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Uber's first air-travel market outside of the United States will be Melbourne, Australia (UBER)

Tue, 06/11/2019 - 3:50pm  |  Clusterstock

  • Uber will launch passenger air services in Melbourne, Australia, the company said Tuesday.
  • The city will be the third, after Dallas, Texas, and Los Angeles, California, in the US, to get the pilot projects.
  • Uber also unveiled its first passenger drone prototypes at a conference this week. See those here.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

WASHINGTON, DC — Uber's first air-travel market outside of the United States will be in Melbourne, Australia, the company announced Tuesday.

Test flights will begin in 2020 with commercial operations happening by 2023, the company said. Melbourne will be the first international city to join Dallas, Texas, and Los Angeles, California, as pilot cities.

"Australian governments have adopted a forward-looking approach to ridesharing and future transport technology," Susan Anderson, Uber's general manager for Australia, New Zealand, and North Asia, said in a press release.

"This, coupled with Melbourne's unique demographic and geospatial factors, and culture of innovation and technology, makes Melbourne the perfect third launch city for Uber Air. We will see other Australian cities following soon after."

Uber is touting the urban air mobility offering as a way to help alleviate traffic congestion, which it estimates costs the country $16.5 billion annually. By 2030, Uber says, that cost could hit $30 billion.

"As major cities grow, the heavy reliance on private car ownership will not be sustainable," Eric Allison, head of Uber Elevate, said in a press release. "Uber Air holds enormous potential to help reduce road congestion. For example, the 19 kilometre journey from the CBD to Melbourne airport can take anywhere from 25 minutes to around an hour by car in peak hour but with Uber Air this will take around 10 minutes."

More from Uber's Elevate conference:

SEE ALSO: See inside Uber's first passenger drone, which could eventually fly passengers at 150 mph while burning no fossil fuels

Join the conversation about this story »

NOW WATCH: Watch Ford's delivery robot that walks on two legs like a human

Take a look inside the pair of twisting glass towers in NYC that's drawing attention from international billionaire buyers, from Jeff Bezos to New Zealand's richest person

Tue, 06/11/2019 - 3:46pm  |  Clusterstock

A set of luxury twisting towers in New York City is drawing the attention of billionaire buyers, including Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos and New Zealand's richest man. 

The XI — "The Eleventh" — is a double-tower development that spans an entire city block in Chelsea, on Manhattan's west side. It will include 236 luxury residences and the first US location of Six Senses Hotels Resorts Spas.

Jeff Bezos reportedly considered a penthouse in the XI before dropping about $80 million on a spread near Madison Square Park, The Wall Street Journal reported.

Read more: Jeff Bezos is spending $80 million on 3 NYC condos, but he already owns 4 apartments in the city. Take a look inside the building where he owns $13 million worth of real estate

And New Zealand's richest person, Graeme Hart, just paid $34 million for one of the XI's five-bedroom penthouses, according to Mansion Global.

The development, which was designed by Bjarke Ingels, is expected to be ready for occupancy in 2020. The remaining condos for sale range from $2.5 million to $14.5 million.

Residents of the XI will have access to an 18,000-square-foot amenities club, including a 75-foot sunlit swimming pool with a hot tub and poolside cabanas, as well as the 45,000 square feet of wellness amenities at Six Senses.

Take a look at the luxury development. 

SEE ALSO: Jeff Bezos is spending $80 million on 3 NYC condos, but he already owns 4 apartments in the city. Take a look inside the building where he owns $13 million worth of real estate

DON'T MISS: I toured the most expensive condo for sale in a Billionaires' Row skyscraper in NYC, a $58.5 million residence that spans the entire 87th floor. Here's what it looks like inside.

The XI — "The Eleventh" — is a set of two twisting towers in New York City that will include 236 luxury condominium residences as well as the first US location of Six Senses Hotels Resorts Spas.

Source: The XI



The development takes up an entire city block between 10th and 11th avenues in Chelsea on Manhattan's west side.

Source: Google Maps



Residents of the XI will have access to the array of amenities at Six Senses Hotels Resorts Spas, which is opening its first location in the US in the XI's East Tower.

Source: The XI



The development, which is expected to be ready for occupancy in 2020, has already attracted the attention of international billionaire buyers.

