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Meet the professional gambler from Illinois who's shattering 'Jeopardy!' records, just tied for the 2nd-longest winning streak, and has taken home $1.6 million in 21 days

Fri, 05/03/2019 - 11:52am

Current reigning "Jeopardy!" champion James Holzhauer knows how to play the odds. The 34-year-old professional sports gambler is on a 21-day winning streak, the second longest in the show's history.

He's broken nearly every "Jeopardy!" record and raked in $1.6 million so far.

Holzhauer sits in second place for all-time regular-season earnings to Ken Jennings, who won 74 games in a row to take home $2.5 million in 2004, Business Insider's Aylin Woodward reported. Holzhauer won $850,000 of his "Jeopardy!" earnings in just over a dozen episodes. At that rate, he'll earn $2.5 million in less than half the time Jennings did, according to The Atlantic's Joe Pinsker.

Slate dubbed Holzhauer the Serena Williams of "Jeopardy!" Tonight, he'll take to the buzzer for the 22nd time.

Here's what we know about Holzhauer and his plan of attack.

SEE ALSO: A 'Jeopardy!' contestant has taken home more than $1.3 million in an 18-day winning streak. Here are the tricks he's using to stay on top.

DON'T MISS: 'Jeopardy!' contestant James Holzhauer broke his own single-game record with a perfect game

James Holzhauer, 34, is a professional sports gambler.

"As a gambler, I know you can do everything right and still have to wait a long time to see positive results if luck is not on your side," Holzhauer told The Ringer.

He told The New York Times that his sports betting used to be focused primarily on baseball, but that he has started to focus more on basketball and football.

Holzhauer hails from Naperville, Illinois, a Chicago suburb.

Holzhauer now lives in Las Vegas with his daughter and wife, Melissa, who is a tutor and linguistics expert.

According to Heavy, she was also a game-show contestant, winning $28,800 on "Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?"

Holzhauer has used family birthdays and anniversaries as "Jeopardy!" wagers several times. According to The Washington Post, his winnings of exactly $110,914 on one night during his winning streak was far from an accident — it correlates to his daughter's November 9, 2014, birthday.

Before Holzhauer's winning stint on "Jeopardy!", the most money a player had ever won in a single game was $77,000 (according to Insider).

Throughout Holzhauer's 21-day winning streak, he broke this record several times. On April 9, he earned the highest one-day total ever: $131,127.

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

Amid decelerating revenue, Square's 126% SSR growth was its Q1 bright spot (SQ)

Fri, 05/03/2019 - 11:42am
  • This is an excerpt from a story delivered exclusively to Business Insider Intelligence Payments Briefing subscribers.
  • To receive the full story plus other insights each morning, click here.

Square reached $959 million in revenue in Q1 2019, up 43% year-over-year (YoY) — a deceleration from the 45% annual growth the firm saw in Q1 2018, when its revenue reached $669 million, and a slight sequential deceleration from 51% YoY growth in Q4 2018.

And Square's gross payment volume (GPV) grew 27% annually to reach $22.6 billion, marking a deceleration from 31% annual GPV growth in Q1 2018. 

In Square's earnings call, CEO Jack Dorsey highlighted the ecosystem of services it's building out as the firm's strongest competitive differentiator. 

  • Throughout Q1, Square broadened its omnichannel capabilities for larger sellers, which comprise 51% of its overall GPV. For context, Square defines larger sellers as merchants that process over $125,000 in annualized GPV. In March, Square redesigned Square for Retail, its point-of-sale (POS) solution, to streamline managing online orders alongside a brick-and-mortar store. It also redesigned Square Online Store and extended it to restaurants  — a major seller segment — and throughout the US, the UK, Australia, and Canada. Sellers can create a website and automatically connect their Square for Retail catalog to their Square Online Store, which allows sellers to sync their inventory, prices, and data instantly across their online and in-store channels to grow their business. 
  • And Square Cash led its subscription and services (SSR) segment to inflate 126% YoY to $219 million — the highest rate of growth for any Square segment in Q1.This marks an acceleration from the 98% uptick in the segment in Q1 2018. The firm highlighted Square Cash — including peer-to-peer (P2P), Cash Card, and Cash for business transactions — as a bright spot in its Q1 earnings, with volume more than doubling annually, which the firm attributed to growing network effects, reach, and engagement. The firm added that Cash Card continued to grow its user base and saw an increase in transaction frequency per customer. As the firm looks for ways to bolster Square Card's value, it's been pursuing cryptos further, as adding Bitcoin trading to Square Cash was a key volume driver in 2018: Throughout Q1, Square focused on building out its cryptocurrency team, for example.  

Dorsey also noted that Square is excited about its "increased velocity in ... markets outside the United States" — specifically pointing toward the opportunity in Japan. In March, Square launched Square Stand and Square chip card reader in Japan, and partnered with Japanese bank SMBC to allow the bank to distribute Square readers to sellers from all of its branches in the country.

Dorsey highlighted the upcoming 2020 Olympics International Rugby League in Japan as "a perfect storm of situation where we can really see a potential for a lot of growth," as people from across the globe will be attending and expecting to pay "the way that they know how to," which can tend to be with card or a phone.

Japan is seeing a government-fueled shift away from cash payments and could ultimately serve as a blueprint for Square to expand into other markets with similar conditions.

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SEE ALSO: THE PAYMENTS INDUSTRY ECOSYSTEM: The trend towards digital payments and key players moving markets

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Tesla's stock reclaims a key level after the electric-car maker ups the size of its capital raise (TSLA)

Fri, 05/03/2019 - 11:35am

Tesla shares have zoomed back above a key support level after the company announced on Friday that it was increasing the size of its capital raise

The electric-car maker said it will now raise $2.7 billion, through the sale of 3.1 million shares of its stock and the issuing of $1.6 billion worth of convertible notes. On Thursday, Tesla said it would sell up to 2.72 millions shares. CEO Elon Musk also raised the the amount he would personally invest in the offering from $10 million to $25 million. 

The original capital raise sent Tesla shares up 4.3% on Thursday as investors responded positively to the news. Yet some on Wall Street were left wanting a bit more. 

"A clear, albeit short term positive for 2 reasons: 1) it alleviates the very pressing issue of shoring up Tesla's balance sheet for the near future, and 2) it eliminates the fringe "can't raise due to SEC investigation" camp (we're not sure how large that camp was to begin with)," Evercore ISI's Arndt Ellinghorst wrote following Thursday's announcement. 

"We would have preferred a larger raise, but ultimately, we're more concerned around the sustainability of demand and what effect TSLA pricing actions to support that demand may have on margins given aging product, production (battery) concerns, and an increasingly competitive landscape."

Ellinghorst got his wish on Friday morning, and Wall Street responded positively to the upsized offering, sending shares up another 4.7% to $255.61 apiece.

