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Uber lost $5.2 billion in 3 months. Here's where all that money went. (UBER)

Fri, 08/09/2019 - 3:59pm

  • Uber posted a $5.2 billion loss on Thursday, its largest ever, sending shares plummeting.
  • A major chunk of that loss was a consequence of two things: stock-based compensation and driver rewards, both stemming from the company's initial public offering in May. 
  • Other major costs for Uber include research and development, on things like self-driving cars, and sales and marketing, in order to keep growing.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

Uber lost a whopping $5.2 billion in the second quarter of 2019, the company revealed on Thursday, its deepest quarterly loss ever, thanks to an expensive initial public offering earlier this year.

It's a tremendous amount of money for any company, though a major chunk was thanks to one-off expenses, and the spending is set to decline in coming periods, the company said. Still, investors weren't happy with the results, and the stock plunged as much as 8% when markets opened Friday morning.

"The big picture is we want to be there any way you want to get around your city, and I think we're well on a path to do so in a profitable way," CEO Dara Khosrowshahi told analysts on a conference call following the results.

Most Wall Street analysts viewed the quarter as in line with what they expected, even as certain line items might have disappointed. Some even suggested the big sell-off was a buy-the-dip opportunity.

"We see Uber shares as one of the best long-term stories in the Internet and would take advantage of the weakness to add to positions," Lloyd Walmsley, an analyst at Deutsche Bank, told clients. "We think a continued improvement in unit economics and better visibility into the path to profitability could draw more investors to do the work, and given compelling potential upside in a bull case, near term and long term, we would not wait to get involved."

Here are the costs that led to Uber's massive loss in the second quarter:

SEE ALSO: Uber and Lyft are lashing out at New York City regulators over 'malarkey' vehicle caps

Stock-based compensation: $3.9 billion

This was, by far, the largest factor in Uber's loss. The company's income statement included $3.9 billion of such expenses, nearly all of it related to its IPO in May. Uber had handed out restricted shares that vested when it completed its offering; the value of those shares comprised $3.6 billion of its total stock-based compensation expense for the quarter.

Many of the recipients of these shares will be eligible to sell their stock soon, depending on when their specific lockup period ends. Lyft, Uber's biggest US competitor, moved its date for that period to end forward to August 19 from a date in September that coincided with the company's earnings quiet period.

In the next quarter, Uber expects its stock-based-compensation charges to fall dramatically.

"For Q3 2019 stock-based compensation, we expect an expense of $450 million to $500 million," Nelson Chai, the company's chief financial officer, said on the call.

Regardless, many investors ignore the expense of stock-based compensation because it is, at least initially, a noncash cost.



Driver rewards: $299 million

Uber also spent heavily on driver rewards connected to its IPO. The company spent $299 million in another onetime charge for those driver payments.

Khosrowshahi told CNBC on Friday morning that these one-off charges, while painful, were well-deserved and important to retaining drivers and talent.

"The IPO for us was a once in a lifetime moment," he said. "And it was a really important moment for the company. Some of what we did, like the driver-appreciation reward, almost $300 million that we put in the hands of over a million drivers globally, was really important for us to do. It created a messy P&L from an accounting standpoint that I think is hiding underlying trends that are actually very, very healthy for the company."



Research and development: $3.06 billion ($2.6 billion from stock-based compensation)

Research and development was Uber's biggest operating expense on its income statement. But much of that expense — $2.6 billion of the $3.1 billion total — came in the form of stock-based compensation, and that figure ballooned because of IPO-related vesting of certain restricted shares.

Still, Uber is investing heavily in R&D. Between its Advanced Technologies Group, which is developing self-driving cars in Pittsburgh, Toronto, and San Francisco; New Mobility, which is launching new e-bikes and adding public-transit options to Uber's app; Elevate, the unit dedicated to making flying taxis a reality; and improvements to its core ride-hailing business' dispatching, routing, and fare algorithms; there's plenty to spend money on.

Read more: Uber has raised another $1 billion for its self-driving unit, which is now valued at more than $7 billion

Here's how Uber defines its research and development spend in regulatory filings:

Research and development expenses consist primarily of compensation expenses for engineering, product development, and design employees, including stock-based compensation, expenses associated with ongoing improvements to, and maintenance of, our platform offerings, and ATG and Other Technology Programs development expenses, as well as allocated overhead. We expense substantially all research and development expenses as incurred.



General and administrative: $1.6 billion ($768 million from stock-based compensation)

Uber's general and administrative spend includes rent for office space around the world, legal counsel, and human resources. As with its research-and-development expenses, its administrative costs spiked, thanks to the IPO's effect on stock-based compensation.

"We expect that sales and marketing expenses will increase on an absolute dollar basis and vary from period to period as a percentage of revenue for the foreseeable future as we plan to continue to invest in sales and marketing to grow the number of platform users and increase our brand awareness," the company said in regulatory filings. "The trend and timing of our brand marketing expenses will depend in part on the timing of marketing campaigns."



Sales and marketing: $1.2 billion ($212 million from stock-based compensation)

Perhaps not surprisingly, Uber spends massive amounts of money on marketing. Even despite laying off 400 employees from its marketing department in July (a move that wasn't counted in this earnings report but will be reflected in the third quarter), the company said this number likely wouldn't be going down. Unlike its research-and-development and administrative costs, relatively little of its sales-and-marketing expenses were in the form of stock-based compensation, so they weren't affected as much by the IPO-related vesting of shares.

Read more: Uber marketing employees describe this week's 'bloodbath' when the company laid off 400 employees in more than a dozen countries this week

"The reorganization [of the marketing department] is about improving effectiveness, and it's about thinking about where we're going to be for the next five years of the company versus where we come from," Khosrowshahi said on the call. "My expectation is that our marketing spend, I can't speak to the — for the second half of the year, but our marketing spend for the next few years is actually going to both increase and be more effective as a result of the changes that we're making in the marketing organization."

In regulatory filings, Uber said its sales-and-marketing spend consisted "primarily of compensation expenses, including stock-based compensation to sales and marketing employees, advertising expenses, expenses related to consumer acquisition and retention, including consumer discounts, promotions, refunds, and credits, Driver referrals, and allocated overhead. We expense advertising and other promotional expenditures as incurred."



Operations and support: $864 million ($404 million from stock-based compensation)

This line includes many of the driver-focused employees in operations support centers, like Greenlight Hubs, throughout the world. This amount, though small, is likely to decrease going forward, Uber said, as it becomes more efficient in "supporting platform users."

It also spiked upward in the quarter because of the IPO-related stock-based-compensation costs.



Depreciation and amortization: $123 million

As time goes by, certain assets may lose value. For physical things, like buildings, vehicles, or machinery, this reduction is known as depreciation. For intangible assets, this is called amortization and is slightly more concrete to calculate.

Unlike tangible items, assets that amortize do so on a "straight-line" basis, according to Investopedia, meaning the same amount decreases from an item's value every period until it reaches zero. Examples of assets that might amortize include costs from capital raises, patents and trademarks, and other intellectual property.

Investors often ignore depreciation and amortization expenses because they're not considered to be a core part of companies' ongoing operating costs and don't necessarily represent current expenditures of cash.



Investors are fleeing emerging-market stocks at the fastest pace since 2015 as trade-war fears escalate

Fri, 08/09/2019 - 3:26pm

  • Emerging-market equities saw their largest outflow since 2015 this week as US-China trade tensions spiked and concerns over global growth mounted.
  • Latin America is the most exposed region because it trades heavily with China, according to analysts at Bank of America Merrill Lynch and JPMorgan. 
  • Read more on Markets Insider.

Signs of stress were plentiful in emerging markets this week as escalating trade tensions between the US and China stoked fears of slowing global growth.

Emerging-market equities saw $6.2 billion of outflows, the biggest weekly total since 2015, according to data compiled by Bank of America Merrill Lynch. That coincided with a roughly 2% decline in the MSCI Emerging Market Index.

The flight from emerging markets came as trade tensions between the US and China increased and stoked fears that they have morphed into a global currency war. On Monday, China let the value of the yuan slide as a retaliation to the threat of extra tariffs from President Donald Trump, sending riskier assets such as US and emerging-market equities down roughly 3%.

Since, markets have whiplashed after a trio of central banks issued rate cuts, spurring fears that global growth is slowing and making risky assets look even less attractive. 

Going forward, industry watchers expect trade tensions to continue to weigh on the global economy. This will drag on emerging-market countries, especially those that have less room to leverage monetary and fiscal policy to cushion the shock, Claudio Irigoyen and David Hauner of Bank of America Merrill Lynch wrote in a note Friday.

"We expect uncertainty to remain high in August as the next chapter of the US-China trade war unfolds," they said. 

Markets Insider is looking for a panel of millennial investors. If you're active in the markets, CLICK HERE to sign up.

The performance this week was a shift from earlier in the year, when emerging-market stocks showed signs of improvement after the last time that trade-war news dragged them lower in May. In June, signs of trade progress and a positive economic backdrop sent the MSCI Emerging Markets gauge rising again.

