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PITCH DECK LIBRARY: Here are the pitch decks that helped hot startups raise millions

Thu, 05/23/2019 - 4:50pm

  • Billions of dollars are invested in startups every year.
  • Whether a startup seeks to raise money from angel investors, venture capital firms or other backers, the presentation, or "pitch," about the business is critical. 
  • The most effective pitch decks deftly weave data, imagination and storytelling into a captivating slide presentation.
  • Business Insider regularly interviews startups about fundraising strategies and collects the pitch decks that helped startups raise funding. You can read them all by subscribing to BI Prime.

 

Here's a list of some of the recent startup pitch decks published by Business Insider, organized by the funding round the deck was used for:

Seed Series A Series B Series C Series D Series E

SEE ALSO: The first-time founder's ultimate guide to pitching a VC

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NOW WATCH: 9 simple ways to protect your data that don't take much time, but could have huge security benefits

The first CMO of Northwestern Mutual explains why she looked at dating sites, not finance, for inspiration when she needed to revamp the $272 billion firm's website

Thu, 05/23/2019 - 4:24pm

  • The first chief marketing officer of Northwestern Mutual is trying to shake up the financial services company's sleepy image. 
  • Aditi Gokhale said in a recent interview that she's looking outside of finance for inspiration. When she redesigned the company's website, where investors can find a financial advisor, she tried to replicate how consumers use dating sites. 
  • Other financial services CMOs are trying novel strategies like putting BlackRock content on Alexa, as they fight for consumers' attention and dollars.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

The first person Aditi Gokhale calls after a major life change isn't always her husband – sometimes, it's her financial advisor. 

As the first chief marketing officer of Northwestern Mutual, a $272 billion asset manager, Gokhale is trying to help consumers build similarly close relationships with the firm's network of 9,000 financial advisors. Before she took on a full website revamp, she identified why people are hesitant to work with an advisor, she told Business Insider in a recent interview.

"The consumer barriers, when you're thinking about financial planning, are that the consumers feel anxious, they don't feel very educated, they don't necessarily want to speak to an advisor because they think the advisor's trying to sell them something," Gokhale said. 

See more: The CMO of $998 billion asset manager Nuveen explains how the brand is trying to stand out in an increasingly crowded field

To bridge that gap, Gokhale looked outside finance to better understand how to make these connections. She landed on dating sites – not the typical source of inspiration for a 162-year-old financial services company, which until a decade ago was called the "quiet giant," she said. 

"When you think about building trust with an advisor and trying to find your long-term partner, there's a little bit of that emotional, what matters to me feeling," Gokhale said.

Northwestern Mutual's existing matching process for consumers and advisors asked some basic questions – age, gender, household income. To better reflect the "what matters to me feeling," Gokhale added questions similar to dating sites about life goals and life stages, noting consumers are more likely to rework their financial plans when they're on the cusp of a new life stage.

Behind the scenes, the company also refined its algorithm and messaging to better address consumers' feelings of anxiety and lack of preparedness to meet with an advisor. Gokhale said the changes were an unquestionable success, with a 95% match rate between consumers and advisors. 

Once they're matched, advisors may set up in-person appointments – not unlike a first date.

"You're talking about money. That's a very personal aspect of one's life. I do not believe that can be a purely digital experience," Gokhale said. "We completely believe in human-plus-digital."

Other asset managers are also starting to think creatively to connect with consumers with digital tools.

Frank Cooper, BlackRock's CMO, told Business Insider last year that he's thinking about new ways to reach individual investors, from revamped content to launching applications on voice-controlled speakers, such as Amazon's Alexa, Microsoft's Cortana, and Google Home.

Both Cooper and Gokhale come from consumer-focused backgrounds, rather than financial services – the former was the CMO of BuzzFeed before joining BlackRock, while the latter's prior roles included CMO of photo service Shutterstock.

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NOW WATCH: WATCH: The legendary economist who predicted the housing crisis says the US will win the trade war

Mark Zuckerberg personally made the decision that Facebook would keep running political ads, even though the ads were weaponized in 2016 (FB)

Thu, 05/23/2019 - 4:05pm

  • As the US gears up for its next presidential election in 2020, citizens can expect to keep seeing political ads on Facebook
  • Internally the company is dealing with the fallout from reports that its platforms were used to manipulate voters in elections around the world.
  • The latest big change is that Facebook will no longer pay commissions to salespeople for selling political ads.
  • But political advertising is a multibillion business, and CEO Mark Zuckerberg himself decided that Facebook should continue to take part in it.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

As the US gears up for its next presidential election in 2020, citizens can expect to keep seeing political ads on Facebook. 

The company will continue to run political ads, The Wall Street Journal reported on Thursday, even as it tries to move past the scandals from its social-networking platforms being used to manipulate voters in major elections worldwide in recent years.

Facebook is making some changes to protect its political ads from being exploited by Russia or other bad actors. The company will no longer pay commissions to salespeople for selling political ads, The Journal reported.  

That's a big about-face from 2016, when Facebook not only paid commissions but also embedded its staffers into campaigns to help them with their Facebook targeting strategies. It offered such white-glove service to both the Trump campaign and the Clinton campaign. Since Trump's campaign was smaller and less digitally savvy, it used this service heavily. Brad Parscale, Trump's 2020 campaign manager, even praised Facebook for helping it raise money, Wired reported in 2016. And Trump's digital-advertising director, Gary Coby, called one of Facebook's staffers his MVP.

Political ads were once viewed as a promising growth area for Facebook, but now, as Facebook faces increasing scrutiny over how it handles user data, such ads have fallen out of favor internally, one employee told The Journal. 

At one point, senior executives even debated whether they should ban political ads altogether.

But CEO Mark Zuckerberg himself decided that the company would remain in that business, an employee told The Journal.

Facebook thinks it's doing a civic duty by running political ads

Political ads are big bucks. Campaigns spent just shy of $9 billion on ads in the 2018 midterm elections, up 8% from the 2014 midterms, according to Borrell Associates. Borrell said total digital-media ads soared to $1.8 billion for the midterms, or 20% of the total, compared with $70 million in 2014, MediaPost reported.

Facebook's share was about $284 million, according to estimates by Tech for Campaigns. And Tech for Campaigns said that 2020 digital spending has already begun, with Trump's campaign outspending all other players on Facebook and Google by millions.

Last year, in addition to ending the practice of embedding staffers in campaigns, Facebook also vowed to manually review political ads, an expensive fix that ran the danger of making the unit unprofitable. Facebook wouldn't comment to The Journal on if the political-ad business is profitable, but The Journal reported that ad reviewers are a combination of automation and humans.

Facebook employs about 500 people on its election teams in Menlo Park, California, and uses pop-up teams worldwide as needed in places such as Dublin and Singapore, Politico reported.

Facebook last year also launched a searchable database to show who is paying for ads, although a Business Insider investigation showed that the tool can be misled.  

Facebook declined Business Insider's request for more information on the profitability of the unit but pointed to a post Katie Harbath, Facebook's public-policy director for global elections, wrote last year defending Facebook's decision not to ban the ads, when the company debated if it should do so.

Those that didn't want to ban the ads said "banning political ads on Facebook would tilt the scales in favor of incumbent politicians and candidates with deep pockets. Digital advertising is typically more affordable than TV or print ads, giving less well-funded candidates a relatively economical way to reach their future constituents," she wrote.

So the company feels like this is more like a civic duty than a moneymaker, she told The Journal.

SEE ALSO: Here are all the companies that have cut ties with Huawei, dealing the Chinese tech giant a crushing blow

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NOW WATCH: We tried a fermentation-tracking device and highly recommend it to find out which foods are making you bloated

Red-hot startup Snowflake is adding support for Google's cloud in an effort to meet Wall Street's demand

Thu, 05/23/2019 - 3:09pm

  • The data-storage startup Snowflake has plans to announce support for Google's public cloud, according to multiple sources.
  • In doing so, Snowflake, which is valued at $3.5 billion, would be able to help clients work across the three main public clouds: Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Azure, and Google Cloud.
  • The decision to extend support to Google Cloud was at least partially influenced by Wall Street, which wanted the platform included, according to one source.  

One of the hottest startups in the cloud-computing space is adding support for Google Cloud as it hopes to court Wall Street clients.

Snowflake, the cloud-based data warehouse valued at $3.5 billion, will soon be able to work with customer data in Google's public cloud, according to multiple sources familiar with the matter who declined to be named because the plans have not yet been made public.  

The Silicon Valley-based startup helps its customers store their data across multiple cloud platforms, as well as their own servers and data centers. It also helps clean up that data and prepare it for intensive data analysis.

Snowflake already supports moving data to Amazon Web Services and Microsoft Azure, the two leading cloud platforms. With the addition of Google, Snowflake will cover the three main American public-cloud providers in the space. 

Spokespeople for Snowflake and Google declined to comment. 

Read more: JPMorgan has tapped buzzy startup Snowflake to help it solve one of the biggest issues firms face when moving to the cloud

Snowflake's decision to add support for Google was partially prompted by Wall Street firms, including hedge funds and asset managers, who wanted use of the tech company's cloud, one of the sources said. 

It's no surprise Wall Street would push for Snowflake to broaden the public clouds it works with. As financial firms grow more comfortable with their usage of the cloud, many are beginning to fully develop a public-cloud strategy. 

Read more: Wall Street is finally willing to go to Amazon's, Google's, or Microsoft's cloud, but nobody can agree on the best way to do it: 'If you pick a favorite and you're wrong, you're fired'

Ideally, most would like to be "cloud agnostic," meaning they'd maintain the ability to seamlessly move between clouds without worry about vendor lock in. With the inclusion of Google support, Snowflake will cover financial firms' three main options in the space. 

