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The latest news on Startups from Business Insider
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    The Insider Picks team writes about stuff we think you'll like. Business Insider has affiliate partnerships, so we get a share of the revenue from your purchase.

    shark tank giftsAmericans are known for their strong entrepreneurial spirit and this trait is no less evident than in the reality TV show "Shark Tank," where ordinary people like you and me pitch their creative business ideas to a team of well-known business executives and investors.

    While some products have tanked miserably on the show, others have seen huge success.

    For a unique holiday gift idea, consider these cool products that got their start and the green light on "Shark Tank." You'll have a wide range of interesting gifts to choose from, whether the recipient is a parent, child, adventurer, baker, or athlete. 

    Having trouble figuring out what to get people for the holidays? You can check out all of Insider Picks' 2017 gift guides here.

    SEE ALSO: 20 awesome tech stocking stuffers under $50

    Rocketbook smart notebook

    With this notebook and accompanying app, you can send your handwritten notes to your preferred cloud service — Google Drive, Dropbox, Evernote, etc. — then erase and reuse the notebook by heating it in the microwave. It'll be the coolest notebook you own. 

    Rocketbook Wave Smart Notebook, $25.97, available at Amazon



    Tipsy Elves suit

    Tipsy Elves has become known for its one-of-a-kind ugly Christmas sweaters, fun onesies, and party suits. 

    Tipsy Elves Tangle Wrangler Christmas Party Suit, $95, available at Amazon



    SCOTTeVEST jacket

    At first glance, SCOTTeVEST jackets look like regular apparel. It's only once you open them up that you discover they have 25+ pockets that provide effective storage for and convenient access to all your essentials. You can go bag-free during your travels with the peace of mind that your important devices are close to your body. 

    SCOTTeVEST Men's Jacket, $175, available at SCOTTeVEST

    SCOTTeVEST Women's Jacket, $175, available at SCOTTeVEST



    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    sub boxes

    Nowadays, it seems like there's a subscription box out there for everything. From the utilitarian to the whimsical treat-yourself boxes, they all promise convenience, discovery, and quality.

    It's a lot to consider and you're undoubtedly wondering which ones are actually worth it. Having tested many of these subscription box services ourselves, we're confident we can show you the best ones to gift your loved ones this season. 

    Read on to find our top picks for subscription box gifts this year. 

    Having trouble figuring out what to get people for the holidays? You can check out all of Insider Picks' 2017 gift guides here.

    SEE ALSO: 16 cool and innovative gifts you first saw on Kickstarter

    DON'T MISS: 50 under-$50 gifts that work for everyone on your list

    Food and drink

    HelloFresh

    If Argentine Chimichurri Steak, Butternut Squash and Sage Risotto, or Pork Luau Burgers sound right up your culinary alley, HelloFresh is the meal kit delivery service for you. While HelloFresh is our gift of choice because of its super fresh ingredients and recipes you'll love to recreate later, here are some other meal-subscription services you might want to consider that also have gift options available. 

    Buy a gift box: 3 meals for 2 people/$59.94, 3 meals for 4 people/$119.88

    _________________________________________________________________

    Daily Harvest

    Daily Harvest sends healthy and delicious pre-portioned superfood eats like smoothies, overnight oats, chia parfaits, soups, and sundaes to your home. It's the stuff you overpay for at a health shop or store, but could easily make at home if you have the right ingredients. It solved our healthy eating obstacles, and it can do the same for you, too. 

    Buy a gift card: Values of $25 through $250 available

    _________________________________________________________________

    Mouth

    Mouth's selection of indie spirits, snacks, sweets, and sauces are sure to surprise and delight the foodie in your life. Everything on the site is made lovingly by people who view food as their craft and passion. Many gift subscription options are available, including ones specific to whiskey, bourbon, and pickles. If you're not sure what to get, the Best of Mouth Club is a safe bet to go with. 

    Buy a gift subscription: 3 months/$180, 6 months/$342, 12 months/$648; or pay $60 a month as you go 

    _________________________________________________________________

    Blue Bottle Coffee

    Blue Bottle Coffee is beloved in the Bay Area and, for now, only has additional locations in New York, Los Angeles, Washington DC, Miami, and Tokyo. Thankfully, distance is no issue with the Blue Bottle at Home subscription service, which sends a half bag of a changing selection of whole bean coffee to your door every other week. Drinking coffee is such an everyday ritual, so the automatic, convenient nature of this service can't be cherished enough. 

    Buy a gift subscription: 3 months/$72, 6 months/$144; or create your own and choose the coffee, delivery frequency, and number of shipments starting at $24

    _________________________________________________________________

    Vinebox

    Rather than give you full bottles of wine, Vinebox delivers wine by the glass, making it great for trying a bunch of different wines before you decide to commit. After you take a short wine preferences quiz, Vinebox will curate three kinds for you to try and send them to you in sleek tubes. Every wine comes with tasting notes, recommendations, and pairings.

    Buy a gift subscription: 3 months/$81, 6 months/$156, 12 months/$300

    _________________________________________________________________ 

    Winc

    Similar to Vinebox, you begin your Winc experience by taking a short quiz. The difference between Winc and Vinebox is that you get four full bottles of wine and you'll have some degree of control over what types you receive. Winc calls itself a "wine club" and is a better choice for more seasoned, frequent wine drinkers

    Buy a gift card: Values of $60 through $600 available

    _________________________________________________________________ 

    BurgaBox

    Sometimes nothing quite hits the spot like a big, hearty burger. BurgaBox is a burger meal kit service that comes from Boston Burger Company, which has been featured on "Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives." Each month's box takes less than 30 minutes to prepare and contains two eight-oz. burgers and four sides that will leave you happy and full. 

    Buy a gift card: Values of $25 through $100 available



    Hobbies

    Book of the Month

    As much as I concede to the conveniences of an e-reader, I think I'll always prefer holding and reading a physical book to an e-book. If you know someone who's the same way, they'll love a Book of the Month membership. For more than 90 years, BOTM has been helping readers discover and dive into new books. Every month, choose one book from five excellent new selections. 

    Buy a gift subscription: 3 months/$44.99, 6 months/$79.99, 12 months/$149.99

    _________________________________________________________________

    Loot Crate

    Simply put, Loot Crate is a subscription box for geeks. It's for the people who obsess over pop culture, video games, and film and TV shows. You can bet it has merch from Marvel, Star Trek, Harry Potter, Call of Duty, and Halo, plus tons of other popular franchises. Loot Crate has many specialized gift box options, the cheapest being its own signature Loot Crate. 

    Buy a gift subscription: 1 crate/$26.99, 3 months/$67.85, 6 months/$124.70, 12 months/$232.40



    Kids

    Kiwi Crate

    Kid-tested and approved, Kiwi Crate offers boxes that are both fun and educational for ages two through 16 and beyond. Every month, kids have the opportunity to explore science, art, design, engineering, and more through creative, engaging projects. 

    Buy a gift subscription: 1 month/$24.90, 3 months/$60, 6 months/$110, 12 months/$205

    _________________________________________________________________

    Awesome Pack

    Awesome Packs are fun for both kids and their parents. Every box contains unique board games, hands-on projects, mini activity sets, and an activity book filled with additional things to do together as a family. There's even a Big Kid Pack for adults who are still kids at heart. 

