhyme, “Mighty and mean. So fresh and so clean. We are the class of 2015.” It seems silly, but it sold, and sold, and sold. Boulos, who is 20 years old, was making more money than his parents.

    While Williams and Boulos are emblematic of a type certain type of Teespring seller, there are other sellers, like Kim Springer, who have built more of a brand identity on the platform.

    Springer has earned over $250,000 creating shirts that cater to the modern Christian woman, a demographic she believes has been underserved by the fashion community. Her first hit came with a shirt that read, “This girl still dates her husband.”

    It’s one thing to make a couple of popular shirts. It’s quite another thing to sustain growth once people begin to crowd into a market that has virtually no barriers to entry. Williams credits his continued success to a disciplined system, and to his constant quest to automate parts of that system.

    He points to a shirt he sold that reads, “Florida girl in a California world.”

    “I made $40,000 out of them,” he says. “Do you realize there were 2,500 combinations of that shirt? I did about 500 before the bottom dropped out of it.”

    This type of output requires efficiency, but Williams realizes that even if he continues to improve his system, he has to have an exit strategy.

    The Wild West days are over

    Teespring Co Founders evan and walker williamsTeespring itself is changing. It is no longer a unknown platform, a Wild West with limitless opportunity for the right entrepreneur.

    More than 4 million people in the US bought things from Teespring last year. It's expanded beyond t-shirts into other kinds of clothes. In late September, Teespring began an expansion into Europe, and in August struck a licensing deal with the NFL.

    The NFL deal is particularly significant. In the early days of Teespring, clever sellers flooded the platform with bootleg sports gear, much of which slipped through the cracks. Teespring itself made money on this. But instead of trying to sue Teespring out of existence, the NFL has decided to partner with it.

    They recognize it as a force.

    Amazon seems to have recognized this as well, and has launched its own Teespring competitor: Merch by Amazon. “Merch by Amazon is an on-demand service that enables you to create, sell and promote your custom branded t-shirts with no out-of-pocket costs to you,” the website reads.

    There is a race for this market, and Teespring is trying to stay ahead of it by diversifying beyond tee shirts, or similar items. The grand vision is to have Teespring — which one can imagine eventually being called simply “Spring” — become the place you go to when you want anything made on demand. You send in the design, they make it.

    Today, it is tee shirts, but tomorrow, who knows. That is what investors like Andreessen Horowitz ($20 million) and Khosla Ventures ($35 million) are betting on, it seems.

    Teespring employees and investors have stars in their eyes, but what does Teespring’s growth mean for early mega-sellers like Williams?

    One truth is that the easy money is getting less easy.

    Boulos had one of his designs ripped off by a copycat, who changed it just enough to not get it taken down. This shirt outsold Boulos’ original design. And there are only so many easy sub-communities you can bombard with Facebook advertising.

    “I've made a lot of money from Teespring, but I can’t keep this up forever,” Williams says. He plans to leave Teespring in 2016. “In the meantime, I'm taking those assets I have built, such as thousands of designs, and customer lists, and am turning them into a semi-passive income stream,” he says.

    He is stepping away from the game.

    And when I asked Williams what his favorite tee shirt design is, he responds, "Hey, I'm a salesman. I don't care about the design as long as they sell."

    SEE ALSO: How one woman earned over $250,000 working from home after quitting her 9-5

    Join the conversation about this story »

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    Melissa Morries Network Locum

    The CEO of a healthcare startup says she has come up with a formula to help her steal the most talented individuals from large corporates like Bloomberg and PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC).

    Melissa Morris is the cofounder and CEO of Network Locum, which provides a platform to help self-employed locum doctors find work at GP practices and to help GP practices find cover when they need it.

    "This is what I'm doing to take your talented people," she told an audience of employees from firms such as Barclays, Google, and Shell at the FT Innovate conference in London on Tuesday.

    Eight months ago, Network Locum had 10 people at its office in Clerkenwell, London. Now it employs 30, with half of those coming from Oxbridge, according to Morris, who won the Sky TV show "The Pitch" in 2012.

    Several of Morris' team members have been poached from consultancy firms like PwC and financial giants like Bloomberg, where Network Locum cofounder William Hoyer Millar hails from. Other members of her team were hired from JustGiving and the London cleaning startup Mopp.

    Morris, a University of Bath graduate who worked for the management consultancy firm McKinsey and as a strategist for the NHS in London, said she begins her hiring process by finding six companies that she perceives to have high-calibre employees.

    Persistent LinkedIn messaging pays off

    She then goes on her £700-a-month LinkedIn Premium account, which she says is cheaper and better than hiring a recruiter, and finds 100 potential individual hires.

    Each person on this list is contacted by Morris directly through LinkedIn, which is "by far the best" hiring tool she's ever used. If they don't reply, she'll persist, contacting them up to three times in 72 hours if needed.

    "It might sound a bit annoying, but actually my response rate goes four times after messaging three times," she said. "Also, I make sure not to send the same message each time."

    About 30 of the 100 people she contacts come back and say they're interested, Morris said. Most of the others respond but say they're not interested.

    Morris then meets with each of the interested individuals, who she says are "much smarter" than her, and "whittles them down to one or two" through a series of tests.

    Culture-fit test

    The first test is a "culture-fit" test. The metric for passing this test is: "Could you sit next to this person on a train for two hours?"

    Morris then gets candidates to try to solve a problem that one of the Network Locum project teams has been struggling with for two or three weeks. Candidates will get only two hours, so they're not expected to solve the problem, but they are expected to make progress.

    Morris said this tested a candidate's intelligence and ability to "get s--- done."

    Anyone left at this stage will be invited in for team drinks with the rest of the Network Locum employees.

    Business Insider asked Morris how she persuaded the top employees and the best graduates to come and work for her when they could potentially walk into a company like Google or Facebook, where they could be paid significantly more.

    Morris replied that Network Locum salaries were competitive, adding that the company was small enough to give away attractive stock options.

    A journalist from The Register also questioned Morris on whether she was looking to hire people who were similar to her, but Morris said there was a lot of diversity across her company.

