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US airlines are pulling the 737 Max from their schedules until March, suggesting they're losing faith in Boeing's plans to get the plane flying in 2019 (LUV, AAL, BA)

Fri, 11/08/2019 - 6:01pm

Southwest Airlines and American Airlines said on Friday that they were extending the cancellation of 737 Max flights until at least the first week of March, 2020, fas Boeing faces increasing hurdles and turmoil as it seeks approval to return the plane to service before the end of this year.

Southwest had previously extended the grounding of its 34 737 Max jets to February 8, the latest of any US airline. It now said that it would cancel 737 Max flights through March 6. The airline cited "continued uncertainty around the timing of Max return to service" and added it is "unable to provide an update on first quarter capacity guidance at this time."

American had last stated that it planned ot begin reintroducing the jet to service on January 16, assuming that Boeing would meet its expected timeline of winning US approval during the fourth quarter of this year. American now plans to cancel flights through March 5. 

United Airlines did not extend cancellations of the jet past January as of Friday night.

Earlier this week, regulators found gaps and substandard documents in the recertification paperwork submitted by Boeing, and asked for revisions. Reuters reported that Boeing confirmed it must resubmit revised documentation

The documentation, which was the latest setback, has raised questions into when Boeing can complete a certification test flight and get the plane approved to resume flying, and whether that could happen before 2020. The FAA said it would take 30 days after the certification flight before it would unground the plane. according to Reuters. 

The 737 Max, Boeing's best-selling plane, has been grounded since March after crashes in Indonesia and Ethiopia killed 346 people.

Investigations into the two crashes suggest that an automated system called MCAS, or Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System, erroneously engaged, forcing the planes' noses to point down, and that pilots were unable to regain control of the aircraft.

The system could be activated by a single sensor reading — in both crashes, the sensors are thought to have failed, sending erroneous data to the flight computer and, without a redundant check in place, triggering the automated system.

MCAS was designed to compensate for the 737 Max having larger engines than previous 737 generations. The larger engines could cause the plane's nose to tip upward, leading to a stall — in that situation, the system could automatically point the nose down to negate the effect of the engine size.

Since the grounding, other potential safety issues have been found in the plane, leading Boeing to make major changes to how its onboard flight computer functions.

Do you work for Boeing, or one of the airlines affected by the Boeing 737 Max grounding? Contact this reporter at

SEE ALSO: Boeing's latest crisis is growing after an airline found cracks on two 737 planes that weren't due for inspection yet

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Microsoft built a wall around its customers that could stop Slack's growth in its tracks (WORK, MSFT)

Fri, 11/08/2019 - 5:21pm

  • Slack's growth prospects in a critical market will face an imposing wall erected by Microsoft, according to a report by Wedbush Securities.
  • Microsoft Teams, a competing product to Slack, is available for free to business customers of Microsoft Office 365. That will keep many Microsoft enterprise customers from moving to Slack, according to the report.
  • Large enterprise customers are especially important to Slack's future revenue potential.
  • "The Slack solution is impressive and represents a strong growth opportunity, however we believe penetrating this next phase of enterprises will be incrementally more difficult as the Microsoft/Teams value proposition presents a major competitive hurdle going forward in sales cycles," Wedbush analysts Daniel Ives and Strecker Backe wrote.
  • Microsoft has said it has more daily active users than Slack, at 13 million. While Slack has responded and said it had 12 million and highlighted user-engagement figures that it says show how much people like using the app. 
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One out of every 10 Microsoft enterprise customers might switch to Slack, the upstart office-collaboration tool. 

And that's not good news for Slack. 

The San Francisco company is valued at about $10 billion by public-market investors who are betting that Slack's passionate "cult" user base will help it become a standard workplace tool — as common as email and mobile phones — in the corporate world. 

But according to a recent report by the Wedbush Securities analysts Dan Ives and Strecker Backe, Slack's growth prospects might not be as wide open as investors believe. In particular, Ives said, Slack is about to crash into a Microsoft wall. 

"Only 10% to 15% of the core Microsoft enterprise customer base is potentially 'in play' for Slack," Ives and Backe wrote in a recent note to investors, giving Slack an "Underperform" rating.

Microsoft has a rival product called Teams that offers similar capabilities and is available for free to existing Microsoft Office 365 business customers. 

"We have spoken to many enterprise customers that have seriously contemplated Slack's enterprise tier solution, but in the final IT decision was viewed that Teams services will suffice with no extra charge for Office 365 customers," the Wedbush report said.

What's more, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella is putting a lot of resources behind the Teams product to blunt the threat Slack presents to "wall-to-wall Microsoft shops," the analysts said.

Earlier this year, Microsoft said it had about 13 million daily active users, which it said put it ahead of Slack. Slack responded last month and said it had 12 million daily active users. That's less than Teams, but Slack was careful to highlight its user-engagement figures, which it said showed how much people like using the app.

Slack offers a freemium model where customers start on a free plan and then can move up to paid offerings, standard, plus, and enterprise. The company has 100,000 paying customers as of the second quarter of its 2020 fiscal year. 

Slack CEO Stewart Butterfield has said that's still the way the company acquires most paid customers. "It's individual work groups, like some one person says we should check this out, and they get two to three, and then five or eight or 15 people using it, and that happens over and over again across the company," Butterfield said at a conference in Laguna Beach last month

Slack is among a string of tech startups focused on corporate customers to recently enter the public markets. Zoom, which provides video-conferencing tools for companies using a similar "freemium" model, was one of the most successful public offerings of the year, with its stock now trading at roughly double the level of its IPO price.

Slack, which went public in June via an unorthodox direct listing, has seen its share sink about 47% below the level of its first days on the market.

If not Microsoft customers, then who?

If Wedbush's bleak view of Slack's prospects with Microsoft customers proves true, Slack will need to find its growth elsewhere. 

Ives said Slack's challenge would be to get the about 500,000 organizations that use Slack's free-platform option to convert to paid users and drive growth over the next three to five years.

He does think Slack will continue to do well with small business and startups and midmarket companies. "I think their sweet spot is 500 to 2,000 seat enterprises that tend to be more next generation type companies," Ives said. 

Ives does see Slack's integrations with other services as an advantage and thinks it offers a "sophisticated search and collaboration software that is embedded within an organization's workflow with topic, historical data maintenance, and group based features that are difficult for competitors to replicate." However, that may not be enough to take a significant portion of the market and beat Microsoft.

"The next step of growth will be a major uphill battle" for Slack, Ives said.

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SEE ALSO: The former head of Google Analytics just scored $20 million more for his startup Productiv, which is helping businesses manage the sheer number of software subscriptions they use

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THE AI IN INSURANCE REPORT: How forward-thinking insurers are using AI to slash costs and boost customer satisfaction as disruption looms

Fri, 11/08/2019 - 5:01pm

The insurance sector has fallen behind the curve of financial services innovation — and that's left hundreds of billions in potential cost savings on the table.

The most valuable area in which insurers can innovate is the use of artificial intelligence (AI): It's estimated that AI can drive cost savings of $390 billion across insurers' front, middle, and back offices by 2030, according to a report by Autonomous NEXT seen by Business Insider Intelligence. The front office is the most lucrative area to target for AI-driven cost savings, with $168 billion up for grabs by 2030.

There are three main aspects of the front office that stand to benefit most from AI. First, Chatbots and automated questionnaires can help insurers make customer service more efficient and improve customer satisfaction. Second, AI can help insurers offer more personalized policies for their customers. Finally, by streamlining the claims management process, insurers can increase their efficiency. 

In the AI in Insurance Report, Business Insider Intelligence will examine AI solutions across key areas of the front office — customer service, personalization, and claims management — to illustrate how the technology can significantly enhance the customer experience and cut costs along the value chain. We will look at companies that have accomplished these goals to illustrate what insurers should focus on when implementing AI, and offer recommendations on how to ensure successful AI adoption.

The companies mentioned in this report are: IBM, Lemonade, Lloyd's of London, Next Insurance, Planck, PolicyPal, Root, Tractable, and Zurich Insurance Group.

Here are some of the key takeaways from the report:

  • The cost savings that insurers can capture from using AI in the front office will allow them to refocus capital and employees on more lucrative objectives, such as underwriting policies.
  • To ensure that AI in the front office is successful, insurers need to have a clear strategy for implementing the tech and use it as a solution for specific problems.
  • Insurers are still at different stages when it comes to implementing AI: a number of them need to find ways to appropriately build their strategies and enable transformation, while the others must identify how to move forward with their existing strategy.
  • Overall, incumbents should focus on a hybrid model between digital and human to ensure they're catering to all consumers.

 In full, the report:

  • Outlines the benefits of using AI in the insurance industry.
  • Explains the three main ways insurers can revamp their front office using the technology.
  • Highlights players that have successfully implemented AI solutions in their front office.
  • Discusses how insurers should move forward with AI and what routes are the most lucrative option for players of different sizes.

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

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

The choice is yours. But however you decide to acquire this report, you've given yourself a powerful advantage in your understanding of AI in insurance.