"If you also look at times when it feels that trade may be resolved, or trade issues may be improved, you notice how sharply emerging markets rally," Rashmi Gupta, a money manager at JPMorgan Chase Bank in New York, told Markets Insider in a recent interview.

At the end of July, emerging-market assets were up about 7% since January, though still underperforming developed markets over the same time frame. The rally ended when — following the US Federal Reserve's quarter-point cut in July — Fed Chairman Jerome Powell signaled it wasn't the start of a prolonged easing cycle. That hawkishness was viewed as a headwind to further accommodation and global growth stimulus.

A high degree of Latin American exposure

Within emerging markets, Latin American countries are particularly exposed to trade news, according to Bank of America and JPMorgan. This is because the region has the most countries that export commodities to China. 

Since 2001, annual trade between China and Latin America has increased 18 times, eclipsing exchange between the US and the region, according to Franco Uccelli, the head of investment strategy for Latin America at JPMorgan Private Bank. It's become the main trading partner for South America and the second largest in Latin America, Uccelli said.

"That generates some concern," Uccelli told Markets Insider. "You need your main trading partner to be strong." 

The worry is if the escalating trade tensions between the US weaken the economy in China, demand from the region will decrease, meaning that commodity exports from countries such as Brazil, Peru, and Chile would suffer as they rely heavily on strong demand from China, Uccelli said. Other vulnerable countries include South Africa, Indonesia, and Turkey, Bank of America wrote. 

The volatility in emerging markets is likely to continue, and even if the US and China reach a deal on trade, it should be regarded with some skepticism by investors, Morley Campbell, the chief information officer at Continuous Capital — a part of Resolute Investment Managers — told Markets Insider.  

Still, Campbell said that investors shouldn't overlook emerging markets in the long-term, even though there's short-term volatility risks. 

That's because valuations are still a big discount compared with other equities, many emerging-market countries pay cash dividends, and the class is still poised for blockbuster growth going forward. 

It comes down to getting valuations right, he said.

"Don't bet the ranch," he said. "Maintain a modest but consistent allocation over time."

Join the conversation about this story »

NOW WATCH: This is the shortest route for a road trip across the US to see 50 national landmarks

The 14 most underrated airlines in the world that are way better than they get credit for

Fri, 08/09/2019 - 2:59pm

  • While some people insist on avoiding certain airlines, or feel nervous about flying on unfamiliar foreign carriers, that could be a big mistake.
  • Despite reputations for stinginess with things like bags or seat size, plenty of low-cost carriers offer phenomenal service considering their incredibly low prices, as long as you pay attention when booking and know exactly what you're getting.
  • Similarly, lesser-known foreign airlines often offer great ways to see the world comfortably, in a safe and cost-effective way.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

Here are 14 airlines that I think are consistently underrated based on my own travels, conversations with other travelers, and a ton of discussions online.

SEE ALSO: These are the biggest airplanes in the world today — including one that can carry as many as 850 passengers

Southwest Airlines

Southwest has a reputation for being a more basic airline, but features like no change fees, two free checked bags, and reasonably comfortable seats and amenities are a big plus.



Norwegian Air

Norwegian Air Shuttle offers unbundled fares between the US and Europe. With round trip tickets sometimes available in the roughly $200 range, it's a perfectly comfortable, incredibly cost-effective way to get to London, Paris, or other cities. Just make sure to read the terms carefully to know what is and isn't included.



Ryanair

Ryanair gets a bad rap, but the ultra-low-cost-carrier is perfectly serviceable for the incredibly cheap flights it offers throughout Europe.



EasyJet

Similarly, EasyJet may have a reputation for being utilitarian, but its low prices make it an attractive way to gallivant around Europe.



Wizz Air

Wizz Air is similar to Ryanair and EasyJet but often has less name recognition. This Hungarian-based ultra-low-cost-carrier is perfectly serviceable, and just announced that it's expanding its network to Edinburgh, from which it will operate flights to Poland, Hungary, and Romania.



Nok Air

Nok Air is a low-cost carrier based in Thailand. The airline's flights are mostly domestic and regional, but make a great, quick, cheap way to get around the region if you're stopping in multiple cities during a trip.



Alaska Airlines

Alaska Airlines — which is based in Seattle — is smaller than its mainline US competitors, but gets consistently high ratings from passengers. It also partners with American Airlines and has a strong frequent-flyer program that is also underrated.



Air New Zealand

Air New Zealand offers a fairly unique feature on its long-haul flights. Dubbed "Economy Skycouch," it lets you book an entire economy row to yourself. It includes a mattress pad and pillows, and costs significantly less than a lie-flat business-class seat.



AirAsia

AirAsia and its long-haul arm AirAsia X offer an inexpensive way to get around Asia and Oceania for cheap during a big vacation.



Ethiopian Airlines

Ethiopian Airlines is often overlooked, but has a history of excellent safety, reliability, and service. The airline flies modern Boeing and Airbus jets, and has direct flights to the US with connecting service available to much of Africa and beyond.



Spirit Airlines

Spirit Airlines is another one like Ryanair that often gets a bad rap. Yes, the airline is no-frills. Yes, it's stingy when it comes to carry-on bag size. But it's up-front about all of this when you book, and its prices are rock-bottom. Plus, an upgrade to the Big Front Seat can be a fantastic deal.



AeroMexico

AeroMexico operates a joint partnership with Delta Air Lines for flights between Mexico and the US, and the airline's service is fantastic. Whether you score a great business-class deal, or you sit in coach, it's a comfortable and convenient way to get to Mexico and Central or South America.



Royal Air Maroc

With top-of-the-line Boeing 787 Dreamliners, Royal Air Maroc is a great way to fly. The airline serves New York with service to Casablanca, where you can connect elsewhere in Africa or the Middle East.

The airline is set to join the Oneworld alliance in 2020, and American Airlines is launching flights from Philadelphia to Casablanca in the spring. When that happens, it will be possible to fly from virtually anywhere in the US to Casablanca (with a stop in Philly) and on to any of Royal Air Maroc's destinations on a single ticket.



Jetstar

Australian airline Jetstar is often forgotten next to better-known Qantas and Virgin Australia, but its low fares make it a fantastic way to fly across Australia, New Zealand, and parts of Asia. There's even a flight between Sydney and Honolulu, Hawaii.



A couple paid $1.6 million to move their Nantucket mansion away from an eroding bluff, and it's an increasingly common problem coastal dwellers will have to face

Fri, 08/09/2019 - 2:44pm

For people who live along a coastline, erosion can be their worst nightmare.

That's exactly the predicament two homeowners on Nantucket, a tiny island of 11,000 year-round residents 30 miles south of Cape Cod, Massachusetts, found themselves in. The fast-eroding edge of a bluff threatened the foundation of their 10,000-square-foot home.

The Wall Street Journal's Marli Guzzetta reported that Dao Engle and her husband bought the sprawling home for $8.4 million in 2012, and then spent seven years planning and four months preparing to have the mansion picked up and moved.

According to Guzzetta, the couple was aware of the bluff's eroding edge when they purchased the home — and it heavily influenced the home's low asking price.

"By fixing the problem and redoing the space, we have effectively doubled the value of the home versus what we bought it for," Mrs. Engle told Guzzetta.

Read more: We asked insurance workers where they'd live in the US to avoid future natural disasters — here's what they said

The total cost of the move — which takes into account the disconnection of utilities, the clearing of the site, and the concrete used — was around $1.6 million. The home was removed from its foundation, put on 16 cribs and 16 stakes, and over the span of a week, moved away from the eroding edge.

But the Engles aren't the only ones dealing with the harsh reality of climate change.

Environmental changes are having devastating impacts on real estate across the country. Business Insider's Aria Bendix previously reported that nearly one trillion dollars of US real estate is threatened by rising seas. In fact, by 2100, the homes of 4.7 million Americans may be vulnerable to rising sea levels.

According to a 2018 revised study from researchers at Pennsylvania State University and the University of Colorado at Boulder, properties that are exposed to rising sea levels sell for around 7% less than similar but unexposed homes.

And, as Business Insider's Katie Warren previously reported, some millennials are preparing for the worst in case of a climate-change disaster and buying up land in rural places like Vermont and Oregon. 

Read the full report at The Wall Street Journal »

SEE ALSO: Millennials are preparing for the worst in case of a climate-change disaster, and it's prompting them to buy rural land in places like Oregon and Vermont

DON'T MISS: David Attenborough warns of the 'collapse of our civilizations,' if climate change continues to be ignored

Join the conversation about this story »

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The most expensive rental in the Hamptons is hosting a fundraiser for President Trump. Take a look at the mansion and its outrageous amenities, which can be rented for $1 million a month.

Fri, 08/09/2019 - 2:44pm

On August 9, the most expensive rental in the Hamptons will host a fundraising event for President Trump's 2020 campaign. According to The Washington Post, tickets for the event range for $5,600 to $35,000 per couple. 