The two-day run has catapulated Tesla's stock back above key support at $250 after finishing at a more than two-year low of $234.01 earlier in the week.

"Maybe Mr. Musk can pull a rabbit out of a hat once again... but there's no question that the stock is sitting at a very important technical level," Matt Maley, an equity strategist at the firm Miller Tabak, wrote in a note to clients out last week.


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Warren Buffett says Berkshire Hathaway is buying up shares of Amazon, hours before its big annual shareholders' meeting

Thu, 05/02/2019 - 9:31pm

  • Berkshire Hathaway has bought shares of Amazon, according to a CNBC report on Thursday.
  • Warren Buffett, Berkshire's chairman and CEO, did not directly purchase the Amazon shares himself.
  • "Yeah, I've been a fan, and I've been an idiot for not buying," Buffett said according to CNBC, referring to Amazon shares. "But I want you to know it's no personality changes taking place."
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

Berkshire Hathaway is buying shares of Amazon, according to a CNBC report published Thursday.

Warren Buffett, Berkshire's chairman and CEO, did not directly purchase Amazon shares himself.

The shares were purchased by "one of the fellows in the office that manage money," Buffett told CNBC, which said Buffett may have been referring to investment managers Todd Combs or Ted Weschler, both of whom manage hefty portfolios that contain Berkshire holdings.

But, for his part, Buffett expressed some regret for not acting sooner on the e-commerce giant.

"Yeah, I've been a fan, and I've been an idiot for not buying," Buffett said, referring to Amazon shares. "But I want you to know it's no personality changes taking place."

Read more: Warren Buffett made 12 predictions about bitcoin, table tennis, and his death — here's how they turned out

Buffett reportedly made the comments a day before Berkshire Hathaway's annual shareholders meeting in Omaha, Nebraska. Berkshire's shares are expected to be revealed in asset disclosures to the Securities and Exchange Commission in May.

Buffett was generally known to be adverse to tech stocks. He has changed course in recent years and has made some glowing remarks about some of the stand-out tech companies.

"The truth is that I've watched Amazon from the start and I think what Jeff Bezos has done is something close to a miracle," Buffett said at the annual meeting in 2018. "And the problem is if I think something is going to be a miracle I tend not to bet on it."

"I have missed things that were within my circle, and that's a terrible mistake," Buffett said in a Yahoo Finance interview on Wednesday. "Those are my biggest mistakes. You haven't seen them. But ... it's not a mistake because I miss Netscape or something like that."

SEE ALSO: Warren Buffett is the world's third-richest man — see how the notoriously frugal billionaire spends his fortune

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Citadel has poached a top executive from Morgan Stanley in one of Wall Street's fiercest hiring battleground

Thu, 05/02/2019 - 7:23pm

Hedge-fund giant Citadel has poached a top executive from Morgan Stanley in one of the fiercest talent battlegrounds on Wall Street. 

Glen Popick, the head of fixed-income strats and a nearly two-decade veteran at Morgan Stanley, has left the investment bank for a role as the head of FICC technology at the more than $30 billion hedge fund, according to people familiar with the matter.

At Morgan Stanley, Popick led a large team of quants that develop algorithms and models to help price derivatives, manage risk, and execute trading strategies. Han Lee, an ex-RBS quant exec who joined the bank in 2015, has been promoted to replace Popick, the people said. 

Popick will report to chief technology officer Umesh Subramanian, an ex-Goldman Sachs partner who joined Citadel last year. 

Representatives at Citadel and Morgan Stanley declined to comment. 

Quants and data scientists are among the most coveted personnel on Wall Street, as hedge funds focused on systematic strategies have grown substantially in recent years — even when performance has faltered.

And hedge funds aren't just fighting with rival asset managers, they're at times getting outbid by buzzy Silicon Valley start-ups. 

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Microsoft is partnering with JPMorgan Chase on its blockchain product (MSFT)

Thu, 05/02/2019 - 6:12pm

Microsoft is teaming up with JPMorgan Chase to help boost the financial-services giant's blockchain platform, the companies said on Thursday.

Microsoft's cloud-computing platform, Azure, will make JPMorgan's platform, called Quorum, available on the software maker's blockchain service.

Quorum will be the first ledger available on the Azure blockchain platform, Mark Russinovich, the chief technology officer of Microsoft's cloud-services division, said in a blog post.

The partnership will make it easier for JPMorgan customers, such as Starbucks and Louis Vuitton, to develop more applications for its blockchain network. JPMorgan's Quorum is a "natural choice" for the Microsoft platform, Russinovich wrote.

"It integrates with a rich set of open-source tools while also supporting confidential transactions — something our enterprise customers require," he said.

Blockchain, which is best known as the system for tracking cryptocurrencies, is a fast-growing technology that allows users to create and share transaction records, or ledgers, across different parties.

The transaction data is encrypted and supposedly cannot be easily modified or tampered with, and it is updated constantly in all of the participant's systems, making blockchain a secure way of conducting business.

"We think it's going to be the profound way that businesses partner and integrate their operations with partners around the world," Scott Guthrie, an executive vice president at Microsoft, told reporters at a media event on  Thursday.

The partnership highlights the emergence of an "industry cloud" in the financial-services industry where fintech, or financial technology, also has become an important trend, IDC President Crawford Del Prete told Business Insider.

"JPMorgan will use their strength in understanding different fintech use cases, and therefore attract developers to address these problems, as they are known by so many of these developers," he said.

"Blockchain will be critical in reducing friction in markets and/or transactions," he added. "Obviously financial services has many of these kinds of transactions where a distributed ledger technology can be used to, for example, reduce the amount of time it takes to settle a specific transaction between financial institutions."

Additional reporting by Senior Tech Editor Matt Weinberger. 

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Verizon is trying to sell Tumblr, the blogging site once worth $1.1 billion (VZ)

Thu, 05/02/2019 - 6:05pm

Verizon Communications is looking to sell Tumblr, the free blogging platform it acquired when it bought Yahoo in 2015, according to the Wall Street Journal.

The process is still on-going, and it's unclear whether it will result in a sale or what price Verizon is hoping to get for the web site, according to the report which cites anonymous sources.

Any deal is unlikely to be for a price anywhere near the $1.1 billion that Yahoo paid for Tumblr back in 2013. Yahoo wrote down the website's value by $230 million three years later, and Tumblr's popularity has faded in recent years. Tumblr founder David Karp left in 2017, when Tumblr was subsumed by Verizon with the acquisition of Yahoo.

The sale process comes as Verizon Media Group looks to cut costs and improve its finances related to properties formerly under the Oath banner that combined Yahoo and AOL. The group laid off 7% of its workforce in January, including employees at the media websites HuffPo and TechCrunch. Those cuts impacted 750 employees.

At the end of 2018, Verizon said it would write down the value of that business by $4.6 billion.