    Join the conversation about this story »

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    IMG_3149.JPGA new startup called Momentary Ink wants you to be able to “try on” a tattoo before you commit to a lifetime of having it on your body.

    Founder Jordan Denny has been working for the past 9 months to make a temporary tattoo realistic enough to pass for the real thing, and finally started selling the customizable tattoos a few days ago.

    Denny says his tattoos last 3-10 days, and use a special matting solution that stops them from looking shiny, or wet like dollar-store temporaries.

    But “realistic” has different definitions, especially to startup founders, so I decided to test it out myself. The process was easy.

    All I had to do was upload a design and send it to Momentary Ink. Since Halloween was coming up, I decided on the “Dark Mark” tattoo that evil wizards (“Death Eaters”) have in Harry Potter.

    When I got my Momentary Ink tattoo and tried it out, the results surprised me. I hadn’t expected it to look quite so real, and many people I ran into over the next few days assumed it was the genuine article. More than that, Momentary Ink had actually fulfilled its promise. For almost a week, I've walked around and “felt” what it would be like to have this tattoo. Long story short, I'm definitely not getting a dark mark tattoo anytime soon.

    At $15 for a “small” (0-4 inches) and $19 for a larger one (4-8 inches), Momentary Ink isn’t cheap. And if you are just getting it to have a temporary tattoo for a few days, I don’t think I could justify the cost. But if you are using it as designed, to make sure you actually want to get inked up forever, it seems perfectly reasonable.

    Here’s what getting a Momentary Ink tattoo is like:

    Each Momentary Ink package comes with a set of directions. You should definitely follow them, unlike my colleague Steven Tweedie, who ended up mangling his a bit.



    First you take out the tattoo, which already comes pre-cut.



    You remove a layer of plastic...



    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    Hello Fresh box No. 2

    European tech IPOs have always been few and far between, and recent tidings on the front have been largely negative to boot.

    Showroomprivé went public last week but its share price dropped 10% as soon as trading commenced, and companies like music streaming giant Deezer, VC firm German Startups Group and Oberthur Technologies have straight up abandoned its announced IPO plans after lackluster interest and unfavourable market conditions.

    So it isn't that much of a surprise to see HelloFresh, the Germany-based, fast-growing meal delivery startup that is majority-owned by Rocket Internet, has been forced to put its recently announced plans to go public on the Frankfurt Stock Exchange on ice as well. The news was reported by Gründerszeneon Saturday, and was confirmed by a HelloFresh spokesperson the same day.

    The company is said to be delaying the flotation because of concern about investor demand and valuation, and general 'market volatility', but may revisit its IPO plans in early 2016.

    HelloFresh recently raised a sizeable round at a nearly $3 billion valuation, so it's not like they're going to starve to death any time soon, but postponing an IPO is never a good sign for both current and future investors.

    To conclude, it would be a shame not to link to Redpoint Ventures investor Mahesh Vellanki's excellent breakdown of the numbers shared by HelloFresh when it filed to go public last month.

    Join the conversation about this story »

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    isabel lerer

    Izzie Lerer isn't sure how she came up with the name for her startup.

    It's something her brother, parents, and cousins all take credit for. The one thing she knows is she bought the domain name, thedodo.com, while sitting at the dinner table surrounded by all of them.

    the dodoNow, a giant 3-foot-tall stone bird stands guard in the office of her 30-person startup. It was a gift from her father Ken, meant to both taunt and congratulate Lerer for launching her first business venture.

    Lerer, 30, launched The Dodo in January 2014. The media startup, which writes about animals and animal rights issues, now has 15 million monthly unique visitors and nearly 100 million monthly video views across social platforms like Facebook and YouTube.

    The Dodo doesn't generate much revenue, but its strong early readership helped Lerer raise an $11.5 million Series B round of financing at a post-money valuation tbetween $40 and 50 million. Discovery is the lead investor with participation from Softbank, SBNY, Berggruen Holdings, Lerer Hippeau Ventures, Greycroft Partners and NBA commissioner emeritus David Stern. Huffington Post co-founder Arianna Huffington joined The Dodo as one of its advisors.

    "I've been a supporter since Day 1 – long before Day 1, actually," Arianna Huffington told Business Insider in an email. "Izzie's vision was nothing short of wanting to change the world in the way animals are treated. I was betting on her, and believed she would become an important voice in this country on this issue. That bet has certainly paid off."

    Here's how Lerer did it.

    From a PhD to startup founder

    izzie lererIn 2015, Lerer received her PhD in Philosophy from Columbia, with a focus on human/animal relationships and animal ethics. But long before she did her dissertation, she realized she didn't want to become a professor.

    "I wanted to do something connected to my research but that also had real world impact," Lerer says. 

    Her family knows a thing or two about building media companies. Izzie's brother, Ben, is the co-founder of Thrillist, a website, e-commerce shop, and newsletter dedicated to guys and their interests. He recently sold a minority stake to Axel Springer (the parent company of Business Insider) for $54 million. Her father Ken co-founded The Huffington Post, which was acquired by AOL for $315 million. He is also the chairman of Buzzfeed and a board member of Business Insider.

    Izzie wasn't always set on being an entrepreneur, but she felt a media company dedicated to her love of animals could both be entertaining and educational.

    "I thought, 'What if we bridge the gap between advocacy and entertainment and create a brand where we're able to tell these kinds of stories in a way with positive messaging?'" she says.

    Animal content, Lerer noticed, also happened to be inherently viral. Sites like LolCats, Buzzfeed, Barkpost, and Little Things all generated tens of millions of monthly pageviews by posting photos of cute animals online and watching them spread across Facebook and Pinterest. 

    In January 2014, Lerer launched her site. She hired an executive to help oversee the project while she completed her PhD, but he didn't pan out. The next few months were spent tinkering with content and its distribution.

    In May 2014, The Dodo got its first big validation moment.

    The 103-year-old orca who drew 7 million readers

    orca story the dodoA few websites had written about an unusually old orca spotted off the coast of California. The orca was 103 years old — significantly older than most orcas held in captivity. According to The Dodo, Sea World orcas live only four and a half years on average.