In May, Business Insider reported JPMorgan had chosen to work with Snowflake to help it develop its cloud strategy, which would include working across multiple providers. 

More specific to Google, the company's cloud has "has the best machine learning and AI capabilities which are needed for a lot of market analysis from forex to capital flows to trading desk support," according to Ray Wang, an analyst with Constellation Research. 

Additional reporting by Ben Pimentel in San Francisco

Read more:

Famous exec Bob Muglia is out as CEO of $3.5 billion Snowflake, just weeks after saying an IPO isn't imminent

Snowflake CEO Frank Slootman replaces 2 key executives with veterans of his previous employer

JP Morgan is building a cloud engineering hub in Seattle minutes away from Amazon and Microsoft, and it's planning to hire 50 staffers this year

Join the conversation about this story »

NOW WATCH: WATCH: The legendary economist who predicted the housing crisis says the US will win the trade war

It's been more than a year since the US-China trade war started. Here's a timeline of everything that's happened so far.

Thu, 05/23/2019 - 2:59pm

  • It's been more than a year since President Donald Trump ignited a trade war with China. 
  • Since then, the two sides have together placed tariffs on more than $360 billion worth of each other's products.
  • Here's a timeline of the US-China trade war so far.
  • Visit Markets Insider for more stories.

March 1, 2018: President Donald Trump announces tariffs on all imports of steel and aluminum, including metals from China.

March 22, 2018: Trump announces plans to impose 25% tariffs on $50 billion worth of Chinese goods. China announces tariffs in retaliation to the steel and aluminum duties and promises a response to the latest US announcement.

April 3, 2018: US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer announces a list of Chinese goods subject to the tariffs. There is a mandatory 60-day comment period for industries to ask for exemptions from the tariffs.

April 4, 2018: China rolls out a list of more than 100 US goods worth roughly $50 billion that are subject to retaliatory tariffs.

May 21, 2018: After a meeting, the two countries announce the outline of a trade deal to avoid the tariffs.

May 29, 2018: The White House announces that the tariffs on $50 billion worth of Chinese goods will move forward, with the final list of goods to be released on June 15. The move appears to wreck the nascent trade deal.

June 15, 2018: Trump rolls out the final list of goods subject to new tariffs. Chinese imports worth $34 billion would be subject to the new 25% tariff rate as of July 6, with another $16 billion worth of imports subject to the tariff at a later date. China retaliates with an equivalent set of tariffs.

June 18, 2018: Trump threatens 10% tariffs on another $200 billion worth of Chinese goods.

July 6, 2018: The first tranche of tariffs on $34 billion worth of Chinese goods takes effect; China responds in kind.

July 10, 2018: The US releases an initial list of an additional $200 billion worth of Chinese goods that could be subject to 10% tariffs.

July 24, 2018: The Trump administration announces a $12 billion bailout package for farmers hurt by retaliatory duties on agricultural products, set to begin in September. 

August 1, 2018: Washington more than doubles the value of its tariff threats against Beijing, announcing plans to increase the size of proposed duties on $200 billion worth of Chinese goods to 25% from 10%.

August 3, 2018: China says it will impose tariffs at various rates on another $60 billion worth of US goods if Trump moves forward with his latest threat.

August 7, 2018: The US announces that the second tranche of tariffs, which would hit $16 billion worth of Chinese goods, will take effect August 23.

August 23, 2018: The US imposes tariffs on another $16 billion worth of Chinese goods, and Beijing responds with tariffs on $16 billion worth of US goods.

September 7, 2018: Trump says the tranche of tariffs on $200 billion worth of Chinese goods is coming "soon" and threatens to impose tariffs on another $267 billion worth of Chinese goods.

September 17, 2018: The US imposes tariffs on $200 billion worth of Chinese goods, and the tariff rate is scheduled to increase to 25% from 10% on January 1.

December 1, 2018: Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping sit down at the G20 summit in Argentina, where the two leaders hash out a trade truce, delaying the escalation of US tariffs until March 1.

December 4, 2018: Despite the truce, Trump tweets that he is still a "Tariff Man" and says a deal will get done only if it is in the best interest of the US.

February 24, 2019: After a series of negotiations, Trump announces that US tariffs will not increase on March 1. He delays the increase indefinitely.

May 5, 2019: After apparent progress in talks, the US accuses China of reneging on past trade commitments. Trump threatens to raise tariff rates and place duties on another $300 billion worth of Chinese goods.

May 10, 2019: Trump follows through with those threats, increasing import taxes to $25% from 10% on about $200 billion worth of products from China. Negotiations stall, and the US gives China a three-to-four-week deadline for a deal, according to Bloomberg.

May 13, 2019: China retaliates against the US by announcing it will raise tariff rates on $60 billion worth of American products on June 1.

May 15, 2019: Trump signs an executive order barring American companies from using telecommunications gear from foreign adversaries officials declared as a threat to national security. He also adds Huawei and dozens of other Chinese companies to the US's "Entity List."

May 21, 2019: Xi calls on China to begin a new "long march," a signal that the country is gearing up for a prolonged fight with the US.

May 22, 2019: Xi visits one of the largest suppliers of rare-earth elements, in Ganzhou, China. The move was widely seen as a reminder of the leverage China holds when it comes to minerals the US relies on for a variety of goods, from jet fuel to wind turbines.

May 23, 2019: Trump rolls out a $16 billion bailout program for farmers who have been hurt by China's retaliatory tariffs on agricultural products.

SEE ALSO: Trump rolls out a $16 billion bailout package as the trade war stings American farmers

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NOW WATCH: There are 7.7 billion humans on Earth today. Here's what would actually happen if Thanos destroyed 50% of all life on the planet.

Robinhood users have been scooping up Tesla's plunging stock (TSLA)

Thu, 05/23/2019 - 2:47pm

  • Robinhood users have been adding Tesla to their holdins despite an extremely difficult time for the electric-car maker, according to data from the Robinhood trading app.
  • The number of accounts holding Tesla shares on the app increased even as analysts and shareholders have been questioning demand prospects for the company's electric vehicles.
  • Watch Tesla trade live.

The Robinhood trading app, an app popular among younger investors, reported an increase in the numnber of users holding Tesla shares despite the stock's plunging price. Accounts holding Tesla increased by 4% over the past week to 156,00 from 150,000. This comes as shares have tanked almost 20% in May alone.

Tesla is the 10th most-popular stock on the platform, behind the cannabis companies Aurora Cannabis and Cronos as well as tech companies like Apple and Microsoft.

Tesla's plunging stock price comes as analysts and shareholders have increasingly questioned the demand prospects for the company's electric vehicles. Last month reported a significant first-quarter loss and also lowered guidance for the year.

Several analysts have put forward dire bear cases, forecasting scenarios where the share price could drop to the low double digits.

Additonally, T. Rowe Price, which used to be the automaker's largest institutional investor, sold more than 90% of its stake, potentially signaling a loss of faith in the company's prospects.

And CEO Elon Musk has been criticized as doing little to stem the negative news, and for also contributing to questions about the company's future.

Tesla is down 42% year to date.

Join the conversation about this story »

NOW WATCH: WATCH: The legendary economist who predicted the housing crisis says the US will win the trade war

One brutal sentence captures what a disaster money in America has become

Thu, 05/23/2019 - 2:31pm

One brutal sentence sums up the dismal state of wealth disparity in the US.

"The bottom half of Americans combined have a negative net worth," Ben Steverman wrote in a recent Bloomberg article.

This statement is based on the research of the economists Emmanuel Saez and Gabriel Zucman, who study wealth inequality. Zucman is a "wealth detective" who spends hours combing through spreadsheets of tax tables, macroeconomic datasets, and international money-flow calculations to find the secret money stashes of the richest people.

Saez and Zucman's research on wealth inequality also found that 20% of American wealth is controlled by the top 0.1% of taxpayers — or about 170,000 families. The top 1% controls about 39% of the country's wealth, and the bottom 90% holds only 26%, despite years of economic growth in the US overall.

"The pie has not become bigger" in the US, Zucman told Bloomberg. "It's just that a bigger slice is going to the top."

Read more: Nearly half of Americans earning $100,000 or more think they're middle class — and it shows that class in America isn't just about money

These statistics are perhaps not surprising considering how many Americans are weighed down by substantial student debt. Millennials are saddled with more than $1 trillion of student-loan debt, Business Insider's Callum Burroughs previously reported.

And it's not just millennials who are suffering. More than 3 million Americans age 60 and older are still paying off their student loans, INSIDER's Kelly McLaughlin recently reported.

Credit-card debt is also on the rise. More than 40% of US households carry credit-card debt, and the average debt balance is $5,700, according to a 2018 report from ValuePenguin.

And about one-fifth of Americans don't have any money saved up, according to a Bankrate survey.

Economists have been sounding the alarm on the ballooning wealth inequality in the US

Thomas Piketty, a leading French economist and one of Zucman's former professors, has been spotlighting findings from the 2018 World Inequality Report, which he coauthored.

In the US, while the income share of the richest 10% has continuously risen since the 1980's, the share owned by the bottom 50% of the population dropped #wir2018 #PolicyMatters #inequality pic.twitter.com/Af9sV3UE7I

— World Inequality Lab | WID.world (@WIL_inequality) December 14, 2017

 

The authors found that while the income of the top 1% of American taxpayers made up 11% of the national income in 1980, it now makes up more than 20% of the country's income.

And the income of the bottom half of Americans, which was 20% of the national income in 1980, has fallen to just 12%.

In other words, the country's rich have been getting increasingly richer while the middle class and the poor get poorer.