Source: The XI, Wall Street Journal, Mansion Global



Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos reportedly looked at one of the XI's penthouses before dropping about $80 million on a spread near Madison Square Park instead.

Source: The XI, Wall Street Journal, Mansion Global



And New Zealand's richest man, billionaire Graeme Hart, just spent $34 million on one of the XI's five-bedroom penthouses.

Source: The XI, Wall Street Journal, Mansion Global



No. I, the West Tower, which stands at 400 feet tall, will include 149 condominium residences. The 87 residences in the 300-foot tall East Tower, No. X, start at 100 feet above Six Senses New York.

Source: The XI



Residents of the XI will have access to an 18,000-square-foot amenities club, including a 75-foot swimming pool with a hot tub and poolside cabanas, as well as the 45,000 square feet of wellness amenities at Six Senses.

Source: The XI



Owners at the XI also get access to Six Senses' club and spa, preferred reservations at the hotel's two restaurants, and services such as valet parking, room service, housekeeping, and laundry service.

Source: The XI



The remaining condos in the development range from $2.5 million to $14.5 million.

Source: StreetEasy



Inside Amazon's robot conference, which started as a Jeff Bezos private party (AMZN)

Tue, 06/11/2019 - 3:42pm  |  Clusterstock

  • Amazon held a conference this month in Las Vegas dedicated to robots and AI.
  • Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos was there, inspecting the menagerie of droids on display.
  • The show provided a valuable look at how advanced robots have become — and some of the shortcomings that need to be fixed before they become ubiquitous.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

From June 3 to 7, a couple thousand people landed in Las Vegas to get a peek at how Amazon uses robots and AI tech in its business and to mingle with some of the leading robotics and AI experts.

It was Amazon's first Machine learning, AI, Robotics, and Space conference, known as re:MARS. The conference was born out of an invite-only conference hosted by Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos every year in Palm Springs.

The private party still takes place, and it's the conference that's yielded some iconic photos, like Bezos appearing in a giant exoskeleton a few years ago. This year he famously played beer pong with a robot.

But the public version of the conference, where Bezos also made an appearance, was every bit as eye-opening. It also included celebrities, keynote talks from experts, and lots and lots of robots.

Take a look.

SEE ALSO: Iron Man star Robert Downey Jr. has vowed to use robotics and AI to significantly clean up the Earth in the next decade

The first realization that you've entered the world of Amazon MARS is at the hotel where this hotel robot was wandering around.

The second sign was the Blue Original capsule in the lobby of the conference area, which was open for tours.

Blue Origin is a space exploration company founded by Bezos, but separate from Amazon. It has shown off its capsules before, such as the video that showed Mannequin Skywalker's ride aboard the Crew Capsule 2.0 as the space company gets ready to fly humans.



Amazon Re:MARs included an expo that was, naturally full of robots, too. A lot of universities were showing off their wares and many of them are working on robots that can work in warehouses, moving boxes. Here's the UNLV robotics research team showing off their warehouse robot.

UNLV was also showing off a robotic arm that can move boxes.

Robots moving boxes was a big topic at the show and it's harder than it looks. In order to lift and move things, a robot has to adjust its balance to accommodate the weight of the object it's lifting, for one thing.



For another thing, robots are still not reliably good at grasping different kinds of objects. They struggle with slippery items or with tiny things like paperclips, according to a keynote talk by Ken Goldberg, engineering professor, UC Berkeley and chief scientist, Ambidextrous Robotics.

Goldberg points out that Bill Gates named robot dexterity as one of the 10 breakthrough technologies he expects in 2019. 

But it points to why Amazon is still employing 300,000 people in its warehouses, a statistic shared on stage by Amazon Jeff Wilke, CEO of Amazon's global consumer operations. 



The star of the expo was a tactile touch device built by HaptX and Shadow Robot. When CEO Jeff Bezos roamed the conference floor, this is the demo he did.

A special pair of haptic gloves allows the wearer to control a separate robotic arm and hands. Jeff Bezos described the sensation of controlling the robotic hands as "weirdly natural."



The device also transmits human touch. Stroke the finger tip of the robot's hands and the human will feel that stroke in the haptic gloves.