    Lerer's team saw an opportunity to take a viral animal story and educate readers about a broader issue. The Dodo published an article titled, "Recently Spotted 103-Year-Old Is Bad News For Sea World." A few influencers shared the article on Twitter and their Facebook feeds. Soon, The Dodo's site exploded with readers. The article ended up reaching 7 million people. 

    "I almost retired," Lerer jokes of that moment.

    Another pivotal moment for the company came in January 2015, when The Dodo hired its first video producer. Joanna Zelman, TheDodo's executive editor, now heads up all of the company's video efforts and Lerer says the department has been "transformative."

    Video has become a major focus for publishers and social platforms over the last ten months. That's because advertisers are now shifting their budgets away from TV (where they've traditionally spent the most money) and into digital with pre- and post-roll placements. Advertisers pay higher CPMs (cost per thousand views) for video placements online than for banner ads. So theoretically, digital platforms and publishers can make much more money running ads on videos than on articles. 

    Since the beginning of this year, The Dodo's video views have grown from 0 to 98 million per month. Lerer says the average Dodo video now generates 4 million views and 25,000 Facebook shares. The videos are primarily being watched on Facebook where The Dodo has 1.3 million fans, then on YouTube.

    No revenue but lots of distribution

    Dog Train Snap dodoIn early 2015, Lerer also noticed that readers were consuming most of The Dodo's content on other websites. She made a decision to shift her company's focus away TheDodo.com and optimize content so it could live natively on Facebook, Tumblr, Snapchat, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest. 

    When The Dodo launched, it had a classic newsroom structure led by traditionally-trained editors and journalists. But over the past year, social has started to rule the newsroom. The Dodo currently has six social media editors and twelve writers. In fact, the leadership of the newsroom is split between one journalist and one social media person.

    In terms of traffic and readership, the distributed model is smart —it has helped The Dodo's video views skyrocket. But from a monetization standpoint, it's something The Dodo and many other digital publishers will need to figure out.

    Some social platforms offer publishers a revenue split for content viewed on their websites. But often, the revenue share isn't meaningful and traditionally, publishers have sold their own ads and kept 100% of the revenue. 

    Someday, The Dodo will have to learn how to pay its own bills. For now, thanks to the $11.5 million investment, Lerer's team can continue to focus on building distribution. 

    "As far as I see it, there are really three reasons we have been able to grow quickly: Timing, our social-first, distributed content model, and our team," Lerer says.

    "We couldn't have started this company ten years ago and been successful. And if we started it five years from now, I think we would be too late. We're seizing a moment where animal content is ruling the internet, and the animal welfare movement is gaining a great deal of momentum."

    Join the conversation about this story »

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    toothpick.com

    UK-based dental appointment-booking startupToothpick has been acquired by Dublin, Ireland-based healthcare marketplace and comparison site WhatClinic. The price was not disclosed.

    Launched in 2013 and backed by investors like Passion Capital and EC1 Capital, Toothpick says it has facilitated more than 1 million bookings to date.

    The acquisition will introduce Toothpick’s software to more than 11,000 UK dental clinics listed on WhatClinic.com – which is sometimes referred to as the ‘Tripadvisor of private healthcare’.

    WhatClinic founder Caelen King comments: “Toothpick has worked incredibly hard to offer a seamless end-to-end booking solution that works effortlessly for UK dentists. 1.7 million patients use our site every month and we are committed to providing them with the fastest, most comprehensive service when it comes to finding and booking treatment. Our acquisition of Toothpick allows us to significantly improve our offering for patients who are looking for dental treatment in the UK.”

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    hiker happiness joy strength fitness exercise mountain climber Aoraki National Park new zealand outside

    Recently, I spent several hours with a new but great friend who has been on a vaguely similar journey to me. This friend is one of the hardest working people in the industry. 20×7, near as I can tell. On jets. Investing at a breathtaking pace. Inundated with calls, Slacks, emails, and all the rest.

    And he made an observation to me that I’d been thinking about for a very long time, but didn’t know how to express.

    That we do all this for the Quality of Life.

    But what does this mean? Start-ups are so, so hard. So hard. If you haven’t been a founder before, you really just can’t know how hard it is to create something from dirt and drag it to the first $1m in ARR. And then drag it right up that hill to $10m ARR.  And then realize there — it’s just begun. You really can’t know how hard it is, even if you were a VP at a great start-up, even if you were the first employee, even.

    In many ways, your Quality of Life will simply be awful.  The pay is terrible.  The risk isn’t worth it.  You lose one critical employee, the world is over.  Your competitor can destroy you in one release.  You can’t raise the minimum capital necessary.  There are never enough customers.

    And yet …

    When I look back at my professional start-up and founder life, there are three moments when my “Quality of Life” was the highest:

    • First, for a brief window, when my first start-up as an exec IPO’d. I wasn’t a founder, but I’d been there since Day 0, and I felt like I’d made a real contribution to the success of something that, at least for a little while, was a Unicorn.
    • Second, for the entire history of my first start-up as a founder. My first start-up, NanoGram Devices, was the hardest thing I’ve ever done in my life on every single level.  Every day was impossible.  We were doing something that truly had never been done before.  And an industrial-grade CO2 laser was sitting just a few feet from my head, that if misaligned, would blow a hole through it and the entire building (I took that particular cube on purpose).
    • Third, my second start-up as a founder — once we had a great management team.  The phase from $2m to $12m ARR… once I had a great VPS, VP Product, VP Marketing, and VP Customer Success … that phase … and man it was hard … and I worked 24×7 … but my “Quality of Life” was so very, very. Very. High. Then … I sold.

    And for the most part, these were incredibly stressful times, when I was very underpaid, overworked, and worked to the bone.

    So what is Quality of Life, then, for folks like us at least?