Read more: A simple chart shows what some economists consider to be the 'most striking development' in 40 years of the US economy

While wealth inequality has also been rising in Europe, Business Insider's Richard Feloni wrote, "this particular rise of the top 1% paralleling the fall of the bottom 50% is unique to the US."

Politicians such as Bernie Sanders, who has consulted Zucman and Saez's data, and Elizabeth Warren have proposed substantially raising taxes on the wealthiest Americans in order to tackle the vast disparity of wealth in the US. Other solutions suggested by economists include investing in universal childcare and free college, dramatically expanding Social Security, and raising the federal minimum wage.

SEE ALSO: Here's a scientific explanation for why rich people think they're better than everyone

DON'T MISS: A simple chart shows what some economists consider to be the 'most striking development' in 40 years of the US economy

Join the conversation about this story »

NOW WATCH: WATCH: The legendary economist who predicted the housing crisis says the US will win the trade war

Here are the Huawei products at risk thanks to Trump's ban and the brewing tech Cold War

Thu, 05/23/2019 - 2:29pm

  • Huawei's placement on the US government's trade blacklist will likely require the Chinese tech giant to rethink the way it develops key products across its smartphone, laptop, and wearable lines.
  • Since the US government added Huawei to the list, companies such as Google, Qualcomm, and Intel have suspended business with the Chinese company.
  • Here's a look at the Huawei product lines that could be affected.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

The US government recently placed the Chinese tech behemoth Huawei on a trade blacklist, a move that could require the second-largest smartphone maker to rethink everything from the way it designs its chips to the software that powers its line of smartphones and tablets.

Under the new requirements, US companies must obtain government permission before conducting business with Huawei. Following the announcement, a slew of technology companies have said they were suspending business with the company. These companies include Google, which operates the popular mobile operating system Android, as well as the chipmakers Qualcomm and Intel, according to Bloomberg. 

Huawei has since downplayed the potential ramifications of these sanctions and severed ties. The company's founder and CEO Ren Zhengfei recently said that he expects the company's growth to slow only slightly when speaking with Nikkei Asian Review. Huawei has also said that it's been working on its own mobile operating system to replace Android, and the company already develops its own Kirin mobile processors.

Those processors, however, rely heavily on designs from the UK-based Arm, which recently said it has suspended business with the tech giant. The company is also said to have stockpiled enough chips to last for three months as it designs its own chips, according to Bloomberg.

The government has since given Huawei a 90-day reprieve to continue maintaining its current products, but it's unclear how its product line will change after that window closes. 

Huawei may be best known for its line of smartphones, but the company makes a wide variety of products, including laptops and smartwatches. 

Not every company or supplier mentioned below has said it would stop working with Huawei. In fact, many of them have not spoken publicly about how their business would change, if at all, given the new government requirements. But the list below demonstrates how large of a role US tech firms play in the development and production of Huawei's gadgets.

SEE ALSO: Trump's Huawei ban may leave the tech giant up a creek without a paddle for its next 2 major smartphones

Smartphones

Perhaps the most obvious product line that could be affected by Huawei's placement on the US trade blacklist is its smartphones. Popular Huawei smartphone models such as the P30 Pro and Mate 20 Pro were built using a variety of components from US tech companies.

The P30 Pro, for example, uses flash storage from Micron, according to iFixit, which was founded in Boise, Idaho, in 1978. It also uses front-end modules from the Massachusetts-based Skyworks Solutions and the California-based Qorvo. The company's popular Mate 20 Pro smartphone also includes Skyworks modules and a wireless power receiver from IDT, according to iFixit, which is also headquartered in California.

The supplier Lumentum also said it has stopped shipping parts to Huawei, according to Reuters. It's unclear precisely how Lumentum's components are used in Huawei's phones, but the components maker said that Huawei was responsible for 18% of its revenue in its last reported quarter. Lumentum is also a supplier for Apple's Face ID facial-recognition technology, so it's possible that its parts have been used to power the facial-recognition features on phones such as the Mate 20.

But those are some of the more granular ways in which Huawei's phones could be affected by the new requirements. Of course, Google's revocation of Huawei's Android license means Huawei can no longer use the company's widely popular software. And designs from Arm, which recently told employees to stop working with Huawei, play a big role in Huawei's line of Kirin chips that power its smartphones and tablets. (However, because firms usually license technology from Arm, it's possible that Huawei has years' worth of licenses stored for future use.)

The New York-based Corning's Gorilla Glass can also be found on a wide variety of Huawei smartphones, including its Mate 20 Pro and its less expensive Honor V8, according to the glass maker. 



Laptops

Huawei works with many US-based companies on its laptop line as well.

Laptops such as the MateBook X and MateBook 13 run on Microsoft's Windows operating system. Like many other US companies that work with Huawei, Microsoft has not made any public statements about its relationship with Huawei since the company was blacklisted. But it did recently remove Huawei's laptops from its online store.

Intel, a key supplier of chips for Huawei's laptops, has also told employees that it would not supply Huawei until further notice, according to Bloomberg. Intel's chips power a variety of Huawei laptops, including the MateBook 13, MateBook X Pro, MateBook X, and MateBook E.  

Certain models, such as the MateBook 13 and the MateBook X Pro, also include an option for graphics powered by Nvidia, which is headquartered in Santa Clara, California.

Corning's Gorilla Glass can also be found on laptop models such as the MateBook X Pro, MateBook 13, MateBook 14, and MateBook X, according to the company. 



Tablets

Huawei also sells a variety of tablets in different sizes and price points. There's the MediaPad M5 line, which comes in 8.4-inch and 10.8-inch sizes, in addition to a cheaper "lite" model, as well as its T-series of MediaPad tablets.

But these slates run on Android, which means Huawei may have to use an alternative operating system for future MediaPad products. They also all run on Huawei's Kirin chipsets, which are based on Arm's underlying technology. While the company could continue manufacturing existing Arm-based chips, the ban may prevent it from using the company's designs in new chips moving forward, according to the BBC.  



Wearables

Like many consumer tech giants, Huawei also has a stake in the wearables market — the company sells a variety of smartwatches, fitness trackers, and sports watches.

Some of these products use components from US-based companies as well. The company's TalkBand B3 fitness tracker uses Corning Gorilla Glass, according to Corning's website, as does the Huawei Fit, according to the Chinese company's US product page.

 



Stocks are tanking after Huawei suppliers cut ties, raising the prospect of a prolonged trade war with China

Thu, 05/23/2019 - 2:18pm

  • Stocks fell Thursday following reports that Panasonic, Arm, and other partners had cut ties with Huawei following its blacklisting by the Trump administration.
  • Panasonic said it halted shipments of some components to Huawei but later dismissed media reports as "simply untrue."
  • Shares in Nvidia, Micron, AMD, Western Digital, and other chipmakers slid more than 3%.
  • Crude oil prices have plunged more than 4%.
  • Watch Nvidia, Micron, AMD, Western Digital, and oil trade live.

Stocks fell Thursday following reports that Panasonic, Arm, and other Huawei partners had cut ties with the Chinese telecom titan following its blacklisting by the Trump administration.

Heavy selling pushed the Nasdaq down by more than 2% while both the Dow Jones Industrial Average and the S&P 500 were off 1.6%. The Dow was trading lower by 425 points. 

The Japanese electronics giant Panasonic published a statement saying it halted shipments of some components to Huawei to comply with the new trade restrictions, according to Reuters. The company later dismissed reports, however, as "simply untrue."

Britain's Arm, which designs microchips used in devices such as smartphones and tablets, has also suspended all business with Huawei, according to the BBC. Huawei's partners are also distancing themselves: The British cellphone network operators EE and Vodafone have put the launch of Huawei's 5G-capable smartphones on hold, CNBC reported.

Shares in microchip companies including Nvidia, Micron, AMD, NXP, Western Digital, and Analog Devices all fell by more than 4% as investors bet the Huawei ban would disrupt supply chains and dampen sales of smartphones and other devices. Qualcomm shares fell 3% as those concerns were compounded by the recent district-court ruling that the company violated antitrust law

Markets "remain on edge," said Jameel Ahmad, the global head of currency strategy and market research at FXTM. "The likelier base case for investors is that the US-China tensions will persist, which is a far cry from the prospects of a formalized US-China trade deal that anchored market expectations up until April."

The White House targeted Huawei to stop the flow of American technology to Chinese companies, given their close ties to the state and laws requiring them to disclose information if requested.

Shares in several Chinese tech firms including Hangzhou Hikvision, Zhejiang Dahua, and Iflytek have slumped on reports the US could add them to the list of firms with which US companies require a license to trade. The Commerce Department, however, has issued a license temporarily allowing American companies to sell components to Huawei if they're used to support existing devices and equipment.

President Donald Trump recently accused China of sabotaging a draft trade agreement and has hiked tariffs on $200 billion worth of Chinese goods and started preparing to expand tariffs to virtually all US imports from China. China retaliated by announcing plans to raise tariffs on $60 billion worth of US products in June.

Elsewhere, oil prices have plunged. Brent crude was down 6.4% at $66.35 a barrel, while West Texas Intermediate crude dropped 5.7% to about $57.83.

Treasurys were sharply higher, with heavy buying pushing the benchmark 10-year yield lower by 8.6 basis points to below 2.30%, its weakest since October 2017.

SEE ALSO: Trump reportedly may blacklist Chinese surveillance giant Hikvision, indicating the trade war is shifting from sweeping tariffs to direct attacks. That has traders nervous.