    Buy a gift subscription: 1 month/$39.99

    _________________________________________________________________

    Kidstir

    As the popular junior versions of "MasterChef" and "Chopped" have shown, kids are cooking and loving the kitchen experience at younger ages than ever before. Kidstir helps spark that love while teaching children to have a healthy connection to food. With its monthly hands-on kits, kids get to build their own cookbooks, try new foods, and learn about where food comes from.

    Buy a gift subscription: 1 month/$15.95, 3 months/$47.85, 6 months/$87, 12 months/$155.40



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    startup giftsThe holidays are a perfect time to show your loved ones that you care, and one of the best ways to do that is through thoughtful gifting.

    While grabbing something from a big-name store you already know he or she loves is always a solid course of action, this is also a particularly great time to introduce someone else to new companies they might not have ever known about if not for you.

    Not to mention that thanks to an increasingly connected world, more and more of us are actively seeking out purchases that remain unique and individual.

    Opting to buy from a small, up-and-coming company allows you the opportunity to gift something unique, slightly ahead of the curve, and also potentially turn your giftee onto a brand they’ll be able to love and return to even after the holidays end. 

    Below are 30 companies your giftee might not know about yet, but will definitely be glad to:

    Having trouble figuring out what to get someone for the holidays? Browse all of Insider Picks' 2017 holiday gift guides here.

    SEE ALSO: 26 gifts your mom actually wants this holiday season

    DON'T MISS: 18 transparent companies you can feel great shopping at this holiday season

    Allbirds

    This is the footwear company making the stylish runners and loungers made from merino wool. They're affectionately being called the "most comfortable shoes in the world" — a statement we agree with after trying them.

    Allbirds Women's Wool Loungers, $95

    Allbirds Men's Wool Loungers, $95



    Brooklinen

    Brooklinen is one of our favorite companies to cover because, to put it simply, we think they make the best high-end sheets at the best price currently on the market. 

    Brooklinen Luxe Hardcore Sheet Bundle, starting at $198



    Glossier

    Glossier is the makeup brand that came out of the extremely popular beauty blog "Into the Gloss" — it’s been gaining steam and popularity over social media, especially for making products that focus on putting “Skin first. Makeup second.”

    Glossier Phase 1 Set, $40



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    misen

    • Misen makes premium-quality knives at a price that is refreshingly accessible for the average person.
    • The company sent over some knives for us to test, and we found them to be a pretty fantastic option for starter home cooks thanks to their value for price.
    • Due to their 15-degree edge blades (most Western-style blades come with a 25-degree), Misen knives were incredibly sharp for their price point.

    Getting into cooking for the average person can be daunting. It can feel like you’re faced with the binary choice of the $20 knife set you used in college — which feels more like operating a dull saw — or the crazy price tag of the blade that the chef on your favorite cooking show uses. An in-between would be nice.

    And for that tall order, we give you the moderately priced and super-sharp blades of the startup Misen. Sold direct-to-consumer and funded by Kickstarter, the company is able to use premium materials and invest in research without having to add in the cost of middlemen.

    The company recently sent over a box of knives — not the weirdest thing we’ve gotten — to test. A few members of the team took them home, and after a few days of independent testing, our opinion was such:

    Misen knives are a fantastic choice for starter home cooks.

    Knives are arguably the most important tools in a kitchen, and you can do a lot with only a few quality tools. I tested Misen’s Essentials Knife Set, its iteration on the three most basic building blocks you need for a truly functioning kitchen, and I came away impressed by the versatility and precision of the collection for its price. For $130, the Essential Knife Set includes a chef’s knife, serrated knife, and paring knife.

    If you want details, you can find them below, but the short of it is that overall, the Misen knives are really solid options for the average person, but likely not going to stun a top chef. This isn’t a bad thing.

    Instead of replacing upper-level knives for a third of their cost, Misen seems to have created a particularly great mid-range knife sold at the cost of a knife of noticeably lower quality. In other words: Misen’s knives are a great deal for the average person.

    On the same day that we received the knives, I went and picked up a bunch of groceries and turned the night into a meal prep to rival all others. I used every knife in the set for a few Olympic cooking events each, and was pleasantly surprised with how each handled them.

    Even though the chicken I was preparing was still frozen in the middle, it only took one motion with the Chef’s Knife to halve it — which inspired an audible "oh, wow" in my empty apartment. It was smooth, instantaneous, and required little exertion. In comparison, the knife we had been using seems to simply hack at frozen food. It performed similarly well slicing through vegetables.

    The reason Misen gives for how much sharper their knives are is that unlike most Western-style knives with angles of 25 degrees, Misen uses a more acute 15 degrees for a sharper cutting face. And while there are many aspects to take into account when actually calculating how "premium" a cooking knife is, it seems that Misen has at the very least been able to deliver on this element.

    The serrated blade basically fell through loaves of bread, and the paring knife handled all vegetables and fruits with precision and agility.

    Screen Shot 2017 12 07 at 10.46.30 AM

    For me, the benefits of having a nice set of knives with which to cook was less about the time and effort it spared me (which was noticeable), and more about how enjoyable cooking was when it felt like I wasn’t fighting the food to get it made. Having tools that make you extra-effective in the process makes the entire act of cooking feel more manageable, controlled, and enjoyable.

    Cooking can be clumsy with the wrong tools; it can be much, much smoother with the right ones.

    Every member of the Insider Picks team who tried the Misen knives received at least a comment or two from somebody else who used them. For me, it was my roommate calling out into the living room that "These knives cut like a dream!" from the kitchen. For Insider Picks editor Ellen Hoffman, it was having somebody use the chef’s knife to cut through a piece of paper in midair.

    If you’re looking to upgrade to a new set or know somebody who loves to cook but maybe hasn’t graduated to buying themselves $200 knives, Misen is a great gift for the holidays.

    They check most of the boxes: They’re a thoughtful gift, have frequent real-life application, and they both look and feel more expensive than their price suggests. It also doesn’t hurt that Misen is a growing company, and they’re rapidly expanding into other aspects of cookware while keeping the same ethos of an "honest price" for premium performance. If they really like the knives, your giftee can return-shop at a startup that most people haven't found yet. 

    For the price, Misen is a great option for the average person. Their knives are incredibly sharp, easy to handle, and priced in a way that delivers a lot of value for a cost that won’t break the budget.

    Shop Misen Cookware here >

    Below are the two most popular selections currently offered by Misen:

    SEE ALSO: 15 kitchen gadget gifts for terrible home cooks that make life easier

    Essentials Knife Set

    Here is Misen's collection of the three most essential knives needed for a truly functioning kitchen. For $130, you can get a paring knife, a chef's knife, and a serrated knife all with the characteristic 15-degree angle blades for noticeably sharper cuts, sloped bolsters for comfortable grip, and intelligent hybrid blade design. That means you're only spending about $44 per knife.

    Misen Essentials Knife Set, $130



    Chef's Knife

    The Chef's Knife is the most important knife in the kitchen, and Misen's iteration is prepared to hold itself to that standard. Its résumé includes being made out of high-quality Japanese steel, having the hybrid geometry of both Western- and Japanese-style features for an especially versatile blade, a comfortable grip, and a 15-degree blade angle for a sharper cut.

    Misen Chef's Knife, $65



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    senreve main

    Recently, I've been seeing a luxury handbag company called Senreve all over my social media feeds.

    Each time I saw it, I found myself drawn to the crisp lines of the bag and the way it seemed to instantly cinch the wearer's outfit together, whether she was wearing a flowy weekend dress or stylish business casual.