Tumblr was founded in 2007 and grew in popularity when microblogging was a popular trend on the internet. The platform currently has 465.4 million blogs and 21.6 million daily posts.

Tumblr took a major hit in the first quarter of the year after it banned Not Safe For Work content from its platform. Its daily visitors dropped by 30% between December 2018 and March 2019, according to the Verge.

Verizon did not immediately return a request for comment.

SEE ALSO: Yahoo spent $1 billion to buy Tumblr, but now it's hinting it may write off nearly the entire deal

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I've spent nearly my entire career working on Wall Street and I've realized one of the most commonly used refrains is totally wrong

Thu, 05/02/2019 - 6:03pm

  • Junta Nakai has spent his career on Wall Street and in financial technology. 
  • In this op-ed, Nakai argues that the common refrain that "data is the new oil" is inaccurate. 
  • While data has potential to drive revenue growth and cut costs, most companies don't have the expertise to get real value from it, he says. 

"Data is the oil of the 21st century" is commonly quoted in corporate America today.

These eight words embody the excitement and promise that data has the power to redefine commerce as we know it.

It's catchy, but inaccurate. It does a great disservice to oil.

Data has the potential to drive revenues, cut costs and increase profits. But the vast majority of companies don't have infrastructure or expertise to derive value from it.

Today, the reality is data is nowhere near oil.

Oil vs. Data

Oil has revolutionized commerce in the 20th century. Regardless of your feeling about the geopolitical and environmental impact of oil, it's indisputable that it touches every aspect of our modern lives. The pipes that deliver you the water you drink, the soccer jerseys you sweat in, and the very roads you drive on are all made from oil.

The most profitable company in earth isn't Apple or Microsoft. It's Saudi Aramco (by a wide margin).

One reason why oil is held as the standard-bearer is because of the efficiency in how it is used. When a barrel of crude oil is extracted from the ground, every drop of it is used.

According for the U.S. Energy Information Administration, a 42 gallon barrel of crude oil produces 19 gallons of gasoline, nine gallons of diesel, four gallons of jet fuel and 13 gallons of other fuel products.

An astute reader will point out that the sums of the products are greater than 42 gallons. That's because of something called the Processing Gain. A barrel of crude gets separated into roughly 45 gallons of usable fuels. 42 becomes a 45. Put another way, output is greater than input by about 7%.

Data is the complete opposite of oil 

Modern enterprises only use 0.5% of the data that they posses according to IDC. Input is far greater than output.

7% gain vs 99.5% loss.

If data was truly as valuable as oil today, we would be using far more than 0.5% of it.

Several characteristics of data when compared to oil make data even more difficult to handle.

  • Finite vs Infinite. Self explanatory.
  • Linear vs non-linear. Demand for oil is expected to grow only 1.2% per annum to 2040 (OPEC). Data generation expected to grow 61% per annum to 2025 (IDC).
  • Local vs Universal. Building rigs, pipelines and refineries are limited to oil companies. On the other hand, every single company has data and needs to figure out how to extract, clean and use it.

The low efficiency of data, its infinite supply and its rapid growth presents massive challenges to modern corporations. It's not that data is not as valuable as oil, it's that the infrastructure to deal are so complex that only the select few like Facebook and Netflix know how to manage and use it effectively.

Data is universal while oil is local 

Over the last century, oil companies have relentlessly  innovated and invested to transform crude oil. Complex pipelines and tankers bring oil to refineries. These refineries separate crude into various usable products that are used to many everything from tires to medicine. Refineries are massive industrial complexes that cost billions of dollars to make and tremendous expertise to operated.

Dealing with data is a similarly complex issue. Using the same refinery analogy, you can see how much more difficult it becomes when your input is growing 61% per annum. Not to mention that unlike crude oil, data comes in vastly different forms (structured, unstructured, batch, streaming, etc).

With oil, its processes are the exclusive domain of oil companies. But with data, every company in the world has to architect their own process. This is precisely why there is such a big gap between the companies who can manage it and the vast majority who cannot.

Technological innovations are bridging the oil-data gap

Luckily, companies today have a choice. They can continue to go out and build massively complicated refineries for data, hire tons of people at great expense, and keep investing in adding capacity of the refinery year in and year out to try to handle it (a task becoming more challenging because Moore's law is dead and computing power doesn't grow like to used to).

Or they can leverage the cloud and big data compute engines like Apache Spark to store and process the data. There are also Unified Analytics Platforms that make this modern data architects available to all companies, even to those without deep technical expertise. Together, They enable companies to outsource the refinery and processing of data and instead focus on the usable outputs and do advanced things like machine learning. 

More and more companies are choosing the latter route. There is a reason why the two biggest companies in the world are public cloud vendors and why many of the fastest growing companies are big data, AI, and analytics startups that augment cloud computing.

Data can redefine commerce with the right tools and priorities  

Even in sectors that were historically adverse to cloud adoption, things are rapidly changing. Banks were initially hesitant to adopt the public cloud. They had spent hundreds of billions of dollars investing in and operating their own data refineries in the form of on-premise data centers.

Conventional wisdom held that the efforts, costs and risks of moving to the public cloud wasn't worth it for banks. But Jamie Dimon of JPMorgan Chase, the sector's de facto leader, recently wrote that: "On the importance of the cloud and artificial intelligence, we are all in."

"The combined power of virtually unlimited computing strength, AI applied to almost anything and the ability to use vast sets of data and rapidly change applications is extraordinary – we have only begun to take advantage of the opportunities for the company and for our customers".

Data isn't oil. At least not yet.

But rapidly innovating and expanding infrastructures as well as changing CEO mindsets are enabling it to get closer to oil. One day soon, companies will get as much out of data as they do from oil. And it will re-define commerce as we know it.

Junta Nakai is the industry leader for Financial Services at aartificial intelligence company Databricks. Prior to that he was the Global Head of Business Development at Selerity, a financial technology firm providing AI solutions for capital markets. Junta started his career at Goldman Sachs, where he spent 14 years in the securities division and served most recently as the Head of Asia Pacific sales for the Americas in the equities division.

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Millennials are pouring into Tesla's stock following the electric-car maker's disastrous quarter (TSLA)

Thu, 05/02/2019 - 6:00pm

  • Tesla's disastrous first quarter did not scare away millennial investors, according to data from the Robinhood trading app.
  • Shares of the electric-car maker have come under significant pressure as of late, finishing Wednesday's session at a two-year low.
  • Tesla on Thursday announced plans to raise $2 billion, sending shares up by about 5%.
  • Watch Tesla trade live.

Millennials saw Tesla's brutal first quarter as a reason to add shares of the electric-car maker, according to data from Robinhood.

The number of accounts on the free trading app Robinhood, which is popular among younger investors, holding Tesla shares climbed by more than 8% to 145,000 in the week following the company's earnings release.

