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The son of a Chinese billionaire has been banned from flying first class, playing golf, buying property, or going clubbing

16 hours 46 min ago

  • Wang Sicong, billionaire heir to Chinese real estate mogul Wang Jianlin, has been banned by a court order from traveling first class, buying property, staying in luxury hotels, going on vacations, playing golf, or visiting nightclubs.
  • According to The South China Morning Post, Wang was banned from these luxuries last month due to a Shanghai court order related to a lawsuit his e-sports company Shanghai Panda Entertainment Co lost.
  • News of the court order resurfaced in local media after it was revealed in a separate court case in Beijing that Wang owed a personal debt of about 151 million yuan ($21.6 million). 
  • Wang's court order may be in accordance with the country's strict social credit system, the country's massive ranking system, which monitors the behavior if its 1.4 billion citizens, according to The Daily Mail.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

Wang Sicong, the only son of Chinese real estate mogul Wang Jianlin and the heir to his estimated $12.5 billion fortune, has been banned from doing stereotypical billionaire heir activities: traveling and partying. 

According to The South China Morning Post, Wang was banned from these luxuries last month via a court order after his e-sports company Shanghai Panda Entertainment Co lost a lawsuit in Shanghai Jiading District Court. 

News of the court order resurfaced in local media on Monday after a separate court case said the 31-year-old owed a personal debt of about 151 million yuan ($21.6 million). 

According to The Post, the Shanghai ruling prevents Wang from traveling first class, buying property, staying in luxury hotels, going on vacations, playing golf, or visiting nightclubs. These restrictions may be lifted by the court if it appears to infringe on his legitimate business ventures, The Post added. 

The Millennial heir is commonly referred to as "China's most eligible bachelor" and often flaunts his wealth by throwing lavish star-studded parties, and buying expensive tech gadgets ⁠— including eight iPhones ⁠— for his dog, Coco. 

According to The Daily Mail, Wang's court order may be in accordance with the country's strict social credit system, the country's massive ranking system, which monitors the behavior if its 1.4 billion citizens. People can be rewarded or punished based on their social scores, and can be banned from activities like taking trains, flying, or staying in luxury hotels.

Offenses that could impact social credit ratings include failing to pay a fine, jaywalking, loitering, or even not picking up after your dog. The country is working to combine its 170+ million security cameras with artificial intelligence and facial recognition technology to create a vast surveillance state in order to keep tabs on citizen's activities. 

The system will be fully operational by 2020, but it has already been trialed in several cities across China. According to The Daily Mail, Wang has yet to be completely discredited by the system, but could face detention should he go against the order.

The social credit system has already punished millions of people with low rankings, barring them from buying plane tickets or taking trains last year, according to Associated Press

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AI IN BANKING: Artificial intelligence could be a near $450 billion opportunity for banks — here are the strategies the winners are using

Mon, 11/11/2019 - 10:01pm

Discussions, articles, and reports about the AI opportunity across the financial services industry continue to proliferate amid considerable hype around the technology, and for good reason: The aggregate potential cost savings for banks from AI applications is estimated at $447 billion by 2023, with the front and middle office accounting for $416 billion of that total, per Autonomous Next research seen by Business Insider Intelligence.

Most banks (80%) are highly aware of the potential benefits presented by AI, per an OpenText survey of financial services professionals. In fact, many banks are planning to deploy solutions enabled by AI: 75% of respondents at banks with over $100 billion in assets say they're currently implementing AI strategies, compared with 46% at banks with less than $100 billion in assets, per a UBS Evidence Lab report seen by Business Insider Intelligence. Certain AI use cases have already gained prominence across banks' operations, with chatbots in the front office and anti-payments fraud in the middle office the most mature. 

In this report, Business Insider Intelligence identifies the most meaningful AI applications across banks' front and middle offices. We also discuss the winning AI strategies used by financial institutions so far, and provide recommendations for how banks can best approach an AI-enabled digital transformation.

The companies mentioned in this report are: Capital One, Citi, HSBC, JPMorgan Chase, Personetics, Quantexa, and U.S. Bank

Here are some of the key takeaways from the report:

  • Front- and middle-office AI applications offer the greatest cost savings opportunity across banks. 
  • Banks are leveraging AI on the front end to smooth customer identification and authentication, mimic live employees through chatbots and voice assistants, deepen customer relationships, and provide personalized insights and recommendations. 
  • AI is also being implemented by banks within middle-office functions to detect and prevent payments fraud and to improve processes for anti-money laundering (AML) and know-your-customer (KYC) regulatory checks. 
  • The winning strategies employed by banks that are undergoing an AI-enabled transformation reveal how to best capture the opportunity. These strategies highlight the need for a holistic AI strategy that extends across banks' business lines, usable data, partnerships with external partners, and qualified employees.

In full, the report:

  • Outlines the benefits of using AI in the banking industry.
  • Details the key use cases for transforming the front and middle office using the technology.
  • Highlights players that have successfully implemented AI solutions.
  • Examines winning strategies used by financial institutions that are leveraging AI to transform their entire organizations. 
  • Discusses how banks can best capture the AI opportunity, including considerations on internal culture, staffing, operations, and data.

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  1. Purchase & download the full report from our research store. >> Purchase & Download Now
  2. Subscribe to a Premium pass to Business Insider Intelligence and gain immediate access to this report and more than 250 other expertly researched reports. As an added bonus, you'll also gain access to all future reports and daily newsletters to ensure you stay ahead of the curve and benefit personally and professionally. >> Learn More Now
  3. Current subscribers can log in and read the report here. >>Read the Report

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Google is working with a massive health system to gather data on millions of patients — here's an inside look at the tools they're developing

Mon, 11/11/2019 - 8:57pm

  • Google has been quietly working with the second-largest health system in the US on a healthcare data project.
  • Titled "Project Nightingale," the endeavor includes employees from Ascension and Google. Ascension and Google both acknowledged the program in statements on Monday, and said it complies with US healthcare privacy laws.
  • According to internal documents reviewed by Business Insider, Project Nightingale is a plan to move Ascension data onto Google's cloud services, add collaboration and G-Suite tools, and then build an electronic health records search tool. The ultimate goal is to improve the healthcare experience for patients, Ascension said.
  • The partnership has attracted controversy. Ascension patients weren't notified of the Google partnership, a source told BI. About 2,000 doctors and nurses in Ascension's network knew about the partnership, the source added.
  • Data on 20 million patients has been uploaded to the cloud as of November 2019, with data on another 30 million scheduled to be transferred by February 2020, the source said.
  • Click here for more BI Prime stories.

Google and the massive Ascension health system have been secretly working together on a project to store and analyze millions of patient medical records.

Ascension is transferring the personal and medical information of 50 million Ascension patients onto Google's cloud network. The Wall Street Journal first reported on the project on Monday. 

In return, Google gains access to the data, a source with knowledge of the matter told Business Insider. The source asked not to be identified because the information isn't public.

The partnership — titled "Project Nightingale" — involves Google helping Ascension move its data onto Google's Cloud services, add collaboration and G-Suite tools, followed by plans to build an electronic health record (EHR) search tool for patient records, according to internal documents reviewed by Business Insider.

The project is controversial, because patients weren't notified that their health information would be made available to Google, the person said. Google and Ascension both said the program follows US health privacy laws.

Google's Tariq Shaukat said the partnership is "a business arrangement to help a provider with the latest technology, similar to the work we do with dozens of other healthcare providers."

"These organizations, like Ascension, use Google to securely manage their patient data, under strict privacy and security standards," added Shaukat, who's president of industry products and solutions at Google Cloud.

The Ascension-Google partnership began late last year

Ascension is the second-largest health system in the US, spanning 21 states and 150 hospitals. In the year ended June 30, 2019, it brought in about $25 billion in revenue.

The partnership between Ascension and Google began late last year and ramped up in the summer and fall of 2019, according to the documents. 

As of November 2019, about 20 million patients' information has been uploaded to Google's Cloud services, with the remaining 30 million to be completed by February 2020, the source said.

About 2,000 out of the roughly 40,000 doctors and nurses in Ascension's hospital network were aware of the partnership, because they had been asked to test the electronic health records search system, the source added. 

The patient data that Ascension and Google are collecting

The project involves employees from different segments of Google and Ascension. Close to 150 Google employees from different organizations are able to access the data, internal documents show. Among those are employees from the Google Health, research, and Cloud teams.

The data collected in the Google-Ascension partnership includes: name, contact information, diagnoses, and medication orders, according to internal documents. The Ascension data that Google employees have access to includes patients' names and other personal information, according to the documents.

Under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, or HIPAA, the law that's in place to protect the privacy of patients' health information, health systems can share patient information with business partners.

That includes everything from the software companies providing the EHR to billing vendors. Patients are typically asked when they join a health system to sign papers acknowledging a health system's privacy practices covering the third parties the information will be shared with, Roger Cohen, a lawyer in Goodwin Partner's life sciences practice told Business Insider. 

"What's different is it's Google," Cohen said.

When it comes to big tech players rather than traditional health IT companies, there are broader public perceptions about how the data will be used, he said.  "It goes to in this area where you have to think not just about the law but public perception as well."

Ascension said in a release Monday that "all work related to Ascension's engagement with Google is HIPAA compliant and underpinned by a robust data security and protection effort and adherence to Ascension's strict requirements for data handling."