Join the conversation about this story »

NOW WATCH: This stunning visualization breaks down all the ingredients in your favorite processed foods

The billionaire founder of Chinese tech giant JD.com is locked in a bitter lawsuit over a rape allegation by a college student: Here's everything we know about the case (JD)

Thu, 05/23/2019 - 2:30am

  • Richard Liu, the billionaire founder of China's JD.com and one of the richest men in China, is facing a rape accusation in a civil court from a University of Minnesota college student.
  • He denies the allegations.
  • Liu was arrested last summer but was released shortly after. Minneapolis prosecutors also decided not to launch criminal charges against Liu last December, citing insufficient evidence.
  • But in April, the student Liu Jingyao filed a civil lawsuit against the tech CEO detailing the alleged rape, and a mysterious social media account leaked videos from the night of the alleged incident.
  • JD.com's stock has reacted swiftly to each twist and turn of the saga.
  • Here's everything we know about the allegation and lawsuit.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

Richard Liu, the billionaire founder and CEO of JD.com, the Chinese e-commerce giant, faces a rape accusation in civil court from a college student in Minneapolis. The case has roiled his company's share price, called into question his squeaky-clean reputation, and led him to miss numerous high profile gatherings of China's business elite.

Liu is accused of assaulting Liu Jingyao, then a 21-year-old undergraduate at the University of Minnesota, while he was attending a business program there last summer.

He was arrested on the night of the alleged incident, but was released the next day and permitted to fly home. State prosecutors also dropped charges against him, citing insufficient evidence, last December. As far as the criminal justice system is concerned, Liu is free to go about his business as before.

Representatives of Liu and JD.com have repeatedly denied the sexual allegations, and vowed to fight them.

But the saga didn't end there. Last month, Liu Jingyao filed a civil lawsuit against the tech CEO, accusing him of plying her with so much alcohol that she couldn't walk properly, assaulting her in a company limousine, and then raping her in her apartment.

A week later, a mysterious Weibo account uploaded surveillance footage of the two drinking at dinner and going home together. Both sides say the clips vindicate their position.

Scroll down for a full timeline of the case.

This is Liu Qiangdong, also known as Richard Liu. The 46-year-old is the founder and CEO of JD.com, the biggest e-commerce company in China. As of May 2019, he has a net worth of $6.2 billion and is the 30th-richest person in China.

He was born in 1973 to a poor family in Suqian, Jiangsu, where his family often ate sweet potatoes and corn as dinner because they couldn't afford meat, The New York Times reported.

He first established the company as a small electronics stall in Beijing in 1998, but closed it six years later to focus on online retailing.

The company listed on the NASDAQ stock exchange in May 2014.

He is the 272nd-richest person in the world, according to Forbes.

Source: Forbes, JD.com



Over the years he gained a reputation as a workaholic and a family man. He's married to Zhang Zetian, the 25-year-old youngest female billionaire in China, with whom he has one daughter.

He has said that he often works 16-hour days because he doesn't like relaxing too much, Reuters reported. Once a year, he also wears a JD.com messengers' uniform to deliver packages himself.

"For my parents I want to be a good son, for my wife a good husband, and for my daughter I want to be a good father," he said this January, according to Reuters.

"I hope that one day when I retire that my workers will all be able to say: 'He was a good guy,'" he added.

Read more: The fabulous life of Zhang Zetian, the youngest female billionaire in China



In August 2018, he was arrested in Minneapolis following a rape accusation. He was released the next day and he returned home to China shortly after.

He had been in town at the time to attend a business administration course at the University of Minnesota, a program attended by many foreign CEOs.

JD.com's stock dropped 4% after the arrest and allegation were made public. Liu's standing in China's rich list also plummeted from 16 to 30.

Read more: Investors betting against JD.com made $153 million after the company's CEO was accused of sexual misconduct

Chinese social media users also "obsessed" over the case, with many of them learning about the American legal system — like what mug shots are — to follow along with the case, The New York Times reported.



That didn't end the media scrutiny of the incident. In September 2018, Reuters reported that the accuser sent WeChat messages to her friends after the alleged incident saying that the CEO pressured her into drinking and forced her into sex.

According to Reuters, she described the alleged forced drinking as "a trap." She also discussed Liu's powerful position in China, saying: "You underestimate his power."

Though the report didn't name the accuser, it identified her as a student from China attending the University of Minnesota.

Jill Brisbois, Liu's lawyer in Minneapolis, told Reuters that the "allegations are inconsistent with evidence that we hope will be disclosed to the public once the case is closed."

Source: Reuters



Two months later, the Minneapolis Star Tribune published a long account of the night, including explicit details of the alleged rape. The newspaper also identified the accuser as a 21-year-old college student, but did not name her. (Warning: Graphic details below.)

Here's what the Star Tribune said:

"Inside the apartment, she told police, he pulled off her sweater over her protests. She said that Liu told her she could be just like Wendi Deng, the Chinese-born ex-wife of Australian media executive Rupert Murdoch.

"'I told him "no" several times,' she told police. She also told police that he tried to pull off her skirt and bra, held her arms and tried to throw her onto her bed.

"'We were battling against each other on the bed and finally I escaped from him and went back to the living room and put the bra back on again,' she said in the interview. 'Finally, he just threw me onto the bed. He was on me. He was heavy. I tried to push him away. But he was on top of me … and then he raped me.'"

Brisbois, the tech CEO's lawyer, told Business Insider that her client "maintains his innocence" and called the Star Tribune's story "one-sided."

Read more: A Chinese tech billionaire has been accused of plying a student with drink and then forcing himself on her during a trip to the US



Since the arrest Liu has not attended any high-profile tech events in China, which are frequently attended by fellow founders and CEOs of tech giants like Alibaba, Tencent, and Baidu.

Here's a list of events he missed between August and November 2018, according to Markets Insider.

  • The AI World 2018 conference in Shanghai in late September.
  • A business symposium with Chinese President Xi Jinping in Beijing in October, to which he was not invited, according to the South China Morning Post.
  • The World Internet Conference for Chinese tech leaders in Wuzhen in November.



He made his first public appearance since the rape accusation outside of China, however, when he and his wife attended the wedding of Britain's Princess Eugenie to Jack Brooksbank in October 2018.

This was the first time Liu and Zhang had been seen in public together since Liu's arrest, the South China Morning Post and Shanghaiist noted.

It's not entirely clear how the Chinese couple know the royal couple. The Times of London reported that Liu was friends with Prince Andrew, the Queen's third child and Eugenie's father.



In December 2018, state prosecutors decided not to pursue Liu's case, citing insufficient evidence.

"It was determined there were profound evidentiary problems which would have made it highly unlikely that any criminal charge could be proven beyond a reasonable doubt," the Hennepin County Attorney's Office said in a statement.

JD.com's stock jumped after the prosecutors' announcement. The company said it was "pleased to see" the decision, according to the Associated Press.



But the saga continued. In April 2019, his accuser filed a civil lawsuit against him and JD.com, which included graphic details about the alleged rape. The accuser also identified herself for the first time as Liu Jingyao, a college student at the University of Minnesota.

Here are some key points from the lawsuit, which Business Insider has seen.

  • Richard Liu pressured Liu Jingyao to drink excessive amounts of alcohol at a networking dinner, which was attended by more than a dozen Chinese executives, the document alleged.
  • Liu Jingyao, "as was intended by Defendant Liu, became impaired as a result of coercive actions of Defendant [Richard] Liu and his business friends and colleagues," the suit claimed.
  • After the dinner, Richard Liu took the student into a limousine, "began to grope and physically force himself upon the plaintiff," and ignored her pleas to stop, according to the suit.
  • The car eventually took Richard Liu and Liu Jingyao to the student's apartment complex, and when they got to their apartment, he took off his clothes, lay on her bed naked, and raped her, the lawsuit claimed.

Richard Liu was arrested on the same night. According to the lawsuit, he angrily said "What the hell?" in Mandarin to the student as he was arrested and detained.

Liu Jingyao accused Richard Liu and JD.com of a combined six counts of false imprisonment, civil assault and battery, and sexual assault or battery. She seeks at least $50,000 in damages.

Richard Liu's lawyers called the lawsuit "meritless" and said they would contest it vigorously.

Florin Roebig, one of the law firms representing Liu Jingyao, said in a statement cited by Reuters: "We are proud of the incredible courage our client has shown revealing her name for all the world to see, so that justice may be done."

Read more: College student files lawsuit against the Chinese billionaire founder of JD.com after US prosecutors declined to charge him over rape accusation



The accuser garnered widespread support, with at least 500 people signing an online petition — hashtagged #HereforJingyao — shortly after she filed the civil lawsuit.

The petition, which circulated on popular Chinese messaging app WeChat, said according to Reuters: "To Liu Jingyao: You are not alone. We believe in survivors, we believe in your bravery and honesty, we will always stand with you."

"We must join hands and march together in the face of the challenge of a culture of blaming the victims of rape," it added.

It's not clear who launched the petition. Signatories included Chinese students at foreign universities as well as in China, Reuters reported.

Read more: Hundreds sign online petition supporting woman suing JD.com CEO in rape case



A week after Liu Jingyao filed her lawsuit, a mystery account leaked surveillance footage from the night of the alleged assault on the microblogging platform Weibo. It showed the student and the CEO drinking at dinner and going home together. The screenshot here shows them sitting apart at the dinner mentioned in the lawsuit.

Though the clips were edited to show only parts of the evening, an attorney for Richard Liu told Business Insider that his legal team had confirmed the footage's authenticity.

Read more: Leaked surveillance video shows the Chinese billionaire founder of JD.com drinking and going home with the woman accusing him of rape



The leaked videos also showed Liu Jingyao and Richard Liu walking around the student's apartment building ...

Source: Business Insider



... taking an elevator to her apartment ...