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Companies run by billionaires performed twice as well as the market average in the last 15 years and it's part of the 'billionaire effect,' new study says

Fri, 11/08/2019 - 4:05pm

  • Companies controlled by billionaires performed almost twice as well as the market average equity between 2003 and 2018, UBS and PwC's 2019 Billionaires Report found.
  • Billionaires' companies are also consistently more profitable than companies not run by billionaires, and shareholders have billionaires' shared personality traits to thank, according to UBS and PwC.
  • Self-made billionaires' companies perform even better than those run by the typical billionaire, UBS and PwC found.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

Having a billionaire at the helm is good for a company's stock price, a new report by investment bank UBS and PricewaterhouseCoopers found.

According to UBS and PwC, companies run by billionaires enjoyed returns of 17.8% between 2003 and the end of 2018. That's compared to the MSCI AC World Index's 9.1% return during the same time period. Billionaires' companies were also consistently more profitable and performed better in the six years following an IPO than non-billionaire controlled companies, according to the study.

Released annually since 2014, UBS' Billionaires report evaluates the performance of companies that fit into one of three categories: companies that are steered by billionaires; in which billionaires own at least 20% of the company's stock; or in which billionaire control 30% of the company's voting rights.

"This group has been very good at weathering economic storms and volatility," John Matthews, the Group Managing Director of UBS' Head of Ultra High Net Worth Americas, said at a press event hosted by UBS on Wednesday, "and they outperform in an impressive market. Irrespective if they are public or private, their performance seems to outpace those of traditional companies out there."

Self-made billionaires' companies perform even better than those run by the average billionaire, UBS and PwC found. While companies run by billionaires outperformed the market on every continent, the "billionaire effect," as it is called by UBS and PwC, is strongest among US companies.

"The billionaire effect is alive and well and creates very impressive outcomes," Matthews said. In the report, the authors also state they don't believe the billionaire effect is limited to the 15 years studied and will continue into the future.

Stockholders have billionaires' shared personality traits to thank for the "billionaire effect," according to UBS and PwC

Many billionaires know how to take smart risks, are obsessively focused on their businesses, which allows them to see opportunities others missed, and think longer-term than less wealthy CEOs, the report said. 

"[I had a] conversation with a client talking about their success and how he has become successful with his company and his comment to me was, 'John, I don't think in quarters, I think in 10 years,'" Matthews said. "It's a different mindset."

A multitude of studies and books have similarly concluded that billionaires think differently than the majority of the population, and even think differently than millionaires. A review of the personality tests of 43 people with net worths above $11 million by German researcher Rainer Zitelmann found that ultra-wealthy entrepreneurs tend to have high tolerances for frustration and be more detail-oriented than the general population, Business Insider previously reported.

"To sum this up, you can say that rich people are less neurotic and less agreeable, but have a higher degree of conscientiousness, are more open to new experience, and more extroverted than the population as a whole," Zitelmann said.

Entrepreneur Rafael Badziag, meanwhile, spent five years conducting face-to-face interviews with 21 self-made billionaires and found that the same characteristics that make them successful can also lead to their downfalls.

"Billionaires are nonconformists who demonstrate individualism at an early age when they break more than a few rules," Badziag wrote in his book, "The Billion Dollar Secret: 20 Principles of Billionaire Wealth and Success."

"Knowing when to make the leap versus when to run in the opposite direction often means the difference between bankruptcy and billions," Badziag added.

SEE ALSO: Bill Gates isn't interested in space exploration and doesn't like Elizabeth Warren's wealth tax: Here are 5 highlights from the billionaire's DealBook interview

DON'T MISS: A 24-year-old who has shared photos of himself partying with Rihanna and Bella Hadid just became Hong Kong's newest billionaire overnight

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Southwest is pulling the 737 Max from its schedule for another month as questions mount about whether Boeing can get the plane ungrounded this year (LUV, BA)

Fri, 11/08/2019 - 4:03pm

Southwest Airlines said on Friday it is extending the cancellation of flights using 737 Max jets from its schedule by another month as Boeing faces increasing hurdles in winning approval to return the plane to service before the end of this year following two fatal crashes.

Last month, Southwest had extended the grounding of all 34 737 Max jets in its fleet to February 8. Southwest, the largest operator of the 737 Max 8 jets, said it was now canceling flights through March 6 because of "continued uncertainty around the timing of Max return to service" and added it is "unable to provide an update on first quarter capacity guidance at this time."

United Airlines and American Airlines have canceled their 737 Max flights into January.

Reuters reported this week that US and European regulators will need to return to Iowa to complete an audit of Boeing's software documentation after regulators found gaps and substandard documents. Boeing has confirmed it must submit revised documentation.

That has thrown into question when Boeing can complete a certification test flight. The Federal Aviation Administration has said it would not unground the planes until 30 days after that flight occurs. Two US officials told Reuters it is extremely unlikely -- if not impossible -- that Boeing will be able to win approval to return flights to service before the end of December.

The 737 Max, Boeing's best-selling plane, has been grounded since March after crashes in Indonesia and Ethiopia killed 346 people.

Investigations into the two crashes suggest that an automated system called MCAS, or Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System, erroneously engaged, forcing the planes' noses to point down, and that pilots were unable to regain control of the aircraft.

The system could be activated by a single sensor reading — in both crashes, the sensors are thought to have failed, sending erroneous data to the flight computer and, without a redundant check in place, triggering the automated system.

MCAS was designed to compensate for the 737 Max having larger engines than previous 737 generations. The larger engines could cause the plane's nose to tip upward, leading to a stall — in that situation, the system could automatically point the nose down to negate the effect of the engine size.

Since the grounding, other potential safety issues have been found in the plane, leading Boeing to make major changes to how its onboard flight computer functions.

Join the conversation about this story »

Outgoing Goldman talent chief Dane Holmes outlined for us the thought exercise he uses to think through big decisions — like leaving the investment bank

Fri, 11/08/2019 - 4:00pm

  • After 18 years at Goldman Sachs, Dane Holmes is moving to California to become CEO of the new HR tech startup Eskalera. 
  • Eskalera, which launched in 2018, develops technology to help companies improve inclusion and diversity in hiring and company culture.
  • Holmes walked Business Insider through the thought process he and his wife used as they considered the career move. 
  • Click here for more BI Prime content.

Dane Holmes and his wife don't really do New Year's resolutions. 

But they do, as best they can, try to predict the future. 

That's how, the Goldman Sachs' HR chief tells Business Insider, he realized it was time to leave the legendary investment bank and instead move out west. After 18 years at Goldman, Holmes is moving to California's Bay Area to become CEO of the new HR tech startup Eskalera

It's not as common to leave a job later in life as it is under the age of 30, but mid-life career changes are becoming more common as life-expectancy has extended. According the American Institute for Economic Research, 82% of workers later in their careers reported making a successful transition to a new career after age 45.

Holmes thought through this big career change by weighing every aspect of his life and how they could be affected both negatively and positively. His method could be helpful for anyone considering a mid-career move — or a major life change like relocating. 

"You can't determine your future, but there's great happiness in being intentional" about planning your future, Holmes said. "Whatever it is that you're doing." 

Eskalera, which launched in 2018, develops technology to help companies improve inclusion and diversity in hiring and company culture. The software uses AI, data science, and evidence-based findings to mitigate cognitive and systemic bias. 

For Holmes, a lot of stars have to align to arrive at these types of decisions. Other than the practicality of the new job opportunity, he said there was "unbelievable overlap" between his personal life, professional life, and his own desire.

Holmes and his wife asked themselves a few questions before making their decision. First, were they staying committed to the things they'd intended to? By assessing their current lifestyle and goals, they could then figure out what might be missing or need improvement. 

"So from a personal life perspective, and just wanting to grow and expand, it just was a good opportunity," Holmes said. 

Then, they looked at how their decision would affect them both professionally and personally. "I have an oldest daughter who's in eighth grade, so if I were going to move or change, it makes more sense to do it now," Holmes said. 

Lastly, Holmes considered his decision over the length of his career. "I've got 10 or 15 years left in me. So if I was going to do something very, very new, I have enough time to not only do it but to learn, make mistakes, pick myself up, do it and still see myself through," he said.  

Holmes and his wife essentially conducted a premortem — a method creative teams use to identify the risks of a project before taking it on. The idea is that weighing possible negative outcomes will help a team foresee obstacles and improve what's not yet broken, in hopes that it will prevent future failures. Imagine if you're introducing a product in a new market, what would cause the launch to flop?

To solidify their decision, Holmes and his wife discussed the probability of regret. His wife told him it was highly unlikely they would be sitting on their porch in 20 years saying their decision to live in California and be in the tech world was stupid. 

"As long as you're going into it wanting to grow and learn and advance," Holmes said, regret is unlikely.