Located in Bridgehampton, 612 Halsey Lane is also known as "The Sandcastle," will set you back a cool $1 million a month, according to real-estate listing platform Out East.

The Hamptons, a series of beach towns dotting eastern Long Island, New York, is known to be a popular vacation spot for America's wealthiest. In fact, in 2012, Beyonce and Jay-Z stayed at The Sandcastle.

Read more: Inside the most expensive property for sale in the Hamptons, which is listed for $150 million and costs 75 times more than the swanky area's median home

The 11.5-acre property spans 21,000 square feet and boasts outrageous amenities including a two-lane bowling alley and a baseball field. It can also be rented for $550,000 for two weeks. 

Keep reading for a look inside.

SEE ALSO: A massive California ranch that may be the biggest piece of land for sale in the state is on the market for $72 million — here's a look inside

Bridgehampton, New York is a popular vacation spot for celebrities including Beyonce, Jay-Z, and Bethenny Frankel.

Source: Out East



According to Out East, 612 Halsey Lane is the most expensive rental available in the Hamptons and costs $1 million to rent from August through Labor Day.

Source: Out East



On August 9, the 11.5-acre property will host a fundraiser for President Trump's 2020 campaign.

Source: Out East, The Washington Post



The main residence spans 17,000 square feet ...

Source: Out East



... and includes a library, a 10-seat theater, and 2,000 square feet of covered porches. According to the listing, the kitchen is replete with a walk-in refrigerator and a wine room.

Source: Out East



The main residence includes 11 bedrooms ...

Source: Out East



... 10 full bathrooms, and five half bathrooms.

Source: Out East



Amenities throughout the property include a two-lane bowling alley ...

Source: Out East



... a basketball court ...

Source: Out East



... a private spa ...

Source: Out East



... and a 10-seat theater.

Source: Out East



Outdoors, there's a tennis court ...

Source: Out East



... a baseball field ...

Source: Out East



... and a pool.

Source: Out East



The property also includes a separate apartment with two bedrooms, and a pool house.

Source: Out East



Competition to win deals among Silicon Valley VCs is so intense that one investor made a personalized comic book of Oculus founder Palmer Luckey to woo him

Fri, 08/09/2019 - 2:17pm

The tables are turning for investors hoping to land big deals. Instead of entrepreneurs pitching major firms on their startup, investors are vying for a chance to write checks.

To stand out in the crowded venture capital market, some investors are even having to turn to unusual tactics and gifts to convince founders to give them a chance. In a report from The Information Friday, former Oculus founder Palmer Luckey revealed that one particular investor went to great lengths to get in on funding his latest startup, Anduril.

That investor, which Luckey declined to name to The Information, sent Luckey a personalized comic book that showed the Anduril team as superheroes with a glowing chest of money, according to the report.

"The money was the power that was going to help us save the world from foreign military and protect western democracy from being destroyed by Russian and Chinese military," Luckey told The Information.

Read More: Two Sequoia Capital bigwigs once hung out at a coffee shop dressed as 'Toy Story' characters to impress a candidate with a job offer

The gesture was a perfect match for Luckey, who's a big fan of science fiction, and Anduril, which provides imaging software built for vast outdoor spaces. Luckey told The Information that the gesture was unnecessary, however, because they had already decided to let the investor in on the round.

Competition among VCs for a red-hot deal is not a completely new phenomenon in Silicon Valley of course. But  in the past this was the exception — reserved for a particularly hot startup —  rather than the norm. Now, with billions of dollars in capital flowing into the valley, and the arrival of mega-funds like SoftBank's Vision Fund, founders have more backers to choose from than ever before. 

And that means the lengths VCs will go to in order to stand out is sure to keep increasing. Today it's custom comic books. Tomorrow it could be an action movie starring a CGI Palmer Luckey.

Read the full report in The Information here.

SEE ALSO: Female founders say that amid the fertility tech boom, investors are still more willing to put money into male-focused health companies

Join the conversation about this story »

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A rideshare driver hit a man on a seated e-scooter in Brooklyn, highlighting potential risks as scooters and e-bikes expand nationwide

Fri, 08/09/2019 - 1:51pm

  • A person riding a shared Revel e-moped was seriously injured when he was struck by what appeared to be a rideshare car in Brooklyn, New York, late Thursday.
  • It was not immediately clear whether this was the first major injury to a Revel or e-scooter rider in New York City since they rolled out in May.
  • The collision encapsulated the inherent risks as new forms of transit, including the new shared mopeds, e-scooters, and other micromobility vehicles expand across the United States.
  • This Business Insider reporter was steps away when the collision occurred and witnessed the aftermath.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

A person riding a Revel e-moped was struck and seriously injured by a livery vehicle in Brooklyn on Thursday evening.

This reporter was nearby and witnessed the immediate aftermath of the collision.

According to a police officer on the scene, a witness said the Revel moped rider "ate the red light," proceeding through an intersection against the light. 

However, another witness, Margaret Bishop, said that the driver of the Toyota sedan, which had Taxi and Limousine Commission license plates and appeared to be operating as a ride-share vehicle, was speeding. It was driving on a street running perpendicular to the Revel rider.

"I saw the driver blow right through the intersection," Bishop said. "I think he was going 50 miles per hour."

The speed limit on New York City streets is 25 miles per hour, unless otherwise marked. It was lowered from 30 miles per hour in 2014 as part of Mayor Bill de Blasio's signature Vision Zero traffic safety campaign.

It was not clear whether the vehicle was engaged in a fare ride at the time of the collision. A TLC sticker on the car identified it as affiliated a livery base that operates Uber ride-share cars.

While shared standing e-scooters were legalized in parts of New York City in June, Revel's vehicles exist in a different vehicle class. The Revel scooters — which resemble Vespa scooters, rather than ubiquitous e-scooters like Lime and Bird — require a driver's license and are technically classified as mopeds by the New York DMV. However, they do not have pedals, and are speed-capped at 30 miles-per-hour, meaning riders do not need a special motorcycle license to drive them.

The victim, who was not immediately identified, was thrown from the Revel, which slid about 10 feet down the street. He landed face down on the street, and appeared to be unresponsive. He was bleeding from the face and head, and did not appear to have been wearing a helmet — it was not clear whether he had worn a helmet that had flown off of him during the impact, or whether he did not wear one.

He began to regain consciousness and opened his eyes about five minutes after the impact, just as responding firefighters were arriving. He appeared to be confused.

As the firefighters rendered aid, police arrived and began asking the assembled crowd for witnesses. As an ambulance with paramedics arrived several minutes later, the victim appeared to be more responsive, able to talk and articulate where he felt pain.

The victim's condition was not immediately clear. He was taken to Brooklyn Methodist Hospital, according to a police officer on the scene.

Read more: Uber and Lyft drivers reveal the scariest situations they've ever encountered

The incident encapsulates the risks as transit systems continue to evolve and intertwine with the mobility sharing economy in cities around the US. 

Revel began piloting the shared Vespa scooter-style e-mopeds in select New York City neighborhoods in summer 2018 with 68 bikes. It announced an expansion in late May, 2019, and rolled out more than 1,000 units by early June. 

The scooters can be unlocked via an app, and drivers are required to obey traffic laws. Each scooter comes with two helmets — one large and one small — and Revel says it requires riders to use them. The service says that helmets are cleaned every few days.

While risks involved with bicycling and riding scooters on New York City streets are obvious, the understated risk with services like Revel are that riders are often inexperienced driving that type of vehicle.

Although e-bikes have been a common sight on New York City streets for years, particularly among food delivery drivers — although the city says those bikes are not legal — the ubiquity of the Revel mopeds have raised safety concerns since anyone with a valid drivers licence can use one.

The same safety concerns permeate the expansion of standing e-scooters — studies have found a pronounced risk of severe head trauma from scooter accidents, and that as many as 66% of injured users were not wearing helmets.

While Revel offers operating and safety lessons, these are optional for users, and some users have reported a wait to get an appointment.

Read more: I took a $120 Blade helicopter flight from midtown Manhattan to JFK Airport — here's what it was like

It was not immediately clear whether this was the first major injury to a Revel or e-scooter rider in New York City since they rolled out. A cyclist has filed a lawsuit against Revel after a rider allegedly hit him in June.

Ride-hailing services like Uber, Lyft, Via, and others have been prominent in New York City for years. Unlike other locations, New York City requires ride-hailing drivers and cars to be licensed as livery vehicles through the Taxi and Limousine Commission, and registered with a base.

In a statement, a spokesperson for Revel said that the company is intent on ensuring rider safety:

We are aware of the unfortunate incident last night in Brooklyn involving a car and a rider. The details of the incident are not yet completely clear, but the safety of Revel riders is very important to us, which is why we verify riders have a safe driving history as part of our registration process, require all riders to use the helmets we provide at all times, follow all traffic laws, and we offer free lessons at our Gowanus headquarters. We will be investigating this further. 