As part of the business associates agreement, Google employees do have access to identified patient data, a Google spokesperson clarified.  Ascension employees have raised concerns about how Google might use its access to patients' personal data on the EHR system, the source told Business Insider.

Google's patient search

At the core of the project is a patient search tool. According to a user guide for testers of the tool that was provided by a source, users can type in patient names to find matches, get an overview of a patient's information, view notes and lab reports, and get a view of patient results over time. The information in the user guide does not contain Ascension patient information, the document noted. 

Here's what it looks like:

The search gives users the ability to search through patients within Ascension, pulling up an overview of their health record with the ability to get a closer look at vitals or labs.

Much like Google Search, the forms are meant to correct for what medical providers are searching for. 

The reports can also provide a view of a patient's lab results over time.

Over the past year, Google has gotten deeper into healthcare, hiring Dr. David Feinberg to head up the Google Health division.

Feinberg's team is now responsible for coordinating health initiatives across Google, ranging from the company's search engine and map products, to its Android smartphone operating system, to more futuristic offerings in areas like artificial intelligence.

In his speech at a conference in October, Feinberg said that one of his first main goals for the team will be to oversee how health-related web searches come up, and work to improve that with the Google Search team.

Big tech's move into healthcare

Healthcare costs are rising for consumers, and numerous players all wanting control over the dollars flowing in and out. From the perspective of the fast-moving technology industry, change is slow going, leaving entrepreneurs and companies alike thinking, "There has to be an easier way." 

Tech powerhouses like Google, Amazon and Microsoft are increasingly focused on expanding in US healthcare. They've pursued strategies like selling software and computing services, offering hardware, and even shown some signs that they'll get into the business of providing healthcare.

And as health systems have been amassing more information, there's an emerging race to see which company might benefit from storing that data on their respective clouds and what other platforms or tools might sway healthcare companies to work with them.

According to Business Insider Intelligence, healthcare companies are projected to spend $11.4 billion on cloud computing in 2019. Amazon as of 2017 had about 46% of the cloud infrastructure market, while Microsoft had about 11%.

Amazon and Google have been landing major deals as well. In July, the health information technology giant Cerner said it had made Amazon Web Services its preferred cloud provider as it moved its business from being hosted on its own data centers to the cloud. The Minnesota-based Mayo Clinic in September signed Google as its cloud and AI partner.

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Robinhood's VP of product just left the buzzy stock-trading startup after less than 2 years on the job

Mon, 11/11/2019 - 8:16pm

  • Josh Elman, Robinhood's vice president of product, has left the buzzy stock-trading startup after less than two years in the role, Business Insider has learned.
  • Elman joined Robinhood in May 2018 from Greylock Investors, where he had most recently served as general partner at the well-known venture capital firm. 
  • Elman's time at Robinhood coincided with well-publicized missteps by the firm, including its failed announcement of a checking and savings product and the exposure of a glitch that allowed users access to infinite leverage. A source familiar with the matter said management did not tie the departure to the past events. 
  • Click here for more BI Prime stories. 

Josh Elman, the vice president of product at Robinhood, has left the buzzy stock-trading startup after less than two years on the job, Business Insider has learned.

Elman joined Robinhood in March 2018 after over eight years at Greylock Investors, where he had most recently served as a general partner at the venture capital firm. He remained on as a venture partner at Greylock, according to his LinkedIn, where he supported the investments he had made.

The announcement was made internally via an email Monday, according to a source familiar with the matter. No replacement was named, the source said, and those reporting directly to Elman will manage their respective teams for now. 

"After 20+ years of building and working with startups, it is time for a break," Elman told Business Insider in an emailed statement. "As Robinhood has just launched Cash Management and is well set up to build into 2020 and beyond, now is a perfect time to start that break."

"Under Josh's leadership, our product teams helped expand our offerings to include a revamped Robinhood Gold, global stocks, Newsfeed, Snacks, and most recently, cash managementt," a Robinhood spokesperson told Business Insider in an emailed statement. "We are incredibly grateful for his many contributions to our mission."

Elman's time at Robinhood coincided with two major missteps by the startup. However, management did not tie the departure to the events of the past 12 months, according to the source.

In December, Robinhood announced plans for a checking and savings product, only to backtrack a few days later after it was revealed the company hadn't checked that customers' money would be insured, despite saying it would be. 

Still, that didn't stop the company from attracting interest from investors, announcing in July it had raised a $323 million Series E round at a $7.6 billion valuation. 

However, Robinhood once again drew the spotlight this month when a glitch was discovered that allowed users to access "infinite leverage," with one user growing $4,000 into $1 million.  

A Robinhood spokesperson had said on Thursday the company closed the loophole and implemented a "permanent update" intended to "prevent anyone from engaging in this pattern of trades."

Got a tip? Contact this reporter via email at, Signal (646-768-1650) or direct message on Twitter @dandefrancesco.

SEE ALSO: The former CEO of a high-speed-trading firm is taking aim at Robinhood with a fintech startup that wants to pay you to trade

SEE ALSO: The inside story of how Robinhood, a $6 billion investing app for millennials, blew a huge launch so badly that Congress got involved

SEE ALSO: JPMorgan is taking aim at apps like Robinhood by quietly rolling out options trading to select You Invest customers

SEE ALSO: We got a leaked copy of the memo Robinhood sent to barred users who exploited its now infamous 'infinite money' glitch

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Disney heiress says people who are offended by the phrase 'OK Boomer' should 'sit the f--- down and let the kids drive'

Mon, 11/11/2019 - 8:06pm

  • Abigail Disney, the millionaire heiress of the Disney fortune, told fellow Boomers to "sit the f--k down and let the kids drive." 
  • Disney, the 59-year-old granddaughter of Roy O. Disney who co-founded the Walt Disney Company, offered scathing rebuke of her generation on Twitter and criticized their attitudes towards younger generations. 
  • "What the hell is wrong with you/us boomers?? When did you get so easily triggered?" she wrote. 
  • "Get over the idea that all things pass, you are old and you need to let history do what history does: move on."
  • Disney has recently come into the spotlight as a vocal supporter of imposing a wealth tax on the super-rich, a measure that 2020 Democrats like Sen. Bernie Sanders and Sen. Elizabeth Warren also support. 
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

Abigail Disney, the millionaire heiress of the Disney fortune, offered a scathing rebuke of fellow Boomers on Twitter, criticizing their attitudes towards younger generations and telling them to "sit the f--k down and let the kids drive." 

Disney, the 59-year-old granddaughter of Roy O. Disney who helped co-found The Walt Disney Company with Walt Disney, took aim at those in her generation offended by the phrase "OK Boomer." 

"What the hell is wrong with you/us boomers?? When did you get so easily triggered?" she tweeted on Monday. 

"Face up to the fact that the world is changing fast but you are not," she wrote. "You are old. You are not irrelevant yet. But you are less relevant every day." 

"OK, Boomer" is a phrase that is becoming popular with Millenials and Gen Zers to mock older generations, particularly Baby Boomers, who they see as out-of-touch. The phrase has become popular on TikTok, the video-sharing app marketed toward younger generations, and has even been used by a Millenial politician to dismiss hecklers.

Disney also slammed Baby Boomers' attitudes towards Millenials, who are less financially stable than previous generations and are dealing with the ever-growing threat of climate change.

"And the more often you object to Millenials' understandable resentment toward a generation that has selfishly poisoned their water, blown past every climate warning so they could drive their stupid hummers, and looked away or worse for sexual, racial and economic injustice, the more you prove their point that you just don't understand anything of value to them," she wrote. "Look, these kids are facing down a rising tide (literally) of changes that threatens everything you and I taught them to hold dear." 

"How about you guys sit the f--- down and let the kids drive," she continued.

"Get over the idea that all things pass, you are old and you need to let history do what history does: move on."

Disney has recently come into the spotlight as a vocal supporter of imposing a wealth tax on the super-rich. The measure would make America's ultra-wealthy pay taxes on their wealth every year. Several 2020 Democrats, including Sen. Elizabeth Warren and Sen. Bernie Sanders, have also been campaigning for the measure. 

Disney is among 19 ultrawealthy Americans who signed a letter in June asking presidential candidates to support a wealth tax.

She told the Financial Times in July that her net worth is around $120 million. She has also donated about $70 million of her personal fortune over the last three decades. 

"[Income inequality] is the game changer that we're living in right now," Disney said on "CNN Tonight" in June. "We're creating a superclass so far above the vast majority of people that they don't share the same planet anymore."

SEE ALSO: The Disney heiress who has demanded a wealth tax on the ultrarich and thinks private jets should be outlawed finally sets the record straight on her personal net worth

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BANKING AND PAYMENTS FOR GEN Z: These digital natives are the next big opportunity — here are the winning strategies

Mon, 11/11/2019 - 8:02pm

Generation Z, defined as customers born between 1996 and 2010, hold up to $143 billion in spending power, but haven't yet developed brand loyalties that dictate where they store and spend that money.

For banking and payments providers, attracting these customers while they're young could lead to lucrative relationships throughout their lives, with value increasing as they age, earn more money, and expand the number of financial products they engage with. 

Most Gen Zers haven't started using financial products beyond a bank account, which makes them a ripe opportunity for players in the space.

As a result, many firms target millennials and Gen Zers together in a push to attract younger customers, but this could be limiting their ability to effectively capture the interest of tweens, teens, and young adults, because Gen Z differs from their older counterparts. As a group, they're more responsive to influence from friends and peers than they are to traditional advertising, less likely to remember life before the internet, and more open to a wider variety of financial service providers than other consumers.