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The CEO of the exchange backed by Bank of America and Morgan Stanley sees 2 ways it can succeed where others have failed in disrupting an industry dominated by NYSE and Nasdaq

Fri, 11/08/2019 - 3:56pm

  • Jonathan Kellner, the CEO of the Members Exchange, spoke with Business Insider about the competition the upstart trading venue hopes to bring to stock trading. 
  • Kellner highlighted two areas where the market could stand to benefit from additional competition brought by MemX: market-data fees and regulatory market-structure issues.
  • Achieving success as a startup exchange is no easy task, as evident by the trouble IEX, the newest national exchange, has had gaining significant traction since it received regulatory approval three years ago.   
  • Click here for more BI Prime stories.

The CEO of an upstart stock exchange vying for regulatory approval believes the low costs offered by the venue will help to break the tight grip of big players on the market — and he wants the firm to be an advocate for its members and their investors in Washington.

Jonathan Kellner, the CEO of the Members Exchange, told Business Insider the startup's selling point to the market was that its success would encourage incumbents to reconsider their approach to market-data fees and regulatory market-structure issues.

The entire market, Kellner said, could stand to benefit from additional competition. That includes MemX's backers, which are some of the biggest names in banking and high-speed trading and would certainly appreciate seeing a drop in fees for trading and data. 

"My pitch is, 'Come to us, I'm going to help you lower your costs across the board," Kellner said. "As we continue to grow market share, they're going to feel more pressure."

MemX is trying to break into a tough industry

In October, MemX, which launched with $70 million in backing in January from the likes of Bank of America, Morgan Stanley, Fidelity, and Virtu, filed its application with the Securities and Exchange Commission to become a national stock exchange.

In doing so, the startup looks to join an exclusive group. While there are 14 exchanges, all but one are owned by Cboe Global Markets, Nasdaq, or Intercontinental Exchange, the parent company of the New York Stock Exchange.

But while some might see a market that is difficult to crack, Kellner views it as an opportunity. 

Market data is one area Kellner sees a chance to challenge the establishment. Many in the industry have long vocalized their unhappiness regarding rising market-data fees, which exchanges have increasingly relied on to pump up revenue.

MemX will initially offer market data for free, with a plan to eventually charge for it, albeit at a reduced rate. Kellner acknowledges MemX's arrival won't immediately force other exchanges to drop fees but said early success by the upstart would be hard to ignore.

"I think it's going to be difficult in the face of what we're charging for them to continue to charge what they charge," he added. "Whether it's because of conversations that happened with their clients or if the regulator steps in and questions that."

The exchange can serve as a fresh voice for customers in Washington to comment on regulatory issues. 

The relationship between exchanges and their regulators has become somewhat strained in recent years, with rule makers subjecting trading venues to increased scrutiny. Exchanges, in turn, have push backed, culminating in ICE, Nasdaq, and Cboe suing the SEC over a planned pilot examining trading fees. 

However, regulators' interest in stock trading doesn't seem to be abating anytime soon, and Kellner said it would benefit the market to have another voice at the table. 

"We will force a more open dialogue and get members and their investors view into that debate," he said.

IEX also pitched itself as a disrupter but struggled to gain traction

To be clear, MemX's introduction sparking such widespread change is easier said than done, especially considering it has yet to even receive regulatory approval to operate. The exchange is eyeing a go-live date by mid-2020.

Recent history has not proved kindly to new exchanges. IEX, the newest exchange and lone outlier not owned by the trio of exchange giants, also pitched itself as a disruptor of the status quo. However, in the three years since it became an exchange, it has struggled to gain significant market share, hovering around 3%.

IEX and MemX aren't direct comparisons, though. The former had a controversial speed bump, setting it in stark contrast to traditional trading venues. MemX's application is fairly standard, with no unique approach to trading.   

MemX backers are also some of the biggest players in the market. The founding members include some of the largest banks (Bank of America Merrill Lynch, Morgan Stanley, and UBS), market makers (Citadel Securities and Virtu Financial) and retail brokers (Charles Schwab, E-trade, TD Ameritrade, and Fidelity).

With that type of power, it's hard not to imagine a world where MemX could at least make some type of noise early on. 

"We believe there's going to be meaningful liquidity early on," Kellner said. "We're going to try to help drive prices down. And I think just about every broker would support that."

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Leon Cooperman says he'll back Mike Bloomberg's presidential bid amid ongoing feud with Elizabeth Warren

Fri, 11/08/2019 - 3:50pm

Billionaire Leon Cooperman told CNBC he's a "huge fan" of Mike Bloomberg and will support the former New York City Mayor as a candidate in the 2020 Democratic primary.

Cooperman added that he'd help fund Bloomberg's campaign. Despite the former mayor's $52 billion net worth according to Forbes, Bloomberg will still need donors to qualify for primary debates.

"I'm a huge fan of Michael. I know him personally. It's a breath of fresh air," Cooperman said. "Unless he changes his stripes, he will have my unequivocal support."

Former New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg is making a late entrance into the 2020 Democratic primary, with The New York Times reporting Thursday that he plans to file paperwork for the Alabama primary by the end of the week. Bloomberg has yet to officially announce his campaign.

When asked by CNBC about Bloomberg's fundraising efforts, Cooperman suggested the Democratic Party should join him in backing the philanthropist.

"I have a world of respect for his accomplishments and his values. I have to sit down and understand his platform," Cooperman said. "If the Democratic Party was smart, they would support him."

Cooperman, the famous founder of Omega Advisors, is hot off a back-and-forth feud with Senator Elizabeth Warren. The two have exchanged in a collection of remarks centered around Warren's policy proposals. The investor most recently called her wealth tax a "bankrupt concept" on CNBC.

Warren fired back at Cooperman's support of the billionaire philanthropist in a Friday tweet, saying the "wealthy and well-connected will always have each other's backs" and her campaign is "building a movement to change that."

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

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David Einhorn claps back at Elon Musk's criticism, calls out Tesla's 'alien dreadnought factory'

Fri, 11/08/2019 - 3:46pm

  • Greenlight Capital President David Einhorn clapped back at recent criticism from Elon Musk on Friday.
  • Einhorn, a well-known Tesla short, also called out the company's shaky record of profitability, contrasting it with his firm's history of positive returns.
  • He also referred to Tesla's "alien dreadnought factory" in a letter published on Twitter.
  • Musk had published a letter earlier Friday addressing Einhorn as "Mr. Unicorn" and accusing the hedge fund of making false statements about Tesla in a recent investor letter.
  • Watch Tesla trade live on Markets Insider.

David Einhorn, the Greenlight Capital president and well-known Tesla short-seller, snapped back at Elon Musk's recent criticism on Friday, stepping up a long-running feud between the two.

Einhorn published a letter responding to Musk's post earlier Friday addressing Einhorn as "Mr. Unicorn" and accusing Greenlight of making "numerous false allegations against Tesla" in a recent letter to investors.

"We certainly are capable of making mistakes and if we said anything false, we will correct it for the record," Einhorn wrote.

He added: "I can't imagine how it would feel to have entire websites like chronicling your untruths."

The two have battled it out numerous times, with Musk famously sending Einhorn a box of shorts last year to make fun of his position against Tesla.

Read more: The chief global strategist at JPMorgan Asset Management lays out 3 reasons why the Fed's recent rate cuts could hold the economy back for 10 years — even as investors celebrate

Einhorn took his letter a step further on Friday, calling out Tesla's volatile profitability over the past decade and contrasting it with Greenlight's history of positive returns.

In his letter, Musk invited Einhorn to meet with him to learn more about Tesla and tour some facilities.

"We welcome your offer to learn more about Tesla and will take you up on it. This is a stark contrast from Tesla's prior position," Einhorn said.

He continued: "I think some facility visits would be fun (can we start in Buffalo?). I might learn the difference between your alien dreadnought factory and cars made by hand in a tent."

Greenlight had reportedly sent its note to address Tesla's better-than-expected third-quarter earnings, which sent the company's share price soaring 20%.

Shares of Tesla were up about 1% year-to-date on Friday.

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

Using points or miles for holiday travel can be tricky, but 5 strategies can help you stretch your rewards as far as they can go

Fri, 11/08/2019 - 3:14pm

  • Limited award availability among hotel and airline programs can make travel over the holidays a challenge.
  • Having some flexible travel rewards points, such as the points you earn with the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card or the Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card, can make the process easier, since you can redeem your rewards in more than one way.
  • If you have American Express Membership Rewards, Chase Ultimate Rewards, or Citi ThankYou points, for example, you can transfer points to a range of airline and hotel partners or use your rewards to book travel directly through a portal.
  • Don't forget the golden rule of saving money on travel: Be as flexible as possible. If you're willing to consider multiple destinations and dates, you'll be in a better position to save money on holiday travel this year.
  • Read more personal finance coverage.

If you're planning a holiday trip this year, you're not alone. Last year, AAA estimated that 112.5 million travelers would depart for some sort of trip over the holiday season, 102 million of them choosing a road trip over other types of travel.

No matter how you plan to get to your destination, you may face a problem if you're planning to cash in hotel points, airline miles, or other travel rewards earned with a credit card. Not only do airline and hotel loyalty programs limit award space and availability during peak travel seasons like the end of the year, but pricing for all kinds of travel tends to be higher, too.