Amazon's billionaire CEO was not the only celebrity in attendance. The show attracted other famous guests like basketball legend Magic Johnson ...

pic.twitter.com/NDB3bqiuKJ

Today I got to check something off my bucket list when I had the chance to meet and chat with Founder and CEO of Amazon Jeff Bezos! Thank you for inviting me to the 1st annual Amazon re:Mars conference. I learned about a new drone, robotics, & all of the new Alexa features. pic.twitter.com/NDB3bqiuKJ

— Earvin Magic Johnson (@MagicJohnson) June 6, 2019



and Adam Savage. Savage was speaking at the show, too, discussing his new book. He often attends the invite only conference in Palm Springs as well.

Adam Savage: Every Tool's A Hammer #reMARS #amazon @ServicesLoud pic.twitter.com/SPNRaY30gt

— Elio Capelati Jr (@eliocapelati) June 6, 2019



And the show was filled with oddly unsettling things like this robotic leg laying on a treadmill.

It's an open source robotic leg, a project showed off by a professor at the University of Michigan and a director from the Center for Bionic Medicine.

Then there was this creepy spider-looking robot.

Some robots were not so much terrifying as they were just plain annoying.

This one, for example, functions as sort of mobile iPad and it insisted on following me around. It can access Alexa, make video calls and do other such stuff.



This transport robot can carry objects around (but was empty and just roaming around a contained area).

Amazon's robots, in particular, were everywhere. Amazon uses 200,000 robots in its warehouses, execs at the show said.

Amazon's robots don't have arms and legs. They are used to transport products from shelves to the areas where items will be packed and shipped.

Amazon got into warehouse robots when it bought a company called Kiva back in 2012. But it is inventing new robots all the time. New models can carry heavier boxes and the tops can be outfitted for different functions.

Amazon's newest crop of warehouse robots will soon work with the autonomous driving technology it gained from its recent acquisition of Canvas Technology.

These new robots will eventually be able to roam an entire warehouse campus, even outside, instead of being confined to the strict robotics boundary used in warehouses today, Amazon execs say.



Amazon was showing off its "Scout" robot, too, which Amazon envisions as rolling around neighborhoods delivering packages.

Here's the promo video Amazon showed for Scout. Notice that Scout doesn't try to maneuver over front steps.



Using robots in warehouses lets Amazon stack inventory shelving closer together and higher, packing more inventory into every warehouse. Human workers wear these vests that help the robots to "see" them and stay safely out of a human's way.

But the show stopper was the new Amazon drone revealed at the show. It will eventually deliver packages by air, as part of Amazon's Prime Air program.

Here's another view of the drone as it looks from above. Amazon execs said they hope to start delivering packages with the drones soon but wouldn't say where or when.

Amazon's drone will be self-flying thanks to an array of sensors. These sensors can detect wires, people, pets, objects and know not to land if the landing zone isn't clear and safe, execs say.

 



Amazon's cloud — Amazon Web Services — underpins all of its internal AI and much of its robotics systems. Amazon trains people to use its machine learning/AI tools for free.

It's a program called DeepRacer where people learn the tools by training a fully autonomous 1/18th scale race car to drive around a track. Amazon then throws DeepRacer competitions. Leagues have sprouted up, complete with prizes.

The league and races were in action at re:MARS. Some cars were definitely trained better than others, driving laps around the track without going off course much.



Other robots on display were ones that are in production today like the Cruzr by Ubtech Robots. It's used in hotels to take food and beverage but it can't deliver them itself as its hands can't reliably grasp objects.

Another unresolved problem: many people who see the robot think it's funny to try and shake its hands, which tends to break the droid's hands, a Ubtech rep said.

Canadian smart glasses company North was there showing off its custom-built glasses called Focals. These are Alexa-enabled and they project holographic images that only the wearer can see. They cost $600 or $800 if you want them with prescription lenses.

The Rivian electric truck was on full display too.

 

 



Amazon earlier this year led a $700 million investment into the electric truck and SUV startup, Rivian.

Rivian is integrated with Alexa, which can do everything from manage the temperature to change the shading of the moon roof. The truck will be in production in 2020 and is scheduled to be available by 2021, a rep said.