Source: Business Insider



... and walking back to her apartment. Her arm appeared to be looped around him in several of the shots.

You can watch the clips here and here.

Source: Business Insider



Representatives for both Richard Liu and Liu Jingyao say the footage supports their version of events. The billionaire's lawyer said the video undermines the student's allegations that she was forced to drink, and was so drunk she was unable to walk.

Brisbois, Richard Liu's lawyer, said the video release "can serve no purpose other than to damage his reputation."

She has also called for the release of more surveillance videos and evidence "because they will demonstrate that my client is innocent."

Liu Jingyao's lawyers have not responded to Business Insider's request for comment on Brisbois' remarks.

Read more: Lawyer for JD.com billionaire accused of rape argues that leaked footage undermines his accuser because it shows she wasn't that drunk



It's not clear how Liu will fight the case, or how much his reputation in the business world has been affected. His lawyers have continuously denied sexual misconduct allegations and vowed to fight them.

Lawyers for neither Richard Liu nor Liu Jingyao have responded to Business Insider's questions on how they plan to proceed with the case.



A millennial entrepreneur who built a marketing and tech empire now wants to change the way you discover and buy original art

Wed, 05/22/2019 - 11:07pm

  • Everette Taylor is a man of many strengths. The 29-year-old entrepreneur has established himself as a marketing oracle. A millennial with his finger on the pulse of a generation of young adults carving out their own paths, in careers and in life.
  • As owner of ET Enterprises, Taylor has started and developed several companies, including the marketing and software firms MilliSense and GrowthHackers, the data-driven social-media platform PopSocial, the drug-addiction recovery app Hayver, and the charitable foundation, Southside Fund.
  • But Taylor is not just a serial entrepreneur, he has sought to help other businesses grow. And now he is set on applying those skills in an entirely new arena: the world of fine art. And, true to form, it starts with building another company, called ArtX.
  • ArtX is designed to showcase new artists, give them a centralized platform to promote their work, and reach new audiences and collectors.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

For Everette Taylor, a 29-year-old serial entrepreneur who has built a tech and marketing empire over the better part of a decade, his latest business endeavor is more than just a career pivot. He wants to redefine the world of fine art.

Taylor has a venerable reputation for his marketing savvy in Silicon Valley. He has built companies with an eye toward growth. His work ethic has earned him considerable success.

As the chief executive of ET Enterprises, Taylor oversees several businesses, including the marketing and software firms MilliSense and GrowthHackers, the data-driven social-media platform PopSocial, the drug-addiction recovery app Hayver, and the Richmond, Virginia-based charitable foundation, Southside Fund.

Now, after having spent nearly a decade immersed in tech, marketing, and data, Taylor has turned his attention to the art world. His new company, called ArtX, is built to elevate artists; showcasing their work, helping build their audiences, and offering them the software and tools they need to run their own businesses and grow their careers.

Redefining the art gallery space

For Taylor, this latest endeavor started with a simple problem. As a successful entrepreneur looking for tangible ways to invest his money, he decided to start collecting artwork. The practice is a long-held tradition among the wealthy who acquire creative works that appreciate in value over time.

But Taylor discovered that breaking into that arena is hard. Sourcing and buying original art is not easy, either. The business of fine art is notoriously insular, and traditional galleries can feel cold and unwelcoming.

Taylor told Business Insider in an interview that the types of art he finds in some of those galleries are also lacking diverse representation.

"There's so many different communities that are creating art that aren't getting a fair opportunity to really show and display their work," he said.

The young mogul, a two-time Forbes "30 Under 30" honoree, spent an hour in Business Insider's downtown Los Angeles office earlier this month to talk about ArtX and what it was like navigating the art world as a young black entrepreneur.

"I would go into galleries and spaces and people wouldn't speak to me or recognize me. I would want to buy art, and I would get the runaround from galleries," Taylor said, recounting the ones that did acknowledge him would sometimes rebuff his attempts to spend any money.

"I wouldn't even be able to have access to those works unless I was a certain person," he said. "I just thought it was very undemocratic and unfair."

Read more: How an LA upstart is redefining the media world by helping Black millennials 'tell their own story'

Shifting the art culture

The way Taylor sees it, the art gallery model is ripe for reorganization on every level.

He says ArtX wants to accomplish that by first showcasing artists of all stripes — including those who are underrepresented in the traditional art-gallery world — highlighting their work and their stories. A look at the ArtX website at the time of this writing reveals one compilation by the Pittsburgh art curator Sean Beauford who paired the works of artist Kerry James Marshall with lyrics from the superstar hip-hop mogul Jay-Z as context for the pieces.

"We want to talk about things that aren't normally written about in the art space," Taylor said. "A lot of the stuff you read about is very academic, so we want to create stuff that's easily consumable for the average person, whether you're someone who holds an art degree from Yale or you're a high-schooler who's just interested in art."

Highlighting diverse perspectives, Taylor said, is key to empowering all artists. During this Wednesday morning interview, he points to the works of the Brooklyn-born Haitian-Puerto Rican artist, Jean-Michel Basquiat, whose work has received critical acclaim.

"The art community is more diverse than ever. It's not like the way it used to be," Taylor said. "Early on, it was such a revelation to have someone like Basquiat operating within a mostly white space. Now there's hundreds of thousands of artists like him — maybe not all equal in terms of talent and skill, but the space looks much different."

They, too, need a platform to build an audience, share their work, and find potential customers, Taylor said.

ArtX is giving artists that platform with the help of its AI-powered tool, ArtX Amplify, which fuels that part of the business, helping creators build their brand on social media, which ultimately translates into sales, Taylor said.

The way forward

On top of his ambition to elevate a new generation of artists, Taylor envisions ArtX as a future e-commerce hub for the art market.

Online art sales have grown in recent years, according to findings compiled by the business insurance provider Hiscox Ltd., which said the online art market grew nearly 10% in 2018 to $4.64 billion.

That's a slight decline from the 12% expansion the market saw in 2017, but what's key here is millennials make up a sizable portion of these art buyers.

According to the 2019 Hiscox online art trade report, 79% of millennials surveyed said they bought art online more than once in the last 12 months. And perhaps most notably, 23% of those millennials said they had "never bought an artwork in a physical space (e.g. gallery, auction or art fair) prior to buying art online." That's an increase from 18% in the prior year, the survey found.

But, money and sales aside, Taylor sees ArtX as the most important chapter of his entrepreneurial career. It's for the culture. "I really want to do things that are impactful, and change the world in a positive space," Taylor said.

"Art is so valuable to who we are as people," he said, recounting an interview during which the artist George Condo declared art is more important than life, "because at least it lives forever."

Taylor paused for a moment, his normally resonant, youthful voice taking a contemplative tone.

"With this project, this is my art piece. This is something I think I can build successfully, and it's going to help people for a long time after I'm gone."

Join the conversation about this story »

NOW WATCH: What it takes to be an art auctioneer at the largest auction house in the world

THE DATA BREACHES REPORT: The strategies companies are using to protect their customers, and themselves, in the age of massive breaches

Wed, 05/22/2019 - 11:05pm

This is a preview of a research report from Business Insider Intelligence, Business Insider's premium research service. To learn more about Business Insider Intelligence, click here.

Over the past five years, the world has seen a seemingly unending series of high-profile data breaches, defined as incidents in which unauthorized parties access and retrieve sensitive, secure, or private data.

Major incidents, like the 2013 Yahoo breach, which impacted all 3 million of the tech giant’s customers, and the more recent Equifax breach, which exposed the information of at least 143 million US adults, has kept this risk, and these threats, at the forefront for both businesses and consumers. And businesses have good reason to be concerned — of organizations breached, 22% lost customers, 29% lost revenue, and 23% lost business opportunities.

This threat isn’t going anywhere. Each of the past five years has seen, on average, 1,704 security incidents, impacting nearly 2 billion records. And hackers could be getting more efficient, using new technological tools to extract more data in fewer breach attempts. That’s making the security threat an industry-agnostic for any business holding sensitive data — at this point, virtually all companies — and therefore a necessity for firms to address proactively and prepare to react to.

The majority of breaches come from the outside, when a malicious actor is usually seeking access to records for financial gain, and tend to leverage malware or other software and hardware-related tools to access records. But they can come internally, as well as from accidents perpetrated by employees, like lost or stolen records or devices.

That means that firms need to have a broad-ranging plan in place, focusing on preventing breaches, detecting them quickly, and resolving and responding to them in the best possible way. That involves understanding protectable assets, ensuring compliance, and training employees, but also protecting data, investing in software to understand what normal and abnormal performance looks like, training employees, and building a response plan to mitigate as much damage as possible when the inevitable does occur.

Business Insider Intelligence, Business Insider’s premium research service, has put together a detailed report on the data breach threat, who and what companies need to protect themselves from, and how they can most effectively do so from a technological and organizational perspective.

Here are some key takeaways from the report:

  • The breach threat isn’t going anywhere. The number of overall breaches isn’t consistent — it soared from 2013 to 2016, but ticked down slightly last year — but hackers might be becoming better at obtaining more records with less work, which magnifies risk.
  • The majority of breaches come from the outside, and leverage software and hardware attacks, like malware, web app attacks, point-of-service (POS) intrusion, and card skimmers.
  • Firms need to build a strong front door to prevent as many breaches as possible, but they also need to develop institutional knowledge to detect a breach quickly, and plan for how to resolve and respond to it in order to limit damage — both financial and subjective — as effectively as possible.