If you want to use rewards, you'll have to be crafty, creative, and flexible. Here are some of the best strategies to consider as you plan last-minute holiday travel with rewards points.

Take stock of your flexible points

While individual airlines tend to limit award space over the holidays, having a card that offers flexible rewards points that transfer to multiple airlines can give you an edge. Cards that earn Chase Ultimate Rewards or American Express Membership Rewards let you rack up points right away and decide how to use them later. In the end, this means you'll have a lot more options and airlines to choose from.

If you have points in a flexible program, your best bet is comparing award space among all the available airlines before you book. Chances are good that you'll find more award space with one airline over another, or better pricing to boot.

If you wanted to fly from Chicago to Fort Lauderdale to see family over the holidays and you had a stash of Chase Ultimate Rewards points, for example, you could check flights on United MileagePlus, Southwest Rapid Rewards, British Airways, and more before you transferred your points and made a booking.

Check out pricing in rewards portals

If you're not finding award space or you simply want to compare all your options, also keep in mind that flexible programs like Chase Ultimate Rewards, American Express Membership Rewards, and Citi ThankYou Rewards offer travel portals that let you book flights with any airline and any available hotel direct. This means you won't have to worry about award availability or blackout dates, which can be difficult to navigate over the holidays.

Also remember that some cards offer a better deal on pricing when you redeem points directly through their portal. The Citi Premier℠ Card gives you 25% more airfare for free when you use points to book flights in the Citi travel portal. Likewise, the Chase Sapphire Reserve gives you 50% more travel for free when you book through the Chase portal, and the Chase Sapphire Preferred gives you 25% more.

Consider post-holiday travel dates

Being flexible with your dates can also be a huge help if you're trying to see family or enjoy a vacation over the holidays but you have some flexibility on when you go. It's often significantly cheaper to fly after Christmas (on the 27th or later) than before the holiday or the day after, for example. You may also find more award space with airlines or open hotel availability with your favorite hotel loyalty programs during these less-popular times.

If you're paying for your flights with cash or flexible travel credit, you'll also want to make sure you find the lowest prices. We suggest using Google Flights to compare pricing across multiple airlines for all the dates you're considering, although you'll have to go directly to airline websites or flight aggregator sites like when you're ready to book.

Sign up for cards that offer flexible travel credit

If you're worried about using airline miles or hotel points this late in the game, you can also use the holiday shopping season as leverage to sign up for a new card and earn a big sign-up bonus. This path can be especially fruitful if you want to earn rewards to cover part of your holiday travel this year and want some flexibility in how you redeem your points.

Cards that offer flexible travel credit tend to work best in this area since they let you redeem points for travel charged to your credit card after it happens. With the Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card, for example, you can earn 2 miles for each dollar you spend and 50,000 miles when spend $3,000 on your card within the first three months.

You have the option to transfer your Capital One miles to more than 10 airline partners, but you can also redeem them for any travel expenses charged to your credit card at a rate of one cent per point. That makes the sign-up bonus on this card worth $500 in hotels, airfare, or any other travel you want to book.

Consider alternate airports and destinations

Finally, don't forget that being flexible is quite possibly the best way to save on travel any time of the year. If you have multiple airport options, for example, you'll open the door to a lot more choices when it comes to redeeming airline miles or scoring cheap flights for your dates. If you're not traveling to visit family and just planning a vacation, you'll also do yourself a big favor by not getting your heart set on one destination and being willing to consider multiple spots for your holiday trip.

Be as flexible as you can, and take the time to consider multiple travel situations that might help you save money or stretch your points or miles as far as they can go. Traveling with rewards over the holidays is always a challenge, but you'll make the process easier if you think outside the box and keep your options open.

Click here to learn more about the Capital One Venture card.

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Mercedes-Benz and Mattel have joined forces to combat gender stereotypes — and to give away 50,000 classic Matchbox cars

Fri, 11/08/2019 - 3:06pm

  • Mercedes-Benz USA and Mattel have partnered to enhance STEM instruction and support it for young women.
  • The companies, in collaboration with several other partners, have commenced a "No Limits" program, which began on Friday.
  • Mattel and MBUSA are giving away 50,000 special Matchbox Mercedes 220SEs, celebrating racer Ewy Rosqvist's 1962 win at the 1962 Argentinian Grand Prix, a gender-redefining performance.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

Boys are into cars and girls ... aren't. 

This unfortunate stereotype disadvantages women early on, steering them away from technical professions that they might otherwise be well-qualified for, based on their own interests and on academic performance.The National Science Board has reported that women make up less than 30% of people working in science and engineering.

Mercedes-Benz USA wants to change that, and the carmaker has joined forces with toymaker Mattel to accelerate the process.

The program is called "No Limits," and it commenced on Friday to tie-in with national STEM/STEAM day in the US.

Beyond Mercedes and Mattel, the program also involves the "National Girls Collaborative Project (NGCP), a network of organizations that encourages girls to pursue science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) careers," Mercedes said in a statement.

Celebrating a pioneering woman in motorsports

Mercedes and Mattel are donating 50,000 Matchbox cars to the effort — and not just any model of vehicle, but a highly symbolic one: the Mercedes-Benz 220SE.

"It was in this car that Ewy Rosqvist defied all odds to become the first woman to compete in and win one of the most grueling races, the Argentinian Grand Prix, shattering records and the notion that women could not compete," Mercedes said.

Rosqvist's 1962 achievement was stunning. "Not only did she finish, she went on to be the first person to win every stage of the race, set a speed record and beat the previous champion by over three hours," Mercedes noted.

"Whatever they aspire to be–an astronaut, engineer, judge, nurse, even the President, we want all children to dream big, dream bold and never give up on that dream," Mark Aikman, general manager of marketing services for MBUSA, said in a statement.

"We've seen that stories like Ewy's – championing women trailblazers and achievers–can have a big impact by calling into question the gender stereotypes that children may inadvertently adopt."

Fans of Rosqvist's, those interested in the collaboration, and Matchbox collectors will also be able to buy the 220SE in stores, starting in December.


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Barneys shutting down is 'surreal' but 'not surprising,' says the millennial CEO at the head of a luxury eyewear brand that Jeff Bezos and Brad Pitt have been spotted wearing

Fri, 11/08/2019 - 3:05pm

  • Garrett Leight, the founder, CEO, and Creative Director of luxury eyewear company Garrett Leight California Optics, used to sell his products in Barneys. 
  • Barneys was one of his first introductions to the mass retail market, and Leight said it was "surreal" that the retailer was closing down. 
  • But at the same time, Leight said he wasn't suprised. He said the retailer failed to establish an "identity" to connect with younger buyers, and that this should be a lesson for other big department stores. 
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

If anyone is feeling the impact of Barneys' recent shutdown, it's Garrett Leight, the 35-year-old luxury eyewear designer who sold his brand, Garrett Leight California Optics (GLCO), at the once-esteemed retailer. 

"Barneys is such a big part of my life," Leight said in an interview with Business Insider. "When I launched [GLCO], it was like, 'we want to open in Colette and Barneys,' and that was all."

Leight's father, Larry Leight, is the founder of the high-end eyewear brand Oliver Peoples, which also sells in Barneys. Leight recalls that, while growing up in Venice, California, he would be surrounded by the iconic black bags and watch as his father conducted business with the retailer. 

If anything, it was a dream come true once Leight's own eyewear brand (which has been sported by household names, from Jeff Bezos to Brad Pitt) finally made its first shipment to the department store. Leight's eyewear brand launched in 2009 and officially debuted at Barneys in 2011. 

"There's this whole intimate experience about opening [in] Barneys, and it was like the very first thing I shipped," he said. "It was such an important part of our brand."

Leight, like many others in the retail sphere, is still shocked that Barneys is set to close its doors for good. The entrepreneur called Barneys one of his first introductions into the luxury retail market, a sentiment that's true for many others in the industry. 

"Surreal ... but not surprising"

"It's a bit surreal," Leight said when we asked about his reaction to the sale and shutdown news. "But I mean, it's not surprising, you know — I think they just didn't do the right things to stick around."

The famed department store, which was once a symbol of splendor and wealth, filed for bankruptcy on October 16. It is set to be sold to the investment firm B. Riley Financial and Authentic Brands Group — owner of brands like Nine West and Volcom — who have filed to purchase both Barneys' name and assets. 

In the end, Barneys is selling for only $271 million, with all its remaining stores set to close.

"This development is a positive step forward for Barneys and a strong recognition of the value of Barneys' assets and brand name," a Barneys spokesperson said in a statement to Business Insider. "We are working hard to achieve a successful sale process that will preserve the integrity of this incredible brand and ultimately benefit our employees, customers, vendors, and other business partners."

As Leight remembers his time spent working with Barneys, he said part of the store's downfall was that they failed to establish themselves as a brand to the younger generations — himself included. 

"I'm not really sure who the voice was or what the voice was [of Barneys]. I don't really know what they stand for. Even in leaving, they just made an Instagram post, and it just had a hashtag on it," Leight said. "Today, millennials and Gen-Z — we want to connect with something. We want to know who we're supporting, and I just don't know what [Barneys'] identity was."