    I think maybe it’s the following:

    • Getting to pick who you work with. This is just so, so much better than not getting to pick.
    • Having a great founding team, and then, a great management team, to work together with. Sharing this adventure with an A+ team is just the most amazing thing.  If you haven’t experienced this yet, you don’t know. In my first start-up as a founder, I had a great CTO and VPE and a pretty darn good VP Ops from the very beginning. I had a pretty excellent, extremely committed founder AND management team on Day 0.  That made all the difference. That made the insane trips, the near loss of all our customers, the devastating failures … all still somehow consistent with a High Quality of Life.  My second time as a founder, it took me 36 months to put together a true, real management team. That was an epic mistake. But once I did … Quality of Life became very high. Even though the challenges were just as great.
    • Being great.  Not just being part of something great — but, Being Great.  We have to be great.  In some way.  A great company.  A great team.  A great investor.  Whatever.  We’re the type of folks that need to be in an environment where we not just make decent money, not just have a “good job” … but an environment where we can be Great.

    I know this type of High Quality of (Start-Up) Life can also be incredibly trying.  But once you’ve experienced it … you can never go back.

    And if you haven’t had this experience yet … three pieces of advice, that we’ve touched on before:

    1. One, if you don’t have a great co-founder yet (even if she’s great on paper) … WAIT. Do not pass go. Be more patient. Your quality of life will simply be awful if your co-founders aren’t as committed as you, and if they aren’t at least close to as good as you.
    2. Second, hire the best management team you can as early as you can.  SaaS is so cross-functional. Yes, you need to sell it first yourself. You need to prove out your MSP. But don’t wait a moment after that to hire the best senior help you can.
    3. And third, find something you, your company and your product are truly great at. I know a lot of your product isn’t great yet. But make sure there’s one thing everyone believes you are 10x better than everyone else in. We can all rally around that, and fix the rest of the stuff.  Because real start-up people want to work at something great. Even if the definition of “great” will change at each stage, and over time.

    I know this isn’t sitting-on-the-beach in Kauai Quality of Life.  It’s nothing like that.

    But deep down, beyond the pain and struggles … maybe it’s even better.

    For people like us, at least.

    SEE ALSO: How an animal lover turned her passion into The Dodo, a booming ~$40 million startup, in 2 years

    Join the conversation about this story »

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    linda avey 23andme co-founder ccbysa2

    SAN FRANCISCO — Linda Avey, cofounder of personal genomics company 23andMe, recently took the stage at Fusion's Real Future Fair to talk about the future of the biotech industry.

    After the panel, Tech Insider asked Avey if she had any advice for Theranos — a blood analysis startup valued at $10 billion — on how it could rebound from a highly public snafu over its secret technology, just as 23andMe once did.

    "Show the data," said Avey, CEO and cofounder of the personal health tracking startup Curious. "Put the data out there. Be transparent. There's no getting around that in the industry."

    Theranos promised to change medicine by simplifying blood tests and equipping patients with easy, almost real-time access to their results. But the company, which closely guards data about its unique tests, came under fire last month following an investigative report by The Wall Street Journal.

    Instead of using the much-touted yet secret blood-testing methods, according to the Journal, Theranos used traditional machines for roughly 90% of customer tests in 2014. The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has since stepped in to scale back the use of Theranos' proprietary technologies.

    Many have called on Theranos to release data on how its ground-breaking blood analysis works. CEO Elizabeth Holmes announced in late October — in a reversal of her previous stance — that the company would subject itself to peer review.

    The scenario is more than a little familiar to the cofounders of 23andMe, which includes CEO Anne Wojcicki. In 2013, the FDA sent the company a strongly worded warning letter, effectively shutting down the health-related aspects of its popular DNA reports.

    An FDA deputy commissioner wrote at the time, "We still do not have any assurance that the firm has analytically or clinically validated the [Personal Genome Service] for its intended uses."

    Yet 23andMe made a comeback​ in October 2015 by unveiling a new testing experience, although one that's significantly more regulated and limited.

    23andMe's new DNA report offers 60 pieces of information, including details about a customer's carrier status for certain diseases, a profile of some hereditary traits, and some information about dozens of non-life-threatening health conditions like lactose intolerance. It also dials back on genetic risk assessments for complex, serious diseases like breast cancer and diabetes.

    Avey departed 23andMe in 2009, well before the company ran into trouble with the FDA. Still, it's not difficult to imagine the scenario facing Theranos for a biotech-industry veteran.

    "You have to be willing to show what you're doing," Avey tells Tech Insider. "The proof is in the data."

    When asked for comment, Theranos referred Tech Insider to an interview Holmes gave Fortune last week:

    "We have not put into the public domain much of our technology and operations, historically," Holmes said on stage at the Fortune Global Forum. "But there is no reason we can't do peer-review, and there is no reason we can't publish other stats and we're going to do that," she later added.

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    Broken Lock

    New York's top banking regulator wants third-party fintech apps to tighten up their security. 

    The New York Department of Financial Services (DFS) is soliciting input from other top regulators including the Treasury Department's Office of the Comptroller of the Currency on how both banks and startups can bolster cyber security. 

    It comes at a time when third-party services that depend on bank data are facing 'throttling,' or being cut off from key data, by banks including Bank of America, Wells Fargo and JPMorgan.

    Popular apps from Intuit, including its Mint and Quicken products, were prevented from receiving data from banks, prompting user outcry. 

    "Third-party service providers often have access to sensitive data and to a financial institution’s information technology systems, providing a potential point of entry for hackers," DFS acting superintendent Anthony Albanese said in a letter to federal regulators.

    "A company may have the most sophisticated cyber security protections in the industry, but if its third party service providers have weak systems or controls, those protections will be ineffective."

    Third-party service providers could be required to develop policies to use multi-factor authentication for users or encrypt sensitive data. They could also be asked to reimburse customers in the event their data is hacked and their accounts are drained. 

    A murky issue surrounding the access of third-party apps to big banks’ data and accounts is whether customers would be reimbursed by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. in the event of a hack through an app. Individuals are generally eligible for coverage of $250,000, but it’s less clear how FDIC insurance applies to hacks that come through fintech apps. 

    DFS is also looking to push big banks to bolster cybersecurity policies, including as it relates to customer data and improving incident response times. The agency declined to comment on a timeline for final decisions.  

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    Chamath Palihapitiya, social+capital partnership, sv100 2015

    Billionaire venture capitalist Chamath Palihapitiya is already working on bringing internet access to Sri Lanka and the Philippines, but now he has US telcos in his crosshairs.