Inside, it features "vegan" leather upholstery (aka pleather) ...

and has little touches like a flashlight embedded in the door...

... and a compartment for skis or golf-clubs. Electric plugs and a bike rack sensor in the back that will alert you if someone tries to steel your bike AND take a picture of the would-be thief.

It doesn't have an engine so the engine compartment is a trunk. The first models are expected to cost between $69,000 - $80,000, depending on the battery size and options.

If electric trucks aren't your thing, here's an Alexa-enabled electric bike by Cybic.

Amazon also showed off many Alexa smart home products, too, like its Amazon smart plug.

Plug this electric tea kettle into the Amazon smart plug and then you can turn it on and off by voice command.

The Amazon Alexa smart home team also invented their own $60 Amazon Basics Alexa microwave. You can tell Alexa to defrost something, say two pounds of chicken, or reheat your coffee.

There's also the Alexa Roomba robot vacuum. This one, the i7, has a docking station robot that also empties itself automatically. It costs about $1,100.

Or the Alexa iRobot Braava Mop, which will wash the floor. You can use Alexa to tell it to clean up a spill in the dining room.

Alexa is powering everything these days from a Schlage smart door lock ...

to a Moen Alexa-enabled shower, which you can turn on with voice command.

Intel is also working on a smart mirror, which can look at your face, decipher your mood and have Alexa play you appropriate music.

The evening party was Amazon-robot themed as well. It took place at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway NASCAR track. Some of the most famous Battlebots fought in the re:MARS Challenge, broadcast live on Twitch.

Here's the replay.



And one of the biggest demos at the show took place at the party, too: a huge and unwieldy exoskeleton called the Furrion Exo-Bionics Mech.

It's 15-feet tall and 8,000 pounds and looks like the Tarantula robot in the 1990's steampunk film Wild, Wild West. The Mech's pilot walked it over a concrete barrier. Had he missed and fallen, he could have been seriously hurt. Take a look:

Youtube Embed:
//www.youtube.com/embed/95AOyWYXKXQ
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All in all, its clear that robots are coming, but they really aren't quite ready to infiltrate our lives just yet.

Artificial intelligence really isn't that smart yet. People are still working on how to train machines and how to make AI technology easier for the average programmer to use. 

Today's robots still can't do things like climb stairs very well, balance when picking up heavy objects or grasp tiny or odd shaped items.

But some of the smartest people in the world are working on making self-learning robots and other machines. It is all definitely coming and Amazon is already using this tech in its warehouse and delivery operations.



National Beverage craters after a new lawsuit alleges the company made false claims about chemicals in LaCroix cans (FIZZ)

Tue, 06/11/2019 - 3:13pm  |  Clusterstock

  • National Beverage Corp. shares slid on the news that a lawsuit has been filed against its beverage company LaCroix. 
  • The lawsuit claims the president of National Beverage planned to prematurely state LaCroix cans were BPA free. National Beverage denied the claims. 
  • This is the second lawsuit filed against LaCroix that has damaged the company. 
  • Watch National Beverage trade live. 

Another lawsuit filed against LaCroix is taking the fizz out of its stock. 

Shares of National Beverage Corp., the parent company of LaCroix, fell more than 10% Tuesday after a new lawsuit alleged that the president of National Beverage planned to falsely state that LaCroix's cans were free of Bisphenol A, the toxic chemical commonly known as BPA.

The suit, filed Thursday in Passaic Superior Court, claims that Albert Dejewski, a former LaCroix executive, was wrongly fired after he wrote an email to National Beverage President Joseph Caporella raising objections to the company's plan to announce that its cans were BPA free. National Beverage denied the claims in a statement to Business Insider.

"As of April 2019, all cans produced for LaCroix products were produced without BPA liners," the statement said. "The FDA has stated BPA liners are safe and pose no risk at the trace levels found from its use in can linings of food and beverage products."

The lawsuit is the second leveled against LaCroix in the past year. In October, a suit alleged the company was lying about its claims that LaCroix was "all-natural" and that it in fact contained artificial ingredients, which LaCroix has denied.

Laurent Grandet, an analyst at Guggenheim Securities, wrote in May that the brand is "unlikely to rebound," and that the company is "effectively in a free fall."