Modern consumers wants brands to have a "face"

On the same note, Leight knows that it is difficult for these large retailers to find ways to connect with younger audiences, especially in the digital era. He said that consumers today are looking for the "face" or "message" of what these big name brands stand for, so that the young consumers know and understand exactly what they are supporting. 

"It's not easy," he said. "[But] you've gotta dedicate some effort — both financially and creatively — to creating something that buyers [and] consumers can connect with."

If anything, Leight noted, Barneys' bleak outcome should be a lesson for other department stores on how to survive in a new era, with a new generation of consumers. 

"Their competitors need to make sure that they're doing the right thing," Leight said. "Or they're next."

SEE ALSO: Fashion prodigy Zac Posen shuttered his fashion label on Friday. Here's how he went from enrolling in a top design school at 16 to becoming a household name with celeb clients like Oprah and Gwyneth Paltrow.

DON'T MISS: These department stores once thrived a decade ago but no longer exist

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Latest fintech industry trends, technologies and research from our ecosystem report

Fri, 11/08/2019 - 3:01pm

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.

In recent years, we've seen a ballooning of activity in fintech — an expansive term applied to technology-driven disruptions in financial services. And 2018 has been no different, with fintechs' staggering influence on the market evidenced by record funding levels for the industry — by Q3 2018, overall funding was already up 82% from 2017’s total figure, according to CB Insights.

Additionally, this year marked a watershed moment for the industry, with the once clear distinction between fintechs and financial services proper now blurred significantly. Virtually every incumbent financial institution (FI) is now looking inward and engaging in an innovation drive, spurred on by competition from fintechs. As such, incumbents are now actively investing in, acquiring, and collaborating with their fintech rivals.

In this report, Business Insider Intelligence details recent developments in fintech funding and regulation that are defining the environment these startups operate in. We also examine the business model changes being employed among different categories of fintechs as they strive to embed themselves further in mainstream finance and prove sustainability. Finally, we consider which elements of the fintech industry are rapidly rubbing off on incumbent financial services providers, and what the future of fintech will look like.

The companies mentioned in this report are: Funding Circle, GreenSky, Transferwise, Ant Financial, Nubank, Cellulant, Oscar Health, Stripe, One97, UiPath, LianLian Pay,, Gusto, Toast, PingPong, Flywire, Deposit Solutions, Root, Robinhood, Atom, N26, Revolut, OneConnect, PolicyBazaar, WeCash, Zurich, OneDegree, Dinghy, Vouch Insurance, Laka, Cleo, Ernit, Monzo, Moneybox, Bud, Tandem, Starling, Varo Money, Square, ING, Chase, AmEx, Amazon, Monese, Betterment, Tiller Investments, West Hill Capital, Square, Ameritrade, JPMorgan, eToro, Lendy, OnDeck, Ripple, Quorom, Chain, Coinbase, Fidelity, Samsung Pay, Google Pay, Apple Pay, Bank of America, TransferGo, Klarna, Western Union, Veriff, Royal Bank of Scotland, Royal Bank of Canada, Facebook, ThreatMetrix, Relx, Entersekt, BNP Paribas, Deutsche Bank, Gemalto, Lloyd's of London, Kingdom Trust, Aviva, Symbility LINK, eTrade, Allianz, AXA, Broadridge, TD Bank, First Republic Bank, BBVA Compass, Capital One, Silicon Valley Bank, Credit Suisse, Ally, Goldman Sachs.

Here are some of the key takeaways from the report:

  • Fintech funding has already reached new highs globally in 2018, with overall funding hitting $32.6 billion at the end of Q3.
  • Some new regions, including South America and Africa, are emerging on the fintech scene.
  • We've seen considerable scaling in older corners of the fintech ecosystem, including among neobanks and alt lenders.
  • Some fintechs, including a number of insurtechs, have dipped into new markets to escape heightened competition.
  • Emergent areas like blockchain and distributed ledger technology (DLT), as well as digital identity, are gaining traction.
  • Many incumbents are undertaking business transformations that aim to reimagine everything from products and services to front-end systems and back-end processes.

 In full, the report:

  • Details the funding and regulatory landscape in the US, Europe, and Asia.
  • Gives an overview into a number of fintech segments and how they've changed over the past year.
  • Discusses how incumbents are reacting to fintechs in order to stay relevant in the changing financial services sector.
  • Evaluates what the future of fintech will look like and what trends to look out for in the coming year.
Subscribe to a Premium 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

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SEE ALSO: How the largest US financial institutions rank on offering the mobile banking features customers value most

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Emergence Capital backed Salesforce before its IPO. Here's why one of the VC firm's partners thinks the $141 billion software giant is vulnerable to a next-generation enterprise software startup. (ZM)

Fri, 11/08/2019 - 2:00pm

  • Emergence Capital is narrowly focused on investing in early-stage enterprise software companies.
  • That specialization helps give it an edge over rivals when it comes to getting in on deals in the sector, Santi Subotovsky, a general partner at the firm, told Business Insider.
  • Emergence can offer startups access to all its partners and a community of founders at similar companies experiencing like challenges, he said.
  • Subotovsky remains bullish on the enterprise software sector, saying the need for mobile enterprise applications, the productivity promise of artificial intelligence, and the desire to replace aging software will boost demand for new services.
  • Click here for more BI Prime stories.

Enterprise software has been one of the hottest areas in tech in recent years. 

If you believe Santi Subotovsky, it's not going to cool down anytime soon.

Subotovsky, a general partner with Emergence Capital, thinks the enterprise sector is going to continue to boom, driven by some big trends, such as the near-ubiquity of smartphones and the increasing sophistication of artificial intelligence technologies. Those trends could make older providers of enterprise software, including Salesforce, vulnerable — and should open up opportunities for upstarts, he said.

"We're looking at next seven to 10 years," Subotovsky told Business Insider in a recent interview. "We see some major transformations in the way people are using technology at work."

Mobile phones and AI will boost demand

One major trend has been the widespread adoption of smartphones. That's created a need and an opportunity for workplace applications that are built with those devices in mind, he said. Much of the enterprise applications that have been built in the past have been designed to be used by office workers sitting at desktop computers. But there's a whole "desk-less workforce," as Subotovsky refers to it, of people who can now access enterprise applications through their mobile phones.

ServiceMax, an Emergence-backed company that GE acquired three years ago, offers a service that helps companies direct their field service technicians to particular customers and helps them place orders for new parts all through a mobile app. Similarly, UpKeep, another of the firm's portfolio companies, offers a mobile application that helps restaurants, manufacturers, and property-management companies direct maintenance workers to repair jobs.

Such apps are replacing antiquated solutions and technologies, such as pen and paper and simple spreadsheets, Subotovsky said.

Catering to such workers "expands the market a lot," he said. "The desk-less workforce," he continued, "needs productivity apps."

Another factor expected to continue boosting the enterprise software sector is the development of artificial intelligence, including in machine learning and natural language processing, Subotovsky said. Such technologies have plenty of applications, he said. And while some fear they will be used to replace workers, he thinks they will actually complement workers and make them more productive. 

Companies are looking to replace older apps

Take, yet another Emergence-backed company. It has developed a service that listens in on sales calls and uses artificial intelligence to analyze the conversations to determine what sales representatives are doing right and what they can improve on. Similarly, Textio has developed a service to enhance job-wanted postings, taking simple ideas and requirements and turning them into polished sentences that are designed to attract desired candidates.

"From what you do, the technology should be able to learn and adapt to help other people do their job better," Subotovsky said. "So we're super-excited about that."

The enterprise market is also likely to be driven by a demand to replace and upgrade older business-oriented applications, he said. Zoom's video-conferencing application was by no means the first of its kind. But older video-conferencing services had failed to keep up with innovation, Subotovsky said. Business customers were asking for a better, more up-to-date tool, he said.

Similarly, he thinks there might be an opportunity for an upstart to take on Salesforce, the customer-relationship management software maker that's now worth $141 billion. Salesforce has a negative net promoter score — a measurement that indicates customer satisfaction and loyalty — he said.

"People don't love it," he said. "That's a great sign," he continued, "that there's an opportunity for someone to come up with a solution people love."

Emergence specializes in backing enterprise startups

Emergence is well poised to take advantage of the continued boom in enterprise software, Subotovsky believes. The firm focuses solely on the sector; it invests only in early-stage enterprise software companies, said Subotovsky, a general partner with the firm.

Founded 15 years ago, Emergence has backed some of the more successful enterprise startups over that time, including Salesforce, Veeva, and Box. But it had one of its biggest successes earlier this year when another one of its portfolio companies, Zoom, went public and more than doubled its initial-public-offering price within a few weeks.

The firm makes only about five to seven investments a year — all in A rounds. But because of its specific focus, it gets to look at pretty much all the companies in the enterprise space, Subotovsky said. Seeing that many companies allows it to survey the landscape and pick the ones it thinks have the best chance of succeeding, he said. It can also tap into its own knowledge of how such companies have developed in the past, he said.