Millennials may have been attracted by the drop in Tesla's share price, which fell by as much as 12% following the results. For the first quarter, Tesla announced a wider-than-expected loss of $2.90 per share and a 37% quarter-over-quarter drop in revenue. 

Tesla is now the 10th most widely held stock on the platform, with more users holding its shares than either Amazon or Facebook. The number of accounts holding the stock has doubled to 145,000 since the end of Q1. Aurora Cannabis is the most widely held stock on Robinhood, owned by more than 427,000 users.

Not all investors are so sanguine about the automaker's prospects, given the company's weak delivery numbers for the first quarter. Tesla bears had cited weak demand as a key reason for the being overvalued.

Despite these challenges, Tesla may finally be turning the corner as the automaker seeks to allay investor concerns. The company announced plans to raise $2 billion of additional capital, sending the shares nearly 5% higher as the raise alleviated fears surrounding Tesla's liquidity position.

Tesla shares are down 26% this year.

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One of most powerful women in tech banking on how she balances work and family while thriving in the male-dominated hallways of Wall Street

Thu, 05/02/2019 - 5:58pm

  • Michal Katz is the global co-head of technology investment banking at RBC Capital Markets.
  • In this op-ed, she describes some of the challenges, detours, and cultivating experiences that have shaped her career in the male-dominated world of Wall Street.
  • She also shares her best tips for professional longevity, including to listen as much as — if not more than — you speak. It's the ideal way to learn and gain insights about your clients' objectives and opponents' vulnerabilities.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

Recent graduates and up-and-comers I meet often show a keen interest in the steps and paths I have taken to achieve what is, by most standards, a successful career. The road to a Wall Street leadership role in an industry that remains male-dominated is paved with challenges, detours, and cultivating experiences that have shaped my career and leadership style. I hope that by sharing a glimpse into my journey, I can perhaps illuminate a path for others.

The path to Wall Street

Growing up in Israel, I was given the gift of reading by my parents who sought to continually improve our collective lives. Whether immersing in the adventures of Jules Verne, exploring history or acquiring knowledge, I learned to develop points of views and advocacy for causes, planting the seeds of a career in law.

It was in high school after we immigrated to the US that those seeds took root. Reading "Compulsion," a story about the legal defense by the renowned civil liberties lawyer, Clarence Darrow, of the Leopold and Loeb murder case, encouraged me to enter law school with the dream of making my mark on the jurisprudence system. While interning in a corporate law firm, I was also drawn to the world of finance.

This shift in interest was not embraced by my parents, who as small-business owners, encouraged us to pursue a more stable profession, such as law, medicine or accounting. Yet, my career in law was short-lived, as I joined Lehman Brothers, an investment bank newly spun out of American Express, to get closer to the business side. Under the mantra of "success begets success," Lehman rose through the league tables and I was fortunate to learn the craft from the industry's best practitioners. And while Lehman did not make its stated goal of reaching $150 per share, I loved the firm and the profession. I was and still am passionate about my clients.

Read more: When my spouse got the job of a lifetime, my world crashed. This is how I fought my way out of it and reinvented my career

Facing an existential professional question

A career in Wall Street, while rewarding intellectually and financially, also comes with sacrifices and challenges. Last year I grappled with an existential professional question: Is my passion still there?

My current role as the global head of technology investment banking group is exhilarating. Technology is foundational to the digital transformation underpinning every modern organization. Whether shepherding next gen leaders into the public markets, or advising on mergers and acquisitions that reshape the landscape, the sector's dynamism mandates continued agility and creativity. My role also allows me to imbue in my team the art of the trade, and pass on my fervor for the business.

These experiences also presented me with the opportunity to join a public board, where I leverage the knowledge I have garnered to be a trusted advocate to our shareholders.

It takes a village

While pursuing a career, I also raised a family. Or more accurately, we raised a family. As well as a loving support system, my husband has always advocated for me and offered his hand, shoulder, and so much more when I stumbled or felt defeated and unappreciated.

So how did I become a not-so-accidental feminist? Well, it first depends on how you define one. I come from a line of strong women. My maternal grandmother fled her home at age 14 to escape the Nazis, and my paternal grandmother immigrated to a budding nation occupied by the Brits, not the start-up nation of today. My mother and sister are my rock, just like rock-star girlfriends, who did not view vulnerabilities as weaknesses. Together, we channeled our ambitions, frustrations, and disappointments to charge ahead and reach new highs.

I also married a man who supported my passion as well as dedicated his career to women's health. I am proud, too, to work with confident, smart, forward-thinking men that serve as partners, mentors, champions and friends.

My generation of women burned the candle on both ends, which didn't allow for time to think about feminism. But we believed that we could have it all, and in fact, were practicing feminism. Only when my kids went off to college did I find the time to nurture the next generation of women, pay it forward and pray they find the journey easier, learn from our mistakes and define the world they want to live in.

Read more:  This is what happens to a woman's body when she's raising kids, working, and trying to have it all, according to a hormone doctor who warns it's easy to miss the signs of impending burnout

Rediscovering my voice

I grew up thinking that if you develop a skill set, work hard and keep your head down, you will be recognized and rewarded. But I've learned that you must fervently advocate for yourself. Touting my successes is something that I'm still not comfortable with. But as I turned 50, I found my voice again, the same voice that advocated for causes when in law school.

So, what's next for me? The tech industry is vibrant and I have so much more to do in my current role. However, a more thoughtful response will require answering a question that I've been pondering: what am I solving for?

For me, it's intellectual engagement, passion for the cause, and more flexibility.  These may open the door to new opportunities.

What are you solving for? I would love to hear from you.

Michal's formula for success and professional longevity
  • There is no quick or simple route to success. Make sure you gain knowledge, skills and experience to be the one people turn to.
  • There is no substitute for requisite hard work and commitment, though perseverance and sheer strength of will are critical for trying, failing and trying again.
  • Listen as much as — if not more than — you speak. It's the ideal way to learn and gain insights about your clients' objectives and opponents' vulnerabilities.
  • Building a business is a team sport. Assemble a strong, diverse team around you and empower them to execute and excel. Similarly, it is critical to build a network of support professionally and personally.
  • Doing the right thing, always. It underpins the craft of being a trusted advisor, especially when making tough judgment calls, thereby earning credibility, trust and respect from clients, colleagues and adversaries alike.
  • Have passion and fun. This is crucial to staying driven, engaged and motivated.

Michal Katz is a business leader, strategic advisor, and philanthropic advocate. She is Global Co-Head of Technology Investment Banking at RBC Capital Markets, and sits on the management committee of the US investment bank. She serves on the board of publicly traded Nuance Communications (NUAN) and is a trustee and treasurer of the GRAMMY Museum. Michal lives in New York with her husband, and has sophomore twins in college.