    Intrigued by what seemed to be the it bag of stylish women everywhere, I decided to learn more about the company that believes (rightly so) that women can have it all, down to the handbag they choose to carry.

    The first thing that's clear is Senreve was made for the modern woman who demands more from everything in her life, professional and personal, and needs accessories that can keep up. Designed for busy multitaskers who breeze from breakfast meetings to cocktail networking events, Senreve handbags are just the solution.

    Whether in food, furniture, or fashion, you can't fake craftsmanship. All you have to do is feel any of Senreve's bags to find luxury quality and sturdy construction that just isn't there with brands of similar price points. Made in Italy by craftsman who have been working with top luxury brands for over 50 years, the bags feature an Italian water-resistant genuine leather exterior and a supple, stain-resistant micro-suede interior. The pebbled leather is soft and smooth, yet scratch-resistant and clearly durable.

    Though some styles have more color options than others, they're all undoubtedly gorgeous. You can choose from deep and moody colors like forest, merlot, marine, and noir, or opt for soft and neutral tones like cream, blush, and sand.

    Senreve's sharp style, quality leather, and beautiful color options have earned the adoration of celebrities including Selma Blair, Priyanka Chopra, Jenna Dewan Tatum, and Jessica Alba, as well as popular bloggers Chriselle Lim and Rocky Barnes. Its a lineup of supporters as versatile as the bags themselves.

    The bags and totes range from $125 to $895, so it's not likely to be a quick buck you just drop on a whim. But if you're seriously considering a handbag investment for you or a special someone in your life, a Senreve bag will not disappoint. You can see the best styles from the site below.

    Having trouble figuring out what to get people for the holidays? You can check out all of Insider Picks' 2017 gift guides here.

    SEE ALSO: 26 gifts your mom actually wants this holiday season

    SEE ALSO: I found a gym bag that can keep up with my busy lifestyle — and it makes a perfect gift this holiday season

    Maestra

    This distinctively boxy bag looks cool no matter how you wear it: as a backpack, a crossbody, over the shoulder, or on the arm. 

    Maestra Bag, $895, available in 14 colors



    Mini Maestra Bag

    A mini version of the Maestra, this bag is great for daytime outings. It has seven interior compartments and the central one can fit an iPad. 

    Mini Maestra, $695, available in 7 colors



    Crossbody

    Trade the leather strap for a chain, detach the removable Bracelet Pouch, or even swap the Bracelet Pouch for a different color when you want to change up the look and feel of this bag. 

    Crossbody, $575, available in 8 colors



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    Cotopaxi_Header_1493657857

    • Cotopaxi, an outdoor gear and apparel company, recently launched their Allpa 35L Travel Pack through Indiegogo. 
    • Thanks to its incredible storage space, versatility, and comfort, it has become my most valuable travel accessory.
    • While it can fit 35 liters' worth of stuff, it fits airline restrictions for a carry-on and can function easily as either a duffel or backpack.

    I spend a lot of time traveling.

    While my family home — and family — still reside in the Midwest, I’ve been living on the East Coast for the last five years, which means that I spend a good amount of time shuttling back and forth on an airplane. Until recently, my best friend also lived out of state, making trips by train or bus a monthly fixture. 

    As a frequent traveler, I’ve become particular (a nicer word might be "efficient”) regarding what does and does not work well whilst traveling.

    Cordless headphones, portable battery packscollapsible water bottles all make the best value list. And, now, thanks to outdoor gear startup Cotopaxi, so does a comfortable and seemingly bottomless carry-on.

    The company sent the Allpa 35L Travel Pack for me to test a few months back, and I haven't gone on a single trip since without using it as my primary carrier. It's so good at fitting a never-ending amount of things that it has pretty much negated my tendency to overpack, simply because it fits surplus for a carry-on-sized weekend incredibly well.

    The Allpa is easily the best travel accessory I own. It seems bottomless while I'm packing, but also somehow fits airline restrictions for a carry-on. 

    It fits a ton of stuff (35 liters' worth), which is great on its own, but its design is what makes the most of all that space. The main zipper allows the bag to splay completely open, so you don't have to dig from top to bottom the way you do with a traditional backpack. The large internal mesh compartments make it easy to see what's inside a particular layer and function as helpful organizers. The back panel unzips to helpful padded laptop and tablet sleeves to store your gadgets, with a 15-inch laptop fitting comfortably. And in case you just need to grab your phone and don't want to unzip the whole thing, there's a shallow pocket on the exterior for the essentials. There's also a shortcut zipper so you can get into the main compartment without taking the pack off. 

    Cotopaxi_Inline_1493664298

    It can be worn as a backpack or as a duffel thanks to its tuck-away straps, and this is one area where the background in outdoors gear comes in handy. The backpack straps are contoured for comfortable wear, the hip belt is padded and adjustable, and the low-profile harness feels like a backpacking pack, helping to evenly distribute the weight you're carrying to places in the body best equipped to handle the load. The back panel is also made out of mesh, so you won't wind up with an overly sweaty back. In other words, it's really comfortable to wear even when it feels like it shouldn't be.

    On top of great storage space and versatility, the Allpa is also rugged enough to seemingly last years.  The exterior is made from a blend of tough, TPU-coated 100D polyester and durable 1680D ballistic nylon paneling.

    For those looking to use the bag for "roughing it," there's even a highly visible rain cover that packs down within the pack, since the material may be water-resistant but the seams are not.

    As an extra security measure, all the external zippers have a pretty cool feature: theft-proof webbing sewn across the openings, so a quick pick-pocket and run isn't exactly feasible.

    After using the bag for a few months, I can say that at least as a user it feels as if Cotopaxi has thought of nearly everything while designing the pack. So if you're looking to take the bus for a weekend trip away or plan to go backpacking on a multi-city Euro trip, I can't recommend the Allpa 35L enough for either trip. 

    Buy a Cotopaxi Allpa 35L Travel Pack for $199.95

    SEE ALSO: 26 things we always pack when we travel

    Join the conversation about this story »


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    rapid ramen cooker $7.99

    Nine seasons in and hundreds of products later, the show "Shark Tank" continues to entertain us as well as the panel of celebrity investors with creative pitches. However, that doesn't always mean the products are actually good. Some end up being a little too creative or out-there and border on plain gimmicky or "Who would even use that?"

    We looked through all the "Shark Tank" products available for purchase and came away with a selection of star products for the home that made us curse and ask ourselves, "Why didn't we think of this earlier?"

    Many solve for the wasteful design of many common products you already use, while others address the annoying inconveniences that everyone experiences. 

    Check out the "Shark Tank" home products that are worth buying below.

    SEE ALSO: The 20 best gifts that got their start on ‘Shark Tank’

    A spring-loaded laundry hamper

    This hamper drops down as you add clothes and rises as you remove them, meaning doing laundry will no longer be that uncomfortable chore you never look forward to. It eases the strain on your lower back, so it's especially great for expecting mothers, people with bad backs, and the elderly. 

    Household Essentials Lifter Hamper, $29.99, available at Amazon



    A self-cleaning dog potty

    If you've already tried many indoor potty training systems, your search ends here with the world's first self-cleaning dog potty. You can adjust the timer to automatically change a dirty pad one, two, or three times a day, or manually change it with a push of a button. The machine will wrap and seal the waste, keeping your home clean and odor-free. It's best for dogs under 25 pounds. 