Understanding what makes Gen Zers tick is critical for marketers, strategists, and developers looking to cater to these younger customers and build out a suite of products, tools, and services that they'll want to adopt. In this report, Business Insider Intelligence will use a six-point framework — developed based on industry research and conversations — to explain the core attributes that Gen Z values in a product.

It will then explain how each of these attributes can be applied to banking and payments products, and offer actionable recommendations, strategies, and examples for how to implement them to grab younger customers ahead of the competition.

The companies mentioned in the report are: Affirm, American Express, Apple, Bank of America, Capital One, Citi, Current, Discover, Instagram, Google, Grab, Greenlight, JPMorgan Chase, Mastercard, PayPal, Uber, Venmo, Visa, Wells Fargo, Zelle

Here are some key takeaways from the report:

  • Gen Z's lack of financial services product adoption offers providers a long runway for growth. While two-thirds of Gen Zers have a bank account, many don't yet use debit cards, haven't aged into credit cards or loans, and aren't responsible for the bulk of their own spending. As they navigate life transitions, like going to college or getting a first job, there's ripe opportunity for providers to engage these customers.
  • Gen Z is more interested in digital payments products and services than any other generation. While adoption of mobile wallets has been tepid among the general population and P2P apps, like Venmo and Zelle, are just now gaining traction among older users, Gen Zers are diving in head first: Over half use digital wallets monthly, and over three-quarters use other digital payment apps or P2P apps in the same time frame.
  • To attract, engage, and retain Gen Zers, financial services firms must develop products that are social, authentic, digital-native, and educational, offer value, and evolve over time. This combination, which emphasizes key attributes that Gen Zers value, serve as a roadmap for developing offerings with features that appeal to these users in both the short and long run.

In full, the report:

  • Explains why Generation Z represents a meaningful and urgent opportunity for financial services providers.
  • Outlines a six-point framework for building services that can attract, engage, and retain Gen Zers.
  • Offers specific strategies that banks and payments providers can implement to build products tailored to this generation.
  • Evaluates examples of tactics that work in bringing Gen Zers into the fold and turning them into lifelong customers.

Interested in getting the full report? Here are two ways to access it:

  1. Purchase & download the full report from our research store. >> Purchase & Download Now
  2. Subscribe to a Premium pass to Business Insider Intelligence and gain immediate access to this report and more than 250 other expertly researched reports. As an added bonus, you'll also gain access to all future reports and daily newsletters to ensure you stay ahead of the curve and benefit personally and professionally. >> Learn More Now

The choice is yours. But however you decide to acquire this report, you've given yourself a powerful advantage in your understanding of the fast-moving world of Payments.

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2 months after Israeli startup Stoke was founded, it raised $4.5 million. Here's the pitch deck it used.

Mon, 11/11/2019 - 7:42pm

  • Stoke Talent is a new startup that offers a service for helping companies hire and manage freelance workers.
  • Corporate clients can use the system to find on-demand workers, make sure they fill out necessary paperwork once hired, and pay them.
  • CEO Shahar Erez founded the company earlier this year in response to the growing market for freelance workers and the lack of adequate tools for corporations to keep track of them.
  • The company used the pitch deck below to raise $4.5 million in seed funding in April.
  • Click here for more BI Prime stories.

The so-called gig economy may be under growing scrutiny, but Shahar Erez doesn't think the trend of companies hiring freelancers rather than full-time employees is going away any time soon.

In fact, Erez thinks corporate demand for ad-hoc workers is only going to get bigger. And he thinks he can profit from it by providing a service that helps companies hire and manage freelancers. 

Corporations "need to find a better way to tap into this — you know it's almost an unlimited resource pool," Erez, the CEO of Stoke Talent, told Business Insider in an interview earlier this month.

Erez cofounded Stoke in February and with it has built a human resources software system that's designed specifically to manage on-demand workers. Through Stoke, companies can find freelance designers, coders, and other kinds of workers; distribute to them required paperwork and help ensure that they complete and submit it; monitor freelance budgets; and pay workers.

The freelance market is growing

Stoke was a reaction, in part, to a growing market. California recently enacted a new law that places restrictions on companies classifying workers as contractors rather than full employees. And there's been growing attention paid to the amount — often very little — that people actually get paid working for gig economy companies such as Uber at Door Dash.

But there are more than 100 million freelance workers around the world, and that number has been growing much faster than the number of traditional employees, Erez said. And companies, which are looking for both flexibility and new skills, have an incentive to increase their use of such workers, he said.

Erez also formed Stoke in response to a need in the market. While companies are already hiring on-demand workers and likely will want to hire more, there just aren't very good systems in place for most of them to manage their freelancers, he said. It's not unusual for companies to rely on Excel spreadsheets or even Word documents to try to keep track of their on-demand workers, he said. 

As a result, freelancers often aren't getting paid on time, some are working without completed contracts, many have never signed a required non-disclosure agreement, and some still have access to internal corporate systems after they've completed their work for the companies, he said.

The process of managing freelance workers is "completely broken at almost every company that we interviewed," Erez said, continuing, "Across the board, there is complete chaos."

Other startups and companies, such as Amazon's Mechanical Turk and TaskRabbit, have set up marketplaces where freelancers can offer their service and companies and individuals can hire them. Stoke, by contrast, isn't running its own marketplace. Freelancers can't list their services directly on its system.

Stoke itself is expanding

Instead, Stoke is teaming up with other marketplaces, making their freelancers available to its customers. Stoke's clients can search across those marketplaces for particular kinds of workers. And then, once the clients find people to hire, Stoke's service helps get them integrated into the company, ensure that they receive and complete necessary paperwork and passing background checks. Stoke even takes care of paying the workers.

Clients reimburse Stoke for those payments and then pay it a service fee for each freelance invoice it processes for them.

Stoke, which is based in Tel Aviv, Israel, brought on board its first customer for testing in September, Erez said. It now has five corporate customers and dozens more in various stages of getting set up or signed up for the service, he said.

The company is planning to lure in many more. It received $4.5 million in seed funding in April in a round led by TLV Partners that its using to build out its engineering team and step up its marketing efforts. It's focusing on the US right now, and is in the process of opening an office in San Francisco. But it's already getting inquiries from European companies who'd like to use its service, Erez said.

As part of its team, Stoke has eight employees and eight freelancers. It's hired on-demand designers and developers, some of which work in its offices and some remotely, he said.

"We're eating our own dog food, if you will," Erez said.

Here's the pitch deck Stoke and Erez used to raise its $4.5 million in seed funding:

SEE ALSO: Here's the pitch deck a German software startup used to raise $10 million to move to San Francisco and take on Oracle

Stoke Pitch Deck page 01

Got a tip about venture capital or startups? Contact this reporter via email at, message him on Twitter @troywolv, or send him a secure message through Signal at 415.515.5594. You can also contact Business Insider securely via SecureDrop.

Wag's dog walkers are secretly rating your precious pet

Mon, 11/11/2019 - 7:05pm

  • Wag, an app that lets you book a dog walker on demand, is testing a new app feature that lets walkers rate their experience.
  • The goal is to give walkers a safe — and private — space to raise issues about the home, the app, or their interaction with the dog.
  • Wag's head of trust and safety comes from Uber, which also lets the service provider (the driver) score the user (the passenger).
  • Unlike Uber ratings, Wag users can't see their dog's walk score.
  • Click here for more BI Prime stories.

Most people know that they can rate their Uber driver, and that the Uber driver can rate passengers in return. If you slip far below the average passenger rating, you may even get booted from the service.

Now, the app perhaps best known as "Uber for dogs" has released a new feature that lets dog walkers do the same for your fur baby.

Wag, an app that lets you book a dog walker on demand, is testing an app feature that lets walkers rate their dog-walking experience on a scale of one to five paw prints. The rating is only visible to Wag, as a way to give walkers a safe space to lodge complaints or offer feedback, said Heather Rothenberg, who left a job as head of trust and safety at Uber to take a similar position at the Uber-for-dogs.

The feature comes at a time when Wag is fighting to gain the trust of users as it loses market share to its biggest competitor, Rover. Wag's sales have flattened over the last year, according to data analytics firm Second Measure, as the Los Angeles startup faces heavy scrutiny for dogs running away or, in rare cases, dying in its care. The company's new rate-your-walk feature could be a salve, helping walkers alert Wag to issues before something goes really wrong.

"Wag is a community of people who love dogs — walkers, pet parents, and the employees who work here," said Rothenberg, Wag's vice president of corporate affairs and trust and safety. "So we recognize that the experience has to feel safe and fun and useful for everyone.

"... The walkers and the pet parents need to feel like they're getting the kind of attention, care, and thoughtfulness that they deserve."

Only Wag can see the walker's rating

Wag's dog ratings might not be the slippery slope that sends us into the feared "social credit" systems of dystopian movies (or, of China). But if a social credit system were ever to take root in the US, it's a sign that you can probably expect your pet to be rated too.

Here's how Wag's dog ratings works:

At the end of a dog walk, the walker answers a series of prompts. They can leave notes to help other walkers who match with a particular pet in the future, such as where to find parking and what triggers, like skateboards or squirrels, riled up the dog. The walker also sends a report card to the pet parent. It includes the length and distance of the walk, if the dog pottied, a photo, and other notes.