    At the Mobile First Summit, Social Capital partner Palihapitiya described for the first time his new company's ambitions to disrupt the incumbent carriers in the US.

    Called Rama, the new corporation has been working for more than a year and is already licensing spectrum in Sri Lanka.

    While LotusFlare has been the headliner in a partnership with Google to bring internet to the developing world, Rama will be developed into the carrier while LotusFlare will focus on the software. The company is also in talks to buy spectrum in the Philippines to continue its emerging-market mission.

    Palihapitiya's opportunity to overtake AT&T and Verizon comes this spring, when the Federal Communications Commission is having a new auction for what Palihapitiya describes as "beachfront" real estate.

    The company would need to spend between $4 billion and $10 billion to compete. Palihapitiya told Business Insider after his talk that he's earmarked the money and "identifiable" names will be a part of it. He did confirm that his firm, Social Capital, will participate.

    Palihapitiya wants Rama to be a new, modern carrier — one that can do things like easy billing and isn't stuck in a legacy structure. Part of his plan involves installing microcells in customer's homes to blanket the nation, but also making it as easy as buying a cellphone to sign up for it. Another key to the plan is a portfolio of zero-rated apps that won't cut into your data, Palihapitiya said.

    "There's a whole bunch of issues that carriers aren't trying to solve. All these things are now just totally broken," Palihapitiya said.

    There's no guarantee that Rama will become the next giant carrier, and details about the company are still incredibly sparse. Palihapitiya cautions that the company first has to win the spectrum auction and come up with the billions before it can even think about going to service.

    "The first country was Sri Lanka. The second country was the Philippines, and now we've said, 'F--- it!' Let's come back to the US and try to f--- this country up,'" Palihapitiya said.

    SEE ALSO: Ex-Facebookers raise $6 million to bring internet to more people around the world

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    leonardo dicaprio blood diamond

    Diamond Foundry has spent the last three years quietly working on an ambitious project.

    The Santa Clara startup, created by Nanosolar founder Martin Roscheisen, wanted to grow "real" diamonds in a lab. Unlike synthetic diamonds, these would be hatched from a sliver of a natural, mined diamond as the substrate.

    After two years of experiments with failed diamond-growing reactors, Roscheisen's team says it cracked the code. Now the company claims to be able to grow hundreds of diamonds that are up to nine carats in just two weeks in a lab.

    The breakthrough was enough to convince ten billionaires and members of Silicon Valley tech royalty to invest.

    Diamond Foundry has closed three rounds of financing from individuals including actor Leonardo DiCaprio, Twitter/Medium founder Evan Williams, Zynga founder Mark Pincus, One Kings Lane cofounder Alison Pincus, SUN Microsystems founder Andreas Bechtolsheim, Facebook cofounder Andrew McCollum, former Facebook COO Owen van Natta, Marc Benioff's private-investment manager Mark Goldstein, Sequoia Capital's David Spector, former eBay President Jeff Skoll, Scott Banister, Vast Ventures, and many others.

    DiCaprio starred in the movie "Blood Diamond" and has since taken on some related activism against the industry, which has been heavily criticized for its negative environmental impact and child labor.

    stewart butterfield, mark pincus, Martin Roscheisen

    The company says it has raised less than $100 million to date — which is significant considering the startup just publicly launched on Wednesday morning. Roscheisen, the company's CEO, was in the same Ph.D. program at Stanford as Google's Larry Page and Sergey Brin.

    While Diamond Foundry is making the diamonds, it isn't designing jewelry. Instead, it has a marketplace with about 200 partnering designers who buy the crystals from Diamond Foundry, put them in their rings, bracelets, and necklaces, then sell them straight to consumers online. The designer purchases are currently the startup's only source of income.

    By buying diamonds through Diamond Foundry, the designers can avoid giving a cut of the money to traditional outlets like De Beers or Tiffany's. That doesn't mean Diamond Foundry is selling its jewels at a discount though.

    While synthetic diamonds tend to cost about 30% less than naturally made and mined diamonds, Diamond Foundry says its product will cost about the same, if not more, than market value. diamond foundry

    But are Diamond Factory and its science-fiction-sounding vision the real deal?

    We grilled Diamond Foundry about how their diamonds are made, and how they're different than synthetic diamonds. Here's how the company explained it.

    The process of making a diamond: an 8,000-degree reactor

    The startup says it is "culturing diamonds," and asserts its process does not yield traditional synthetic diamonds but "100% pure diamonds" with the same molecular imperfections of the diamonds you'd find in the Earth.

    An investor in Diamond Foundry likened the process to growing a plant. You need a seed from another plant for a new one to grow. In this case, a small slice of a natural diamond is used as the base, or "seed," to grow new layers on top of the crystal until new diamonds are formed. Then that "seed" base is scraped off and reused to grow new diamonds.

    These diamonds are grown in a very hot reactor that reaches about 8,000 degrees Fahrenheit.

    "Diamonds are born from a fiery heat, so we set out to create a plasma of unprecedented energy density," the company vaguely explains.

    diamond foundry

    The company says it discovered a plasma that allows atoms to attach themselves to the thin slice of Earth-extracted diamond. The atoms then stack on top of that natural diamond, layer by layer, until a pure, jewelry-grade diamond is formed.

    Hundreds of these diamonds can be formed at once in just a few weeks, the largest so far weighing nine carats.

    diamond Foundry

    How are these diamonds any different than synthetic diamonds?

    The difference comes down to the quality of the diamonds Roscheisen's lab produces and the process used to make them.

    "There is a big difference in how the technology works," a company spokesperson explains. "The difference is that we add atoms to natural diamonds, and in fact our process would not work without the natural diamond as a substrate. The synthetic diamonds in the market are made using high pressure without any substrate for growth."

    In terms of quality, diamonds are rated by something called the GIA, which examines color, clarity, cut, and carat weight. The GIA rates synthetic diamonds, but it uses fewer grading categories in terms of their color and clarity. Diamond Foundry, however, says its diamonds were rated by a GIA-trained gemologist who concluded they were "true jewelry white."