    BrilliantPad Self-Cleaning & Automatic Indoor Dog Potty, $159.99, available at Amazon



    A rapid ramen cooker

    Granted ramen is already a pretty convenient meal to make, this tool makes the process even easier. The water line stops you from overfilling the bowl, the bowl doesn't get overly hot, and you don't need to use a pot and stove. It's perfect for anyone who doesn't have access to a kitchen, including students living in dorms and office workers. 

    Rapid Ramen Cooker, $6.99, available at Amazon



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    uber travis kalanick

    • Over the course of 2017, Uber went from one of the most admired companies in Silicon Valley to one of the most vilified.
    • Many executive heads have rolled including former CEO Travis Kalanick.
    • But investors also have responsibility in how a company is run, one famous VC and former Facebook exec argues. He applauds Uber's biggest VC, Benchmark, for the drastic steps it took this year. 


    The wave of scandal and controversy that washed over Uber this year has been nothing short of spectacular. But the sad truth is, almost any Silicon Valley startup could be the next Uber.

    That's because every startup is encouraged to begin operating with the same "growing at all costs" playbook that Uber relied on, says Chamath Palihapitiya, the outspoken founder of venture capitalist firm Social Capital. Palihapitiya is a successful VC whose firm has backed companies like Box, Slack, SurveyMonkey, Yammer. He's trying to disrupt the VC world by doing things like investing in startups automatically, without ever meeting them and taking them public in a novel way, too.

    But Palihapitiya is perhaps best known as an early manager at Facebook who helped that company navigate through many of its own early-days of scandals. 

    He recently said he feels "tremendous guilt" about Facebook's role in the world these days saying that social networks are "destroying how society works," and adding, "In the back, deep, deep recesses of our mind, we kind of knew something bad could happen." (Facebook shot back at Palihapitiya, noting that the company was much different when he left six years ago)

    Now, as a VC, he believes that while the CEO and executives should shoulder the blame for a startup's questionable decisions, VCs also play a part. They fund the startups, sit on the boards and advise these CEOs. 

    Uber is the ultimate example. It's fall from grace this year is "the great American tragedy playing out in a company," Palihapitiya recently told Business Insider. 

    All startups must 'grow at all costs' – at first

    All successful company go through several chapters and the first chapter is always about survival, an "existential ... I am going to die ... fight or flight" stage, Palihapitiya says.

    In this first stage, "Everybody’s order is to grow at all costs," he says. 

    Chamath Palihapitiya

    "Most companies fail because they’re run by people who do not have the wherewithal to fight through the fear [of failing]." 

    Uber was a "superb" example of how to find a market and grow, says Palihapitiya.

    But a chapter of success in the Valley is followed by one he calls "the fall."

    "What you have to do in Chapter 2 is deal with the real world implications of Chapter 1," he says.

    In Facebook's early days, "there were a lot of moral implications. The big deal was related to privacy and an emerging understanding of information and the use of information for things like how to target ads."

    He believes Facebook is still grappling with these implications. 

    For Uber, "It was not about data privacy issues, or issues with wages for drivers. They were dealing with fundamental safety/security issues for passengers and employees, a culture riddled with sexism and all sorts of behaviors people thought were utterly unacceptable."

    As these issues came to light through press reports and lawsuits, Uber's biggest investor Benchmark went to war within the company. It led an investor revolt that caused CEO Travis Kalanick to resign, and then it doubled down by suing Kalanick to try and block his potential return.

    They didn't turn a blind eye in Chapter 2

    The lawsuit by Benchmark, a major Uber investor and board member, was an extreme measure, even by Silicon Valley standards. Many tech industry insiders wondered whether the move would tarnish Benchmark's reputation and future business prospects among startups and entrepreneurs. 

    Bill GurleyBut Palihapitiya is adamant that Benchmark did the right thing. 

    "We can blame them [as board members] all day long, and chastise them for what was happening during the growth phase, but they were playing by a set of rules defined by everyone when you grow. But the important thing is they didn’t turn a blind eye in that Chapter 2," he says.

    He adds,"When bad things are happening, it doesn’t matter what the economic incentive is, you have a moral obligation to stand up for what you believe," Palihapitiya says.

    Suing a cofounder CEO may scare other startup founders away from working with Benchmark, Palihapitiya notes. "But I’m glad they did something because it would be morally reprehensible if they didn’t."

    Uber is now in Chapter 3, the rebuilding phase. "And we are going to have to see. Can [new CEO] Dara [Khosrowshahi] really rewrite a culture where it’s almost as if there’s an entire population of people that corrupted what was acceptable and what was not?"

    Time will tell, Palihapitiya says. But one thing is for certain, the mentality that drove Uber to grow at all costs was not unique to Uber. Maybe Uber will serve as a warning sign to others. Then again, maybe it will be a beacon.

    SEE ALSO: An early Facebook exec explains why investing in startups without meeting them is the future of venture capital

    SEE ALSO: No one used to call Okta’s CEO before trying to squash his business — now Amazon and Google give him a heads-up and that's ‘progress’

    Join the conversation about this story »

    NOW WATCH: France's $21 billion nuclear fusion reactor is now halfway complete


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    Passivdom

    Building a house by hand can be both time-consuming and expensive. Some homebuilders have chosen to automate part of the construction instead.

    A new Ukrainian homebuilding startup called PassivDom uses a 3D printing robot that can print parts for tiny houses. The machine can print the walls, roof, and floor of PassivDom's 410-square-foot model in about eight hours. The windows, doors, plumbing, and electrical systems are then added by a human worker.

    When complete, the homes are autonomous and mobile, meaning they don't need to connect to external electrical and plumbing systems. Solar energy is stored in a battery connected to the houses, and water is collected and filtered from humidity in the air (or you can pour water into the system yourself). The houses also feature independent sewage systems.

    Since the startup launched in spring 2017, it has received more than 8,000 preorders in the United States for its homes, which start at $64,000. The first 100 ones will be delivered in January 2018.

    Check out the homes below.

    SEE ALSO: A startup invented this $10,000 house that can be built in one day

    PassivDom's smallest model measures 410 square feet and ranges from $64,000 to $97,000, designer Maria Sorokina told Business Insider.



    The 775-square-foot model ranges from $97,000 to $147,000.



    Here's what the house looks like when you walk in the front door. It's a large open space with a small kitchen and floor-to-ceiling windows.



    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    Zach Woods Silicon Valley

    • Many associate startup founders with young 20-somethings.
    • A presentation from researchers at The National Bureau of Economic Research found the average exit age of successful silicon valley startup founders was 47.


    When you think of successful Silicon Valley entrepreneurs who sell their startup or take it public, you'd be forgiven if you thought they were typically in their 30s, or even their 20s.

    The average exit age of successful Silicon Valley startup founders between 2007 and 2014 was actually 47. That's according to to a post from July on Digitopoly by entrepreneurship professor Joshua Gans citing a paper from the NBER Summer Institute.

    Gans also quoted investor Paul Graham in a 2013 interview with The New York Times, who said, "The cutoff in investors' heads is 32 … after 32 they tend to be a little skeptical."

    With that mindset, investors could be missing out on golden opportunities. Indeed, the bright star of youth is certainly alluring, but nothing beats experience.

    Gans says the finding is from basic data results and the research is still developing, but it's still worth the consideration of Silicon Valley investors who tend to gravitate toward younger entrepreneurs.