In September, Wag added a prompt for rating their experience.

For now, dog owners can't see the walker's rating. That's in part to protect the walker's privacy, Rothenberg said. If a user has only booked two walks on the app, and the dog's score tanks after the second walk, it would be pretty clear to the dog owner who gave them a bad rating. And a poorly rated walk might not be the dog's fault. The app asks the walker what went wrong, and they can choose from prompts like faulty equipment or issues with the app.

"It may be that this person decided that they really don't want to handle a 100-pound Mastiff"

It's important to note that the rating is a reflection of the overall walk, and is not based alone on the interaction with the dog.

If the walker reports feeling like the dog should be removed from the app, they're encouraged to call Wag's trust and safety team. It will interview the walker about what happened, as well as the dog owner, to get a "holistic picture" of what happened, Rothenberg said.

"It may be that this person decided that they really don't want to handle a 100-pound Mastiff. It's a large dog that they thought they would be OK with, but they're not," Rothenberg said. "But that doesn't necessarily mean the dog shouldn't be on the platform."

Wag has raised $361 million in venture capital funding, mostly from investment juggernaut SoftBank. Its struggles have led the company to seek a potential buyer, according to a recent report in Recode.

SEE ALSO: Dog-walking startup Wag got a whopping $300 million from SoftBank and hired a new CEO

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Darktrace and Depop backer Balderton Capital is raising a new $400 million fund for European startups

Mon, 11/11/2019 - 7:01pm

  • One of Europe's biggest startup investors has a new $400 million fund to focus on early-stage startup investments. 
  • London headquartered Balderton Capital's new fund will invest in Series A rounds.
  • The firm's portfolio includes companies like Revolut, Citymapper, Darktrace, Depop, and GoCardless.
  • Click here for more BI Prime stories

Europe's startups will soon have access to a massive new pool of funding.

London-headquartered venture capital firm Balderton has launched a new $400 million investment fund to back early-stage startups in Europe.

The firm specializes in Series A rounds, the frequency of which has increased fourfold in Europe since 2012, according to its analysis.

Last year saw a record high funding for European startups with  with the total amount of venture capital funding flowing into European startups hitting $27.2 billion. 

It's a prominent sector of the market for a number of reasons due to the quality and maturity of startup teams in Europe, as a result of more second-time founders coming forward with new projects, according to Lars Fjeldsoe-Nielsen, a partner at Balderton.  

"Series A is the inflection point where a company really starts to go global and in Europe it's usually about scaling a company into the US market," Fjeldsoe-Nielsen told Business Insider in an interview at Web Summit in Lisbon. 

While not as dramatic as in the US, valuations have grown in Europe in recent years as startups become increasingly attractive to investors outside the continent. The rise in prices has made differentiation among Europe's top funds more important than ever.

"Capital is so much more accessible to companies than before and funds are sitting on a lot of cash," he added. "For us it's not about the cash but the value and we provide that. Companies speak to other founders in our portfolio and they help each other grow."

Balderton, which has been in operation since 2000, has seven partners with its latest fund coming in larger than its previous $375 million effort with its most recent offering significantly oversubscribed, according to Fjeldsoe-Nielsen. 

Unicorns such Revolut and DarkTrace feature in Balderton's portfolio alongside healthtech companies such as Healx, regtech providers like ComplyAdvantage, and scooter company VOI. Since the beginning of 2018, Balderton's portfolio has attracted over $2bn in follow-on funding across 15 countries. 

SEE ALSO: Gruelling army training and a culture of risk: 4 investors and founders reveal why Israel is a unicorn startup factory

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REPORT: Ant Financial and Tencent are rapidly growing their financial services ecosystems — here's exactly what they offer and where we think they'll go next (TCEHY)

Mon, 11/11/2019 - 5:00pm

Over the past 15 years, spending in China has become increasingly powered by mobile payments. In Q4 2018, China's third-party mobile payments industry was estimated to be worth 47.2 trillion yuan ($6.8 trillion) per Analysys, as cited by TechNode. This eclipsed the country's total retail sales for all of 2018, which came in at 38.1 trillion yuan ($5.5 trillion).

The mobile payments market is controlled by Ant Financial's Alipay, which held a leading 53.8% market share in Q4 2018, and Tencent's WeChat Pay, which, along with fellow Tencent-owned payment service QQ Wallet, commanded a 38.9% share.

Ant and Tencent's combined mobile payments dominance means that other companies need to actively work with or against the powerhouses, especially as they've also stretched into other financial services, including peer-to-peer (P2P) payments, cross-border capabilities, wealth management features, consumer lending, and insurance. 

Payments companies worldwide must take notice of Ant Financial and Tencent's success, strategies, and potential expansion, as they won't succeed in the extremely valuable Chinese market without understanding how the two companies are expanding their reach. And those payments companies settled in other countries should also familiarize themselves with the two companies and their successes, as both have been expanding internationally.

In Fintech Disruptors From The East, Business Insider Intelligence looks at a variety of financial services offered by Ant Financial and Tencent, the different categories they fall under, and the benefits each one offers the firms. We also examine their current strategies for expansion and consider the steps they may take in the future to grow their businesses, both in China and abroad.

The companies mentioned in this report are: Alibaba, Alipay, Ant Financial, Chase, Citcon, First Data, GCash, Go-Jek, Grab,, Line, Moneygram International, Paytm, QQ, Telenor Microfinance Bank, Tencent, Uber, WeBank, WeChat, WeChat Pay, WeChat Payments Score, Weixin, WeSure, and Wirecard.

Here are some of the key takeaways from the report:

  • Ant Financial and Tencent dominate China's huge mobile payments industry through Alipay and WeChat Pay, and both firms have built cohesive financial ecosystems to further attract consumers and their funds.
  • Generally, Ant Financial's payments and financial services are further developed, but Tencent's huge user base thanks to WeChat has helped it gain ground.
  • Ant and Tencent have expanded their services in Southeast Asia, but Ant appears more interested in further growing its reach.

In full, the report:

  • Examines the financial ecosystems of Ant Financial and Tencent.
  • Analyzes the offerings of Alipay and WeChat Pay as well as how they grew to their current positions atop the Chinese mobile payment market.
  • Details Ant Financial and Tencent's financial features beyond Alipay and WeChat Pay and how they create a more comprehensive slate of offerings.
  • Looks at the expansion of both companies and considers what each may do next, both in China and abroad.

Interested in getting the full report? Here are two ways to access it:

  1. Purchase & download the full report from our research store. >> Purchase & Download Now
  2. Subscribe to a Premium pass to Business Insider Intelligence and gain immediate access to this report and more than 250 other expertly researched reports. As an added bonus, you'll also gain access to all future reports and daily newsletters to ensure you stay ahead of the curve and benefit personally and professionally. >> Learn More Now

The choice is yours. But however you decide to acquire this report, you've given yourself a powerful advantage in your understanding of Ant Financial and Tencent's rapidly expanding array of financial services.

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Saudi Aramco’s record-shattering IPO is on the horizon. Here are 6 of the biggest risks the company sees moving forward.

Mon, 11/11/2019 - 3:51pm

  • Saudi Aramco filed its prospectus late Saturday, giving potential shareholders a new look at the company's performance before its initial public offering.
  • The state-owned company is set to float the largest IPO in history, and the prospectus details a number of risks the firm anticipates moving forward.
  • Aramco faces pressure from political unrest in the region, armed conflicts, climate change movements, government ties, and future oil demand.
  • Even the size of the offering could pose issues for traders, as any IPO of this size is "unprecedented," Aramco wrote.
  • Visit the Business Insider homepage for more stories.

Saudi Aramco published its prospectus late Saturday, detailing several risks the state-owned company anticipates.

The oil conglomerate's public debut is set to be the largest IPO in history. Though the prospectus didn't suggest a valuation, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman has previously stated Aramco should be valued at $2 trillion.

Bankers have had a harder time estimating the company's worth, offering valuations ranging from $1.1 trillion to $2.5 trillion. A closer estimate should arrive November 17 when individual investors can begin bidding on shares. The process ends December 4 and will yield a final offer price ahead of a larger public sale.

The prospectus details how the share offerings will take place, and is meant to market the shares to potential investors. Here are six key risk factors highlighted in the document and how they could drag the company's valuation lower in the future.

Armed conflict

Two Aramco facilities were forced to cut production after September 14 drone attacks crippled much of the company's infrastructure. The strikes reportedly led Aramco to delay its IPO as it looked to give investors more detail around how the attack harmed revenues, and the conglomerate cited additional attacks as a key risk moving forward.

The September attacks prompted a 20% spike in oil's price per barrel — the most on record — and led Aramco to slash more than half of its daily barrel production. CEO Amin Nasser told CNBC on October 9 that the firm would return to "maximum sustained capacity" by the end of November.

September's drone strikes weren't the only time Aramco has been the focus of armed conflict this year. Unmanned aerial vehicles targeted the East-West pipeline in May, and the Shaybah oil field was damaged in August attacks. Additional attacks from terrorists, rebels, or other armed forces "could have a material adverse effect" on Aramco's revenue stream and the world's oil supply as a whole, the prospectus said.

Climate change

Recent global protests against climate change have increased public scrutiny of oil producers, and Aramco's large footprint in the industry leaves it particularly vulnerable to a mass movement toward sustainable energy. Aramco cited governments' pressures to reduce greenhouse gas emissions as a critical threat to oil demand, and called the landscape of GHG-emission laws "difficult to predict with certainty."