    If hundreds of high-quality diamonds can be made in just two weeks, won't that make diamonds less rare?

    Diamond Foundry says that because the industry is so large (roughly $30 billion), even if it's producing hundreds of diamonds routinely in its lab, it won't be able to make enough of them to seriously impact the overall price and demand for diamonds.

    Another selling point for the startup is that consumers won't have to worry about how their diamonds were made.

    "[Ours] are pure diamond, just like industrially mined diamonds," Diamond Foundry insists. "But ethically and morally pure as well."

    Join the conversation about this story »

    NOW WATCH: How to tell if a diamond is real or fake


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    Blacklane CEO Jens Wohltorf

    The CEO of fast-growing German taxi app Blacklane was in London this week to talk to Uber about how the pair can work together to take on the regulators.

    Blacklane cofounder and CEO Jens Wohltorf told Business Insider at the Noah tech conference on Thursday that he was planning to meet Andrew Byrne, Uber policy manager for UKI & the Nordics, and talk about how the two taxi companies can lobby governments worldwide so both of their businesses can thrive.

    "We were planning to meet because we wanted to discuss how we can improve regulation," said Wohltorf, whose company is headquartered in Berlin. "How can we push this in a more innovative direction together."

    Ahead of the meeting, held at Uber's London office on Thursday, Wohltorf said many of the laws that today's new taxi companies have to abide by are "decades old."

    He added: "Some of the regulation does make sense from a customer perspective for safety and security but some others are protecting monopolies around, which also touches our business."

    Wohltorf was keen to stress that Uber isn't the only new transportation company he wants to meet with, mentioning other firms like BlaBlaCar and Kabbee. 

    He thinks policymakers and regulators will be forced to listen if the latest taxi companies join forces and lobby together. 

    Blacklane is inherently different to Uber and other on-demand taxi apps because it allows customers to schedule a ride. 

    "We are only professional drivers with all the licenses and insurances and everything in place," said Wohltorf. "We aggregate small fragmented providers that have been in this business for decades. You schedule Blacklane to your flight, to your hotel, to your normal travel schedule. It’s guaranteed. When you book with us you can be sure there’s a car around — you’re not opening up an app and hope for a car around."

    Blacklane operates in 200 cities across 50 countries, and the US is its largest market. Wohltorf said the company has tens of thousands of drivers but could not be more specific than that. 

    So far the company has raised €25 million (£18 million) but Wohltorf said he is looking to raise more. 

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    amazon warehouse

    Amazon is launching a new platform to help UK technology startups sell and market their products, according to a report in The Financial Times.

    Launchpad, which has been available in the US since July, will provide a new shop window for UK tech startups looking to reach wider audiences.

    Startups like computer kit manufacturer Kano and Wi-Fi enabled kettle creators iKettle will be able to promote their products through a new dedicated page on Amazon's UK website in exchange for an undisclosed cut of the sales, the FT reports.

    The Seattle-headquartered retail giant will help startups to distribute their products to its millions of customers through its well-established delivery network.

    Christopher North, managing director of Amazon.co.uk, told the FT that the move was an effort to help small businesses in the lead-up to Christmas, adding that many of Amazon's customers would miss these innovative products if they weren't showcased somewhere on Amazon's website.

    "We know from talking to start-ups that bringing a new product to market can be just as challenging as building it," said North. "Amazon Launchpad gives startups support . . . so they can focus on inventing on behalf of customers."

    Amazon will reportedly turn to US venture capital heavyweight Andreessen Horowitz and crowdfunding platforms like Crowdcube in order to identify the most promising startups to showcase on Launchpad.

    Business Insider has contacted Andreessen Horowitz, which has invested in UK fintech star Transferwise, to see how this partnership will work in practice. We will update this story if we hear back.

    It's not clear when Launchpad will go live in the UK but the US version of the platform can be seen here.

    Join the conversation about this story »

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    Alex Stephany JustPark CEO

    JustPark, a mobile app that allows people to rent out car parking spaces on their drive, has cut nearly half of its workforce, according to a Business Insider source.

    The company, founded by Anthony Eskinazi in 2006, cut around 20 people, according to one source who is familiar with JustPark executives.

    JustPark, one of the hottest startups in London according to Wired, currently employs 44 people, according to LinkedIn.

    The company (formerly ParkatmyHouse.com) has received investment from multiple sources, including BMW i Ventures, a CrowdCube crowdfunding campaign and traditional venture capitalists like Index Ventures. Total funding in JustPark stands at more than $5.7 million (£3.75 million).

    While the idea has been well received, JustPark has been quiet on how much money it has been spending on marketing campaigns and hiring, raising suspicions that it could be spending more than it's taking. 

    JustPark CEO Alex Stephany said there had been 10 redundancies that were concentrated on the marketing team, adding that the redundancies were part of a "refocusing".

    Stephany also added that JustPark has revenues that are now "significantly into seven figures and more than doubling year-on-year". 

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    Ample HillsIn the summer of 2011, when Brian Smith opened the first Ample Hills Creamery ice cream shop in Brooklyn, he actually ended up losing 25 pounds. That's what happens when you work 14 hours a day turning buckets of milk and cream into zany ice cream flavors like “Salted Crack Caramel.”

    “I’d never done a day’s work of manual labor in my life,” the former horror movie screenwriter tells Business Insider. But now he had a new type of blockbuster hit on his hands, and was working himself to exhaustion trying to sustain it.

    Ample Hills became a runaway success right out of the gate. The shop was written up in the New York Times and had a line out the door its first weekend. Smith ended up having to shut down the shop for a week after being open just four days. He simply ran out of ice cream.

    “We were definitely unprepared for that level of success,” Smith says. “We were psychologically prepared for failure. We had plan B's in mind, but we hadn’t really planned for success.”

    Since that summer in 2011, Ample Hills’ success has only grown. Smith and his wife Jackie Cuscuna, a high school teacher who joined the business full time in December, now operate 5 shops total (including kiosks), and have raised $4 million from prominent tech investors to open a factory in Brooklyn.