LaCroix sales have plummeted 9.4% over a 12-week period that ended in May, according to Nielsen data, as customers have opted for one of many other competing sparkling-water brands. 

In March, the company reported that profits declined 40% to $24.8 million while revenue fell 2.9% to $220.9 million.

National Beverage was down 34% this year through Monday.  

Join the conversation about this story »

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

Markets Live: Tuesday, 11th June 2019

Tue, 06/11/2019 - 6:06am  |  FT Alphaville

Live markets commentary from FT.com

Continue reading: Markets Live: Tuesday, 11th June 2019

Stocks are popping on Trump's Mexico tariff suspension. But the market's still littered with major risks, experts warn.

Mon, 06/10/2019 - 10:31pm  |  Clusterstock

  • Ongoing US-China trade tensions are still a major wildcard that investors have to grapple with, strategists and economists warn, even as markets respond positively to the Mexico tariff suspension.
  • "Potent risks" surrounding trade talks around the G-20 summit later this month are still on the table, one strategist said Monday. 
  • Visit Markets Insider's homepage for more stories.

President Trump's announcement that his administration suspended tariffs on Mexican goods shouldn't be interpreted as a sign risk has evaporated from the marketplace, strategists and economists warned clients Monday.

Trump's late Friday announcement boosted global stocks and depressed traditionally safe-haven assets like gold and US Treasurys. Equity markets in the US jumped, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average rising 170 points, while popular exchange-traded funds tracking the price of gold underperformed the market.

Auto stocks like General Motors and Ford, highly exposed to volatility across the US-Mexico supply chain, outperformed, along with the semiconductor space. 

But trade tensions with key trading partner China remain a headwind, investment advisors said. In addition, consumer confidence has already taken a hit. And uncertainty tied to how talks at the G-20 summit in Japan later this month will pan out looms over the market.

"Potent risks are still on the horizon," Vinay Viswanathan, a derivatives strategist at Macro Risk Advisors, told investors Monday in a note, pointing to trade talks around the summit later this month. 

Those risks, combined with the VIX — the market's "fear gauge" — rising alongside stocks Friday, led Viswanathan to recommend investors hedge their exposure to stocks with a strategy that would protect against downside.

Read more: Global stocks are surging after Trump cancels Mexico tariffs

His recommendation was emblematic of other warnings sent out across Wall Street.

"Policy volatility has not dissipated over the weekend," Sam Rines, the chief economist at Avalon Advisors, told clients on Monday. "With Mexico scratched off the list (for now), it is worth remembering that China and the EU are still in the tariff mix."

Domestically focused small-cap stocks are particularly vulnerable at this juncture despite the absence of an immediate Mexico tariff threat, said Lori Calvasina, the head of US equity strategy at RBC Capital Markets in New York.

"Though tariffs on Mexico appear to be off the table, thanks to a deal with Mexico over the weekend, we still see risk of downward revisions to Small Cap estimates due to the escalation of the tariffs on China and the damage that has likely been done to corporate confidence over the past month due to uncertainty over the direction of trade policy generally," she said in a Monday note to clients.

A bonus just for you: Click here to claim 30 days of access to Business Insider PRIME

The stock market will "remain choppy" until the next corporate earnings season when businesses have taken tariffs into consideration, Calvasina added.

On an industry-specific level, select stocks in the energy space could benefit from the tariffs' suspension as US gasoline exports to Mexico comprise 60% of total exported gasoline, Credit Suisse told investors. US refiners like Valero and PBF Energy, which both surged Monday, are two names on which the firm is particularly bullish.

Other investment experts expressed skepticism Monday that markets could sustain more Trump- and trade war-induced volatility. 

"Phew, a self-imposed supply chain crisis averted," Peter Boockvar, the chief investment officer at Bleakley Advisory Group in New Jersey, told investors Monday.

"What a relief but I gotta tell ya, now that the threat of tariffs can be thrown around like nothing, I don't believe a multinational business with factories and supply needs globally can ever rest easy until this stops."

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

'We're going to get rolled': Billionaire investor Stanley Druckenmiller breaks down why the US is headed for devastating losses to China in the trade and tech wars

The job market is so hot that one restaurant 'moved to counter service and disposable utensils' to stay open

We just got the latest evidence Trump's trade war is throwing a wrench in business plans

 

Join the conversation about this story »

NOW WATCH: Nxivm founder Keith Raniere began his trial. Here's what happened inside the alleged sex-slave ring that recruited actresses and two billionaire heiresses.