The oil conglomerate also noted that the mix of domestic and international climate policies such as the Paris Agreement establish several different paces for the development of green-energy laws. Any significant shift away from hydrocarbon-based fuels could force Aramco "to incur costs or invest additional capital," according to the prospectus.

Peak oil

The company's prospectus included an industry assessment from consulting firm IHS Markit, which showed oil demand starting to contract as soon as 2035. Though Aramco didn't specifically endorse the findings, their inclusion points to a major hurdle down the road.

A second projection — which takes a faster move to renewables into account — suggests peak oil demand will arrive in the late 2020s. Such a deadline would give Aramco less than a decade to diversify its revenue stream and move away from hydrocarbon fuels.

The company's chief executive previously wrote off renewable energy as a threat to Aramco's main product, attaching additional significance to the IHS study. He deemed the move to renewables as "not based on logic and facts," and said their popularity was "formed mostly in response to pressure and hype" during a February 26 speech.

Political and social instability

Aramco's prospectus highlights the significance of the Middle East and North Africa region as both a hub for its operations and for many of its customers. Yet years of political unrest in the area could cripple key efficiencies.

The company cites the Suez Canal and the Straight of Hormuz as critical shipping routes for its crude oil business. Four oil tankers were sabotaged near the Straight of Hormuz in May 2019, and a British oil tanker was seized by Iranian forces in the same area in July. The two routes are "subject to political or armed conflict from time to time," Aramco noted, adding that heightened tensions could endanger large deliveries. 

Conflict in areas around Saudi Arabia also threaten Aramco's production. The prospectus highlights numerous ongoing conflicts and warns they could impact the company's facilities, infrastructure and reserves.

"Armed conflict is currently ongoing in Yemen, Iraq, Syria and Libya," the company wrote. "Such social unrest and political and security concerns may not abate, may worsen and could spread to additional countries."

Government ties

The fuel industry is "the single largest contributor to the Kingdom's economy," according to the prospectus, and Aramco plays a key role in driving the Saudi government's income. The oil sector accounted for 63% of the government's total revenue in 2017, and the nation "is expected to continue to rely on royalties, taxes and other income" from the industry.

The document warns that any major headwinds to Aramco's business could drag the nation's  GDP, payments, trade policies, and cash reserves. Additionally, any government funding shortfalls could lead the nation to shift tax policy and collect more from Aramco's revenue. Higher taxes could put pressure on dividends, buybacks, or other shareholder-friendly actions, and drag Aramco share prices lower as investors grow less interested in the firm.

The offering's size

Aramco's IPO will begin on Saudi Arabia's domestic exchange, and the offering's record-breaking size could be an unavoidable hurdle.

"An initial public offering in the Kingdom of this kind and size is unprecedented," the company wrote. "Any disruption in trading of the Shares could impact their market price and delay the ability to conduct transactions."

The domestic Tadawul stock exchange dropped 2.4% when Aramco officially kicked off its IPO. Investors had been anticipating the offering for weeks. But as the IPO date nears, investors are selling other Saudi stocks to shore up cash for Aramco shares. Any major moves in the index could bring market disruptions and unexpected trading activity. 

Aramco's prospectus also highlights the modernization of the Tadawul trading platform, and concerns around whether the system can handle the high volume trading expected to come with the IPO. The changes to the platform and its procedures "are untested and there can be no assurance that they will adequately facilitate" the listing, according to the company.

Now read more markets coverage from Markets Insider and Business Insider:

One cryptocurrency investor reportedly lost $24 million worth of bitcoin in a SIM swap attack

UBS faces a $51 million fine for overcharging Hong Kong accounts through excess trade fees

We got a leaked copy of the memo Robinhood sent to barred users who exploited its now infamous 'infinite money' glitch

Who has the best cheap car insurance in Virginia?

Mon, 11/11/2019 - 3:34pm

  • Car Insurance in Virginia is fairly affordable. The average driver pays $785 per year for coverage, according to the Insurance Information Institute. 
  • The best cheap car insurance comes from USAA and Nationwide for drivers with good or better credit, and GEICO for those with poor credit, according to Consumer Reports. 
  • But, drivers who make the time to shop around for their car insurance coverage will save the most. Get quotes from several different insurers and compare them to find the best coverage for you. 
  • Read more personal finance coverage. 
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Finding the best cheap car insurance in Virginia will involve some shopping around. While it's not expensive to insure your car in Virginia — the average driver pays $785 per year according to the Insurance Information Institute — there are some big opportunities to save. 

Every insurance policy is different, and everyone's premium, or cost to maintain coverage, will be different depending on a variety of factors. Every insurance company prices these differently, and will look at a variety of factors and weigh them differently. Things like your driving history, age, credit score, and even the type of car you drive will determine the price you'll pay. 

That said, it's important to shop around and find the right coverage for you. To get you started on your search, there are three companies with standout rates for the best cheap car insurance coverage in Virginia. 

Who has the best cheap car insurance in Virginia?

Consumer Reports compiled a list of the best cheap car insurance in each state, gathering pricing information from every insurance company. Here are the three best insurance companies offering the best rate at each credit level, along with the average yearly premium for each:

Drivers with good with good credit scores (between 670 and 739, according to FICO) will see the best coverage from USAA, Nationwide and State Farm, on average. 

  • USAA car insurance:  $667 per year
  • Nationwide car insurance: $1,068 per year
  • State Farm car insurance: $1,166 per year

Drivers with excellent credit scores (800 or above) will see some of the most affordable car insurance, on average.

  • USAA car insurance: $505 per year
  • Nationwide car insurance: $951 per year
  • State Farm car insurance: $964 per year

Drivers with poor credit scores below 579 will pay the most for coverage, on average, but these three companies are the most affordable in Virginia: 

  • GEICO car insurance: $1,437 per year
  • Nationwide car insurance: $1,550 per year 
  • USAA car insurance: $1,959 per year
Who gets the best cheap car insurance in Virginia? 

As the numbers show above, the better the credit score, the more affordable the car insurance. Drivers with the best credit scores typically pay the least for their coverage. 

But, that doesn't mean that there aren't opportunities to save. By shopping around for your coverage, you can easily see which companies offer you the best coverage for your money. Because each insurance company gives different prices for coverage based on different factors, shopping around can help you find the company that will offer you the best coverage for your money.

To start shopping around, get quotes from several different insurance companies and compare them. You'll want to look past the premium and consider things like the coverage types and limits, and look at the deductible, or the amount you'll pay for coverage if you get into an accident.

The best policy is the one that offers you the most types of coverage and the highest limits with the lowest deductible and premium. By shopping around, you can find the best insurance for you, and find the most coverage for your budget. 

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NOW WATCH: How to find water when you're stuck in the desert

Inside a 'historic day' at the Middle East's biggest oil and gas conference, where all the world's top energy CEOs gathered to sign a deal that could permanently change the industry

Mon, 11/11/2019 - 3:32pm

  • The annual Abu Dhabi International Petroleum Exhibition & Conference (ADIPEC) is being held from November 11 to 14.
  • During his opening remarks, Dr. Sultan Ahmed Al Jaber — the CEO of the Abu Dhabi National Oil Company — officially announced a new deal to trade futures on a type of crude called Murban.
  • ADNOC will do so in partnership with Intercontinental Exchange, which will launch ICE Futures Abu Dhabi, or IFAD.
  • Energy executives from industry titans like BP, Shell, and PetroChina were on hand to join the festivities — and sign up as official partners.
  • The announcement was the talk of day one at ADIPEC. Here's what we saw.
  • Click here for more BI Prime stories

ABU DHABI — Dr. Sultan Ahmed Al Jaber couldn't help but smile.

He'd just officially announced a new deal to trade futures on a highly valuable type of crude oil produced in his native United Arab Emirates, and the crowd had gone wild with applause.

It was part of his opening remarks at the 2019 edition of the Abu Dhabi International Petroleum Exhibition & Conference (ADIPEC). In what was an otherwise straight-laced address — touching upon other timely subjects like sustainability and digitization — the CEO of the Abu Dhabi National Oil Company clearly enjoyed sharing the news, which appears set to change the energy industry as we know it.

The resource in question is called Murban, a light crude grade of which 1.7 million barrels a day are produced in the UAE, accounting for more than half of the nation's output. In order for the futures to be transacted widely, Intercontinental Exchange will launch ICE Futures Abu Dhabi, which will be known as IFAD.

Based on comments made by Al Jaber, it's clear both he and those at ICE view Murban futures as a potential third major global crude benchmark — something that can slot in alongside Brent and WTI. Al Jaber also remarked that the futures will allow ADNOC to extract even more value from its precious crude.

"This is a very important, historic day for Abu Dhabi, ADNOC, and the industry," he told a packed room of reporters and oil executives during a post-announcement press conference. "Given significant flows of Murban, particularly in Asia, we believe the market is very ready for a new, more geographically relevant market."

The launch of IFAD is hardly Al Jaber's first big splash since taking over as CEO of ADNOC in 2016. In November 2017, he issued a $3 billion bond, the first in company history. It ended up three times oversubscribed.

Then, in December 2017, he completed an $851 million initial public offering for 10% of the company's oil distribution unit. It was Abu Dhabi's biggest IPO in a decade. And in October 2018, Al Jaber sold a 5% stake in ADNOC's drilling arm to Baker Hughes for $550 million, valuing the unit at roughly $11 billion.