A spokesperson for Brooklyn Methodist hospital declined to comment on the victim's condition, while a spokesperson for the New York Police Department said there was no additional information available.

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If your business makes frequent FedEx purchases, now's a great time to apply for the Amex Business Gold Card and get up to $500 back

Fri, 08/09/2019 - 1:49pm

  • The American Express® Business Gold Card has a new welcome offer that can get you up to $500 back in statement credits when you make qualifying purchases with FedEx in the first three months of card membership.
  • This is only available until November 6, 2019.
  • The Amex Business Gold includes US purchases for shipping as a bonus category, so this is a good business credit card to consider if you frequently use FedEx or other shipping services.

The American Express Business Gold Card is one of several premium Amex cards to get an update in recent years, and it's currently one of the best business credit cards thanks to its bonus category structure — you can earn 4x points on your top two spending categories each month, from a list of options including airfare, US restaurants, and US shipping purchases.

Since its update in 2018, the Amex Business Gold has been all over the place on the welcome bonus front, though. First it offered no points bonus but up to a free year of Google GSuite Basic and ZipRecruiter Standard (useful to some, but not everyone), and then it switched to a relatively low welcome offer of 35,000 points (worth about $700 based on The Points Guy's subjective valuations). 

Now, the Business Gold is switching it up once again, with an intro offer that can get you up to $500 back in statement credits when you purchase qualifying services with FedEx in your first three months from opening the card. 

Amex defines qualifying FedEx services in its offer terms and conditions, and the main exclusions are invoiced payments, international duties and taxes, and other FedEx brands like FedEx freight. 

If your business spends a lot on shipping, the Business Gold is a card worth considering. Not only is the current welcome offer as good as $500 back if you'll already be spending at least $500 with FedEx in the next several months, but the card also offers 4x points on your top two spending categories each month on up to $150,000 in combined purchases each calendar year; one of the eligible categories is shipping purchases, including purchases from FedEx and other companies.

The other categories are airfare purchased directly from airlines, US purchases for advertising in select media, US purchases at gas stations, US purchases made directly from select technology providers, and US purchases at restaurants.

You can use Amex points to book travel directly through Amex, or with travel partners like Delta and Marriott if you transfer the points to the respective loyalty programs. 

The current FedEx offer is available until November 6, 2019.

The Business Gold Card has a $295 annual fee. In addition to earning you up to 4 points per dollar on your spending, this card has an airline bonus that gets you a 25% rebate when you use points to book a business or first-class flight through Amex Travel (or a flight of any class if it's with your selected qualifying airline). 

Click here to learn more about the American Express Business Gold Card from our partner The Points Guy.

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People with 'subprime' credit scores are reportedly getting approved for Apple's new credit card (AAPL)

Fri, 08/09/2019 - 1:39pm

  • Apple Card, Apple's new credit card, applications are now available for iPhone users. 
  • The bank behind the card, Goldman Sachs, has been approving users for the card who have "subprime" credit scores at the direction of Apple, CNBC reported.
  • Sources told CNBC that Apple asked Goldman Sachs to make sure that as many iPhone users as possible get approved for the Apple Card.
  • However, the report also said Goldman Sachs would give credit limits in line with the users' credit history.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

Some people with less-than-stellar credit scores are getting approved for the new Apple credit card that launched this week, CNBC reported.

The bank behind the Apple Card, Goldman Sachs, has reportedly been approving applicants with "subprime" credit scores — a term with a varying definition but often defined as any score around 670. That comes at Apple's direction, the report said, as it wants to make sure that as many iPhone users as possible get approved for the Apple Card.

Apple launched its new credit card under the premise that it would be incredibly popular among consumers, with its low interest and no fees. However, approving credit cards for people with low credit scores comes with risks, as a lower credit score tells financial institutions that you're a higher-risk borrower.

The financial crisis of the last decade has been largely attributed to financial institutions who approved loans for borrowers with subprime credit scores, and who defaulted on their payments.

But CNBC reported that although people with subprime credit scores were being approved for the Apple Card, Goldman Sachs won't provide users with more credit than their credit-score profiles suggest they can handle. Of note is that Goldman Sachs has long been lending to subprime borrowers and has said that the practice helps it predict future economic cycles

Read more: Apple's new credit card, the Apple Card, is available now — here's how it works

iPhone users can now apply for the all-white, minimalist-in-design Apple Card. The card has a number of consumer-friendly features that make it incredibly easy to activate and use. The Apple Card also comes with no annual fees, late-payment fees, or fees for international use, and the interest fees are "among the lowest in the industry," Apple says.

However, the push to eliminate fees has made some financial analysts concerned about the Apple Card's business model, since credit-card fees and interest amounted to an estimated $178 billion total in the US in 2018.

But Goldman Sachs executives have told Business Insider the Apple Card will help to build customer loyalty in the long run, which is more advantageous than immediate revenue.

Neither Apple nor Goldman Sachs were available for comment at the time of publication.

SEE ALSO: The minimalist, titanium Apple Card is perfectly positioned as a status symbol geared toward millennials

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The 8 best small business credit cards to open in 2019

Fri, 08/09/2019 - 1:33pm

  • As 2019 moves along, we've looked at all the new and existing credit cards available this year, and picked a few of our favorites.
  • If you own a small business — whether it's a personal side gig, a sole proprietorship, or something with multiple employees — it's important to keep your business and personal expenses separate from each other.
  • Our top picks include points-earning cards like the Business Platinum® Card from American Express as well as cash-back options like the Ink Business Unlimited Credit Card.
  • Take a look below at our picks for best small business credit cards of 2019, and don't miss our guide to the best personal credit cards of 2019.

Whether you're a freelancer, someone with a side gig, or you run a business with 15 employees, an HR team, and a brick-and-mortar store or office, keeping your personal and business finances separate is vital. Even if you're a sole proprietor using your personal checking account, things can get muddy quickly when you're cutting personal and business checks from the same account, or charging drinks with friends and your monthly Microsoft Office subscription to the same credit card.

To make your own day-to-day life easier, and to save yourself a tremendous number of headaches when it comes time to file taxes, you're best keeping business purchases separate — I learned this quickly when I started to do some freelance work on the side.

Why you need a business credit card

There are a few other reasons to use a business card, though. 

Your personal card might not facilitate the kind of spending your company does. Business cards can have higher credit limits, and in most cases, the activity on a business card won't affect your personal credit report (although if you default on the business card, the card issuer can still come after you personally).

If you're a "sole proprietor" business, where you work solo and work under your own name and social security number (rather than a business name), getting a business card is more about the convenience of keeping your expenses separate, and protecting your own credit profile and assets — even the smallest of businesses are eligible, such as freelancers, individuals with side gigs, or even people who resell things on eBay.

If you're a bigger business, though — or aspire to grow into one, with employees and more resources, having a business card is a must — not only to separate expenses, but also to establish business credit, so that you have flexibility later on with loans and leases. Plus, you can get additional authorized cards for employees as needed.

These are the best business credit cards to open in 2019 1. Ink Business Preferred Credit Card

Welcome offer: 80,000 Ultimate Rewards points when you spend $5,000 on the card in the first three months.

Annual fee: $95

Earning rates: 3 points per dollar on the first $150,000 your business spends on combined purchases each cardmember year on travel, shipping, internet/cable/phone, and advertising on social media sites or with search engines. Purchases after you reach $150,000, or in any other category, earn 1 point per dollar.

Standout benefits: Cell phone protection, primary car rental insurance

If you're looking to earn valuable, flexible rewards points on your small business spending, the Chase Ultimate Rewards (UR) ecosystem is among the best options. If you already have one of Chase's popular personal rewards cards — like the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card or Chase Sapphire Reserve — the Ink Business Preferred is an ideal business card companion.

Like those cards, the Ink Preferred earns UR points, and while you can keep them on that card and separate from the rest of your stash, you can also combine them with the rest of your points. These points can be traded for cash back, transferred to frequent flyer and hotel loyalty partners, or used to purchase travel with a 25% bonus (or a 50% bonus if you move your points over to your Chase Sapphire Reserve). 

The Ink Business Preferred card also earns bonus points in some of the most common expense categories for businesses, from travel to shipping to advertising on social media sites like Facebook and search engines such as Google Ads. That earning rate, plus the card's 80,000 point sign-up bonus — the highest bonus currently offered by Chase — should make for a nice stash of Ultimate Reward points.

Among other benefits, the Ink Business Preferred offers cell phone protections. When you use the Ink Preferred to pay your cell phone bill, you're covered for up to $600 for damage, loss, or theft of your cell phone — or your employees' work-provided phones, if you provide them. You're limited to three claims per rolling 12-month period, but this can save you a fortune. That insurance alone makes up for the $95 annual fee.

Click here to learn more about the Ink Business Preferred card from our partner The Points Guy. 2. The Business Platinum® Card from American Express

 

Welcome offer: Up to 75,000 Membership Rewards points (50,000 points after you spend $10,000 in the first three months, and another 25,000 if you spend an additional $15,000 in that same time frame).