Intel is buying Barefoot Networks, a challenger to Cisco that had raised over $150 million from giants like Google and Alibaba (INTC, CSCO, AVGO)

Mon, 06/10/2019 - 8:56pm  |  Clusterstock

  • Intel is buying Barefoot Networks, a Silicon Valley startup with over $150 million in funding. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.
  • Barefoot Networks sells networking equipment, with its main differentiator being that developers can write code for its hardware that runs directly on the processor — a technical, but important, difference that allows for more customization than you often find on Cisco or Broadcom gear.
  • The deal comes as Intel faces new challenges, as its data center revenues recently faltered for the first time in a long time.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

Intel is acquiring Barefoot Networks, a Silicon Valley startup that had raised over $150 million from giants like Google, Dell Technologies Capital, Alibaba, and Goldman Sachs. 

Terms of the deal weren't disclosed, but Intel says that Dr. Craig Barratt, the CEO, and his team will be joining the chip giant after the deal closes, which it expects will happen in the third quarter of 2019. 

"Upon close, the addition of Barefoot Networks will support our focus on end-to-end cloud networking and infrastructure leadership, and will allow Intel to continue to deliver on new workloads, experiences and capabilities for our data center customers," Intel data center boss Navin Shenoy said in a blog entry announcing the deal.

Barefoot Networks is a data center networking startup that's taking on the likes of Cisco and Broadcom with an unconventional approach to the market — an approach that focuses on Tofino, its proprietary line of processors that power its lineup of hardware products.  

Specifically, Barefoot boasts that Tofino allows developers to program right on the processor itself, the lowest technical level possible, which means that customers can do things with its products that were never originally intended.

For instance, Barefoot says, a Tofino-powered switch can be used to analyze and diagnose network traffic as it travels through the data center, with the developer free to apply fine-tuned controls over exactly what they're looking out for, and add to the model as they go.

A nice talent grab, too

This approach stands in contrast to how it usually works: Cisco, Broadcom, and the like usually offer software that lets users install new applications and put their networking gear to use in new and novel ways — but without giving programmers access to the processor itself, which limits what can be done with it. 

This philosophy seems to have caught on, however, with Cisco and smaller competitors like Arista Networks both reportedly deciding to use Barefoot's Tofino chips to power some of their newest products.

Also of note is that Barefoot Networks carries something of a pedigree: Nick McKeown, co-founder of Barefoot Networks, was also a founder of Nicira, a networking startup that VMware purchased for $1.26 billion in 2012. 

As for Intel, the acquisition of Barefoot Networks makes a certain amount of sense, given that both companies are focused on chips, especially for the data center. However, the deal also comes as Intel faces a rough patch, with revenues in its data center segment recently sliding for the first time in a long time.

While Intel already sells networking products, this is clearly a bet that having Barefoot's technology on its side will open some doors, and perhaps lead it to a stronger market position. 

SEE ALSO: Intel’s new CEO used to be CFO, and analysts worry he may not have the technical chops to lead the company through the stormy waters ahead: ‘Intel needs a strong technical leader’

Join the conversation about this story »

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Salesforce's surprise $15.7 billion acquisition of Tableau is a shot at Microsoft and SAP (CRM, DATA)

Mon, 06/10/2019 - 8:50pm  |  Clusterstock

  • On Monday, Salesforce announced it would acquire data analytics company Tableau for $15.7 billion, the company's largest deal since its acquisition of MuleSoft last year.
  • The news comes less than a week after Google announced that it would acquire data analytics startup Looker.  The back-to-back deals underscore that the future of analytics is in the cloud.
  • Analysts say that Salesforce's Tableau acquisition is also a shot at Microsoft, which has a competing data analytics product, and at SAP's acquisition of Qualtrics.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

The big cloud vendors are locked in an arms race to bulk up their analytics tools, and Salesforce's surprise $15.7 billion purchase of Tableau is an indication of how heated the contest has become, according to industry observers. 