    The factory, which will span 15,000 square feet and employ between 25 and 50 people, is the centerpiece of a new expansion plan for Ample Hills.

    ample hills 2The model going forward, Smith explains, starts with their first shop on Vanderbilt avenue.

    “The Vanderbilt shop makes only one ice cream flavor on-site,” he says. “It’s called ‘The Commodore’ because that was Cornelius Vanderbilt’s nickname,” and it's a flavor inspired by his life.

    Every new Ample Hills shop will have one flavor you can only get at that specific location, and which you can see being made in front of you. The rest of the flavors will be made in Ample Hills’ new factory.

    Smith hopes this will be a way to keep the homemade feel that drew people to the original shop, while allowing the company to grow — first in New York City, then into the rest of the US.

    “A big differentiator for us was that we were making everything on site, from beginning to end. People would come and stand in line and they would see me mixing eggs and milk, and chopping cookie dough up into pieces and putting it in the ice cream. You don’t often see the process,” he says.

    For Smith, it added a bit of story to the whole endeavor — a narrative. This was central for Smith. Before opening Ample Hills, he had primarily written horror movie scripts.

    “I made bad monster movies for TV,” he chuckles. “Ones with giant killer birds and aliens on a runaway train.” His favorite is “Beneath,” a movie which had a short theatrical run and features kids on a rowboat in a lake feeding each other to a monster.

    Smith points out that while the kid-friendly aesthetic of Ample Hills could not be further from this “mean-spirited teen horror film," when he set about raising money from venture capitalists for Ample Hills he felt like he was back pitching a screenplay.

    “It forced my wife and I to nail down what it is that makes Ample Hills special,” Smith says.

    This round of investment is led by Charlie O'Donnell of Brooklyn Bridge Ventures, and includes Lerer Hippeau Ventures, Red Sea Ventures, the founders of Seamless, and a syndicate headed by the cofounder of Brooklyn Brewery. 

    So what did they love about Ample Hills?

    “A lot of excitement for the tech people was around there being so many business models. There isn’t only one trajectory and one thing.”

    Smith will use the money on a three-pronged strategy. The first piece is opening more brick-and-mortar shops, but the second is getting Ample Hills ice cream into grocery stores (now at about 20), and the third is expanding direct shipments to customers.

    ample hills 3“I think the ‘e-commerce aspect’ [of selling directly to customers] is what intrigued them. That’s an untapped model and not a lot of people are doing it.”

    Ample Hills ships to people around the country using dry ice and Styrofoam containers. Right now, that is a very small portion of the business, at only roughly 3%. And Smith says the heart of Ample Hills will always be brick-and-mortar. But the tech investors think direct shipping could be an important step, according to Smith.

    Whatever direction Ample Hills goes, it has already made the transition from "mid-life crisis" to neighborhood favorite. Now we'll see whether the rest of the US will get as hooked on Ample Hills as Brooklyn is.  

    Disclosure: Lerer Hippeau Ventures Managing Partner Ken Lerer is an early investor in Business Insider and currently sits on the board.

    SEE ALSO: The best ice cream shop in every state

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    kevin plank

    Under Armour founder and CEO Kevin Plank has brought the one-man business he started out of his grandmother's basement in 1996 to its first year of $1 billion in revenue in 2015.

    At the CNBC and Inc. Magazine iCONIC conference last Wednesday, Plank discussed his career and shared lessons he's learned along the way.

    He said he's found that entrepreneurs have two big misconceptions about building a business, wrongly believing that:

    1. Raising money at high valuations is equivalent to a successful business

    2. Going public is a way for founders to cash out and ease up on intensity

    Plank said that he'll ask entrepreneurs how their business is going, and they'll reply, "It's going great. We just had a $4 million raise."

    This attempt to become the next "unicorn" valued at a billion dollars annoys Plank. Raising money is essential to the life of your business, but it should not overshadow the business itself, he said.

    "And you find and see people that become accustomed to the 'business' of raising capital," he said. "And I think that the cheapest capital in the world is probably sitting in your inventory racks or the product you are trying to sell because, No. 1, it doesn't require a board seat and doesn't have an opinion to weigh in on what you are trying to do with your business. So use that as your capital. Go sell what you have, and go raise money."

    Plank is also bothered by the practice of starting a company ingrained with an exit strategy as a way to profit and then relax.

    He said that even though Under Armour had a very successful IPO in 2005, he quickly learned that it was not his chance to cash out.

    "The IPO is the starting line," he said, meaning that regardless of how well the stock performs, the founder is now held responsible to more investors and has a greater chance for achieving tremendous growth.

    "If you are going to be a public company because you think this is where you cash out," then you're sadly mistaken, Plank said. "That's the exact opposite [of what happens]. The IPO is where you begin."

    SEE ALSO: Under Armour CEO Kevin Plank shares the valuable lesson he learned from retail legend Mickey Drexler

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    Nutmeg chief executive Nick Hungerford

    Nutmeg, a startup that provides investment management services via the internet, admitted that it suffered a technical glitch that allowed its customers to access the personal data of its other clients, according to Citywire.

    The company, led by CEO and founder Nick Hungerford, said that a coding fault in its email platform "Nutmail" meant that 32 customers saw other individual's investment reports when they logged into their own accounts.

    The incident occurred after 32 clients were wrongly placed into a group to receive messages from Nutmail. As a result, they were able to access other people's personal data, including names, addresses and investment details.

    Nutmeg, a company backed by prominent venture capitalists like Balderton and tipped to be London's next fintech unicorn, has reported itself to the Information Commissioner's Office, which regulates data protection issues, and informed the 32 customers affected by the incident.

    "Due to a technical error on September 1, a small number of customer suitability reports were sent to the wrong people," said Hungerford.

    "This was identified and rectified immediately, and all customers affected were contacted directly to inform them of the issue and apologise," he added.

    Hungerford, who used to work at stock broker Brewin Dolphin and Barclays wealth management, assured Nutmeg's customers that the incident will not happen again, adding that the company had implemented further development procedures and testing.

    Nutmeg makes investment management services that are usually reserved for the wealthy available online for sums as small as £1,000 ($1,530). Savers can set goals like buying a house or paying for university and Nutmeg's money managers will invest their cash accordingly.