SEE ALSO: Richard Branson on the 'million-dollar lesson they don’t teach in business school' — plus 12 more secrets from highly successful people

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Microsoft's Satya Nadella uses a subtle fear tactic to win cloud business away from Amazon (MSFT, AMZN)

Thu, 05/02/2019 - 5:57pm

Advertising agency giant WPP has been a partner with Microsoft for years.

So when it came time to meet and pitch WPP's new CEO, Mark Read, appointed last September, Microsoft brought out the big gun: Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella.

Flanked by about 20 people from each of their organizations, Nadella marched straight up to Read the moment introductions were over, reports Businessweek's Austin Carr and Dina Bass as part of a profile on Nadella. 

He politely listened to Read talk about WPP's digital needs for nearly a quarter of an hour before gently saying, "We don't want you to think of this as just building an app on our platform. We want to enable you to build your own platform."

The words were a code.

Nadella was reminding Read that unlike giant cloud provider Amazon, Microsoft isn't competing with WPP. It isn't a retailer competing with WPP's customer's either. And although it does have Bing and does sell ads, it also has an ad sales partnership with WPP.

Nadella's sales pitch is simple, and one used not just with ad agency giant WPP but with retailers, an industry Amazon has really clobbered: Do you trust a technology partner to store their data, handle their transactions, know the most intimate details of their business, if that tech partner is also a competitor?

Read: Microsoft, VMware, and Dell officially launched a new partnership that shouldn't please Amazon

This fear is one of the reasons why major retailers like Walmart and Kroger have chosen Microsoft over Amazon. And Microsoft isn't alone in using it. Google's cloud has deliberately gone after the retail market as well, with the same argument.

The message wasn't lost on Read, Businessweek reports.

WPP's famous billionaire founder Martin Sorrell (who resigned last year over allegations of personal misconduct leading to Read's promotion as CEO), spent much of last year warning the world that Amazon's advertising business was underestimated.

He called Amazon names like "tentacles" and said its advertising business was a growing "pimple" or "boil"in various interviews.

WPP began offering brands creative services to help them advertise on Amazon back in 2017. And, like he predicted, Amazon's advertising business has been growing. 

He saw it as a direct threat to Google and Facebook but also one to WPP, admitting that Amazon "kept him up at night." That's because digital ad companies like Google, Facebook and Amazon all have their own enormous sales forces and work with brands directly, cutting out the need for creative agency.

Amazon is also working to build out its ad sales force. It's currently looking to hire nearly 1,700 people for advertising sales jobs, according to its website.

Nadella's fear tactic clearly doesn't work on everyone. Amazon remains the market share leader in cloud, with plenty of companies, especially outside of retail, choosing AWS.

Ironically, one of Amazon's Web Services biggest customers is Netflix. It began using Amazon back before Amazon began competing with it.

This even though, as Bloomberg reveals, Netflix's co-founder and CEO Reed Hastings was Nadella's mentor back when Hastings was a Microsoft board member. Hastings left the board in 2012. And despite his close relationship with Nadella, and the fact that Amazon now has its own movie studio and streaming services, it has yet to ditch AWS for Azure.

Still, Amazon's willingness to compete with its partners and customers could be AWS's achilles heel and one that Nadella seems ready to exploit. 

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

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Beyond Meat soars 163% in its first day of trading (BYND)

Thu, 05/02/2019 - 4:41pm

Beyond Meat, the decade-old plant-based meat-substitute company, soared by 163% on Thursday as it became the latest unprofitable, disruptive company to make its stock-market debut.

Shares, which trade under the ticker BYND, opened at $46 apiece after pricing at $25. That was up from a prior range of $19 to $21. The stock first traded up 84% before climbing to a high of $72.75. Shares closed the day at $65.75.

Beyond Meat issued 9.63 million shares, up from its initial target of 8.75 million shares, according to a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission. That offering raised nearly $241 million. 

"We hope investors join us as we seek to become the first generation of humans to separate meat from animals, unlocking the next era in the American story of innovation, disruption, and growth," Beyond Meat's CEO and founder, Ethan Brown, said in the company's S-1 filing last month.

The high end of the company's indicated price range placed its market value at $1.49 billion, up from a prior $1.21 billion valuation. 

Read more: Beyond Meat raises the price range for its IPO

Beyond Meat faces fierce competition in the alternative-protein space, listing competitors as both makers of plant-based meat substitutes — like Impossible Foods, Gardein, and Field Roast — and traditional animal-product companies like Cargill and Hormel.

The US meat-processing giant Tyson Foods said last week that it sold its 6.5% Beyond Meat stake as it looked to develop its own line of meat alternatives.

Beyond Meat is also debuting as an unprofitable company, which is not all that uncommon for young firms aiming to ramp up growth. It has generated losses in each year since its 2009 founding, and its losses only slightly narrowed from 2017 to 2018.

The company lost $29.9 million in 2018, $30.4 million in 2017, and $25.1 million in 2016 as it "invested in innovation and growth." Its sales have grown mightily over the same time, with net revenue of $16.2 million, $32.6 million, and $87.9 million in 2016, 2017, and 2018.

The debut comes amid a robust slate of initial public offerings this year.

Uber is expected to go public later this month, and Slack is expected to debut by way of direct listing this summer. Lyft and Pinterest have already gone public this year.

In last month's filing, Brown tried to make it clear that he was not calling for people to "consume less meat."

"My own children enjoy more, rather than less, of their favorite meat occasions (sausage breakfasts, burger dinners) as I am comfortably aware that Beyond Meat products are free of cholesterol and other aspects of animal protein that preoccupy public health debate," he said. "As we rush to keep up with consumer demand for our products, my guess is that many families are having the same experience."

Goldman Sachs, JPMorgan, and Credit Suisse were Beyond Meat's lead underwriters. Jefferies was a joint bookrunner on the deal.

Read related coverage from Markets Insider and Business Insider:

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We tried burgers from 2 companies that want to replace meat with veggie patties that 'bleed' — and the winner is clear

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Shake Shack blows past same-store-sales expectations and boosts its outlook (SHAK)

Thu, 05/02/2019 - 4:26pm

  • Shake Shack shares jumped 6% in after-hours trading on Thursday after the burger chain's first-quarter same-store-sales growth easily topped analysts' expectations.
  • During Thursday's session, shares hit their highest level since October.
  • Watch Shake Shack trade live.

Shake Shack's same-store-sales growth easily topped analysts' expectations for the first quarter, sending shares up 6% in after-hours trading on Thursday.

The burger chain hiked its revenue outlook for the fiscal year ending December 25 to a range of $576 million to $582 million, up from $570 million to $576 million.

Here's what Shake Shack reported, compared with what analysts surveyed by Bloomberg were expecting:

  • Revenue: $132.6 million versus $127.2 million expected.
  • Adjusted earnings per share: $0.13 versus $0.13 expected.
  • Comparable sales: +3.6% versus +0.8% expected.