Based on Monday's press conference at ADIPEC, he has the entire industry's attention.

A who's who of energy-industry royalty

Even before Al Jaber and his fellow energy-industry titans took the stage to sign up for their roles in the historic deal, the buzz in the conference hall was palpable.

"Bob Dudley from BP is over there," one unnamed attendee remarked to his colleague. "We sat on the wrong side. They're all here."

Who exactly? Chief executives from BP, Total, PetroChina, Shell, Vitol, Taiwan's PTT, Japan's JXTG, Korea's GS Caltex, and Inpex. They flanked Al Jaber as he delivered remarks, then simultaneously signed the shareholder agreement, inking themselves as partners for ICE's new exchange.

"Murban has the characteristics to be a great new global crude market," Dudley, the CEO of BP, said in a prepared remark. "I think we're watching today, in the oil and gas industry, a piece of history."

Russell Hardy, group CEO of Vitol, added: "Murban already serves as a reference group for many Asian refiners, and the launch of this new benchmark will facilitate hedging and enable the development of a strong, complementary financial market."

Following the conference, the lively throng that followed Al Jaber — from the opening ceremony, through the airport-hangar-sized convention center, and into the conference hall — swelled further in size after the presser ended. The ADNOC CEO snapped photos with each individual partner as onlookers took their own camera-phone shots.

Rationale from an ICE president

After the hubbub surrounding the announcement died down a bit, Business Insider sat down for an interview with Stuart Williams — president of ICE Futures Europe — to discuss the rationale for the agreement. He also provided the line of thinking from ICE's point of view.

Williams laid out three key reasons why the partnership makes sense:

1) Abu Dhabi and the United Arab Emirates have long proven to be effectively governed

"Within the region, you have the perfect combination of a location that has rule of law and a regulatory system that's very familiar to the global community," Williams told Business Insider.

2) ADNOC made a key change in its distibution approach in order to get the deal done

"You've got a national oil company in ADNOC that's extraordinarily strategic and forward-thinking in the sense that it's now willing to go destination-free, which is a key component for benchmarking," Williams said.

3) The existence of a Murban exchange will make it much easier to hedge Asian oil risk

"You have a global benchmark that is Brent, a US benchmark that is WTI, and now we're going to have an Asian benchmark at a comparable grade," he said. "You have comparable qualities across different geographies, which makes the ability to hedge crude coming out of any of those regions, coming into Asia, that much more precise."

In the end, Williams sees the two entities fitting together nicely, in complementary fashion.

"We bring a distribution network, ADNOC brings its fantastic crude with a regulatory system in place," he said. "It has a good chance going forward to becoming a global benchmark."

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NOW WATCH: A big-money investor in juggernauts like Facebook and Netflix breaks down the '3rd wave' firms that are leading the next round of tech disruption

Tesla's setting up for a strong 2020 that could send the stock to an all time high, according to Jefferies (TSLA)

Mon, 11/11/2019 - 3:24pm

  • Jefferies upgraded its price target for Tesla to $400 from $300, reflecting expectations of higher earnings and an improved balance sheet, according to a Monday note from analyst Philippe Houchois. 
  • Shares of Tesla gained as much as 3.51% Monday.
  • Jefferies raised its 2020 EBIT estimate for Tesla by 24%, saying stabilizing performance in 2019 is setting the company up for growth in 2020. 
  • Watch Tesla trade live on Markets Insider.

Tesla's setting the foundation for a return to growth in 2020, according to Philippe Houchois, an analyst at Jefferies. 

Jefferies raised its price target for the electric-car company to $400 from $300 Monday and reaffirmed its "buy" rating.

That's a 15% increase from where Tesla currently trades around $345 per share, and is also about 4% higher than Tesla' all time high price of $383.45 on June 23, 2017. Only Pierre Ferragu at New Street Research has a higher target price for the automaker at $530. 

Shares were up as much as 3.51% in early trading before slipping slightly to a 2% plus gain. 

Jefferies increased its price target because it expects higher earnings and an improved balance sheet from the company going forward. It raised its 2020 EBIT guidance for Tesla 24% to $1.6 billion after the company's third quarter earnings showed a "clear trend of cost performance," according to a Monday note. 

As Tesla has produced more affordable versions of its cars, it's shown that it can maintain gross margins —the difference between how much cars sell for and what they cost to make. In the third quarter, the gross margin excluding credit "was above the 20% level from where we think Tesla starts building profitability," he wrote. Jefferies has forecast gross margin to be 23% by 2021, up from 18.8% in 2018. 

The pricing of Model 3's made in China, plus deferred revenue recognition from Tesla's Autopilot feature, suggest that average selling prices have stopped falling for now, and will pick back up again when the Model Y begins production in 2020, according to Houchois.  

Jefferies also boosted its full-year 2019 EBIT estimate by $83 million, and expects that capex for the fourth quarter will be between $550 million and $600 million, putting capex for the full year below $1.5 billion. 

Improved performance aside, Jefferies doesn't think that Tesla will have only smooth sailing from now on, according to the note. The fourth quarter could show weak delivery numbers, the company's low levels of capex are a concern, and there are "risks inherent in ramping up the new plant in China," Houchois wrote.  

Still, an improved 2019 "sets a better foundation for a return to growth in 2020 revenue and earnings," Houchois wrote.

The automaker has a consensus price target of $273.28 with 11 "buy" ratings, nine "hold" ratings, and 16 "sell" ratings, according to Bloomberg data. 

Tesla is up 4% year to date.

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NOW WATCH: A big-money investor in juggernauts like Facebook and Netflix breaks down the '3rd wave' firms that are leading the next round of tech disruption

A surprising number of millennials are saving for retirement, and they're making Gen X look bad

Mon, 11/11/2019 - 3:12pm

Millennials are lapping Gen Xers when it comes to retirement prep.

Insider and Morning Consult recently surveyed Americans about their financial health, debt, earnings, and savings. Of the roughly 2,000 survey respondents, 670 were millennials, defined as ages 23 to 38 this year, and 566 were Gen X, defined as ages 39 to 54 this year. 

A full 45% of millennials have a retirement savings account, such as a 401(k) or IRA, and 33% are actively contributing to it, according to the survey.

Despite being closer to traditional retirement age than millennials, Gen Xers on the whole don't have much to show for it. Exactly half of Gen Xers have a retirement account and 36% are actively contributing — just 3% more than the succeeding generation.

What's more, data from a recent Wells Fargo survey found that the same share of millennials and Gen Xers — 14% — have between $25,000 and $100,000 saved in personal retirement accounts.

Wells Fargo's data suggests Gen Xers may be falling behind on personal savings because they expect Social Security and pensions to pick up the slack. About 37% of Gen Xers plan to fund their retirement mostly with Social Security or a pension, while 41% said they'll rely mostly on their own savings, the survey found.

Millennials, on the other hand, are more self-reliant. Only 25% of millennials expect to rely on Social Security and pensions for retirement income, while 45% say their personal savings will be more important.

It can be tough to prioritize saving for the future when current expenses are bogging us down, but the math shows that starting early — even with the smallest amount —pays off. If two people save $100 a month for retirement, but one starts at 25 and the other starts at 35, the early saver will have nearly twice as much in their bank account by age 65.

According to the Morning Consult survey, both millennials and Gen Xers without retirement savings accounts blame the same things: unemployment and low income. Not earning enough to save was cited as a major reason by about 62% of Gen Xers and 53% of millennials who don't have a retirement plan (the respondents were able to choose more than one answer). Unemployment was cited as a major reason by 43% of Gen Xers and 46% of millennials.

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NOW WATCH: 9 items to avoid buying at Costco

This is the 19-slide pitch deck two 22-year-olds used to nab $57 million in funding from Silicon Valley

Mon, 11/11/2019 - 3:02pm

Technology is shattering legacy financial systems that can't keep pace with market demand — and Brex is at the forefront. It's one of fintechs buzziest startups, aiming to rebuild B2B financial products starting with corporate cards for technology companies.

The company was quietly launched in 2017 by Henrique Dubugras and Pedro Franceschi, two 22-year-old engineers who previously founded, one of Brazil's largest payment processors.

Brex already has more than 1,000 customers signed up with the help of backing from investors including PayPal co-founders Peter Thiel and Max Levchin, early Facebook investor Yuri Milner, former Visa CEO Carl Pascarella, and esteemed startup incubator Y Combinator.

And we caught a glimpse of the Series B pitch deck Dubugras and Franceschi used to win them over. 

In it, they lay out a clear problem: Technology startups often had trouble securing corporate credit cards — even if they had millions in the bank — because legacy banks and card issuers wanted to see company credit histories, which young institutions simply couldn't produce.

They had a simple solution: Remove the restrictions of legacy technology by giving instant approval to startups based on their available cash balance, including money raised through venture, rather than credit history. 

In the deck, the founders outlined their plans to help startups of all sizes instantly get cards with higher limits, as well as automatic expense management and seamless integration with existing accounting systems.

As part of our coverage of the genesis of today's successful companies, BI Prime received Brex's permission to offer a look into the startup's full 19-slide pitch deck, which includes considerations such as:

  • The startup's mission
  • Key team members and previous backers
  • The size of the market opportunity
  • A step-by-step plan of how to solve credit cards for startups
  • Some of the card's coolest features
  • Data points showing how to scale the business

BI Prime is publishing dozens of stories like this each and every day. Want to get started by reading the full pitch deck?