Annual fee: $595

Earning rates: 5 points per dollar on flights and prepaid hotels booked at amextravel.com, 1.5 points per dollar on purchases of $5,000 or more (up to 1 million additional points per year), 1 point per dollar on everything else

Standout benefits: 

  • $200 annual airline fee credit
  • Access to airport lounges include Centurion lounges, Priority Pass lounges, and Delta Sky Clubs (when you're flying Delta)
  • Up to $200 in Dell statement credits annually (divided into up to $100 between January and June and up to $100 between July and December)
  • One year of WeWork Platinum Global Access if you enroll by December 31, 2019
  • Get 35% of your points back when you use Pay With Points to book an economy flight with your selected airline or a business- or first-class flight with any airline

The small business version of American Express's famed Platinum Card used to be our pick for the top business card, but in the past year the annual fee has increased and it's become a bit more of a niche product — potentially useful for mid-sized businesses that spend a lot on flights and travel, but less valuable for sole proprieters and very small operations.

Card holders can now receive a complimentary year of WeWork Platinum Global Access, allowing them to use any of WeWork's 300-plus facilities, which are spread across more than 75 cities throughout the world. The benefit is worth $2,700, according to Amex.

Business Platinum card holders also get up to $200 of annual statement credits to use when shopping at Dell and $200 in airline fee credits each calendar year, essentially rebating part of the annual fee. Plus, because the airline fee credit is valid each calendar year, not cardmember year, you could get it twice in your first 12 months of having the card.

Other travel benefits include access to more than 1,200 airport lounges, 10 complimentary Gogo in-flight Wi-Fi passes each year, and complimentary Gold elite status with Hilton and Marriott.

Click here to learn more about the Business Platinum Card from our partner The Points Guy. 3. The Blue Business Plus Credit Card from American Express

Welcome offer: N/A

Annual fee: $0

Earning rates: 2 Amex Membership Rewards points per dollar on the first $50,000 in spending every year (after that, it's 1x point).

Standout benefits: No annual fee, 0% introductory APR on purchases and balance transfers for the first 12 months (then a variable rate of 15.49%-21.49%)

The Blue Business Plus Card doesn't usually have a welcome offer, and that might be enough to turn many people away from it. However, it's the rare points-earning business card that doesn't charge an annual fee; you'll earn 2 points per dollar on the first $50,000 you spend each year, with no bonus categories to keep track of. According to travel website The Points Guy, Amex points are worth 2 cents apiece, so you're getting a 4% return on all your business spending up to $50,000 each year.

There's also a 0% introductory APR on purchases and balance transfers. While funding your startup with a credit card may not be the best idea, the introductory APR can help if you have a few larger purchases coming up and are still working to get cash flow regular. 

Click here to learn more about the Blue Business Plus from our partner The Points Guy. 4. Capital One Spark Miles for Business

Welcome offer: 50,000 miles after you spend $4,500 in the first three months

Annual fee: $0 the first year; $95 after that

Earning rate: 2x miles on all purchases

Standout benefits: Transfer miles to Capital One's airline partners including Air Canada and Emirates or redeem miles to cover travel purchases on your statement, up to a $100 credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck

The Spark Miles for Business is a great option if you want choices in how you redeem your miles. You can transfer them to more than 10 airline partners or you can use miles to "wipe" your business' travel expenses from your credit card statement. Beyond that, you can redeem miles for cash back or gift cards. So if you don't want to be locked into just one way to use your rewards, this card could make sense.

You'll earn 2 miles per dollar on all purchases with no cap. Transferring miles to airline partners like Air Canada, Avianca, and Singapore Airlines will usually get you the most value, but you'll have to do a bit of work to uncover the best uses with each program.

Click here to learn more about the Capital One Spark Miles for Business from our partner The Points Guy. 5. Chase Ink Business Unlimited Credit Card

Welcome offer: $500 (or 50,000 Ultimate Rewards points) after you spend $3,000 in the first three months

Annual fee: $0

Earning rate: 1.5% cash back on all purchases

Standout benefits: If you also have a card that earns Ultimate Rewards points, you can redeem cash back as points with travel partners and get more than 1.5% back per, 0% introductory APR on purchases for the first 12 months (then a variable rate of 15.49%-21.49%)

The newest card in Chase's business portfolio, the Ink Business Unlimited is a simple one at first — earn unlimited 1.5% cash back.

However, just like the consumer Chase Freedom and Chase Freedom Unlimited cards, the Ink Business Unlimited has a trick up its sleeve. Although the card is marketed as "cash back," it actually earns Ultimate Rewards points that you can redeem for cash (1 point = $0.01).

That means that you can combine the points earned from the Ink Business Unlimited with the ones you earn from cards like the Ink Preferred, or the personal Sapphire Reserve, and either earn a bonus when you redeem them for travel through Chase, or transfer them to travel partners. Combined with an Ink Preferred, you'll get a guaranteed 1.5–3 points per dollar spent.

The card offers a 0% introductory APR for 12 months and has no annual fee, making it a no-brainer for every small business owner, freelancer, or side-gig hustler.

Click here to learn more about the Chase Ink Business Unlimited from our partner The Points Guy. 6. American Express Business Gold Card

Welcome offer: Earn up to $500 back as statement credits by purchasing qualifying services at FedEx within the first three months. This is only available until November 6, 2019.

Annual fee: $295

Earning rates: 4x points on your top two spending categories each billing cycle on up to $150,000 in combined purchases each year from the following list: airfare purchased directly from airlines, US purchases for advertising in select media, US purchases at gas stations, US purchases made directly from select technology providers, US purchase at restaurants, and US purchases for shipping; 1x point on everything else

Standout benefits: 25% of your points back when you pay with points to book first or business-class airfare with American Express Travel (or any class of flight with your selected qualifying airline), up to 250,000 points back per calendar year.

If you don't want to pay the higher annual fee of the Business Platinum Card, the Business Gold Card is a good alternative. And depending on your spending habits, the Business Gold could actually be a more rewarding choice, thanks to the ability to earn 4x points on popular business spending categories. 

And if you spend a lot at FedEx, now's a perfect time to open the card, since you can get up to $500 back on qualifying FedEx purchases made in the first three months. Just note that this welcome offer is only available until November 6, 2019.

Click here to learn more about the American Express Business Gold Card from our partner The Points Guy. 7. Chase Ink Business Cash Credit Card

Welcome offer: $500 (or 50,000 Ultimate Rewards points) after you spend $3,000 in the first three months

Annual fee: $0

Earning rates: 5% cash back (or 5x points) on the first $25,000 in combined purchases at office supply stores and on internet, cable, and phone services each card holder year, 2% back (or 2x points) on the first $25,000 in purchases at gas stations and restaurants each year, and 1% (or 1x point) on everything else with no cap.

Standout benefits: If you also have a card that earns Ultimate Rewards points, you can redeem cash back as points with travel partners and get a higher return on your spending, 0% introductory APR on purchases for the first 12 months (then a variable rate of 15.49%-21.49%)

The Ink Cash is another solid Chase entry, and just like with the Ink Unlimited, you can pool the "cash" you earn with points from a points-earning card, effectively converting your cash into (potentially) more valuable points.

The Ink Cash is an especially good option if you can maximize its bonus categories, including office supply stores, internet, cable, and restaurants, among others.

Click here to learn more about the Chase Ink Business Cash from our partner The Points Guy. 8. Capital One Spark Cash for Business

Welcome offer: $500 after you spend $4,500 in the first three months

Annual fee: $0 for the first year; $95 after that

Earning rate: 2% on all purchases 

Standout benefits: Free employee cards that also earn 2% back on everything,

This is probably the easiest-to-use card on this list, but simple doesn't mean bad — this can be a fantastically rewarding card.

The Capital One Spark Cash earns unlimited 2% cash back on all purchases. That's it. No categories, no points values or conversions, no redemption minimums. Rewards won't expire for the life of the account, and you can redeem any amount of cash back. The card has a $95 annual fee, waived the first year.

At first glance, the Amex Blue Business Plus might seem like a better option, since it earns 2x points and doesn't have an annual fee. However, keep in mind that while 2x points may be more valuable than 2% cash if you redeem strategically for travel by transferring to partners, Membership Rewards points can't be redeemed outright for cash. You can redeem them for a statement credit, but they'll only be worth 0.6 cents each. That means that effectively, the Amex card only offers 1.2% "cash" back, compared to the no-strings-attached 2% from the Capital One Spark Cash.

Click here to learn more about the Spark Cash from our partner The Points Guy. 9. Airline business credit cards

Welcome offer: Varies

If you fly often for work, and you're loyal to one particular airline, then it could be worth getting an airline's business credit card. In addition to earning frequent flyer miles on every purchase, you'll get a variety of perks like free checked bags and priority boarding. 

Each airline card's terms and benefits are slightly different, but these are some of the best options to consider for your business.