Shake Shack set several location milestones during the quarter, opening its first location in Providence, Rhode Island, and its first on mainland China.

Shares of the New York-based burger chain, which hit a seven-month high on Thursday and have soared 37% this year, have seen their valuation become incredibly rich, trading at nearly 103 times forward earnings. That has prevented some analysts from recommending the stock. 

"Shake Shack is a big brand with even bigger potential, but a small company," JPMorgan analysts led by John Ivankoe told clients last month. "We believe the company's target for 450 company-operated units in the US will be handily exceeded and a 600-800+ goal is achievable." The analysts carry a $51 price target, implying a 19% drop from current levels.

Last quarter, Shake Shack said it expected same-store sales growth of between 0% and 1% for fiscal year 2019. That forecast took into consideration about menu price increases of about 1.5% that went into effect last December.

Read more markets coverage from Markets Insider:

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Beyond Meat rockets higher by 84% in its trading debut

Get ready for an IPO bonanza. These 16 companies are set to go public in the next 9 days.

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Weight Watchers spikes after posting a smaller-than-expected loss (WW)

Thu, 05/02/2019 - 4:26pm

  • Weight Watchers jumped 5% after posting a smaller-than-expected first-quarter loss on Thursday evening.
  • The company's shares had been under pressure in 2019 despite a shift to app-based services.
  • Watch Weight Watchers trade live.

Weight Watchers posted a smaller-than-expected loss, sending shares up 5% after Thursday's closing bell.

The company reported an adjusted loss of $0.16 a share, beating the $0.26 loss that analysts surveyed by Bloomberg were expecting. Revenue for the quarter came in at $363 million, 1% below the $366 million that was anticipated.

Weight Watchers also raised its 2019 earnings-per-share guidance to between $1.35 and $1.55. Previously, the company had forecast 2019 EPS of $1.25 and $1.50. The increased guidance is 5% higher at the mid-point.

 "While we are disappointed with our start to 2019, we are confident that our strategy to focus on providing holistic wellness solutions leveraging our best-in-class weight management program is the right path to support long-term sustainable growth," said CEO Mindy Grossman in the earnings release.

Management had previously warned of decreasing revenues on its fourth-quarter call, referencing a "slow start" to the 2019 diet season. The company has sought to introduce new innovations to its business in recent years, such as the Weight Watchers app, which operates via a subscription service. The app assigns every food you eat a point value with users having a point limit for each week.

In March 2018, Weight Watchers spokesperson Oprah Winfrey sold 1 million shares of the company, avoiding losses in the tens of millions of dollars. 

The company's previously shares soared on the affiliation of Winfrey and other celebrities, such as DJ Khaled. In May 2018, the company's weight-control program reported a record 4.6 million subscribers. Shares reached a record high of $105.60 in June.

Since then, however, subscribers have fallen significantly, to 3.2 million at the end of 2018. That has put pressure on shares, which have plunged 70% to about $20 apiece. At current prices, Winfrey has made nearly tripled her 2015 investment in Weight Watchers and at one point owned 10% of the company.

Weight Watchers was down 44% this year through Thursday.

Join the conversation about this story »

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Check out the $230 million factory in North Carolina where Honda builds its private jet

Thu, 05/02/2019 - 3:51pm

The Honda HA-420, known to most people as simply the HondaJet, is one of the most impressive and innovative light business jets on the market. The HondaJet is the culmination of three decades worth of research and development led by aerospace engineer Michimasa Fujino. 

Fujino told Business Insider that the Japanese automaker's foray into aviation was initially a closely held secret. In fact, even company Soichiro Honda was not told of the project. 

By 2003, the HondaJet was ready to fly. Three years later, the Honda Aircraft Company was established with Fujino as its CEO. 

Read more: We flew on Honda's new $5.25 million private jet. Here are its coolest features.

In the fall of 2017, Business Insider had the chance to experience the HondaJet first hand on a test flight over the Northeastern United States. It was magnificent. The HondaJet proved to be quick, comfortable, and chock full of innovative design features.

In 2018, Honda introduced an updated version of the plane called the HondaJet Elite. The name matches with the designation given to the company's luxury spec automobiles. Earlier this year, we traveled to the company's headquarters in Greensboro, North Carolina for a test flight of the Honda Jet Elite. 

With redesigned wings and engine intakes, the Elite is even quieter and more aerodynamic than the original HondaJet. At $5.25 million, the Elite costs around $350,000 more than its predecessor. 

As part of our day at Honda Aircraft headquarters, we also got the chance to tour the company's production facility and delivery center. 

Here's a closer look:

SEE ALSO: I flew on a $10 million Embraer Phenom 300E and I now understand why it's the most popular private jet in the world

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We visited the home of HondaJet in early February. We were fortunate that the day we selected for our visit was extremely mild, even by local standards. Immediately upon arrival, we were reminded that this was unlike any other Honda facility.

This sprawling 133-acre campus is the result of Honda's $230 million investment into its North Carolina home.

The campus is adjacent to Piedmont Triad International Airport just a few miles northwest of downtown Greensboro.

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

The president of Canada Pension Plan Investment Board, one of the world's biggest investors, explains why he's skeptical about private equity's buzzy 'do good' strategy

Thu, 05/02/2019 - 3:47pm

  • The president of the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board, one of the world's biggest retirement funds, told Business Insider he's skeptical of some private equity firms' efforts to launch do-good investment funds. 
  • Firms like TPG and KKR have raised billions with the thesis that they can do good for the world and still make money. 
  • But CPPIB's Mark Machin isn't sure private equity firms have shown enough skill in generating risk-adjusted returns for this strategy. 
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

Private equity firms are trying to sell big investors on the idea of doing good and making money – but one major investor isn't convinced. 

TPG and KKR are the biggest names in the space after collecting billions for their impact investing funds, which promise to make a difference in the world while generating private equity-level performance. TPG is seeking to raise $3.5 billion for its second Rise fund after collecting $2 billion for the first in 2017, while KKR is soliciting $1 billion for its inaugural fund.

Some of the firms' biggest peers are rumored to be considering similar strategies as capital flows to the space. In 2018, the Global Impact Investing Network counted $228 billion in impact investing assets, double the amount a year prior.

Despite some firms' early success with funds, not all investors are on board. In an interview at this week's Milken Institute Global Conference, the president of the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board – one of the world's biggest retirement funds – told Business Insider that he's skeptical of the impact investing strategy. 

See more: A do-good investing firm founded by Warren Buffett's grandson and a former Gates Foundation exec just raised its first funding round from the world's richest families

Mark Machin oversees the C$368.5 billion ($274 billion) pension, which has long invested in TPG and KKR's private equity funds. He's fully focused on performance and considers environmental, social, and governance factors in terms of the effect on CPPIB's risk-adjusted returns, not the good that ESG does for the world. Machin highlighted that such a view contrasts with some of his peer investors, including some European institutional investors, that operate with an eye toward both returns and public purpose. 