    Other investors in the company include ICAP founder Michael Spencer, Carphone Warehouse founder Sir Charles Dunstone, and FTSE 100 asset management company Schroders.

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    marc andreessen

    In the last five years, the amount of startups that have received seed money from venture capitalists has skyrocketed.

    The average number of "seed round" deals has jumped from 484 in 2010 to 1,943 last year, according to data shared with Business Insider from Pitchbook. It's worth noting that there has been a slight downtrend in the number of deals this year, though the actual capital invested has not dipped.

    Venture capitalists have already invested $1.97 billion in seed rounds this year, up from 2014's $1.95 billion, according to Pitchbook.

    Pitchbook looked through its data going back to 2010, and and found that 2,387 investors have participated in at least one seed round. 

    So which venture capitalists have led this five-year charge?

    Here are the venture capitalists who have participated in the most seed rounds since 2010, according to Pitchbook:

    1. SV Angel (232 deals)

    2. Kima Ventures (198 deals)

    3. Enterprise Ireland (196 deals)

    4. Andreessen Horowitz (134 deals)

    5. Google Ventures (131 deals)

    SEE ALSO: 14 brilliant venture capitalists you need to be listening to right now

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    George Osborne

    The government is setting up a new hub for Britain's cybersecurity startups next to spy agency GCHQ in Cheltenham as part of its National Cyber Security Plan, which aims to counter terrorist groups like ISIS (also known as Islamic State) and other online criminals.

    The Cyber Innovation Centre, announced by Chancellor George Osborne today during a speech at GCHQ — Britain's "listening post"— will house and support security-focused startups "in their early months."

    Osborne believes the centre is necessary if the UK is to build companies that can help protect the public, the government and private sector organisations.

    "As we build our resilience to cyber attack, so too we will keep building our resilience to terrorist attacks — in all their evil and murderous forms," said Osborne. This requires effort from government and startups, as well as universities, agencies and allies, he continued.

    Osborne revealed UK intelligence agencies are now developing techniques that will allow them to launch "offensive" cyber attacks on terrorists for the first time, while The Telegraph suggests that UK spies will be permitted to launch cyber attacks on "individual hackers, criminal gangs and rogue states as well as jihadists."

    The innovation centre will aim to ensure the best startups get the support they need to flourish. This will include training and mentoring for early stage entrepreneurs, delivered by industry experts; a facility to incubate and develop ideas in a supportive environment; help to develop and test proofs of concepts; and routes to funding.

    A spokeswoman at The Treasury told Business Insider: "We’re not able to give further detail on costs, how it will work and timings at this stage, but there will be more detail in the new National Cyber Security Strategy, which will be published next year."

    Osborne said the decision to house one of the Cyber Innovation Centres in Cheltenham reflects the area's "extraordinary talent."

    He added: "I have talked before about an arc of cyber excellence – stretching from this building [GCHQ], through Bristol and Bath to Exeter – to make the South West a world leader in cyber security."
    GCHQ

    In order to help Britain become a world leader in cybersecurity, Osborne said that the UK needs to create an ecosystem "in which our best people move in and out" of institutions like GCHQ. How this will work in practice is currently unclear.

    He said such an ecosystem would ensure the best minds and deepest expertise are brought into the private sector, and the latest innovation back into government.

    During his speech, Osborne mentioned "excellent" British cyber companies like GlassWall, Garrison, Digital Shadows, and Titania, all of which were in the audience.

    The Chancellor also said government will support UK startups by purchasing products and services from them, possibly shunning larger corporates like Microsoft and HP in the process.

    He said the government will create a new £165 million Defence and Cyber Innovation Fund to "support innovative procurement" across both defence and cyber security.

    "Government can itself provide a huge boost for British cyber startups, if it can be smart enough to marshal its procurement in a coherent way," he continued. "This should be a win-win — our cyber startups need endorsement, investment and first customers. And government, from our military and GCHQ to the Government Digital Service and the NHS, need to be able to procure excellent cyber security hardware and services."

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    happy pinterest small

    The tech industry is downright infested with super rich startups whose investors have valued the companies at over $1 billion.

    They call these startups "unicorns" because, even a few short years ago, a startup worth $1 billion was as rare as a unicorn.

    While they aren't rare today, they do have a couple of benefits.

    All that cash has allowed these companies to pay their employees extremely well. All that cash has also given most of them the funding they need to grow big and financially successful faster than they would have otherwise been able to do it (providing they don't run themselves aground).

    With that in mind, here's a look at the highest paying unicorns, according to data from Glassdoor, along with their latest valuation, according to Crunchbase. 

    All of these are median annual base salaries, not including bonuses or other pay, across all job titles, as reported by employees over the past two years. Each company had at least 30 self-reported employee salaries.

    1. Cloudera: $142,240 (Valuation: $4.1 billion)

    2. Jawbone: $130,000 ($3.0 billion)

    3. Medallia: $121,920 ($1.25 billion)

    4. Pinterest: $118,420 ($11.2 billion)

    5. Dropbox: $116,840 ($10.35 billion)

    6. Airbnb: $116,840 ($25.5 billion)

    7. Kabam: $116,840 ($1.02 billion)

    8. AppDynamics: $114,218 ($1.0 billion) 

    9. Credit Karma: $111,760 ($3.5 billion)

    10. Okta: $110,000 ($1.2 billion)

    11. MongoDB: $109,728 ($1.35 billion)

    12. Palantir Technologies:$105,000 ($20 billion)

    13. Twilio: $105,000 ($1.03 billion)

    14. AppNexus: $104,550 ($1.19 billion)

    15. Uber: $101,600 ($51 billion)

    16. Eventbrite: $101,600 ($1.06 billion)

    17. Zuora: $96,736 ($1.12 billion)

    18. Gilt Groupe: $95,000 ($1.15 billion)

    19. DocuSign: $85,000 ($3 billion)

    20. MediaMath: $80,264 ($1.07 billion)

    SEE ALSO: The one day a month when women most love sex, and other fun facts about making whoopee

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