In full, the report:

  • Explains the scope of the breach threat, by industry and year, and identifies the top attacks.
  • Identifies leading perpetrators and causes of breaches.
  • Addresses strategies to cope with the threat in three key areas: prevention, detection, and resolution and response.
  • Issues recommendations from both a technological and organizational perspective in each of these categories so that companies can avoid the fallout that a data breach can bring.
Subscribe to an All-Access pass to Business Insider Intelligence and gain immediate access to: This report and more than 250 other expertly researched reports Access to all future reports and daily newsletters Forecasts of new and emerging technologies in your industry And more! Learn More

Purchase & download the full report from our research store

 

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International money transfers hit $613 billion this year — here's what young, tech savvy users value most about them

Wed, 05/22/2019 - 10:03pm

This is a preview of a research report from Business Insider Intelligence, Business Insider's premium research service. To learn more about Business Insider Intelligence, click here. Current subscribers can read the report here.

Remittances, or cross-border peer-to-peer (P2P) money transfers, hit a record high of $613 billion globally in 2017, following a two-year decline.  And the remittance industry will continue to grow, driven largely by digital services.

Several factors will fuel digital growth globally, such as increased smartphone penetration, greater demand for digital transactions, and an overall need for faster cross-border transfers. And with the shift to digital comes an audience of younger, digital-savvy customers using remittances — a segment that companies are looking to target.

As a result, the global remittance industry is becoming increasingly competitive for firms to navigate, with incumbents like Western Union and MoneyGram competing for the same pool of customers as digital upstarts like WorldRemit and Remitly. And in order to win, companies across the board will need to prioritize the four areas consumers value most in remittances: cost, convenience, speed, and safety.  

In The Digital Remittances Report, Business Insider Intelligence will identify what young, digitally savvy users value in remittances. We will also detail the concrete steps that legacy and digital providers can take to effectively capture this opportunity and monetize digital offerings — the primary growth driver — to emerge at or maintain their presence at the forefront of the space. 

The companies mentioned in the report are: MoneyGram, Remitly, Ria, Western Union, WorldRemit, TransferWise, and Xoom, among others.

Here are some key takeaways from the report:

  • The global remittance industry recovered from a two-year decline in 2017 to reach a record $613 billion in transfer volume. That growth will continue and will be fueled by digital remittances, which Business Insider Intelligence expects to grow at a 23% CAGR from $225 billion in 2018 to $387 billion in 2023.
  • There’s a new segment of customers that both legacy and digital firms are competing to grab share of. Young, digital-savvy consumers are the customer segment that all firms are vying to reach, which is creating a highly competitive dynamic. The needs of those consumers will precipitate transformational change in the industry.
  • We’ve identified several tangible steps firms can take to improve in four key areas — cost, convenience, speed, and security — to not only attract but also maintain this customer segment to align with their preferences and ultimately win in the space.

 In full, the report:

  • Outlines the global remittance landscape and sizes the opportunity that the industry presents. 
  • Identifies the new audience for remittances and future drivers of the remittance space going forward. 
  • Discusses four key areas that providers can focus on — cost, convenience, speed, and security — to improve offerings and ultimately capture that shifting audience. 
To get this report, subscribe to a Premium pass to Business Insider Intelligence and gain immediate access to: This report and more than 275 other expertly researched reports Access to all future reports and daily newsletters Forecasts of new and emerging technologies in your industry And more! Learn More

Or, purchase & download The Digital Remittances Report directly from our research store

SEE ALSO: These were the biggest developments in the global fintech ecosystem over the last 12 months

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Rewards-related offerings are the leading driver of consumers' credit card choices — but they can be pricey for issuers

Wed, 05/22/2019 - 9:03pm

This is a preview of a research report from Business Insider Intelligence, Business Insider's premium research service. To learn more about Business Insider Intelligence, click here.

The average US consumer holds about three nonretail credit cards with a balance over $6,000, according to Experian. As confidence rises, spending is hitting prerecession levels. For banks, that should be a good thing, since credit cards are profitable. But the push to attract a particularly interested and engaged customer base through sign-up bonuses and lucrative rewards offerings has led banks into a rat race, with surging expenses and rising delinquencies that are hurting returns.

To make credit cards as valuable as they could be, and to bring returns back up, issuers need to direct their efforts not just toward becoming one of consumers’ three cards, but also toward becoming their favorite card. Rewards are more important than ever — three of the top four primary card determinants cited by respondents to a Business Insider Intelligence survey were rewards-related — so abandoning them isn’t effective.

Instead, issuers need to be more resourceful with their rewards offerings, focusing on areas that encourage habit formation, promote high-volume spending, and help to offset some of the rewards costs while building engagement and loyalty.

In this report, Business Insider Intelligence sizes the US consumer credit card market, explains why return on assets (ROA) is on the decline, highlights the importance of rewards in attracting customers, and lays out three next-generation rewards strategies that are popular among certain demographics, which issuers can implement to return their card business to profitability. To drive this analysis, we conducted a survey centered on users’ card preferences to over 700 US members of our proprietary panel in May 2018.

Here are some key takeaways from the report: 

  • Competition driven by consumer card appetite in the US is hurting issuer returns. Consumer confidence and regulatory policy that favors credit cards should be a boon to issuers. But the competition has surged expenses to unattainable levels and increased delinquencies, which are causing returns to trend down.
  • Consumers still value rewards above all when it comes to cards. Two-thirds of respondents to our survey cited rewards-related offerings as the leading driver of primary card status, but they can be pricey for issuers.
  • Using resources strategically and offering rewards types that encourage high-volume spending and drive engagement through habit formation, like flexible offerings, rewards for e-commerce, and local bonuses, could be the path to success in the future.

In full, the report:

  • Identifies the factors that are causing high credit appetite to hurt issuer returns.
  • Explains the value of top-of-wallet status, and evaluates the factors that drive it based on proprietary consumer data.
  • Defines three popular next-generation rewards options that issuers can use to drive up spending and engagement without breaking the bank.
  • Issues recommendations about how to offer these rewards and what demographic groups could be most receptive to them.
Get The Consumer Cards Report

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Jeff Bezos blew off Amazon employees' proposal at the shareholder's meeting and they were miffed: 'This is not the kind of leadership we need' (AMZN)

Wed, 05/22/2019 - 8:29pm

  • Nearly 8,000 employees have signed an open letter asking Amazon to commit to become a climate-change leader instead of a climate change contributor.
  • They expected to present their ideas directly to their boss, CEO Jeff Bezos, at the company's annual shareholder's conference where he was scheduled to appear.
  • But when they initially made their presentation and asked for Bezos he was not available
  • Although 50 of them were in the room, the company also did not allow any of them to ask a question of him.
  • In an after-meeting press conference, employees said that they've faced no retaliation for their mission and have no intention of giving up. 
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

Nearly 8,000 Amazon employees publicly signed a letter asking their company to drastically limit its impact on the environment. They hoped to present their plea directly to their boss, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, at the company's annual shareholders meeting on Wednesday.

But the boss was not available — at least not right then. 

Bezos attended the shareholder meeting in Seattle, and took the stage later Wednesday morning to answer investor questions and discuss business highlights. 

When the employees backing the climate proposal had their moment to speak at the event though, Bezos was apparently not in the room. 

Amazon employee Emily Cunningham, one of the organizers of the climate proposal, stood up to introduce it to the other shareholders at the meeting. Her voice shook as she started to speak, she said. And her first question was, where's our boss, Jeff Bezos?

She asked him to come out on stage so she could "speak to him directly." The event moderator shrugged her off, saying that Bezos would be out later. When asked if Bezos would be able to hear the employees' proposal, an awkward silence hung over the proceedings until the MC curtly responded: "I assume so." 

The employees who were working so hard to get Bezos' attention on an issue near to their hearts were not pleased.

They later tweeted on the Twitter account, Amazon employees for Climate Justice, "This is not the kind of leadership we need to address the climate crisis. We need a plan, a commitment to zero carbon emissions. Employees no longer 'assume' we're doing enough. We want to lead the way."

The episode was a telling example of the complex landscape that Amazon now operates in, with the $915 billion company facing increasing scrutiny over its business practices even as investors and customers praise its services. 

Read: After selling his company for $6.5 billion and doing 40 angel investments, Ross Mason is joining an unusual quant-like VC firm

In addition to the climate advocates, protesters, some dressed in poop emoji costumes, gathered outside to protest work conditions and Amazon's facial recognition software.

Despite how well Amazon stockholders are doing these days — the stock is trading at about $1,860 — the atmosphere inside the room at the shareholders' meeting was not celebratory, reported CNN Business reporter Lydia DePillis.

"This is a buttoned-up, no frills, just-get-it-over-with event," DePillis tweeted from inside the room.

There was no livestream and journalists were not allowed to bring cameras or take photos. Those who tried were stopped by the company's PR folks.

Lots of support, except on the board

The climate letter signed by Amazon employees urged the company to do more than offer a handful of green programs. They want a plan for Amazon to stop using fossil fuels in its operations entirely with the goal of making Amazon a zero-emissions company.

The employees also called for things like no longer helping oil companies with fossil-fuel related projects. (Amazon Web Services has a unit dedicated to the gas and oil industry). They want the company to stop supporting politicians with abysmal climate legislation track records. And they want the company to not punish employees, including hourly workers, who miss work due to climate-related events like hurricanes and fires.

But their official shareholder proposal was far more modest. They wanted the company to develop a disaster recovery plan for climate-related events and to publish a progress report on Amazon's attempts to limit its fossil fuel consumption.

Amazon's board of directors did not back the proposal, arguing that the company's green initiatives were plentiful enough. And, since shareholder proposals virtually never pass without board support, it was was voted down. This despite the fact that two of the nation's two largest proxy advisory firms, Glass Lewis and Institutional Shareholder Services (ISS), came out in support of the resolution. (In fact, all 11 shareholder proposals presented on Wednesday, none of which were supported by the board, were voted down.)