    SEE ALSO: The $13.7 billion Whole Foods buy has turned the whole world against Amazon — and we'll see the sparks fly next year

    DON'T MISS: Here are the ages you peak at everything throughout life

    Join the conversation about this story »

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    Colin Kroll and Rus Yusupov HQ TRivia cofounders ceo

    • The company that makes the HQ trivia app has been taking meetings with investors, hoping to raise money at a $100 million valuation.
    • But some investors are concerned about the startup's management, including one cofounder's behavior at a previous job, which reportedly made them decide not to participate in the funding round.


    Intermedia Labs, the maker of the hot trivia app HQ, was seemingly on track to raise money at a $100 million valuation, but some investors decided they're not interested after hearing about a cofounder's allegedly "creepy" behavior toward women during his previous job at Twitter, according to Recode's Kurt Wagner.

    From the Recode report:

    "At least three prominent investors have decided against funding the startup after finding troubling conduct on the part of the founders they uncovered during due diligence, multiple sources say."

    The Recode report says investors were worried about HQ cofounder Colin Kroll's behavior while he was working on the Vine team at Twitter. There were no specific details regarding his behavior, according to Recode. Kroll was a Vine cofounder along with HQ's other cofounder, Rus Yusupov. Both men started Intermedia Labs, HQ's parent company. Yusupov is also the CEO of Intermedia Labs.

    Recode reports that investors also pointed to Yusupov's recent tirade against a Daily Beast reporter as concerning. We've reached out to Yusupov for comment on the report and the allegations of inappropriate behavior against Kroll.

    Jeremy Liew, a venture capitalist and board member for Intermedia Labs, told Recode in a statement that he conducted an investigation into Kroll's past behavior and "did not find evidence that warrants his removal from the company."

    Read more details on Recode.

    Curious to see how HQ Trivia works? Read our walkthrough here.

    SEE ALSO: The FCC repealed net neutrality — here's what that means for you

    Join the conversation about this story »

    NOW WATCH: Here's why Boeing 747s have a giant hump in the front


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    BI Graphics_Success! How I did it_Banner

    Danielle Weisberg and Carly Zakin, The Skimm

    For startups on the path to success, there's often one key moment or decision that catapults them from obscurity to the big leagues.

    This year on Business Insider's podcast, "Success! How I Did It," founders of companies such as PayPal, Lyft, and Dropbox shared how they built their companies into massive successes. And while a lot goes into building a company, the leaders we've interviewed all had surprising stories.

    Sometimes it's an inspired decision that leads to success; other times it's luck and timing.

    Listen and read below for the key moments that turned Zillow, Tinder, Warby Parker, and others into household names.

    If you're hunting for more career advice, inspiration, and stories of getting to the top, subscribe to the podcast on Apple Podcasts,Google Play, Radio Public, or wherever you listen.

    Here's the master class episode in which top founders talk about the moments that changed everything for their companies:

    The following interview excerpts have been edited for clarity.

    Zillow launched with an innovative feature, the Zestimate. It was the first time anyone could look up the current value of their home, and their friends' homes. This feature alone got the company a ton of launch press, and a million visitors within its first 24 hours.

    Rascoff: We said: "Let's try to figure out what every house in the country is worth. How do we do that?" Most of this information — bed, bath, square footage, tax assessment, sale history — is available in county courthouses, but we had to go acquire it, digitize it, and then build the data layer, the Zestimate, that sits on top of that.

    And when we launched in, I think it was February 2006. We got about a million visitors within the first day. I still don't think any other service — Snapchat, Facebook, whatever — I don't think anyone else has had a million users in day one. Because it's so cool and so innovative to say, "Oh, my god, I can grab my kid's school roster and I can Zillow everybody at my kid's school and see what everyone's house is worth, see what everyone paid for the home." That was just, like, this, "Oh, my God" kind of thing that launched the company in 2006.



    Tinder turned a college student's birthday with 500 attendees into a "Tinder party." The students were not allowed to board the party bus until a bouncer made sure they had downloaded Tinder's app.

    Rad: Justin's younger brother was throwing a birthday party for his best friend at USC, and he had a bus going from USC to his parents' home. The bus was going back and forth, so a total of about 500 students. Justin called me one day and said, "Let's pay for the bus and call this a Tinder party." So we paid for the bus and put a bouncer at the door and told every student that they couldn't walk in unless they downloaded Tinder. You'd literally have to show Tinder on your phone. So about 400 people downloaded Tinder at USC. They went home and opened the app and started matching with each other. It really created a phenomenon within USC.

    Immediately after that, every afternoon the whole team would leave the office, get in a car, and we would drive by every fraternity and sorority in Los Angeles, then San Diego, then Orange County, and every school we could cover.

    In the beginning of January we had about 20,000 users, and at the end of January we had 500,000 users, all organic. The growth curve was unimaginable. It was pretty amazing.



    TheSkimm was featured on 'Today' after the founders send a blind email to Hoda Kotb, and actually got a response.

    Weisberg: We emailed every news anchor out there. We were like, "We're former NBC-ers, thought you would love this, thought you would appreciate the need that we're solving." Hoda Kotb responded, and she said, "I'll check it out!" We didn't know her. We followed up with her two more times, but got no response. Day four of us in business, she said we were one of her favorite things — on air — and it totally changed our life.

    We went from, at that point, let's say, under 1,000 users to thousands. All of a sudden, we had geographic diversity. And all of a sudden, we had huge pockets of the country paying attention to what we were doing.

    Shontell: Wow. What does a Hoda bump do to your newsletter subscribers?

    Zakin: It crashed our site. It crashed our email inbox. We got a few thousand people from it. It was life-changing.



    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    Helpling

    With its techno nightclubs, hipster coffee shops, and eccentric residents, Berlin has developed a reputation for being one of Europe's coolest cities.

    The German capital — once described as "poor but sexy" by former mayor Klaus Wowereit — may be arty but it has struggled to compete with other German cities such as Frankfurt and Hamburg when it comes to economic output.

    There are signs, however, that this is starting to change, thanks in part to a surge in the number of technology companies that are now based in Berlin.

    From tech giants like Google, Apple, and Facebook to local success stories like music streaming service SoundCloud and to-do list app Wunderlist, Berlin is spawning a diverse range of technology firms that employ thousands of people across the city.

    Here are 30 of the coolest tech firms in Berlin:

    30. Daheim

    Daheim is a social startup that's aiming to help refugees across Germany to learn German. The startup's platform allows refugees from countries like Iraq and Afghanistan to have a Skype-like video call with a German-speaking person who is happy to try to help refugees to learn the language.

    Founded: 2016

    Funding: Between €60,000 (£49,000) and €70,000 (£58,000)

    Number of staff: 9 (volunteers)

    READ MORE: Daheim is on a mission to help refugees to learn German



    29. Heuro Labs

    Heuro Labs comprises a team of 10 computer scientists, quantum physicists, and mathematicians developing an artificial intelligence platform called Cognitio. The company states on its website that its mission is to make machines intelligent and autonomous so that humans can focus on other tasks.

    Founded: 2014

    Funding: Not disclosed

    Number of staff: 10



    28. Tech Open Air

    Tech Open Air is a summer festival in Berlin that aims to combine tech, music, art and science. The idea for the festival was conceived in 2014 and has since been backed by SoundCloud cofounder Alex Ljung, Wunderlist cofounder Christian Reber, and Factory cofounder Simon Schäfer. Tech Open Air also holds a series of other events in cities around the world, such as Tokyo, Cape Town, and Austin.