"We really believe that good ESG behavior is correlated with reduced risk and enhanced return," he said. "It's not something you need to wrestle with." 

Any ESG policy decisions for the fund must come out of rigorous analysis, Machin said. He cited CPPIB's board voting policy enacted in December that pushes for more women on boards as one example: The policy came only after internal research on 3,800 stocks and a meta-analysis of external studies that concluded that board diversity increases returns.

"That's where we say 'OK, that does increase risk-adjusted returns, so we should be expressing that view,'" he said. "With other people raising ESG funds, they're going to have to show that type of skill, and I haven't seen anyone show that skill yet, actually over and above what we could do ourselves."

Machin isn't keen on various ESG ratings from a host of data providers, either.

"It's so noisy right now," he said. "You could be at the top of one set of ratings and at the bottom of another set of ratings. There's no alpha in externally-provided ESG ratings. That's a problem. It requires a lot of work internally to actually create any sort of excess return."

'Difficult political position'

Machin isn't alone in voicing objections to impact funds. The New Mexico State Investment Council, which oversees the state's $19 billion sovereign wealth fund, debated investing in TPG's first impact fund at length in 2017. While the longtime TPG investor eventually said yes to the fund, various council members cited a number of concerns about the investment strategy, per meeting minutes.

They highlighted, among other issues, that the fund didn't have a track record – a common concern for first-time fundraises across strategies – and the "strategic conflict" between doing good and making money. The council also debated if NMSIC should invest for impact outside of the state, given the potential "political consequences" that "could put the Council in a difficult political position." 

One council member argued that NMSIC shouldn't invest in a social and environmental impact fund, regardless of return. He believed "the investment moved the SIC in the wrong direction [and] was a strategic mistake," per the meeting minutes, among other concerns. 

NMSIC's consultant countered that the TPG fund's social impact was only a side benefit, not what drove the decision, and that the fund wouldn't give up returns by investing in the fund. 

The council ultimately settled on investing in the fund after a 5-4 vote.

The TPG impact fund series, which was led by William "Bill" McGlashan, has recently come under scrutiny after McGlashan was indicted as part of the wide-ranging college admissions scandal last month. TPG allowed investors in the second fund, which has not yet closed, to pull their money. Last week, the firm said it stripped McGlashan of his fund stakes

Join the conversation about this story »

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Stephen Moore is no longer being considered for Fed seat

Thu, 05/02/2019 - 2:49pm

  • President Donald Trump on Thursday said Stephen Moore was no longer in the running for a spot on the Federal Reserve Board of Governors.
  • Lawmakers had expressed increasing concern about Moore this week after past comments he had made about women resurfaced.
  • In past writings, Moore has suggested that women should not make as much money as men and that only attractive women should be able to work as referees or sports reporters. 

President Donald Trump on Thursday said Stephen Moore would no longer be considered for a spot on the Federal Reserve Board of Governors.

"Steve Moore, a great pro-growth economist and a truly fine person, has decided to withdraw from the Fed process," Trump tweeted on Thursday afternoon.

"Steve won the battle of ideas including Tax Cuts and deregulation which have produced non-inflationary prosperity for all Americans. I've asked Steve to work with me toward future economic growth in our Country."

Lawmakers expressed increasing concern about Moore this week after past comments he had made about women resurfaced. He has suggested in writings that women should not make as much money as men and that only attractive women should be able to work as referees or sports reporters. 

A political ally to Trump who has said officials at the Federal Reserve should be fired, Moore faced scrutiny from the beginning. He cofounded the Club for Growth, a lobbying group focused on cutting taxes, and has written a book praising Trump's fiscal policies. 

In 2013, he was found in contempt of court for failing to pay his former wife more than $300,000 in child support and alimony.

Moore's views toward the economy have also been called into question. Moore has pushed officials to target commodity prices when setting interest rates, an approach rejected by economists across the political spectrum.

The withdrawal was unexpected, however, given that several news outlets published interviews with Moore just hours before Trump's announcement that indicated he still expected to be nominated.

"I'm all in," he said in an interview with Bloomberg, adding that a Trump administration official had given him no indication on Wednesday that he would be dropped. The White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

After Trump made the announcement on Twitter, Moore released a statement saying he would no longer seek the nomination.

"Your confidence in me makes what I am about to say much harder," he said. "I am respectfully asking that you withdraw my name from consideration. The unrelenting attacks on my character have become untenable for me and my family and three more months of this would be too hard on us."

This all comes just weeks after another of Trump's picks for the Fed board, Herman Cain, withdrew from consideration. The former pizza-chain executive faced renewed criticism over a series of sexual-harassment accusations that surfaced during his failed presidential bid in 2012.

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NOW WATCH: This video shows the moment Sarah Sanders lied to a room full of reporters about FBI agents telling her they were happy Trump fired Comey

Mark Zuckerberg spent about $59 million to secretly buy two adjacent private waterfront estates in Lake Tahoe last winter (FB)

Thu, 05/02/2019 - 2:39pm

  • The Wall Street Journal reported Thursday that Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg spent about $59 million on two adjacent properties in Lake Tahoe, a popular vacation destination for Northern Californians.
  • According to the report, Zuckerberg purchased the properties through a limited-liability company and high-end wealth manager to keep the deals private. Real estate agents signed non-disclosure agreements and removed photos of the properties from their websites, per the Wall Street Journal report.
  • Zuckerberg has received criticism for past real estate purchases in Hawaii and Palo Alto that included purchasing surrounding lots to ensure his privacy.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

Mark Zuckerberg's future vacations will be private if his recent real estate purchases are any indication.

The Wall Street Journal reported Thursday that Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg spent about $59 million on two adjacent properties in Lake Tahoe, a popular vacation destination for Northern Californians. The estates are on Lake Tahoe's west shore outside Tahoe City, an area known for "old, understated money—less flash, more hunker in the woods," according to the Wall Street Journal report.

Read More: A newcomer VC firm founded by ex-Twitter CEO Ev Williams is one of the biggest winners in the Beyond Meat IPO

The report said Zuckerberg purchased the properties through a limited-liability company called Golden Range and with his high-end wealth manager Iconiq Capital to keep the deals private. Real estate agents signed non-disclosure agreements and removed photos of the properties from their websites, per the Wall Street Journal report.

Between the two properties, Zuckerberg now owns 600 feet of private waterfront on Lake Tahoe. The area also counts the family of late Hewlett-Packard founder Bill Hewlett and the family of the late publishing icon Charles McClatchy as neighbors, according to the Wall Street Journal.