Delta

United Airlines

American Airlines

  • CitiBusiness /AAdvantage Platinum Select World Mastercard

Southwest Airlines

Alaska Airlines

  • Alaska Airlines Visa Business credit card

SEE ALSO: The best credit card rewards, bonuses, and perks

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Walmart sent a memo to employees to take down violent images and displays in stores, as advocates call for it to stop selling guns

Fri, 08/09/2019 - 2:22am

  • Walmart sent out a this week asking employees to remove violent displays, such as video games and hunting videos, following two in-store shootings in Mississippi and Texas.
  • "There's been no change" in the company's policy to sell guns, though, Walmart spokesman Randy Hargrove told USA Today.
  • Walmart is facing pressure from gun control advocates to stop selling guns, in the wake of the recent mass shootings.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

As Walmart faces pressure from gun control advocates to stop selling guns, images of a Walmart memo calling for "Immediate Action: Remove signing and displays referencing violence" are being shared on social media. Two recent in-store shootings have claimed more than 20 lives combined.   

Walmart confirmed the legitimacy of the memo to USA Today on Thursday.

The message tells employees to use their "best judgement when determining whether an element is appropriate." It listed specific actions employees should take, such as unplugging violent video game displays, cancelling any events pertaining to combat-style or third-person shooter games, and turning off hunting season videos.

Apparently Walmart is telling its employees to take down displays that show violent video games, specifically shooters, as well as movies and hunting videos. pic.twitter.com/2N3t4B86tf

— Kenneth Shepard (@shepardcdr) August 7, 2019

 

Read more: Walmart CEO promises 'thoughtful and deliberate' response to 2 deadly shootings at its stores

A representative for Walmart did not immediately respond to a request for comment from Business Insider. In a statement to USA Today, Walmart spokeswoman Tara House said, "We've taken this action out of respect for the incidents of the past week, and this action does not reflect a long-term change in our video game assortment."

The efforts to "remove signing and displays referencing violence," per the wording of the memo, follows a statement from Walmart CEO Doug McMillon earlier this week, regarding the two recent shootings that occurred in Walmart locations.

The first incident happened on July 30 in Southaven, Mississippi, in which a "disgruntled employee" shot and killed two workers. The second happened this past weekend in El Paso, Texas, when a gunman posted to a racist manifesto online, according to police, and roughly 20 minutes later opened fire in the store and killed 22 people.

"We will be thoughtful and deliberate in our responses, and we will act in a way that reflects the best values and ideals of our company, with a focus on serving the needs of our customers, associates and communities," McMillon wrote.

As of Sunday, there had been "no change" in the company's policy to sell guns, Walmart spokesman Randy Hargrove told USA Today.

Walmart is facing pressure to stop selling guns entirely from gun control advocates — even from within the company. A corporate employee recently sent a mass email calling on workers to strike until the company stops selling guns.

"In light of recent events, and in response to corporate's inaction, we are organizing a 'sick out' general strike to protest Walmart's profit from the sale of guns," Thomas Marshall, who works for Walmart's e-commerce division, wrote in the email.

"We have made great strides already, but now we must organize to shape this company into a place we can all be proud of," he continued in the email. "As associates, we have the power, ability, and opportunity to change this company for the better."

SEE ALSO: Walmart corporate employee sends mass email urging workers to go on strike until the company stops selling guns

DON'T MISS: 'Disgruntled' Walmart employee shot and killed two workers at Mississippi store

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The Trade Desk CEO talked up a new advertising partnership with Amazon but also downplayed the e-commerce giant's own growing ad business

Thu, 08/08/2019 - 8:50pm

  • The Trade Desk's CEO Jeff Green said a new deal with Amazon could be a big source of revenue growth while downplaying the e-commerce giant as a threat to his ad business.
  • Green said Amazon has an "objectivity problem" with advertisers that sell on its platform.
  • That will make it hard for Amazon to compete with The Trade Desk for advertising, he said.
  • Click here for more BI Prime stories.

The Trade Desk CEO Jeff Green said a new deal with Amazon could be a big source of revenue and maintained that he's not concerned about Amazon's own growing ad business.

Two weeks ago, Amazon announced a new partnership that allows ad-tech firms The Trade Desk and Dataxu to sell ads in publishers' Amazon Fire apps. The Trade Desk buys ad space in connected TV apps like Disney's ESPN Plus and publishers' Amazon Fire apps. The partnership lets the ad-tech companies set up private marketplaces with publishers. The deal is specific to Amazon Publisher Services, an arm that helps publishers manage their ad inventory. 

Read more: Disney's new pitch to advertisers touts the power of Disney Plus and ESPN Plus to supercharge its ad offerings

Green's comments underscore how Amazon's growing ad ambitions post a threat to ad-tech companies. He made his comments on a second-quarter earnings call. The Trade Desk reported $159.9 million in revenue in the quarter, a 42% increase year over year, which it credited to a 250% increase in OTT ad spend during the quarter. 

Green said with the partnership, The Trade Desk can't access Amazon's lucrative shopper data that it pitches to advertisers. Instead, Amazon is providing The Trade Desk with an anonymous ID similar to Apple's mobile ID that can measure and control reach and frequency of OTT ads. The anonymous ID makes Amazon less of a so-called "walled garden" than companies like Facebook and Google, he said.

The partnership also means ad-tech fees charged to publishers will be reduced "significantly," Green said, without being specific.

"They're being more aggressive in economics from what I can tell than anybody else on the sell side for connected TV," Green said.

Amazon is also encroaching on The Trade Desk's turf

Most of Amazon advertising revenue comes from ads that run on its own app and website, but it has a growing programmatic business, including a demand-side platform similar to The Trade Desk's that buys ads on publishers' websites.

Asked by an investor how The Trade Desk competes with Amazon's ad business, Green said for consumer-packaged brands that sell products and compete against Amazon's private-label lines, Amazon "can be a little bit more scary than any distributor they've ever had."

As a result, Amazon will be challenged to get advertisers to use its demand-side platform, he said.

"Amazon has gotten into so many businesses, including selling CPG products," he said. "The conflict that they have can create some pause. I think it's a really hard pitch for Amazon to go to a CPG company or most of the biggest advertisers in the world and say, 'We know you give us a lot of money and you trust us for distribution but we would also like for you to give us all of your marketing budgets to do all of the spend off of Amazon.com.' Because of that, they have a bigger objectivity problem than anyone in the world."

 

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A Southwest pilot flew his father's remains home after they were identified from the Vietnam War

Thu, 08/08/2019 - 5:50pm

  • A Southwest pilot whose father was killed in the Vietnam War flew his father's remains home to rest on Thursday.
  • Col. Roy Knight's fighter was shot down in 1967, and his remains were found and positively identified earlier this year.
  • His son, Southwest Capt. Bryan Knight, was five years old when he last saw his father. He captained the flight that brought his remains home to Dallas Love Field.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

A pilot with Southwest Airlines flew a particularly meaningful flight on Thursday when he returned his father's remains home from Vietnam.

Southwest Capt. Bryan Knight was five years old in 1967 when he last saw his father, Col. Roy Knight. He and his family made a trip to Dallas Love Field Airport from their home in North Texas to see his father off as he left for the Vietnam War. The elder Knight, an A-1E fighter pilot with the US Air Force, was shot down a few months later.

There was a search-and-rescue attempt, according to the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency, but Knight could not be found, and the search was called off because of intense hostile fire at the time. He was declared missing and officially presumed dead in 1974.

Earlier this year, human remains were discovered near the crash site. In June, those remains were confirmed to be Knight's.

When the younger Knight learned that his father's remains had been found, he began the process of repatriating them. They were flown to Honolulu, where they were transferred to a Southwest flight heading to Oakland, California.

From there, Knight successfully coordinated his schedule with the airline to make sure that he could be the one to fly his father home. He was assigned as the pilot in charge of flight WN 1220, from Oakland to Love Field in Dallas.

An honor guard from the Air Force met the plane at Love Field along with Southwest crew members, who took a moment to pay their respects. The plane was also met with a water-cannon salute by the airport's fire department after it landed.

Incredible moment to watch. The entire airport fell silent. pic.twitter.com/TGp1X736R7

— Jackson Proskow (@JProskowGlobal) August 8, 2019

 

"Our Southwest Airlines family is honored to support his long-hoped homecoming and join in tribute to Col. Knight," the airline said in a statement, "as well as every other military hero who has paid the ultimate sacrifice while serving in the armed forces."

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3 new limited-time credit card deals just launched — get up to 100,000 United miles, free IHG hotel nights, and more

Thu, 08/08/2019 - 5:40pm

  • Three new rewards credit card offers have launched, offering extra hotel points, airline miles, and cash back on shipping purchases.
  • Until November 6, new cardholders of the American Express® Business Gold Card can earn up to $500 back as statement credits on qualifying FedEx purchases made in the first three months.
  • The United Explorer Business Card is running an elevated offer that can get you up to 100,000 United miles. This offer is available until October 10.
  • If hotel points are more up your alley, there's the IHG Rewards Club Premier Credit Card, which just launched an elevated bonus of 125,000 points after you spend $3,000 in the first three months.