    Founded: 2012

    Funding: Not disclosed

    Number of staff: 10-15



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    BRAD + TOBY

    This year has been a tough one for many young companies.

    But the problems faced by the founders, investors, and managers of companies such as Uber, Snap, and Blue Apron hasn't dissuaded other entrepreneurs from building new companies with the hope of disrupting existing industries or garnering a coveted billion-dollar unicorn valuation. 

    Among the rookies were these seven companies, all of which either raised their first round of funding or launched their first product in 2017. Each company stands out for a different reason. Some saw breakout success with consumers just months after they launched, while others proved to be such hot investments that they got massive early valuations.

    From a consumer electronics startup that's taking on Apple to a online store that's aiming at Amazon, here are seven of the hottest startups to launch in 2017 — plus one bonus entry. 

    SEE ALSO: 730,000 people interrupted their Christmas to try to win thousands of dollars from the hottest new app of the year

    A new, low-cost rival for Amazon: Brandless

    What it is: An online store that sells its own "brandless" goods — everything from salsa to toilet paper — for $3 an item. 

    Brandless, which launched in July, can sell its products cheaper than those carrying household names because it doesn't have to charge the kind of "brand tax" that comes with those products, company founders Ido Leffler and Tina Sharkey told Business Insider. As its name implies, the company sells its products online in simple packaging that's similar to that of the generic products found in grocery stores.

    The company is counting on Millennials to make it a success. Leffler and Sharkey think they'll appreciate Brandless' ability to combine the convenience of online shopping with low, flat prices. Indeed, they think its one-price model should help it stand out from Amazon, Jet.com, and other big online retailers, many of which adjust prices their prices frequently.

    Funding: $50 million from investors including Cowboy Ventures, Redpoint Ventures, and Google Ventures, according to Crunchbase



    The most successful roll-out: LimeBike

    What it is: A bike-sharing network that places bicycles where commuters need them. 

    Following the lead of efforts including New York's Citi Bike and San Francisco's Ford GoBikes, LimeBike combines a convenient app with well-placed two-wheelers to handle what's known as the "first and last-mile problem"— getting commuters to and from public transportation hubs. 

    The company got its first round of funding in March and has now raised $62 million. Its $225 million valuation makes LimeBike one of the most valuable companies to launch in 2017. 

    Funding: $62 million total from investors including Andreessen Horowitz and IDG Capital, according to PitchBook.



    A standout product in a saturated market: Obsidian Security

    What it is: A cybersecurity company that focuses on a particular niche — hybrid clouds.

    Increasingly popular among enterprise companies, hybrid cloud systems allow those companies' in-house servers to interoperate with public cloud systems, such as those offered by Amazon and Google. Obsidian uses artificial intelligence and machine learning to provide security across these complex, hybrid systems. 

    It takes a lot to stand out in the cybersecurity market, but Obsidian has an all-star cast that's warmed investors to its potential. CEO Glenn Chisholm worked at the antivirus software company Cylance as its chief technology officer. CTO Ben Johnson previously founded another cybersecurity company, Carbon Black. 

    Obsidian's most recent funding round valued the company at $27 million, according to PitchBook.

    Funding: $9.5 million in a series A led by Greylock Partners, according to Pitchbook.



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    Vlad Tenev Robinhood founder CEO

    Once upon a time, a startup worth $1 billion or more was considered to be a rare, almost mythical thing — a unicorn. But in the past few years, unicorns have become far more plentiful, more like horses.

    A year ago, the venture capital industry looked like it was going to tighten its belt and bring valuations back to earth. But in 2017, venture investment continued to flow heavily and is on track to match or exceed dollars deployed in 2016, says PitchBook, a database that tracks such deals.

    Mega deals, where investors poured giant sums into one company at a high valuation, made up less than 1% of total transactions, but, by the third quarter, PitchBook says they accounted for 22% of the total deal value.

    All of that means that new unicorns were plentiful in 2017. Dozens of startups were crowned with unicorn status worldwide, including these 23 US companies, according to CB Insight's list of unicorns. (We took the valuations of these companies from Pitchbook.)

    Some of them, you've likely heard of. Others may have slipped under your radar. 

    SEE ALSO: 50 startups that will boom in 2018, according to VCs

    Rubicon Global

    Valuation:
    $1 billion

    Select investors: 
    Goldman Sachs, Leonardo DiCaprio, Promecap

    Rubicon allows business to order trash collection from a variety of waste haulers when they need it, and helps them recycle more.



    Symphony Communication Services

    Valuation:
    $1 billion

    Select investors:
    BNP Paribas, Goldman Sachs, Google

    Symphony is a cloud-based communications platform for the financial services sector that lets people communicate and share documents.



    Katerra

    Valuation:
    $1 billion

    Selected investors: 
    Foxconn Technology Company, Khosla Ventures, Moore Capital Management

    Katerra offers software for the construction industry for building design, logistics and purchasing. It is currently working on a new round of financing seeking a $2.5 billion valuation, the WSJ reports. 



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    Katrina Lake

    • Katrina Lake is the 34-year-old founder of Stitch Fix, an online personal shopping service.
    • Stitch Fix recently went public, leaving Lake with a net worth of nearly $500 million.
    • Lake went to Stanford, planning to become a doctor, and then later attended Harvard Business School.
    • It took a few unsuccessful attempts to create the current version of Stitch Fix.


    Katrina Lake founded Stitch Fix, the online personal shopping service, out of her apartment on the back of a failed startup idea.

    Today, according to Forbes, Lake, now 34, has a 16.6% ownership in the company, which went public a month ago. And her net worth now approaching $500 million—making her one of the youngest, richest self-made women in America.

    "If Lake makes the next iteration of the Richest Self-Made Women list, she'll likely be one of the youngest women to do so," Forbes says. "At present, only pop star Taylor Swift, 27, is younger."

    How did Lake get here?

    She spent the first part of her life in San Francisco. But as Forbes reported, she got heavily into the Bay Area's rave scene as a teen, and her parents made the decision to move the family to Minnesota.

    She settled down and got into Stanford, intending to become a doctor, but became fascinated by economics.

    She ended up joining a venture capital firm as an associate after graduating, hoping to join one of the startups that came through the company's door, the L.A. Times reported. Instead it proved a clarifying experience.

    "Ultimately, I didn't quite find the company I wanted to join, but I met more than 100 entrepreneurs and realized that all these entrepreneurs were just as unqualified as I was," she said. "If I wanted to be this retailer of the future, or if I wanted to join the retailer of the future, I could just start it."

    So she decided to attend Harvard Business School. She came up with Stitch Fix, a personalized fashion box subscription service, after another retail idea, Rack Habit, flamed out. It took several lucky breaks and idea iterations for the company to rise above the box subscription fray.

    As a new parent, Lake tries to be fully present when she's at home and when she's at the office

    Today, Lake and her husband raise a toddler while she runs a company worth billions. She told Entrepreneur how she achieves balance in her life.

    "One of the things that has been an adjustment being a new mom is that the morning is some of the most valuable time I have with my son," she says. "It used to be that I would check email and Instagram first thing in bed, and now as soon as he's up, I'm up. I've really appreciated the clarity and being able to start the day in a more organic way with my son.

    She continued:

    "It's really important for me to feel present when I'm at work, that I'm totally listening and paying attention and not worrying about what my son is doing. On the flip side, I try to bring that same level of being present at home. I want to feel totally present in everything I do."