"We've seen this movie play out many times in enterprise," Subotovsky said.

Emergence's partners all focus on the enterprise sector

Emergence's narrow focus is also a benefit to its portfolio companies, he said. Subotovsky and his partners know what it takes for nascent enterprise startups to reach their potential, he said. 

Many venture firms have only one or two partners focusing on such companies, and they often spend their time with their portfolio companies just meeting with the CEO. Emergence's partners all work with its portfolio companies, and they end up meeting with many of the companies' top leaders — not just their CEOs. Subotovsky said it's not unusual for him to meet with a portfolio company's heads of marketing, sales, or product.

"I spend time with the CEO, because I want to help them out," he said. "But if I can help out the rest of executive team, then that has a huge impact on the organization."

Because all of Emergence's partners are focused on the enterprise sector, its portfolio companies to tap into the knowledge of any and all of them, Subotovsky said. At other firms, where only one or two partners focus on enterprise startups, the firm's relationship with the startup can be disrupted if one of those partners leaves, Subotovsky said. But that's not a danger with Emergence, since the entire firm develops a relationship with the startup. 

Another advantage Emergence has is the firm can connect founders to peers who are running similar startups and facing like challenges.

"That creates an incredibly powerful community," Subotovsky told Business Insider in a recent interview. "You're building a relationship with the entire team, and that makes a huge difference."

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

SEE ALSO: An Austin, Texas, startup used this pitch deck to raise $14 million to help real-estate agents, plumbers, and other small-business operators market themselves online

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REGTECH REVISITED: How the regtech landscape is evolving to address FIs' ever growing compliance needs

Fri, 11/08/2019 - 2:03am

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.

Regtech solutions seemed to offer the solution to financial institutions' (FIs) compliance woes when they first came to prominence around 24 months ago, gaining support from regulators and investors alike. 

However, many of the companies offering these solutions haven't scaled as might have been expected from the initial hype, and have failed to follow the trajectory of firms in other segments of fintech.

This unexpected inertia in the regtech industry is likely to resolve over the next 12-18 months as other factors come into play that shift FIs' approach to regtech solutions, and as the companies offering them evolve. External factors driving this change include regulatory support of regtech solutions, and consultancies offering more help to FIs wanting to sift through solutions. Startups offering regtech solutions will also play a part by partnering with each other, forming industry organizations, and taking advantage of new opportunities.

This report from Business Insider Intelligence, Business Insider's premium research service, provides a brief overview of the current global financial regulatory compliance landscape, and the regtech industry's position within it. It then details the major drivers that will shift the dial on FIs' adoption of regtech over the next 12-18 months, as well as those that will propel startups offering regtech solutions to new heights. Finally, it outlines what impact these drivers will have, and gives insight into what the global regtech industry will look like by 2020.

Here are some of the key takeaways:

  • Regulatory compliance is still a significant issue faced by global FIs. In 2018 alone, EU regulations MiFID II and PSD2 have come into effect, bringing with them huge handbooks and gigantic reporting requirements. 
  • Regtech startups boast solutions that can ease FIs' compliance burden — but they are struggling to scale. 
  • Some changes expected to drive greater adoption of these solutions in the next 12 to 18 months are: the ongoing evolution of startups' business models, increasing numbers of partnerships, regulators' promotion of regtech, changing attitudes to the segment among FIs, and consultancies helping to facilitate adoption.
  • FIs will actively be using solutions from regtech startups by 2020, and startups will be collaborating in an organized fashion with each other and with FIs. Global regulators will have adopted regtech themselves, while continuing to act as advocates for the industry.

In full, the report:

  • Reviews the major changes expected to hit the regtech segment in the next 12 to 18 months.
  • Examines the drivers behind these changes, and how the proliferation of regtech will improve compliance for FIs.
  • Provides our view on what the future of the regtech industry looks like through 2020. Get The Regtech Revisited Report


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A look at the nonbank and alternative lending industry in 2019 (WFC, BAC, C, JPM, USB, PYPL)

Thu, 11/07/2019 - 11:01pm
  • Business Insider Intelligence is launching its brand new Banking coverage in early September.
  • To obtain a free preview of our Banking Briefing, please click here.

Nonbanks and alternative lending institutions are making their way into the banking industry – posing a major threat to incumbent banks. Alt lenders' ability to utilize technology and provide efficient and effective lending services to underserved businesses and individuals is allowing them to penetrate the market and find success.

Below we break down what alternative lending is, list the top alt lenders in the industry, and detail how alternative financial institutions are threatening the dominance of incumbent banks.

What is alternative lending?

Small businesses typically struggle when attempting to receive financing, so oftentimes they turn to alternative lending – where funds are provided outside of traditional banking. Nonbanks – financial institutions that do not have a full banking license – also offer different lending options to smaller businesses. 

Nonbanks can engage in typical bank-related services like credit card operations and various lending services, such as mortgage lending. These lenders provide users with easier access to obtaining loans — especially for consumers who may not have the best credit.

Nonbank and Alternative lending industry trends

The presence of alternative lenders and digitally advanced nonbanks is continuing to grow in the banking industry – pressuring traditional financial institutions to digitize their own lending options.

According to Oracle's Digital Demand in Retail Banking study of 5,200 consumers from 13 countries, over 40% of customers surveyed think nonbanks can better assist them with personal money management and investment needs, and 30% of respondents who haven't tried a nonbank platform said they're open to trying one.

Alt lenders are also garnering attention, particularly from small- and medium-businesses (SMBs). According to data reported by SME Finance Forum, in 2018 there was funding gap of $5 trillion between the financing needs of SMBs and the institution-based financing available to them — causing SMBs to seek alternative funding options. 

Alt lenders use technology like artificial intelligence and machine learning to gather data and onboard customers, and Business Insider Intelligence's SMB Lending Report explains that if incumbents don't explore technology advancements, alt lenders could begin taking a larger share of the market.

Types of nonbank alternative loans

Nonbanks offer customers and businesses a variety of loan options including: mortgage loans, small business alternative loans, and peer-to-peer loans. 

Nonbank mortgage loan

Due to the regulation of mortgages, it can be difficult for incumbents to digitize the lending process, and the inability of traditional banks to adapt to the digital landscape has lead to an increase in alt lenders supplying mortgage loans to consumers. 

Business Insider Intelligence's Online Mortgage Lending Report found that the top five US banks – Wells Fargo, Bank of America, and JPMorgan Chase, US Bancorp, and Citigroup – only accounted for 21% of total mortgage originations, which is a huge decline from their 50% combined market share in 2011.

Alt lenders are a threat to incumbents because they can provide traditional financial products, like mortgage loans, to consumers at a lower cost with more relaxed eligibility criteria. This combined with their technological offerings allows alt lenders to provide mortgage loans in a more attractive way. 

Small business alternative loan

Loan applications from microbusinesses and small businesses are commonly rejected by traditional financial institutions. Due to the looser regulations for alt lenders, they can capitalize on the high demand of smaller businesses. 

According to a survey from the Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond, in 2016 only 58% of loan requests from small businesses were approved by incumbent banks, compared to 71% approved by alt lenders that same year. 

Alt lenders have the ability to leverage a broad set of data and machine learning — allowing them to reach further into the small business lending market than incumbent banks. 

Peer-to-Peer (P2P) loan

Peer-to-Peer loans – one of the most popular forms of alternative lending – bring together a borrower, an investor, and a partner bank through an online platform. Leveraging metrics, like credit scores and social media activity, P2P platforms can link borrowers to lenders at suitable interest rates.

P2P lending platforms facilitate interactions without actually owning the loans – allowing them to keep costs low. This quality is particularly attractive to customers looking to refinance existing debt at the lowest rate possible. 

Top nonbank and alternative lenders
  • SoFi: This startup initially focused on student loan refinancing, but has expanded to include mortgage loan refinancing, mortgages, and personal loans. In 2019 SoFi closed a $500 million funding round led by Qatar Investment Authority — posing a threat to incumbent banks.
  • Quicken Loans: This established nonbank is known for its Rocket Mortgage, an online mortgage application that takes less than10 minutes to complete. In Q4 2017, Quicken Loans became the largest US residential mortgage originator by volume — even beating out Wells Fargo.
  • Kabbage: This was one of the first online lending platforms and uses third-party data to avoid SMBs submitting wrong information. The startup offers business-to-business operations, and in July 2019 it secured $200 million revolving credit facility after already receiving a $700 million securitization agreement three months prior. 
  • PayPal: PayPal is a popular P2P lending service poised to grow at a 42.7% five-year compound annual growth rate to hit $574 billion by 2023. PayPal also owns Venmo, a P2P lending app commonly used by millennials, and is on pace to drive $100 billion in volume in 2019.
Alternative lending market

Even though traditional banks still hold the largest market share for business lending, growth has continued to slow – suggesting an increased demand for alt lending platforms. Through technology that uses AI and machine learning, alt lenders are able to efficiently onboard customers.