Late summer is shaping up to be a busy period for credit card offers. In addition to limited-time bonuses on Delta Amex and Hilton Amex cards, there are three new card offers that won't last forever. Two of them pertain to business credit cards, while the other offer gets you 45,000 extra IHG hotel points over the standard sign-up bonus.

American Express Business Gold Card

If your business spends a lot on shipping, now's a good time to consider this premium Amex business card. As a limited-time offer available until November 6, 2019, new cardholders can get up to $500 back in the form of statement credits when they make qualifying purchases with FedEx in the first three months.

This offer won't make sense for everyone, but if your business is going to make at least $500 in purchases with FedEx in three months anyway, this bonus is as good as $500 cash. 

The Amex Business Gold Card has a $295 annual fee — it's one step down from the Business Platinum® Card from American Express in terms of annual fee and benefits. It earns 4x points on the two categories you spend the most on each billing cycle, on up to $150,000 in combined purchases each calendar year (then 1x), with the following categories: 

  • Airfare purchased directly from airlines
  • US purchases for advertising in select media (online, TV, radio)
  • US purchases made directly from select technology providers
  • US purchases at gas stations
  • US purchases at restaurants
  • US purchases for shipping
Click here to learn more about the Amex Business Gold Card from our partner The Points Guy. United Explorer Business Card

If you're loyal to United Airlines and can put a lot of spending on this card in your first six months, the United Explorer Business Card's new offer is worth a look — you can earn 50,000 extra miles compared to the previous sign-up bonus, for a total of up to 100,000 miles. This is a limited-time offer available until October 10, 2019.

You'll earn 50,000 miles after you spend $5,000 in the first three months, plus another 50,000 miles after $25,000 in total spending within the first six months of account opening. Spending $25,000 in the first six months isn't doable for everyone, but if your business easily logs that amount in purchases, this new offer is a great way to get rewarded for spending. 

The United Explorer Business Card has a $95 annual fee. It earns 2x miles on United purchases, and on purchases at restaurants, gas stations, and office supply stores (and 1 mile per dollar on everything else).

Click here to learn more about the United Explorer Business Card from our partner The Points Guy. IHG Rewards Club Premier Card

This card is often overlooked but it can offer some real value in the form of a free anniversary night each year, and now's an especially good time to apply since it's offering 45,000 more points than the standard offer.

Now, you can earn 125,000 IHG points when you spend $3,000 in the first three months. Based on The Points Guy's valuations, 125,000 IHG points are worth $625.

Additionally, you'll earn 4x points on all purchases for the first 12 months, and 25x points on IHG purchases for the first 12 months. After that, you'll earn 10x points on IHG purchases, 2x points at gas stations, grocery stores, and restaurants, and 1 point per dollar on everything else.

The IHG Premier Card has an $89 annual fee. 

Click here to learn more about the IHG Rewards Club Premier Card from our partner The Points Guy.

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Hinge downloads more than tripled last quarter after Pete Buttigieg revealed he met his husband on the dating app

Thu, 08/08/2019 - 5:17pm

  • Global Hinge downloads more than tripled last quarter, helped by Democratic presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg's revelation that he met his husband on the dating app.
  • "This has increased national attention on the brand and provided more buzz to the already strong growth we've seen," said Amanda Ginsberg, CEO of parent company Match Group.
  • Match intends to build on the Hinge hype with a major marketing campaign centered on its tagline, "Designed to be Deleted."
  • Watch Match Group trade live.

Democratic presidential hopeful Pete Buttigieg's personal success on Hinge helped to more than triple global downloads of the dating app last quarter.

Hinge, which pitches itself as a tool to find relationships instead of hook-ups, received a boost in press coverage "thanks to the presidential candidate, Mayor Pete Buttigieg, who met his husband on Hinge," Amanda Ginsberg, CEO of parent company Match Group, said on the earnings call this week. "This has increased national attention on the brand and provided more buzz to the already strong growth we've seen."

Buttigieg — currently mayor of South Bend, Indiana — found high-school teacher Chasten Glezman on Hinge and married him in June 2018. He explained how they met in a CNN interview at the end of March. The story sparked a 30% surge in the number of gay men on Hinge between the start of April and mid-May, while growth in other demographics was stable, Hinge told Fortune.

"We're proud of all of the relationships we've helped set up — including Mayor Pete and Chasten," Hinge founder and CEO Justin McLeod told the magazine. "We're happy to see that their love story has encouraged even more members of the LGBTQ community to find their person on Hinge."

Match hopes to build on the current Hinge hype with a "big marketing campaign" centered on the app's tagline, "Designed to be Deleted," Ginsberg said.

Combined with the cost of campaigns promoting Match and OKCupid, it expects marketing expenses to mushroom by more than 20% this quarter compared to last quarter, when it spent close to $95 million on sales and marketing. As a result, Match forecasts quarter-on-quarter revenue growth of about 7% to 9%, but expects profits to be flat at $200 million to $205 million.

SEE ALSO: Dating apps like Tinder, Match, and Bumble are still growing, but analysts predict that growth will 'slow significantly' in 2019

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Tinder's owner just launched an app to help 'highly motivated' singles in Japan get married within a year

Thu, 08/08/2019 - 5:16pm

  • The owner of Tinder, Hinge, and Match.com is targeting Japanese singles looking to get hitched with a marriage-concierge app.
  • Match Group wants to disrupt Japan's "omiai" or arranged-marriage industry with Pairs Engage, a "more efficient and less expensive service geared to those who are highly motivated and want to get married within a year," CEO Mandy Ginsberg said.
  • The app suggests 30 potential husbands or wives a month, and includes a 24/7 concierge service.
  • Watch Match Group trade live.

The owner of Tinder, Hinge, and Match.com is targeting Japanese singles looking to get hitched and shaking up the Asian nation's "omiai" or arranged-marriage industry with Pairs Engage, a marriage-concierge app.

"We believe we can offer a more efficient and less expensive service geared to those who are highly motivated and want to get married within a year," Match Group CEO Mandy Ginsberg said on the company's earnings call this week. "A move like this could disrupt more traditional matrimonial players."

Japan's $0.5 billion arranged-marriage industry revolves around physical stores that employ lots of salespeople and service staff, meaning they're expensive to run and pricey for consumers, Ginsberg said on the call.

Pairs Engage costs 9,800 yen ($92) per month, plus another 9,800 yen as a sign-up fee once the pre-registration period ends — a third as much as five major conventional services, according to its website.

After downloading the app, users must submit a raft of documents including proof of their identity, income, and single status, as well as education and national qualifications for graduates and some professionals.

Once those are verified, the app suggests 30 potential wives or husbands every month. It features a 24/7 concierge team to dole out dating and marriage advice. It also lets users schedule first meetings, couple up and exchange messages for 90 days, then exclusively date before getting married.

Match has pitched Pairs Engage as a tool to help lift Japan's slumping marriage and birth rates. Those declines are the result of more women entering the workforce and shunning marriage and its domestic burdens, and fewer men feeling financially stable enough to support a family, according to the New York Times. Also, nearly half of Japanese people who want to get married can't find a suitable partner, a recent government survey found.

Match's Eureka subsidiary has launched Pairs Engage in four Japanese cities including Tokyo. The app has gained early traction, attracted press coverage, and drawn a lot of early interest from users, Ginsberg said. India and South Korea could be next, she added.

"I think as we expand over the next few years in Asia, I can imagine that these are the types of solutions that can translate to other markets."

SEE ALSO: Hinge downloads more than tripled last quarter after Pete Buttigieg revealed he met his husband on the dating app

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Trump's trade adviser says the US economy is 'solid as a rock'

Thu, 08/08/2019 - 5:10pm

  • Peter Navarro, President Trump's trade adviser, told Fox Business that the US economy is "solid as a rock." 
  • Navarro also insisted that in order for the economy to keep growing the Federal Reserve needs to lower interest rates and congress needs to pass the United States-Mexico-Canada trade agreement.
  • The comments come on the heels of a series rate cuts from central banks around the world meant to buffer against a potentially slowing global economy. 
  • Visit the Markets Insider homepage for more stories.

President Trump's trade adviser is optimistic about the US economy. 

"This economy is solid as a rock," Peter Navarro, the White House trade adviser told Fox Business. "President Trump doesn't a very good economy, he wants a great economy." 

Navarro also said that in order for the US economy to continue growing the Federal Reserve needs to keep lowering interest rates and congress needs to pass the United States-Mexico-Canada trade agreement. The Trump administration has repeatedly attempted to pressure the fed into slashing borrowing costs. On Wednesday, the president tweeted that the fed is a bigger problem for the US economy than China. 

"We need to cut, not because our economy is weak, but it's because we want to make a good economy great," Navarro said on Fox Business this morning. "The Fed cannot have interest rates which are [above] the rest of the world and expect good things to happen."