    Lake is also an avid reader, and talked about three books that have made her more successful:

    • Howard Behar, It's Not about the Coffee: Leadership Principles from a Life at Starbucks. Lake: "I read it before I started Stitch Fix. It had a really big impact on me and how I approached company culture. In Howard's book, he talks about how the company culture of Starbucks is one where he felt like he could be the same person at home and be the same person at work. And that the values were consistent in both worlds."
    • Joshua McFadden, Six Seasons: A New Way with Vegetables. Lake: "I love cooking. It's what clears my mind, since it's pretty hard to multitask when you're chopping vegetables."
    • Richard O. Prum, The Evolution of Beauty: How Darwin's Forgotten Theory of Mate Choice Shapes the Animal World – and Us . Lake: "It's talking about natural selection. We know about survival of the fittest and how the strongest animals win. But the reality is there are all these traits that evolve that don't really make sense from a natural selection standpoint. There's all these traits that have evolved because species find them to be beautiful. It was part of Darwin's original theory, but it was one that was kind of lost in history and so it kind of revisits that."

    Like most millennials, Lake is a heavy Instagram user, showing details of her life, from vacations (Stitch Fix has an "unlimited" vacation policy)…

    Bluebird days in Utah ❄️

    A post shared by Katrina Lake (@klaker) on Mar 5, 2017 at 1:51pm PST on

    To Halloween costumes.

    Wishing you a beary happy Halloween ! 🎃 photocred: @nattyrack

    A post shared by Katrina Lake (@klaker) on Oct 31, 2016 at 7:04pm PDT on

    When Lake took Stitch Fix public, she officially became the youngest female founder ever to do so, according to financial data firm FactSet.

    One of Stitch Fix's latest ventures has been a service for men to compete with rivals like Trunk Club.

    SEE ALSO: How a 34-year-old Stanford and Harvard grad built Stitch Fix into a billion-dollar company that just went public

    Join the conversation about this story »

    NOW WATCH: Why you should never throw away these bags again


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    Bipul_Sinha

    • Venture capitalist firms invested twice as much money in cybersecurity startups in 2017 as they did in 2016.
    • Venture firms invested $7.6 billion into such companies last year via 548 deals.
    • Investors are following the money; corporations and governments are increasing their spending on cybersecurity amid growing concern about vulnerabilities and breaches.


    Cybersecurity has repeatedly been in the news of late, and startups that specialize in it are raking in investments as a result.

    Venture capitalists invested twice as much money in cybersecurity startups in 2017 as they did the year before, according to new data from CB Insights.

    Globally, venture investors put $7.6 billion in cybersecurity companies last year, which was up from $3.8 billion in 2016, according to the research firm. The number of cybersecurity-related investments jumped to 548 in 2017 from 467 deals the year before.

    Among those deals were several gigantic funding rounds.

    Rubrik, based in Palo Alto, California, raised $180 million in April, giving it a $1.3 billion valuation, according to PitchBook. That same month, Illumio raised $125 million, boosting the valuation of the Sunnyvale, California, company to an estimated $1.2 billion.

    With recent news about a security flaw that affects nearly every PC, smartphone and tablet in use and with high-profile security breaches such as those at Equifax and Uber looming over companies and consumers, it's no wonder there is a burgeoning market for cybersecurity products and growing interest in such companies among investors.

    Global spending on cybersecurity was estimated to reach $83.5 billion in 2017, and that number could hit $119.9 billion in 2021, according to an IDC report from October.

    Here's how venture investments in cybersecurity companies in 2017 compared to those of prior years:

    cyberspend_table

    SEE ALSO: 22 different flashlight apps in Google Play were found to contain malicious adware

    Join the conversation about this story »

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    The Insider Picks team writes about stuff we think you'll like. Business Insider has affiliate partnerships, so we get a share of the revenue from your purchase.

    ModsyRender2_preview

    • Modsy is a service that makes 3D models of the rooms you want to decorate based on pictures you send and its basic dimensions.
    • The company's interior designers will create two versions of the room, decorated with furniture from popular home stores that you can actually buy and that match your tastes and budget. 
    • For $69, you'll get the home designs and the ability to edit them on your own. For $199, you'll get more features, like a stylist who will chat with you and make adjustments and recommendations to the design for you.

    If you've ever bought a piece of furniture online and realized only after the setup that it either didn't fit the space physically or aesthetically, you can already name at least one time when you would have benefited from a service like Modsy.

    Modsy is an online company that lets you upload photos and dimensions of any room and then creates a 3D model, complete with recommendations from an interior designer on how to fill it — using furniture from popular home decor stores that you can buy after the fact at a discount through Modsy. If you've already got a nightstand or bed frame, you can pay $10 and Modsy will make a 3D model of it as well, so you truly never have to wonder about what something will look like once put together. You also don't need to crawl around your house with a tape measurer. 

    There are two pricing options, but for both, you'll receive a 3D model of your room, curated products that match your style profile, two custom designs of how to put it together, and unlimited edits to the room itself. Every furniture option is real and shoppable, and they show you which products are used in a bar at the bottom of the design. Not only can you view the room from all the angles you'd find while standing in it, you can also see it from a bird's-eye view. At $69 for the most basic pricing level, it's a lot of value (especially for those who have a tough time imagining something like that on their own) for a low cost, especially when it's for an important investment like furniture.

    In my experience, the value was definitely worth the price. The 3D designs were extremely helpful and also allowed me to be more creative with the space.

    The furniture the Modsy designers use is all chosen to fit your preferences, and if you're not sure if you like "traditional" or "urban," as I wasn't, there's also a quiz they'll direct you to which will help you discover that.

    If you love the furniture and want to shop it, you can buy directly through Modsy and you'll receive a discount on your purchase. For the first pricing option, you'll get $20 off, and for the second you'll receive $50 off. 

    Right now, get 25% off a design package when you use "FALL25" at checkout.

    Studio Image_preview

    When I used Modsy, it came as a complete relief. I was moving to a new place after college and wanted to take furniture shopping more seriously, but interior design is not a natural gift. I can appreciate when things look put-together, and I know what I like, but being on the other side of things isn’t easy, particularly the visualization (which Modsy took care of for me). While my spacial awareness allowed me to parallel park during my license exam without hitting any cones, it doesn't transfer to sofas for the living room as easily. Not being able to imagine all of the furniture, light fixtures, and rugs together also had me buying more basic furniture simply so that I would know it would go together. Modsy allowed me more freedom and creativity. 

    Modsy, like the best of services, did something I could not have done on my own — and did it very well for a moderate price. I would have been more than happy to shell out $69 for what was included in the basic package, but as I wanted to invest in furniture I could have for a while, I was also happy to part with $199 for the added style advice their second option offered.

    Even if you can't afford all the items Modsy uses to fill your space (although they do customize the selection to your budget), it's still a great way to get ideas from experts at an affordable price. I pay a lot in rent so that I can enjoy where I live, and I felt like Modsy was a valuable tool as an extension of that. 

    For me, Modsy was a great service. Their pricing seems more than fair for what you get in return, and it helped me enlist experts to do a job I knew they could do much better than me. Modsy helped me make the most out of my apartment and made sure I did so without wasting money on furniture I would later hate.

    If you’re moving and don’t have the mind of an interior designer but want to love your space, I can’t recommend the service highly enough.