>> Download it now FREE

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A longtime recruiter for Igor Tulchinsky is leaving WorldQuant to start his own business, sources tell us

Mon, 11/11/2019 - 2:58pm

  • Manu Bakshi, a managing director at WorldQuant focused on recruiting, is leaving the Millennium-connected manager after nearly eight years, sources tell Business Insider.
  • Bakshi will start his own venture, a source familiar with the situation told Business Insider.
  • WorldQuant's recruiting efforts have changed the way many hedge funds think about sourcing quant talent. Founder Igor Tulchinsky has pushed to find people in parts of the world that have not traditionally been a hedge-fund hotbed. 
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WorldQuant is losing a longtime recruiter, sources tell Business Insider, as managing director Manu Bakshi is set to leave the firm soon.

Bakshi, who was with Igor Tulchinsky's firm for nearly eight years, is planning to start his own firm, sources tell Business Insider. Prior to working for WorldQuant, Bakshi was London-based recruiter Harvey Nash, according to his LinkedIn. 

Bakshi did not respond to requests for comment, while a spokesman for WorldQuant declined to comment. 

WorldQuant has a global recruiting team, and has changed the way many hedge funds think about finding talent, especially quant talent. Tulchinsky, who founded WorldQuant in 2007 while he was a portfolio manager for Izzy Englander's Millennium, is from Belarus and has offices in 18 different countries. The firm's website states that the firm has more than 750 people. 

The firm also hosts a platform known as the WorldQuant Accelerator that allows for quants anywhere to submit their strategy with the hopes of using WorldQuant's infrastructure so the investors can focus on their algorithms and not running a business.

The goal, Tulchinsky said in an interview with Bloomberg in 2018, is to take any "intuition" out of investing.

"The more models you have and the better the models are, the less you need to rely on intuition. Today at WorldQuant, we have millions of alpha signals, so we don't need to use intuition very much. That's the goal," he said in the Bloomberg interview. 

The firm still runs billions for Millennium along with capital that Tulchinsky's firm has raised for a separate fund.

While quant funds have exploded in both number of managers and assets, a collapse in momentum stocks earlier this year had many concerned that performance would be underwhelming for the year. To ease concerns about potential impact on bonus payments, WorldQuant sent a company-wide email in September guaranteeing employees at 75% of last year's bonus. 

SEE ALSO: WorldQuant's Igor Tulchinsky just guaranteed his team 75% of last year's performance bonus to soothe nerves as quant funds get slammed

SEE ALSO: Hedge funds are getting swamped by alternative data. Some want to fast-track how they buy it and focus back on trades.

SEE ALSO: Izzy Englander just landed a quant team that was managing hundreds of millions for billionaire Michael Platt

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15 people who became billionaires in 2019 — and 14 who lost their status in the three-comma club

Mon, 11/11/2019 - 2:58pm

Not everyone who becomes a billionaire stays one.

A proliferation of IPOs created several new billionaires in 2019 — but a turbulent stock market also knocked many entrepreneurs out of the three comma club.

Last year was not an easy year to be a billionaire, Business Insider previously reported. 2018 was the first time in seven years that high net worth individuals saw their fortunes shrink, according to French technology consulting firm Capgemini. Billionaires across the globe lost 7% of their collective net worth in 2018 due to market instability at the end of the year, Wealth-X also found in its 2019 Billionaire Census. Slowing economic growth across the globe and trade tensions also contributed to the wealth drop, according to Wealth-X.

Keep reading to learn more about the people who became billionaires — and those who lost their billionaire status — in 2019.

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Social media and makeup mogul Kylie Jenner made headlines when she was declared "the world's youngest self-made billionaire" by Forbes in March.

Net worth: $1 billion as of March 2019

Jenner, who turned 22 in August, has built up a cosmetics empire, starred alongside her family in "Keeping Up with the Kardashians" as well as in her own spin-off show "Life of Kylie," started a clothing line with her sister, and made millions promoting products on Instagram.

Forbes estimated that Jenner's company, Kylie Cosmetics, is worth $900 million. That plus the cash she has pulled in from the business brings her to billionaire status, Forbes said.

Many have criticized Forbes calling Jenner "self-made," saying she was born into wealth and privilege, as Business Insider's Katie Warren previously reported. In February, Jenner responded to the backlash in an interview with Paper magazine, saying, "The self-made thing is true" and adding that her parents "cut her off at the age of 15."

Proactiv founders Katie Ronan and Kathy Fields were also declared billionaires by Forbes in March.

Net worths: $1.5 billion each as of March 2019

Ronan and Fields, 64 and 61 respectively, met when they were young dermatology residents, fresh out of medical school, according to their website. They may be best known for inventing acne treatment line Proactiv, but it's their multi-level marketing skincare line Ronan + Fields that made the duo of dermatologists ultrawealthy — Rodan + Fields' 300,000 independent consultants have sold $1.5 billion of cosmetics in 2017, Forbes reported in March.

Zoom's stock soared in the video-conferencing company's public trading debut in April, making CEO Eric Yuan a billionaire.

Net worth: $3 billion as of April 2019

Before he founded Zoom in 2011, Yuan was the vice president of engineering at Cisco. He first came to the US fom China in 1997 after unsuccessfully applying for a visa eight times, Yuan said in a 2017 interview with Thrive Global. On his ninth try, Yuan was accepted, and he came to the country without speaking any English, CNBC reports. Yuan, Zoom's founder and CEO, owns 20.5% of his company's stock.

Jay-Z became "hip-hop's first billionaire" in June, according to Forbes.

Net worth: $1 billion as of June 2019

The rapper has earned millions from sellout tours and chart-topping albums over the course of his nearly 30-year career, Business Insider's Mark Abadi previously reported. But music is far from his only money-making venture.

Over the years, Jay-Z has parlayed his success in the hip-hop world into a fortune earned as an entrepreneur. His business ventures include entertainment labels, a clothing line, upscale alcohol brands, and the music-streaming service Tidal.

Slack founder and CEO Stewart Butterfield was also declared a billionaire in June, after the workplace messaging app's direct listing.

Net worth: $1.6 billion as of June 2019

Slack's market debut may have been what made Butterfield, 46, a billionaire, but it wasn't the first successful company he founded, Business Insider's Megan Hernbroth and Rebecca Aydin previously reported. Butterfield also founded photo-sharing site Flickr, which he sold to Yahoo for more than $20 million in 2013.

Both Slack and Flickr grew out of failed attempts to create an online video game

The launch of a new tech-focused stock market in China minted three billionaires in a single day in July.

Net worths: Between $1.3 billion and $2.4 billion as of July 2o19

Launched on July 22, the STAR market was designed to compete with Nasdaq to trade China's largest tech companies, Business Insider previously reported. By the end of the first day of trading, the market's 25 stocks were up an average of 140%, according to CNN Business. The highest performer, semi-conductor part maker Anji Microelectronics Technology, closed up 400%.

Three new Chinese billionaires were minted on July 22:

  1. The founder of circuit maker Suzhou HYC Technology Chen Wenyuan was the biggest beneficiary of the market's success, according to BloombergBloomberg estimates Wenyuan's net worth to be $2.4 billion.
  2. Cao Ji, the chairman of lithium battery producer Zhejiang Hangke Technology, now has a net worth of $2.2 billion, according to Bloomberg.
  3. The founder and chairman of Arcsoft Corp, Hui Deng, is worth $1.3 billion, according to Bloomberg.

SmileDirectClub founders Jordan Katzman and Alex Fenkell became two of the youngest billionaires in the US in September after the company's IPO.

Katzman's net worth: $1.2 billion as of September 2019

Fenkell's net worth: $1 billion as of September 2019

Shares of Katzman's and Fenkell's direct-to-consumer dental-product company SmileDirectClub closed down 28% after its first day of trading, but its market cap of $6.4 billion made Katzman and Fenkell — each of whom owns close to a quarter of the company's class B shares — billionaires.

The two, who both wore metal braces, became close friends. They came up with the idea for SmileDirectClub while reminiscing about their childhood years and wondering whether they could find a less embarrassing and cheaper way to straighten teeth, according to SmileDirectClub's website.

A 24-year-old Wharton graduate who has posted photos of himself partying with Rihanna and Bella Hadid became a billionaire on October 23, thanks to a generous "gift" from his parents.

Net worth: $3.8 billion as of October 2019

Eric Tse now owns 2.7 billion shares, or 21.45%, of Sino Biopharmaceutical, the company founded by his father, the company said in a statement October 23.

The company said Tse's parents told the board they transferred the shares to Tse to "refine the management and inheritance of family wealth" and planned for Tse to "hold the relevant shares in long-term." But Sino Biopharmaceutical said Tse's new status would "not have any material impact on the business operations of the Company."

Despite having famous friends, Tse has said he doesn't want to be recognized for his wealth.

Tse "indicated that in response to nomination for Billionaire List or wealth ranking organized by media or other organizations, he will endeavor not to participate in such rankings in his own name, and would recommend participating in such nominations in the name of the Tse Ping family," Sino Biopharmaceutical said.

Oracle co-CEO Safra Catz is one of only a few people to become a billionaire from a company she did not found.

Net worth: $1.1 billion as of November 2019

Catz, 57, took over as co-CEO of software developer Oracle after the retirement of fellow billionaire Larry Ellison in 2014, according to Forbes. Catz is now one of the highest-paid women in the world, making $135 million in 2017, Forbes reported.