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The comments come on the back of a series of rate cuts from central bank around the world as fear of a slowing global economy continue to rise. Policymakers in Thailand, New Zealand, and India moved to lowered borrowing costs on Wednesday leading global stocks to rally from a sharp sell-off earlier in the week.  

It also follows the fed's July easing, which marked the first time the central bank lowered rates since the 2008 financial crisis. 

Trump's trade adviser also called out China for allegedly devaluing its currency over the past year to counteract US tariffs. Earlier this week, China let the value of the yuan slip below 7 yuan per US dollar, a key psychological level that prompted the Trump administration to label the country a currency manipulator. 

"We put on tariffs at 10% and the yuan goes down 12%," Navarro said. "They're basically trying to offset the effect of the tariffs."

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Balyasny just booted its quant head and it signals a strategy revamp at the $6 billion hedge fund

Thu, 08/08/2019 - 5:07pm

  • Dmitry Balyasny is in the process of changing his systematic investing team, sources tell Business Insider, with the first big move being the removal of its head: Ulrich Brandt-Pollmann.
  • Brandt-Pollmann had been with the $6 billion hedge fund for a little over two years, and moved to the US this year after working in Balyasny's London office.
  • The fund, which had to cut roughly a fifth of its staff at the end of last year due to poor performance, has had a solid 2019, returning 10.22% through the end of July and hiring 14 new portfolio managers, sources say. 
  • Click here for more BI Prime stories.

Despite a bounce-back performance in 2019, Balyasny Asset Management is revamping its quant team, and has dismissed its head of systematic strategies Ulrich Brandt-Pollmann. 

The $6 billion hedge fund made the move this week, sources tell Business Insider, and there is the potential for more movement on the team. 

The firm had hired Brandt-Pollmann from Credit Suisse in mid-2017, and moved him from its London office to the US this year. Previously, Brandt-Pollmann, who went to school in Germany, worked as a quant trader for Morgan Stanley, former high-frequency trading shop GETCO, and UBS. 

The firm declined to comment. Brandt-Pollmann did not respond to requests for comment. 

See more: Humans are beating machines, and Pershing Square and Greenlight are crushing it. Here's how hedge funds performed in the first half.

The move comes as a surprise as Balyasny seemed to have found its footing after a difficult 2018 that ended with the firm laying off a fifth of its staff. Balyasny's fund is up 10.22% through the end of July, besting the average hedge fund which is up roughly 8%, according to Hedge Fund Research. 

The firm has also hired 14 new portfolio managers this year, sources close to the firm say, and as well as dozens of new analysts. The quant team earlier this year lost Paul Chambers, who co-led the equity strategy within the systematic team with Brandt-Pollmann. 

Chambers returned to his previous firm, Man Group, as previously reported

See more: A new machine-learning tool used by hedge funds to rank their brokers hopes to put an end to the 'old boys network'

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A top EU privacy regulator is looking into how millions of Instagram users' personal data was harvested by one of the company's partners (FB)

Thu, 08/08/2019 - 4:57pm

  • Hyp3r, a buzzy San Francisco startup, has been scraping millions of Instagram users' data, tracking their locations and saving their Stories posts. 
  • The Irish Data Protection Commission, a key EU data regulator, is now looking into whether EU data subjects were affected.
  • The locations Hyp3r targeted included places in the EU, so the answer to that is almost certainly yes.
  • Instagram issued Hyp3r with a cease and desist and kicked the company off its platform after Business Insider alerted it to Hyp3r's behaviour.
  • Hyp3r denies wrongdoing and says it abides by privacy regulations and social networks' terms of service.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

A top data protection regulator in the European Union is looking into the systematic collection of Instagram users' personal data, including posts that were designed to disappear after 24 hours, by a San Francisco startup.

The Irish Data Protection Commission said on Wednesday that it is "working to establish" whether EU citizens have been affected by the data scraping, which was first revealed in a Business Insider investigation published Wednesday.

Marketing firm Hyp3r has been scraping millions of users' public data from the Facebook-owned photo-sharing app — tracking people's locations, saving their Stories posts (which are supposed to disappear after 24 hours), and gathering other information about them.

After Business Insider approached Instagram for comment, it issued Hyp3r with a cease and desist, and kicked the company off its platform.

Hyp3r had been operating in plain sight for a year, taking advantage of a weakness in Instagram's security, but Instagram failed to notice. Instagram even designated Hyp3r as an official "Marketing Partner." Sata scraping is widespread, and it is likely that many other outside firms were similarly taking advantage of Instagram's lax efforts to safeguard user data.

Hyp3r has denied wrongdoing, and CEO Carlos Garcia previously said in a statement: "HYP3R is, and has always been, a company that enables authentic, delightful marketing that is compliant with consumer privacy regulations and social network Terms of Services. We do not view any content or information that cannot be accessed publicly by everyone online."

SEE ALSO: Instagram's lax privacy practices let a trusted partner track millions of users' physical locations, secretly save their stories, and flout its rules

Reached for comment, the Irish Data Protection Commission — which is responsible for regulating Facebook and its subsidiaries in the EU — said it is trying to understand whether Europeans have been affected, before it takes next steps.

"We are aware of media reports in relation to this issue," a spokesperson told Business Insider in a statement. "We are working to establish whether EU data subjects have been affected in the first instance and will then assess whether further information from Instagram is required."

Europeans seem certain to have been affected by the data scraping; sources say Hyp3r harvested data from "geofenced" locations around the world, and marketing material released by hotel chain Marriott, one of its customers, said it "surfaces all public social posts shared by on-property guests across our entire portfolio of hotels worldwide." Marriott has numerous hotels in the European Union.

A Hyp3r spokesperson said that the company was compliant with GDPR, the EU's privacy regulation, and that it has not yet been contacted by the Irish DPC. Hyp3r encrypts all personally identifiable information, the company said, and is confident that issues with Instagram will soon be resolved.

In an interview on Wednesday set up by Hyp3r's PR team, Ray Kruk, CEO of  security and compliance firm Tugboat Logic, also said that his company has worked with Hyp3r to ensure compliance with GDPR and other international standards. Hyp3r has extremely high standards of security, he said, and takes "unbelievable measures to ... confirm with GDPR."

Kruk acknowledged that he did not have visibility into how Hyp3r's data was acquired.

A spokesperson for Instagram did not immediately respond to Business Insider's request for comment on Thursday.

Do you work at Instagram or Hyp3r? Got a tip? Contact this reporter via encrypted messaging app Signal at +1 (650) 636-6268 using a non-work phone, email at rprice@businessinsider.com, Telegram or WeChat at robaeprice, or Twitter DM at @robaeprice. (PR pitches by email only, please.) You can also contact Business Insider securely via SecureDrop.

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US transportation officials just said Delta couldn't ban pit bulls from coming aboard as service dogs (DAL)

Thu, 08/08/2019 - 4:47pm

  • The US Department of Transportation issued a statement saying that airlines can't ban specific breeds of dogs from being brought aboard as service animals.
  • The ruling applies to Delta, which prohibited pit-bull service animals in 2018.
  • Service animals, which are typically highly trained to support a person with disabilities, are typically protected under the Americans with Disabilities Act.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

The US Department of Transportation issued a statement on Thursday outlining what approaches airlines can and cannot take toward regulating emotional-support and service animals on flights.

Among the topics covered was a ruling that airlines may not impose limits on service animals that are solely based on the animal's breed. Specifically, if dogs are allowed on board as service animals, airlines can't differentiate between breeds.

Delta announced in 2018 it was banning "pit bull type dogs" as service or support animals.

However, the rule faced swift backlash from disability advocates who argued that service dogs were protected under the Americans with Disability Act. 

Service animals are trained and certified to perform tasks or provide support for people with disabilities, and are typically allowed to be taken to most public places. Similarly, airlines cannot charge fees for service animals.

Read more: American Airlines just announced 5 new routes that reflect its strategy to leverage its massive connecting network

Emotional-support animals, or "support animals," are not considered service animals, as they do not have the same level of training.

In the ruling, the DOT said it "views a limitation based exclusively on breed of the service animal to not be allowed under its service animal regulation."

The ruling said, however, that airlines were still "permitted to find that any specific animal, regardless of breed, poses a direct threat." It also said airlines were not allowed to require advance notice for passengers traveling with service animal "other than emotional support animals (ESAs) and psychiatric support animals (PSAs)."

The DOT also confirmed that airlines may ask passengers with service animals to "present documentation related to the service animal's vaccination, training or behavior so long as it is reasonable to believe that the documentation would assist the airline in making a determination as to whether an animal poses a direct threat to the health or safety of others."

In a statement, Delta said it would continue to assess its policies:

Delta continuously reviews and enhances its policies and procedures for animals onboard as part of its commitment to health, safety and protecting the rights of customers with disabilities. In 2018, Delta augmented its policies on service and support animals to reinforce our core value of putting safety and people first, always.

SEE ALSO: San Francisco Airport is banning plastic water bottles starting this month

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