    Here’s how the process works:

    SEE ALSO: This startup makes sofas that sound almost too good to be true — they’re easy to move and only take 10 minutes to build

    Getting started:

    To begin, head to the Modsy homepage and click "get started" to start the questionnaire. 



    Select which room they'll be creating a 3D model of for you.



    And select what the reason for the redesign is.

    If you're moving and looking to completely revamp your space, or just want to update your living room, Modsy will be able to help.

    Sign up to get a 3D model of your own home decorating project here.



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    The Insider Picks team writes about stuff we think you'll like. Business Insider has affiliate partnerships, so we get a share of the revenue from your purchase.

    1

    • Direct-to-consumer business models mean startups like Everlane and Allbirds can sell luxury clothes at a fraction of the price found at big-name retailers.
    • DSTLD is the new startup to watch, offering premium denim for under $100 and essentials that nail LA cool and urban chic.
    • The startup is also the first fashion brand to offer its shoppers the opportunity to buy a stake in the company itself by an Online Public Offering.

     

    Thanks largely to the internet, shoppers are living in what feels like a bit of a Golden Age for anybody with some money to spend and a computer within arms reach. By allowing companies to cut out the (newly) unessential costs of brick-and-mortar stores and middlemen, emerging labels are able to produce in the same factories as big-name designers — with the same materials — but sell their clothes at a fraction of the price.

    It's a nice deal for the consumer.

    Perhaps for most of us, that direct-to-consumer model is associated with wunderkind startups like Everlane and Allbirds with reliable, cult-like fan bases.

    And for those more tuned into really nice denim, they might be thinking of LA startup DSTLD

    The company has a similar model — sell luxurious essentials people want at a third of the retail cost. And, like Everlane, they’re rising to meet the standards of their shoppers — using sustainable materials, natural dyes, and eco-friendly practices whenever they can, as well as imposing higher standards on labor conditions in their supply chain.

    All in all, DSTLD is selling cool essentials at a price, and with a supply chain, that doesn’t have to make you feel bad. 

    While they’re known for their denim, I (and according to DSTLD press photos, a healthy number of celebrities) have loved their Blanket Maxi Coat. It’s not much more than I'd spend on something similar from a fast-fashion stop like Zara, but the quality and fit feel far superior — and I don't feel anxious taking a chance on the newer label thanks to its low-risk prices. And while the company has more men's options and was indeed founded by two men, DSTLD's women's line hits a rare balance between LA cool and a tailored, urban chic that I've found hard to find, especially at this price point. 

    And if you’re looking for a way to feel more involved in your purchases (or have an itch to invest) DSTLD is offering up something far more unusual than reasonably priced black skinny jeans. Last year, they became the first fashion brand to pursue an Online Public Offering.

    The company cites the statistic that for the last 80-odd years, only the wealthiest 2% of Americans have been allowed to invest in startups in the US. But thanks to legislation in 2012, that's now possible for anyone. Like ethical production and lower, leaner pricing, this is just another way DSTLD is particularly tuned into the moment — and using new ways of doing business to promote their own growth. Instead of old-school venture capitalists being responsible for how much growth the company experiences, there's something potentially satisfying about a "by the people, for the people" rise. 

    But even if you’re looking for essentials and premium denim for under $100 rather than an investment, you're likely still going to be happy you found DSTLD. 

    You can shop DSTLD directly here, or check out some of their best pieces for both men and women below.

    SEE ALSO: This new women’s clothing brand takes all the guesswork out of shopping for work

    Women

    Available in seven color and material variations.

    Women's Leather Moto Jacket, $150 - $380



    Available in seven colors and rip variations.

    Women's High Waisted Skinny Jeans, $85 - $125



    Available in both black and grey.

    Women's Blanket Maxi Coat, $180



    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    marc lore

    • Marc Lore is the CEO and president of Walmart eCommerce in the US. He sold his startup Quidsi to Amazon in 2010, for $550 million.
    • Afterward, he felt depressed and somewhat disempowered. Even the huge amount of money he made didn't help.
    • Many startup founders go through a similar experience and say they have mixed feelings about selling their company. 


    In 2010, Marc Lore sold his startup, Quidsi, to Amazon for $550 million.

    Immediately afterward, he felt terrible.

    On an episode of Business Insider's podcast, "Success! How I Did It," Lore, who is now the CEO and president of Walmart eCommerce in the US, told US editor-in-chief Alyson Shontell what it felt like after the sale.

    Here's Lore:

    "You think we would've been celebrating, like, 'Wow, we just made enough money that we never have to work again,' that sort of thing. 'Family is set, grandkids are set,' and everything. And it was this really depressing sort of moment where we didn't even want to go out for a drink.

    "It wasn't a celebration; it was sort of like mourning. That's what it felt like. And it was really weird. We were like, 'Why do we feel so bad right now?' Like, we just sold this company and made a lot of money, and we just didn't feel great."

    Lore described feeling somewhat disempowered after selling Quidsi to Amazon. He told Shontell:

    "I think a lot of entrepreneurship is about, like I said, having fun building something, being empowered to make decisions and run, build your own unique culture, hire the people you want to hire, watch them grow and develop, and go on to bigger and better things, and learn while they're there. It's, like, there's a lot of benefit of doing it that go beyond dollars and cents.

    "And I think that hit us, like, 'Hey, in this new structure, this new world, a lot of the things that made us happy are not going to exist anymore.'"

    Even the huge sum of money he'd just come into wasn't enough to fill that emptiness. Lore said: "We had a nice house, nice cars, clothes, food, like, we were living fine before. It wasn't like the money was going to suddenly bring us from poverty to sort of sustainability, right?

    "And we knew we'd always be able to make money; we had good, you know, salary earning potential outside of this. So I guess the money really just didn't do it."

    Many startup founders feel remorse after selling their company and losing control

    Lore's experience isn't unique. Shontell previously spoke to Bryan Goldberg, founder of Bleacher Report (and later, Bustle) about what it was like when Turner Media purchased the company for around $200 million in 2012.

    "When the money hit the bank account, I was just relieved that this grueling eight-month process was over," Goldberg told Shontell. "Then you realize, I don't own this [startup] anymore, which is a very powerful feeling.

    "You go on the website and it just occurs to you, 'This isn't mine and it doesn't belong to me in any way other than from a sentimental standpoint.'"

    Ben Horowitz, a general partner at venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz, told The New York Times something similar about selling Opsware to Hewlett-Packard for $1.6 billion in 2007.

    "I spent eight years, all day every day, trying to build this thing, and all of a sudden it's gone, it's just over," he said. "It's a little bit like something dies."

    Lore's experience informed the way he went about the sale of his next startup — Jet — to Walmart in 2016.

    When he and Doug McMillion, the CEO of Walmart, started talking about working together, Lore said, "The one piece was I didn't want to go down this path that we did last time, which was, 'Hey, we're going to let you do your thing.' Because I learned that lesson before. And Doug said, 'No, we actually want to give you the keys, and have you, your team, take the best of both worlds and drive this thing forward.'

    He went on: "That slight difference in sort of mentality meant everything — that was the difference between being depressed and being really happy. And so when people say, 'Yeah, but you sold,' and I said, 'Well, we sold the company, but we didn't sell out, which we did the first time.'"

    SEE ALSO: A Walmart executive who sold his first startup for $6 million, 2nd for $550 million, and 3rd for $3 billion, reveals how he became wildly successful

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