In all, 7,683 Amazon employees signed their names to the letter, representing about 12% of the company's tech employees, one of them said at a press conference that was livestreamed after the shareholder meeting. 

"They completely dodged our question"

About 50 employees had crowded into the shareholder's meeting to support Cunningham, who works as a UX designer at her day job, and her speech. 

They had to jump through hoops to do be allowed in, she said at the press conference. This year there were multiple controversial proposals being presented and security was tight.

In years past, an employee badge was enough to get into the meeting, Cunningham said at the press conference. Many employees are paid in stock so they are shareholders. This year, however, the badge wasn't enough. They had to prove their their stock ownership, Cunningham said.

Despite the photography ban at the meeting, the Amazon employees took a few pictures and tweeted them, including one showing all of them raising their hands to ask a question of the boss, Bezos, when he was on stage.

During the Q&A, they did get a chance to ask their boss questions.

An employee, Orion Stanger, Software Development Engineer, asked: "We've talked a lot about our renewable energy goal being long term but we don't have any dates associated with that." 

He pointed out that as an employee, it would be unacceptable not to have deadlines for his projects. He asked Bezos point blank: "What is the date for when we will achieve 100% renewables for all of Amazon's operations?"

An Amazon rep responded: "As we've said before later this year, we're going to release our carbon footprint publicly and along with that goals associated with carbon so more to come on that, nothing to share today. The long term goal today remains a long term goal but more to come this year."

They were not happy with the answer.

"We're on to Q&A and all of us raised our hands but they completely dodged our question. This isn't climate leadership," they employees later tweeted.

We're on to Q&A and all of us raised our hands but they completely dodged our question. This isn't climate leadership. pic.twitter.com/CJVXMC6CVu

— Amazon Employees For Climate Justice (@AMZNforClimate) May 22, 2019 Some encouraging signs

If there was one bit of good news for the employees pushing for an eco-friendly agenda it's this: beyond the cold shoulder of their boss, none of them have experienced any retaliation at work over this, they said.

In fact, they've experienced the opposite. In addition to nearly thousands of employees signing the letter, they've heard from coworkers thrilled that they've taken on this social action.

So the employees said they aren't giving up. In fact, they are taking a victory lap in as much as they can. They first began the process of their shareholder proposal six months ago, and feel they've scored a few wins, including Amazon's commitment to use carbon credits to offset the impact of its packaging/shipments, a plan called Shipment Zero introduced in February. 

"In six months, we've won changes including Shipment Zero and a commitment to share our company's carbon footprint, but we know these half-steps are not nearly enough to address the scale of our company's contributions toward the climate crisis," said Jamie Kowalski in a statement emailed to Business Insider. Kowalski is a software
development engineer who co-filed the resolution and attended the shareholder meeting.

"Amazon has the scale and resources to spark the world's imagination and lead the way on addressing the climate crisis. What we're missing is leadership from the very top of the company," he said.

"We have the talent to do this. The tech exists. It's just a matter of making the right choices," another Amazon employee, Weston Fribley, said at the press conference.

SEE ALSO: After selling his company for $6.5 billion and doing 40 angel investments, Ross Mason is joining an unusual quant-like VC firm

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Salesforce has a new $125 million fund to bet on one of the hottest investment areas right now (CRM)

Wed, 05/22/2019 - 7:01pm

  • Salesforce is the $121 billion enterprise gorilla that pioneered delivering software over the internet.
  • Its corporate venture arm, Salesforce Ventures, has just raised its second fund in Europe to invest in enterprise software companies in Europe and Israel.
  • Software-as-a-service, the model essentially invented by Salesforce, is beloved by startup investors in Europe and one of the hottest investment areas right now.
  • Partner Alex Kayyal said European tech is evolving away from consumer-oriented businesses and marketplaces, and towards the enterprise and deep technology.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

Salesforce, the enterprise software giant, has launched a $125 million fund for European enterprise startups, its second fund for the region.

The new fund comes as investor interest in European enterprise technology heats up, and as the wider enterprise software market is estimated at $397 billion globally, according to Gartner.

Salesforce Ventures is the corporate investment arm for Salesforce, investing in startups which have a connection — sometimes only loosely — to its own core business. Its US arm won big by quietly investing in Zoom just before the video conferencing firm went public and almost immediately doubled its money. In Europe, it's already backed promising businesses such as ID verification firm Onfido, which subsequently raised funding from a SoftBank spinoff fund.

The fund comes from Salesforce's own cash reserves, and investors are flexible about how big a cheque they write. Typically, the European arm invests at Series A but will invest at various stages of a company's development.

Alex Kayyal, partner and head of Europe at Salesforce Ventures told Business Insider that Salesforce Ventures is the second most active corporate investor globally, behind Google Ventures.

"We have deep pockets of capital," he added.

Read more: Amazon's massive bet on Deliveroo is much bigger than Friday night takeout. It's about the death of the kitchen.

Kayyal has lived in London for a decade, and run Salesforce's European investments for four years. The European tech ecosystem has, he said, changed markedly in that time.

"Back then, a lot of the innovation was in marketplaces and consumer businesses," he said. "If you look at the initial success in Europe, there were incredible businesses, billion-dollar companies like Skype or Zoopla were the initial starting points. What we see now, there's a huge shift."

Kayyal pointed to Romanian automation business UiPath, which is now the most valuable AI startup in the world after raising huge funding, and the float of Dutch payments business Adyen as examples of a new generation of successful tech firms. In Salesforce's own portfolio, cloud software firm Anaplan went public last October, while cloud call centre New Voice Media was bought by Vonage last September.

"You're seeing multi-billion dollar exits. All of a sudden, $5 billion, $10 billion exits are not impossible in Europe. These companies are in the enterprise space and what that creates is a tonne of liquidity that investors can redeploy, entrepreneurs in these spaces can hire great people that have had experience in those startups, and the angel networks are in place," Kayyal said. "That's one big observation."

Kayyal said he's also excited by firms solving "deep technical problems" through artificial intelligence or other deep technologies, not least because Europe has some of the best talent globally. "Onfido and Unbabel have some of the biggest AI teams in Europe," he said.

Salesforce Ventures' pitch to entrepreneurs is the wider business' credibility in cloud computing, and access to its massive customer base. For example one portfolio company, translation firm Unbabel, can translate customer support queries and responses on the fly through Salesforce's customer support platform.

For entrepreneurs, Kayyal said he and his team look for "resilience."

"Being an entrepreneur is hard, and building a company is one of the most challenging and intense experiences anyone can go through," he said. Kayyal himself was an entrepreneur. "You're leaving a stable job oftentimes, and struggling to get customers at the beginning. It's having the resilience to keep running through walls, and finding a way through."

The second trait the team looks for is an entrepreneur's understanding of where they can fit into the Salesforce ecosystem.

"We're looking for big market opportunities, disruptive technology, and great customer traction," he said.

SEE ALSO: Here's why hot startup TransferWise did a secondary share offering that valued it at $3.5 billion

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Nearly three-quarters of bills will be paid digitally by 2022 — this is how banks can stay ahead of the trillion-dollar opportunity

Wed, 05/22/2019 - 7:01pm

This is a preview of a research report from Business Insider Intelligence, Business Insider's premium research service. To learn more about Business Insider Intelligence, click here.

Between housing costs, utilities, taxes, insurance, loans, and more, US adults paid an estimated $3.9 trillion in bills last year.

That market is growing slowly, but it’s changing fast — more than ever before, customers are moving away from paying bills via check or cash and toward paying online, either through their banks, the billers themselves, or using a third-party app.

Thanks to rising customer familiarity with digital payments, an increase in purchasing power among younger consumers more interested in digital bill pay, and a rise in digital payment options, nearly three-quarters of bills will be paid digitally by 2022, representing a big opportunity for players across the space.

In theory, banks should be in a great position to capitalize on this shift. Nearly all banks offer bill payment functionality, and it’s a popular feature. Issuers also boast an existing engaged digital user base, and make these payments secure. But that isn’t what’s happening — even as digital bill pay becomes more commonplace, banks are losing ground to billers and third-party players. And that’s not poised to change unless banks do, since issuer bill pay is least popular among the youngest customers, who will be the most important in the coming year.

For banks, then, that makes innovation important. Taking steps to grow bill pay’s share can be a tough sell for digital strategists and executives leading money movement at banks, and done wrong, it can be costly, since it often requires robust technological investments. But, if banks do it right, bill pay marks a strong opportunity to add and engage customers, and in turn, grow overall lifetime value while shrinking attrition.

Business Insider Intelligence has put together a detailed report that explains the US bill pay market, identifies the major inflection points for change and what’s driving it, and provides concrete strategies and recommendations for banks looking to improve their digital bill pay offerings.

Here are some key takeaways from the report:

  • The bill pay market in the US, worth $3.9 trillion, is growing slowly. But digital bill payment volume is rising at a rapid clip — half of all bills are now digital, and that share will likely expand to over 75% by 2022. 
  • Customers find it easiest to pay their bills at their billers directly, either through one-off or recurring payments. Bank-based offerings are commonplace, but barebones, which means they fail to appeal to key demographics.
  • Issuers should work to reclaim bill payment share, since bill pay is an effective engagement tool that can increase customer stickiness, grow lifetime status, and boost primary bank status.  
  • Banks need to make their offerings as secure and convenient as biller direct, market bill pay across channels, and build bill pay into digital money management functionality.