According to Business Insider Inteligence's SMB Lending Report, SMBs make up nearly all of private sector businesses in the US and employ 60% of all workers in the country. However, SMBs usually have trouble when applying for loans at incumbent banks and instead turn to alternative lending platforms. 

Due to the massive SMB market size, alternative lending companies are positioned to threaten to incumbent banks, and unless traditional banking institutions update their lending practices, alt lending technologies could potentially overhaul legacy processes and gain a greater percent of the overall market share.

Banking Industry Analysis

With the integration of digital technology, so many facets of the banking industry are undergoing constant change, and it's critical for top decision makers to stay informed on the rise of alternative lending trends. That's why Business Insider Intelligence is launching Banking, our latest research coverage area that will keep you up to date on how nonbanks and alternative lending are impacting the banking industry.

Click here to obtain an exclusive FREE preview of Banking!

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WeWork chairman Marcelo Claure told staff he's trying to clean up WeWork, after firing 13 people for abusing vendor policies

Thu, 11/07/2019 - 8:14pm

  • WeWork chairman Marcelo Claure said in a Thursday night memo to staff obtained by Business Insider that 13 employees were fired for abusing its vendor selection and management processes.
  • Claure is drawing a clear line between how WeWork operated in the past and its future under SoftBank, emphasizing that he's building "a strong culture of compliance." 
  • He also said layoffs will be finished in the next several weeks. 
  • For more stories about WeWork, click here. 

WeWork chairman Marcelo Claure told staff in a memo sent Thursday evening that the company had fired 13 employees after investigating policy abuse.

In the memo, Claure said employees from two regions – Latin America as well as US, Canada, and Israel, which the company groups together – were terminated for abusing "vendor selection and management processes." 

Read the full memo, obtained by Business Insider, here.

"When we hear about an issue, you have my commitment that we will investigate it and act on our findings," he wrote. "We corrected these wrongs immediately after we heard the complaint and investigated the incidents ... We know we can build a strong culture of compliance only if you can come forward with concerns, as our colleagues recently did." 

Claure also said layoffs would be finished in several weeks. The office company expects to cut up to 25% of its workforce as it focuses on a path to profitability. On Thursday, WeWork's coding bootcamp Flatiron School laid off dozens of employees, Business Insider reported. 

A WeWork representative declined further comment. 

"Respect at its core"

WeWork has had past issues with employees and vendors, at least one of which led to a lawsuit.

On Thursday, Business Insider reported that the company's IT is due for a big overhaul. At WeWork's start, IT was led by a 16-year-old who dropped out of high school to join the company. WeWork later sued him, alleging fraudulent misrepresentation and other claims in a case the parties ultimately agreed to dismiss.

In Thursday's memo, Claure seemed to be distancing the company from its culture under cofounder Adam Neumann, who was ousted in late September. 

"We are a culture that believes in making the impossible possible" he wrote. "I want that culture to continue, but always with integrity and respect — respect for the law, our policies and, most importantly, each other."

Under Neumann, WeWork grew from an idea to 528 locations and 12,000 employees in nine years. The company also struggled with governance issues and a web of conflicts of interest laid out in a mid-August filing to go public. Investor and media scrutiny of those problems and Neumann's responsibility ultimately led WeWork's board to oust Neumann, name two co-CEOs, and bring in Claure.

Now, the new leadership is looking to streamline its business and cut non-core businesses.

The company said last month that its private elementary school, WeGrow, would close its doors at the end of the school year. Other companies under The We Company banner, such as its living space WeLive, have canceled planned projects in response to the turmoil.

Get in touch! Contact this reporter via encrypted messaging app Signal at +1 (646) 768-1627 using a non-work phone, email at, or Twitter DM at @MeghanEMorris. (PR pitches by email only, please.) You can also contact Business Insider securely via SecureDrop.

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Read the memo WeWork's new chairman just sent to all staff outlining its 5 year plan using the NYC marathon as a metaphor

Thu, 11/07/2019 - 7:26pm

  • WeWork Chairman Marcelo Claure is presenting a five-year strategic plan to the office company's board on November 19. 
  • It will include a new governance model focused on "accountability and fairness"; a new organizational and compensation plan; and financial restructuring that eliminates the need to raise more capital.
  • Business Insider obtained a full copy of the memo. 
  • Read all of Business Insider's WeWork coverage here.

WeWork chairman Marcelo Claure is presenting a five-year strategic plan to the office company's board of directors on November 19, he told employees in a memo on Thursday. 

Claure said the plan will include new compensation plan, and a financial restructuring that eliminates the need to raise more capital. A WeWork representative declined to comment.

Here's the full memo:

WeWork Team, 

I hope you all had a good week. Before I dig into this week's update, I want to share a personal story with you. 

I ran the New York City Marathon last Sunday. I'm a big guy, and it may not have been the prettiest sight, but I finished — and while challenging, it was extremely rewarding. I got to see all five boroughs of New York from the ground up, running alongside people from all around the world. And as I ran, I realized that we serve a group of companies and individuals as diverse as New York itself — from startups in Brooklyn, to enterprises in Manhattan, to day-one entrepreneurs in Queens. Over 26 miles, I got an incredibly humbling sense of the sheer scale of humanity we serve every single day. 

In moments of rapid change, it's not always easy to pause and give each other credit, but these are actually the times when it's most important to do just that. Our members, in locations from New York to Madrid and beyond, are changing the world with their products and services — and they've put their trust in this team to help them do it. We make their work possible. This month we already opened more than 30 new locations in cities around the world — Austin, Bengaluru, Berlin, Birmingham, Bogotá, Boston, Chicago, Houston, Kobe, Kuala Lumpur, Lima, Los Angeles, Manila, Moscow, New York, Noida, Osaka, Paris, Philadelphia, Perth, Phoenix, Sacramento, San Francisco, São Paulo, Seattle, St. Louis, Tel Aviv, Toronto and Washington DC. They, too, will soon fill up with companies — start-ups working alongside established organizations that are relying on us to be part of their future. You make their innovations possible every day, and you should be proud of that.

I also want to take this moment to emphasize an important aspect of our culture that we should all focus on as we move forward — which is how we will accomplish all we set out to do. We are a culture that believes in making the impossible possible. I want that culture to continue, but always with integrity and respect — respect for the law, our policies and, most importantly, each other.

This conversation is hard: I have heard complaints about people acting in a manner that does not meet our behavioral expectations. When we hear about an issue, you have my commitment that we will investigate it and act on our findings. By way of example, we recently investigated complaints of abuse of our vendor selection and management processes. Upon completion of these investigations, we terminated the employment of 13 employees across Latin America (Latam) and U.S., Canada and Israel (USCI). We corrected these wrongs immediately after we heard the complaint and investigated the incidents. 

I want to be clear — WeWork will not tolerate behavior that disrespects our people, members, or business. We encourage you to share any concerns through our Helpline. No one will be retaliated against for coming forward in good faith. We know we can build a strong culture of compliance only if you can come forward with concerns, as our colleagues recently did in Latam and USCI.  

We want you to be a part of shaping the future culture — a culture that we are proud to be part of and values integrity and respect at its core. 

I know that this has been a very difficult time. Layoffs and restructuring are on everyone's minds — and how could they not be? These are the toughest decisions we have to make, but the unfortunate reality is that we will have to complete layoffs in the next several weeks. Our top priority is treating those who will ultimately leave us with dignity and respect including fair severance packages and continuation of benefits that allow them to transition to the next phase of their journey. 

However, I do want to emphasize that the business is secure. This week, I sent letters to our top enterprise customers, landlords, brokers and Community teams, letting them know that WeWork's business plan for the next few years is fully funded. Softbank's $6.5B in debt and equity brings our total committed capital to $18.5B, making this one of the largest investments ever made into a private company in history. We can now turn our full attention to what matters most: Serving our members and getting this organization back on a path to sustainable growth.

This is a lot of information, and we're moving fast. Looking forward, we're also in the process of finalizing an updated WeWork five-year strategic plan. It will include:

A new operating and governance model that emphasizes accountability and fairness to every employee

A new organizational and compensation structure

Financial restructuring that will ensure WeWork has the right cost structure it needs to grow sustainably, without needing to raise more capital

I'll be presenting this plan to the WeWork Board of Directors on Tuesday, November 19. After that, we'll be scheduling an All Company Meeting where I'll share the same document with you. This plan will be our North Star for the next five years, and it's vital that we feel it represents who we are as a company and the path we all want to be on together.

In the meantime, please continue to share your thoughts with me. I've received hundreds of emails, and I read every one of them.

Get in touch! Contact this reporter via encrypted messaging app Signal at +1 (646) 768-1627 using a non-work phone, email at, or Twitter DM at @MeghanEMorris. (PR pitches by email only, please.) You can also contact Business Insider securely via SecureDrop.