Zuckerberg has received criticism for past real estate purchases in Hawaii, Palo Alto, and San Francisco that included acquiring additional neighboring properties to ensure his privacy. Critics point out that, as Zuckerberg's company is in the spotlight for playing fast and loose with users' privacy, he has always valued his own right to privacy in the physical world. According to Facebook documentation, the company spent $20 million on a security detail for its founder.

It is not clear whether Zuckerberg will keep the housing on the two properties or will opt to tear it down and start fresh. The Wall Street Journal reported that he is in talks to acquire a third property across the street, ensuring his future quiet trips to the woods will remain undisturbed.

SEE ALSO: Hundreds of Facebook employees partied at a luxury hotel after announcing a big new redesign of the social network

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7 pieces of homebuying advice you can't afford to ignore

Thu, 05/02/2019 - 2:38pm

  • Buying a house can be a long and tedious process.
  • Before you're ready to start home shopping, financial experts recommend getting your credit score in good shape, saving for a down payment in a dedicated fund, and figuring out how much you can afford to spend.
  • You should always get a home inspection, factor in costs beyond the sticker price, and make sure you're not buying a home only because it seems like a good investment.

Purchasing a home is a huge accomplishment for many people, and the financial commitment is not to be taken lightly.

To help you avoid making the process any costlier than it already is, Business Insider has gathered some of the best homebuying advice from real estate experts, bestselling authors, and financial planners that could save you money and time.

Below, check out seven pieces of homebuying advice you simply can't afford to ignore:

SEE ALSO: 13 pieces of money advice you can't afford to ignore

DON'T MISS: A realtor explains how to set yourself up as a homebuyer long before you ever start shopping

1. Make sure your credit is in order well before you start shopping

When you apply for a mortgage, your interest rate for paying back the loan will depend partially on your credit history.

"A big thing when it comes to your mortgage is being able to qualify for the best interest rate you can," Sophia Bera, CFP and founder of Gen Y Planning, told Business Insider.

"Think about it: If you're going to have this loan for the next 15 to 30 years, you're going to be paying a ton of interest, tens of thousands if not hundreds of thousands of dollars on that loan," she said. "So a difference in interest of a quarter of a percent or half a percent or one percent makes a huge difference over the life of the mortgage."

While you can monitor a close approximation of your credit score throughout the year on sites like Credit Karma and Credit Sesame, Bera says it's worth paying a small fee to get your exact FICO score when you're preparing to buy a house. FICO scores are credit measures widely used by lenders to determine interest rates, and a high FICO score can help you secure the most reasonable ones.

"Really pay attention to credit, especially in the six months leading up to getting ready to buy a home," Bera says. "This is not just a month before, scrambling and then realizing, 'Oh my gosh, I have something old in collections!' Once you take care of that it usually takes a couple of months to be reflected on your credit score."

2. Don't use your emergency savings for a down payment

When it comes to buying a home, the more you have in savings, the better. But the money you're putting away for a down payment — typically 20% of the price of the home — should remain completely separate from your emergency fund, which is three to nine months of expenses earmarked for when something goes wrong.

Instead, it's best to keep your home savings somewhere else safe and liquid, self-made millionaire and bestselling author David Bach told Business Insider, particularly if you're looking to purchase in about three years.

"I'd tell you, put it in a money-market account, and the reason is this: There's nothing more painful than saving for a down payment for a home and having the market go down," said Bach, who has spent 25 years in the wealth management industry.

"When it's a short-term time horizon, which is what three years is — three years is almost like tomorrow — you're better off to have safety and liquidity and see yourself making progress every month and not be losing sleep over it," he said.

In addition to security, a money market account could earn an interest rate of 1%, compared with the much lower 0.01% on a traditional savings account. These accounts can offer a higher interest rate because they usually require a minimum balance, which can vary widely depending on the bank (and if you dip under the minimum, you may incur a monthly fee). 

A high-interest, online savings account yields a similar return.

Need a better place for your savings? Consider these offers from our partners:

3. Plan to spend no more than 30% of your income on housing

Personal finance experts say a good rule of thumb is to make sure your total monthly housing payment doesn't consume more than 30% of your take-home pay.

"Any more than that, and your finances are going to be tight, leaving you financially vulnerable when something inevitably goes wrong," write Harold Pollack and Helaine Olen in their book, "The Index Card." "To be fair, this isn't always possible. In some places such as New York and San Francisco, it can be all but impossible."

Scott McGillivray, a real estate expert and the host of HGTV's "Income Property," suggests calculating what a realistic mortgage would cost and putting the equivalent of that into savings each month before you plan to buy.

"The truth is, if you can't do that — if you can't put that money aside and you can't actually keep those savings every month — you may not be prepared to make your consistent mortgage payment," he says.

It's not a perfect model for what it would be like to pay a mortgage each month, since you're likely still forking over money for rent, but it proves that you're dedicated to the process and willing to make financial sacrifices in order to afford homeownership.

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

Juul, the San Francisco e-cigarette startup that city officials want to kick out, is trying to buy a 29-floor office tower in the heart of the city

Wed, 05/01/2019 - 8:12pm

Juul Labs, an e-cigarette startup that has raised more than $12 billion in funding, is reportedly nearing a deal to purchase a high-rise building in downtown San Francisco to house its rapidly growing staff.

According to a report in the San Francisco Chronicle on Wednesday, Juul has its sights on 123 Mission Street, a 29-floor building near the city's Transbay area in the Financial District. The company recently purchased a renovated historic building near Pier 70 in the city's developing Dogpatch neighborhood, the report said.

Read More: Founders Fund made its first alcohol investment. Here's how the 28-year old woman who founded the company is trying to change drinking culture for the better.

Juul spokesperson Ted Kwong would not confirm the report, but said that the company had grown from 200 employees to 2,000 in the last year, with a a majority of the workers located in the company's San Francisco headquarters.

"As a result, we are currently looking for additional office space in San Francisco and the surrounding Bay Area, but we have nothing to announce at this time," Kwong told Business Insider via email.

Juul first gained notoriety for its aggressive marketing for its flavored e-cigarettes aimed at teens. The company is now partly owned by Altria, the tobacco giant that makes Marlboro cigarettes, and has come under intense scrutiny from federal and local health officials for its claims that vaping is a healthy alternative to cigarettes.

According to the San Francisco Chronicle report, the building in question is five times the size of the company's current office space, and was last sold in 2018 for $290 million. If Juul purchases the building, the deal will be one of the largest in San Francisco history for a tech company that doesn't specialize in real estate, according to the report.

The company's Dogpatch presence ignited a firestorm among San Francisco politicians and residents, and officials introduced legislation in March that would prohibit e-cigarette companies like Juul from occupying city-owned property, according to a San Francisco Chronicle report.

SEE ALSO: Divvy, the Utah startup that keeps a safe distance from the 'noise' of Silicon Valley, just raised $200 million in its 3rd funding round in a year

Join the conversation about this story »

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