In full, the report:

  • Sizes the US bill pay market, and estimates where it’s poised to go next.
  • Evaluates the impact that digital will have on bill pay in the US and who is poised to capitalize on that shift.
  • Identifies three key areas in which issuers can improve their bill pay offerings to gain share and explains why issuers are losing ground in these categories.
  • Issues recommendations and defines concrete steps that banks can take as a means of gaining share back and reaping the benefits of digital bill pay engagement.
Get The Bill Pay Report

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$32 billion money manager Angelo Gordon told investors its 'Super Fund' is up slightly for the year after big bets on Puerto Rican debt and Toshiba

Wed, 05/22/2019 - 6:55pm

  • Angelo Gordon's $1.9 billion multi-strategy hedge fund, known as the Super Fund, has returned 3.4% through April, but a letter to investor says the firm has lost two portfolio managers that started the firm's liquid credit strategy. 
  • Michael Liebman and John Rudic resigned from the manager this quarter, the letter reads, after joining Angelo Gordon from Millennium in 2017. 
  • Out of the 12 strategies that feed into the Super Fund, only three have lost money so far this year, the letter states. 
  • For more stories like this, visit Business Insider's homepage.

Angelo Gordon's Super Fund, a $1.9 billion multi-strategy hedge fund run by the alternatives giant, has returned 3.4% through April, but recently lost two notable money managers.

The fund, which is comprised of 12 different strategies, was boosted by its positions in Puerto Rican Power Authority bonds and Toshiba stock, a letter to investors dated May 15 reads. The $32 billion money manager however lost Michael Liebman and John Rudic, two former Millennium portfolio managers that helped start Angelo Gordon's liquid credit strategy.

The letter said Liebman and Rudic helped build a strong team of senior analysts and the strategy will not fold without them.

"We are pleased with the diversification and market neutrality Liquid Credit has provided, which is one of the primary reasons we added the strategy to the Fund in 2017. We remain dedicated to the strategy and team and see the strategy as an important aspect of Fund," the letter reads.

Liebman and Rudic joined in 2017 and were both managing partners at the firm. The letter also noted the January hire of Ryan Mollett as the global head of distressed; Mollett was previously a senior managing director at Blackstone's GSO Capital Partners. 

See more: 'It's a cat-and-mouse game': The head of technology at $60 billion hedge fund Two Sigma explains why cybersecurity is a bigger challenge than AI

Angelo Gordon declined to comment, while Liebman and Rudic did not respond to requests for comment. 

The Super Fund's performance was solid, but still trailed the industry average of 6.52% through April, according to eVestment. The fund was slowed down by its investment into the debt of Sungard Availability Services, an IT firm that had its bonds downgraded several times since the beginning of the year, the letter stated.

The strategy that contributed the most to the fund's performance was the distressed reorganizations sleeve, which was the investor in Puerto Rico's energy bonds. Liquid credit, the strategy run by Liebman and Rudic, was roughly flat before fees for the first quarter.

"'Alpha' took a back seat to 'beta' during the quarter, as performance was led by ETF/index bonds and fundamentals became less relevant," the letter's section on the liquid credit strategy said.

The letter also included a reference to the firm's view that M&A will continue to increase thanks to "unresolved geopolitical tensions and technological disruption across industries." 

"An additional factor that could impact M&A is the upcoming 2020 US presidential election. Impending uncertainty around administrations, policies and potential delays typically leads to an increase in M&A volumes in the last years of a presidency," reads the letter, signed by Angelo Gordon cofounder and CEO Michael Gordon, portfolio manager David Kamin, and co-CIO Joshua Baumgarten. 

See more: Inside the hellacious hedge fund money-raising environment, where 'even the big funds have to get creative'

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Tesla keeps getting hammered, and if the beating doesn't stop, it may need another tech giant like Apple to save it, experts say (TSLA)

Wed, 05/22/2019 - 6:49pm

  • Tesla's stock price has plummeted by 35% since the beginning of this year, as of Wednesday when markets opened, reaching levels it hasn't hit since the end of 2016. 
  • Even in the worst-case scenario, Tesla is unlikely to go bankrupt, the Center for Automotive Research's Brett Smith and Morningstar's David Whiston said.
  • Instead, it's more likely another company would take a major stake in Tesla or buy it, Smith and Kelley Blue Book's Karl Brauer said.
  • One possible investor could be Apple, which made an offer to buy Tesla in 2013, according to the Roth Capital Partners analyst Craig Irwin.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

Tesla is feeling the pain. 

The company's stock price has plummeted by 35% since the beginning of this year, as of Wednesday when markets opened, reaching levels it hasn't hit since the end of 2016. 

The electric-car maker's shares have been volatile since the company went public in 2010. This most recent dive may be the result of investor concern about Tesla's debt levels (the company had $10.3 billion in debt at the end of March and sold $1.6 billion in convertible bonds this month) and a leaked internal email in which CEO Elon Musk said a capital infusion of over $2 billion would last for only 10 months at recent spending rates, the Morningstar automotive analyst David Whiston said. 

"This is just the same old thing that's been going on a long time," Whiston said. "They keep burning cash. They're always able to raise more money and everything's forgiven. Lately, though, after this last capital raise, it wasn't really forgiven as much."

Read more: Nothing Elon Musk has done has stopped the bleeding at Tesla — and things look like they're going to get worse

Investors may be realizing that car companies do not make profits as quickly as software-based tech companies, said Brett Smith, the director of propulsion technologies and energy infrastructure at the Center for Automotive Research. 

"Tesla has worked so hard to tell the world they are not a car company — they are a technology company," Smith said. "At the end of the day, you know what? They're a car company."

And for car companies, particularly young ones, financial troubles are not unusual. Nearly every major automaker has had them at some point, Smith said.

"It's really hard to be a car company," he said.

Bankruptcy is unlikely, even in the worst-case scenario

But even in the worst-case scenario, Tesla is unlikely to go bankrupt, Smith and Whiston said. Instead, it's more likely another company would take a major stake in Tesla or buy it, Smith and Karl Brauer, the executive publisher at Kelley Blue Book, said.

Tesla has a number of assets, such as its motors, drive units, and brand equity, that another company may find valuable. But political tensions could make it difficult for a foreign company to invest, and many traditional automakers have decided to develop electric vehicles in-house, decreasing the appeal of a large investment in Tesla.

"If [Tesla] does decide that it cannot go alone anymore, finding somebody may be a little trickier than it would have been in the pre-Trump era," Smith said.

One possible investor could be Apple, which made an offer to buy Tesla in 2013, according to the Roth Capital Partners analyst Craig Irwin. A major investment from Apple would make sense because its customer base is similar to Tesla's, Brauer said.

"You have a lot of people who are Tesla fans who are Apple fans, and vice-versa," he said. "It would be very easy for people who are fans of both companies to grasp them coming together."

Business Insider's Matthew DeBord wrote in 2018 that by acquiring Tesla, Apple could position itself to capitalize on potentially lucrative new business models, such as ride-hailing and self-driving cars, that could define the future of transportation. According to The New York Times, Apple has been quietly working on autonomous-driving technology since 2014 but has narrowed the project's scope from building electric self-driving cars to creating the technology for an autonomous shuttle to be used by its employees.

Tesla did not respond to a request for comment on this story.

Have you worked for Tesla? Do you have a story to share? Contact this reporter at mmatousek@businessinsider.com.

SEE ALSO: THE MODEL 3 THAT NEVER WAS: Leaked supplier documents show how Tesla's cheapest car is different than originally planned

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Trump's potential Fed pick is a critic of the central bank and supports near-zero interest rates

Wed, 05/22/2019 - 6:43pm

  • Judy Shelton has emerged as a potential nominee to the Federal Reserve board of governors. 
  • The former Trump campaign adviser now serves as the US executive director at the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, a multilateral lending bank based in London.
  • Shelton has a starkly different view of how interest rates should be set.

Judy Shelton, who has emerged as a potential nominee to the Federal Reserve board, has voiced plans to transform the way interest rates are set.

In a bid to move away from the current approach to monetary policy, Shelton told The New York Times she would be in favor of near-zero interest rates. That's likely to please President Donald Trump, who has repeatedly pressured officials to lower interest rates ahead of the 2020 elections.

Shelton said the current method of paying interest on excess reserves — or extra money that banks store at the Fed — incentivizes holding funds over lending them.

"It's like paying the banks to do nothing," she told The Times in an interview published Tuesday.

She added that the Fed could counter inflation by reducing its holdings of Treasurys and other assets, a portfolio that grew to about $4 trillion after the financial crisis in 2008. However, economists are skeptical that a smaller balance sheet would compensate for eliminating the interest rate on excess reserves.

"It's going to be very difficult to fine-tune short-term policy rates using sales and purchases of long-term securities," Menzie Chinn, an economist at the University of Wisconsin at Madison, said.

Shelton has been an outspoken critic of the central bank, questioning its response to the Great Recession in a Wall Street Journal op-ed in April.

"No other government institution had more influence over the creation of money and credit in the lead-up to the devastating 2008 global meltdown," she wrote. "And the Fed's response to the meltdown may have exacerbated the damage by lowering the incentive for banks to fund private-sector growth."

Shelton, who did not respond to emails and calls requesting comment, was an adviser to Trump's presidential campaign in 2016 and served on the Treasury Department's landing team during his transition to the White House.

She has also advocated for a return to the gold standard, a system proponents say prevents overly loose monetary policy but is dismissed by most mainstream economists.

"How does that square with her advocacy of a super-stimulative zero interest rate policy?" Kenneth Kuttner, an economist at Williams College who was previously a staffer at the Fed, asked.

SEE ALSO: A Trump administration source poured cold water on a report that Derek Kan is being considered for the Fed board

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