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Insiders say WeWork's IT is a patchwork of cheap devices and Band-Aid fixes that will take millions to fix

Thu, 11/07/2019 - 6:27pm

  • WeWork's technology infrastructure is due for an expensive overhaul, current and former IT employees told Business Insider. 
  • At WeWork's start, IT was led by a 16-year-old who dropped out of high school to join the company. WeWork later sued him, alleging fraudulent misrepresentation and other claims in a case the parties ultimately agreed to dismiss.
  • Redoing what some current and former WeWork IT staff said was outdated and substandard infrastructure could cost tens of millions of dollars — just as the company is looking to drastically cut costs. 
  • Click here for more BI Prime stories.

Before its initial public offering collapsed, the office-leasing firm WeWork tried to position itself as a tech company.

But its buildings are loaded with technology that needs to be ripped out and replaced, three current and former WeWork IT employees told Business Insider.

If the company doesn't upgrade, it's possible that tenants — or "members" in WeWork parlance — could be unwittingly sharing their data with hackers who gain access to the network through outdated or substandard tech, the sources said.

Two sources broadly estimated this was a project that could cost the company tens of millions of dollars.

"This isn't a million, $2-3 million project. This is tens of millions," one of the employees told Business Insider.

A WeWork spokesperson, who declined to comment on specifics, told us: "At WeWork, we continue to make significant investments in IT and technology to improve our systems and the experience for members. This includes investing in new services and dedicated high-speed internet connections for our growing set of large enterprise customers."

Some of the upgrades are simply a product of WeWork's success. Older buildings need to be rewired to support faster, more secure networks for a full load of tenants, all of whom are pounding on the network.

In other cases, the work is a result of shortcuts and fiefdoms, and an inability for the IT folks to get the funding they needed, these employees said. 

Early distrust of IT

Adam Neumann, who was recently ousted as CEO, was thought to distrust the IT department, two sources said, after Joe Fasone, an early IT employee, left the company in 2014. 

Fasone, who laid the foundations for WeWork tech, couldn't have brought much experience to the company. He skipped his senior year of high school to join WeWork as its IT director in 2010 at age 16, Forbes said in a profile last year.

He stayed until February 2014, according to his LinkedIn profile. Later that year, WeWork sued Fasone, business partner Matthew Macnish, and three companies, seeking $3.3 million over allegations that included fraudulent misrepresentation and civil conspiracy. The parties agreed to dismiss the lawsuit in 2015.

A representative for Fasone and his businesses declined to comment. Macnish did not respond to a request for comment.

Though Fasone left the company in 2014, a bad taste may have formed. The IT employees we spoke with each believed that one reason they struggled to get budgets for their projects stemmed from this incident. 

That WeWork lawsuit wasn't the end of Fasone's legal troubles, including with the office company.

Fasone's company Stage Networks was sued in 2015 by companies for which Stage worked in three separate lawsuits. Together, the companies alleged Stage failed to pay a total of $525,000. In each suit, the parties agreed to dismiss the case, and in two of three, the parties indicated they had reached a settlement. 

Fasone, Macnish, Stage Networks, and Fasone's current company, Pilot Fiber, were also sued in April 2015 by a fiber-optics vendor called Optical Communications Group, which alleged Stage failed to pay nearly $200,000, according to the complaint. It alleged that Stage started working with Optical in January 2013 — while Fasone was still at WeWork, according to Fasone's LinkedIn profile timeline — and that Stage stopped paying Optical in February 2014. 

Stage was leasing equipment from Optical to provide internet to WeWork's New York locations, according to Optical's complaint.

"Because providing fast and reliable internet service is a key to their business, WeWork was concerned that Stage's failure to pay [Optical] for the circuits would result in a disconnection of internet services at WeWork's workspaces," Optical's lawyers said in the suit. 

Optical alleged that because Stage wasn't paying its Optical bill, WeWork agreed to pay Optical for internet. 

Optical founder Brad Ickes told Business Insider that the company settled the suit with Fasone. Records for the case are sealed. 

Fasone and WeWork declined to comment on the legal issues, and Macnish and the men's lawyer at the time did not respond to requests for comment. 

Now WeWork's tech leadership couldn't be more different from a 16-year-old IT director. In 2017, the company made a splashy tech hire, tapping Shiva Rajaraman as chief technology officer. He came from a short stint at Apple and previously was at Spotify, Google, and Twitter.

In June, Rajaraman talked to Business Insider about how tech fit into WeWork's positioning.

"One big part of technology is simply making sure we understand operations from soup to nuts, instrumentalize that, and make it better over time," he said. 

'Routers that are sketchy at best'

Even with the high-profile hire two years ago, WeWork still has major infrastructure gaps, IT employees said.

Under Neumann, each regional director, known as CweOs, handled the networking and technology each building required. The company opened up new locations as fast as possible, and these regional managers were concerned with the costs involved in opening each building. Sometimes, deals would be done with deadlines that failed to consider the lack of a building's basic infrastructure, like fiber optics. 

Some CweOs looked to cut costs in the tech budgets, two sources said.

"You don't put in the good routers. You put in the second-class routers that are sketchy at best," one person said, adding that was because Chinese clones "cost pennies on the dollar" compared with the market leader Cisco. 

An ex-employee also thought there was a focus on cost at the expense of performance.

"The majority of installations were with equipment that's end of life. That's how they cheap out," the source said. He said that when he was there, WeWork often bought equipment indirectly, rather than from manufacturers, so they couldn't get tech support if needed. 

Sometimes managers saved money by hiring less experienced people to install the network, these people said.

And the situation grew complicated even when WeWork expanded, adding more space in buildings it had previously occupied. One floor might use one contractor and one set of gear, while another floor was a budget job.

"One IT closet looked like a 10-year-old built it — a rat's nest — and literally side by side, one was professional," one of the IT employees said. 

Some of WeWork's clients have complained about the company's weak network security, CNet's Alfred Ng reported in August. CNet reported that one tenant said that he had been complaining about the insecure WiFi since 2015 and that simple scans of the network allowed him to see sensitive files on 658 devices owned by other WeWork tenants in his building, including financial records.

Other WeWork tenants are taking matters into their own hands and implementing their own network security, one former employee told us.

But if each tenant did that with the most popular method for securing data on an insecure network, known as a virtual private network, they could overload the building's network and slow everyone down, two sources said.

Big changes are afoot at WeWork, including in IT. After Neumann was ousted in September, co-CEOs Artie Minson and Sebastian Gunningham have been taking a hard look at all parts of the business. As part of the changes, WeWork is working on centralizing its IT operations, a current employee said.

But centralizing may not be enough. As companies tighten cybersecurity practices, a full, costly overhaul may be in order — just as the company's looking to cut costs

Got a tip? Contact Meghan Morris on Signal at (646) 768-1627 or Julie Bort on Signal at (970) 430-6112 using a nonwork phone, or email Bort at or Morris at Open DMs on Twitter at @MeghanEMorris or @Julie188. (PR pitches by email only, please.) You can also contact Business Insider securely via SecureDrop.

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Boeing's latest crisis is growing after an airline found cracks on two 737 planes that weren't due for inspection yet (BA)

Thu, 11/07/2019 - 6:09pm

Indonesian airline Lion Air reported finding cracks on the "pickle fork" of two Boeing 737 jets with less time in service than meets the threshold for mandatory inspections, according to the Sydney Morning Herald.

Boeing first discovered in September that a component on certain planes was showing signs of stress damage sooner than expected, leading the FAA to order airlines to inspect 737 Next Generation, or "NG" jets, that had operated a certain number of flights. The order called for 737 NGs that had operated more than 30,000 flights to be inspected within a week, and jets that had flown more than 22,600 cycles to be inspected within the next 1,000 flights.

Both Lion Air planes had fewer than 22,000 flights, the Morning Herald reported.

The hairline cracks were found on a component of the plane called the' "pickle fork," a section that reinforces where the planes' wings join with its body.

The cracking issue has led the Australian airline Qantas to ground three of its jets for repairs after finding the cracks. South Korean airlines have grounded nine of their jets after discovering the cracks, Reuters reported. As many as 50 of the popular jets are estimated to have been grounded worldwide.

Boeing, regulators, and airlines maintain that there is no safety risk involved. The planes are designed to fly even with damage to the pickle fork thanks to redundant safety features, according to Stephen Fankhauser, a Swinburne University of Technology aviation expert in Australia who was cited by AFP.

The pickle fork issue on the 737 NGs is unrelated to the ongoing crisis surrounding the 737 Max, the newer generation of the workhorse jet.

The 737 Max has been grounded worldwide since March, when the second of two fatal crashes involving the type occurred. The first crash, in October 2018, involved a 737 Max flown by Lion Air. A combined 346 people were killed in the two crashes.

The Boeing 737 NG — which includes the 737-600, -700, -800, and -900 variants — is a backbone of commercial fleets around the world, with more than 7,000 sold.

In a statement, Boeing said it "regrets the impact this issue is having on our 737 NG customers worldwide," and affirmed that it is working to support affected customers.

Neither Lion Air nor the FAA immediately returned a request for comment.

SEE ALSO: Boeing 737 timeline: From the early days to the grounding of the 737 Max after 2 fatal crashes that killed 346 people 5 months apart

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