Early Uber employee Ryan Graves was added to Forbes' Billionaires List this year.

Net worth: $1.6 billion as of March 2019

Graves, 35, was the first employee hired by former Uber CEO Travis Kalanick after responding to a January 2010 tweet from Kalanick asking where Kalanick could find an "entrepreneurial product mgr/biz-dev killer 4 a location based service," CNBC reported in May.

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Canada Goose CEO Dani Reiss became a billionaire in March, when Forbes estimated his net worth to be $1.3 billion.

Net worth: $1.3 billion as of March 2019

Reiss, 46, took over the luxury outerwear company founded by his grandfather in 2001, according to Forbes. He made his Forbes Billionaires List debut in 2019, two years after taking the celeb-adored retailer public.

Juul cofounders Adam Bowen and James Monsees had short-lived tenures as billionaires.

Net worths: $900 million each

One of the company's biggest investors, hedge fund Darsana Capital Partners, reportedly cut the company's valuation by more than a third on October 3 following increased attention from regulators. As a result, Juul cofounders Adam Bowen and James Monsees lost their billionaire status just ten months after attaining it, Business Insider previously reported.

Bowen and Monsees founded Juul after meeting on smoke breaks while studying product design at Stanford University in 2004, Business Insider previously reported. Ploom, a precursor to Juul, was launched in 2007 and first released Juul products in 2015. The company's Juul line was spun into a separate firm in 2017. The majority of the pair's respective net worths are tied to their 1.75% stakes in the e-cigarette maker, Forbes' Sergei Klebnikov reported.

Forever 21's cofounders lost their billionaire status in July — just three months before the fast-fashion retailer filed for bankruptcy in September.

Net worths: $800 million each

At the company's peak in 2015, Jin Sook and Do Won Chang had a combined net worth of $5.9 billion, Business Insider previously reported. Their combined fortune has fallen to $1.6 billion as the fast fashion chain enters bankruptcy proceedings. Forever 21 will close 350 stores across the globe, but will continue to operate in select locations and online.

The married couple founded Forever 21 in Los Angeles in 1984 after emigrating from South Korea three years prior. Their first location, originally called Fashion 21, was 900 square feet and stocked merchandise the Changs purchased at wholesale close-out sales, according to Forbes.

WeWork founder Adam Neumann's net worth plummeted $3.5 billion in just seven months.

Net worth: $600 million as of October 2019

The former WeWork CEO's net worth parallels the plunging valuation of his coworking empire following the company's up-and-down IPO adventure that saw it whipsaw from a $47 billion valuation to talk of bankruptcy in just six weeks.

The drop in Neumann's personal net worth from a peak of $4.1 billion was the result of the declining value of Neumann's 18% stake in WeWork, Forbes reported. WeWork was valued at $47 billion in January following an investment from Japanese investment firm Softbank. However, the company reportedly sought a valuation as low as $10 billion in September as public scrutiny over its steep losses and leadership structure threatened its IPOForbes now estimates that the company is worth "at most $2.8 billion."

But Neumann may have regained his billionaire status thanks to Softbank's bailout of WeWork, though estimates of his exact net worth vary.  The former CEO is worth "at least one billion," according to Bloomberg. As of November 11, Forbes also puts Neumann's real-time net worth at $1 billion.

WeWork cofounder Miguel McKelvey also lost his membership in the three comma club between March and October.

Net worth: $400 million as of November 2019

McKelvey founded WeWork in 2010 alongside Neumann and Neumann's now-wife Rebekah Neumann, Business Insider previously reported. Concern from potential investors over the company's finances and corporate governance issues pushed Neumann to resign as WeWork's CEO on September 24.

Forbes estimated McKelvey to be worth $2.9 billion in March.

RyanAir's falling stock price knocked CEO Michael O'Leary off Forbes' Billionaires List in March.

Net worth: $1.1 billion in 2018

O'Leary, 58, has served as the CEO of the cut-rate airline since 1994, according to Forbes. O'Leary once compared RyanAir's business model to that of Wal-Mart, according to Forbes, saying the airline aims to "pile it high and sell it cheap."

The airline struggled with falling profits, Brexit concerns, the Boeing 737 Max grounding, and pilot strikes throughout 2018, sinking the company's shares. RyanAir's declining stock price brought O'Leary's net worth below $1 billion, The Independent's Samantha McCaughren reported in January, though his current net worth is unknown.



Four heirs to the Barilla pasta fortune also dropped off Forbes' Billionaires List in March.

Net worth: $1.1 billion each in 2018

Siblings Emanuella, Guido, Luca, and Paolo Barilla share an 85% stake in the largest company in the world, Forbes reported in 2016. At the time, Forbes estimated that the siblings were worth about $1.5 billion each.

Guido Barilla serves as the Barilla's chairman, while Luca Barilla and Paolo Barilla are both vice-chairmen.

Isaac Larian, the CEO of Little Tikes and Bratz dolls maker MGA Entertainment, was also kicked off of Forbes' list.

Net worth: $1.1 billion in 2018

Larian, 65, immigrated to the United States from Iran in 1971 before founding MGA Entertainment in 1979 after seeing a talking doll that Mattel rejected, according to Forbes.

An heiress to Krispy Kreme-owner JAB Holdings may no longer be a billionaire, but she's still the richest person in New Hampshire, according to Forbes.

Net worth: $720 million as of June 2019

Andrea Reimann-Ciardelli, 62, relocated from Germany to Hanover, New Hampshire, Forbes reported. Reimann-Ciardelli inherited a stake in her family's investment firm JAB Holdings, which she sold to relatives in 2003, according to Forbes. JAB also owns Peet's Coffee and Panera Bread.

Money manager Charles Brandes fell off Forbes' Billionaires list in March.

Net worth: $1.2 billion in 2018

Brandes, 76, built his fortune running Brandes Investment Partners, the San Diego-based investment management firm he founded in 1974. according to Forbes. At its peak, Brandes had over $100 billion under management, but now has only $31 billion, Forbes reported. Brandes left the firm in February 2018.

T-Mobile shares slide on report that it might lose its CEO to WeWork (TMUS)

Mon, 11/11/2019 - 2:53pm

Shares of T-Mobile fell as much as 2.9% Monday after The Wall Street Journal reported that its CEO John Legere was in talks to take the helm at WeWork

If Legere does take the top spot at WeWork, it could disrupt T-Mobile's pending merger with Sprint. In April, T-Mobile agreed to acquire Sprint for $26.5 billion, to create a company that would rival Verizon Communications and AT&T, the industry leaders. 

Shares of Sprint also fell as much as 3.68% on the news

The merger between the third- and fourth-largest US wireless companies cleared a hurdle in July when the Justice Department approved the acquisition. Both companies agreed to sell parts of each business to Dish, the pay-TV operator, to secure approval for the merger. 

The deal could stumble without Legere at the helm of T-Mobile, as he's turned the company around and spearheaded the takeover of Sprint, according to the Journal. 

Legere might not take the CEO position at WeWork, the Journal reported, as he stands to receive a bonus if the takeover of Sprint is completed. He's also one of several candidates in talks with the company, and no decisions have been made yet, according to CNBC

WeWork is looking for a CEO to take control after the swift departure of co-founder Adam Neumann, who was replaced by co-CEOs Sebastian Gunningham and Artie Minson in September. 

WeWork, T-Mobile, and Sprint all have ties to SoftBank, the Japanese firm that took control of WeWork after its disastrous IPO attempt in August. SoftBank is a majority owner of Sprint, and Marcelo Claure, SoftBank's COO, is a chairman on both Sprint and WeWork's boards. 

T-Mobile is up 25%  year to date.

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Google and a massive hospital system are reportedly collecting private health data on millions of Americans in secret

Mon, 11/11/2019 - 2:36pm

  • Google has teamed up with the hospital system Ascension to collect personal health information on millions of Americans, The Wall Street Journal reported.
  • Data such as lab results and hospital records was compiled for millions of people, The Journal reported.
  • The initiative by Google and Ascension is called "Project Nightingale," the newspaper said.
  • Neither patients nor doctors were notified, and at least 150 Google employees have access to the patients' data, the report said.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

Google has teamed up with the massive Ascension hospital system to collect detailed personal health information from millions of Americans without their knowledge, The Wall Street Journal reported.

The data-collection initiative is called "Project Nightingale," The Journal's Rob Copeland reported, citing internal documents and people familiar with the matter.

According to The Journal's report, neither patients nor doctors were notified, and at least 150 Google employees have access to the data, which includes lab results, diagnoses, and hospital records and provides detailed information on people's health histories.

Google is using the patient data to tune artificial-intelligence software that may help improve patient care, according to the report. Tech giants like Amazon, Microsoft, and Google are all working to expand in the $3.5 trillion US healthcare industry, with offerings ranging from cloud services and AI to hardware and even patient care.

Google told The Journal that the project complied with federal laws and that patient privacy was protected.

Ascension said in a statement that "all work related to Ascension's engagement with Google is HIPAA compliant and underpinned by a robust data security and protection effort and adherence to Ascension's strict requirements for data handling."

Google referred Business Insider to Ascension's release. Ascension didn't respond to a request for further comment.

Ascension is one of the biggest health systems in the US, with about 150 hospitals. The health system generated about $25 billion in operating revenue last year.

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