Salesforce announced the deal on Monday, and said it would expand its operations into Tableau's hometown of Seattle to build a second headquarters. 

With this acquisition, analysts say Salesforce instantly becomes a major player in the so-called Business Intelligence market. Meanwhile, the other cloud vendors like Amazon, Microsoft, and Google have been working to improve their own analytics offerings. Just last week, Google announced it would acquire Looker, also an analytics company, for $2.6 billion.

"It's reflective of a world where data and analytics are becoming increasingly important. The cloud vendors ignore that at their own peril," said Joseph Antelmi, an analyst at industry research firm Gartner. 

For Salesforce, which paid $6.5 billion last year to acquire MuleSoft, the Tableau deal is a logical next step. MuleSoft's technology allows Salesforce's platform to suck in more data from various sources and Tableau will help Salesforce users make sense of it. 

"It's putting data into the hands of users," Rebecca Wettemann, vice president at Nucleus Research, told Business Insider. "It's not just analytics. It's that sort of visualization that Tableau is really strong in. I think it's an overall part of Salesforce's messaging since they started investing in Einstein. It gives them a broader and deeper analytics sense."

Tableau can enhance two of Salesforce's existing analytics products Customer 360 Platform and Einstein Analytics. What's more, many of Salesforce's customers are already using Tableau, which should make integration easier.

Salesforce said it expects Tableau to add $350 million to $400 million to its fiscal 2020 revenue.

Tableau's roster of marquee customers, including Netflix and Verizon, are "certainly not going to hurt," noted Brian Pirri, a principal at New England Investment & Retirement Group, told Business Insider.

Competing against Google and Microsoft

The rapid fire succession of analytics deals by Salesforce and Google highlight an increasing competition between the two tech giants. 

But it's not just Google that Salesforce needs to look out for. Steve Koenig, managing director at Wedbush securities, calls this acquisition "a shot across Microsoft's bow."

Microsoft had been rising up to the challenge to face off Salesforce, considered the market leader in customer relationship software, while legacy vendors like SAP and Oracle have not kept up in terms of cloud software.

Now, Salesforce is acquiring Tableau, which works on both cloud and on-premise data centers, to compete with Microsoft's own analytics product Power BI and make sure it stays at the top.

"Basically the dynamic is they're trying to defend their market leadership in CRM," Koenig told Business Insider. "Now they're trying to fight back. They're highly competitive in a fairly important area for Microsoft."

Competing against SAP

Allen Bonde, an analyst at Forrester, compares this to when SAP announced it would acquire Qualtrics for $8 billion. The Tableau deal was likely in the works for a long time, and if anything, may be a response to SAP.

"You could see that this is both Salesforce saying, 'We see your deal, SAP,' and up it with Tableau," Bonde told Business Insider. "It's more recognized company and larger and widely adopted...If I'm a Salesforce customer, certainly that means there's more toys in the toy box."

Read more: Despite the tech Cold War with China, Wall Street says Salesforce is in a strong position and will see little impact

Maribel Lopez, founder and principal analyst of Lopez Research, says that before, companies were focused on moving their applications to the cloud and connecting their data to that application.  Now, it's all about analytics, which companies need to make sense of that data.

It's a win for Tableau as well, Lopez says. She says it can be difficult for a public company to keep growing exponentially each quarter.

"You have to ask yourself it the growth would have slowed," Lopez said. "I think now is a very strategic time for Tableau to exit because they can exit, they can get a decent premium...This is a time when analytics is becoming the most interesting of plays for a lot of organizations."

Lopez expects other companies take a similar path as Salesforce and Google as well.

"I think you'll see other companies go deep in analytics from an acquisition standpoint," Lopez said. "There's still Oracle. There's still AWS. There will be other companies looking at, what else should I be putting into my portfolio?"

SEE ALSO: Experts say that Google Cloud's $2.6 billion acquisition of Looker could give it more of a competitive edge against Microsoft, Amazon, and Oracle

Join the conversation about this story »

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

Larry Page and Sergey Brin spoke at a Google all-hands meeting for the first time in 6 months (GOOG, GOOGL)

Mon, 06/10/2019 - 8:01pm  |  Clusterstock

  • Google co-founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin recently ended their 6-month, internal quiet period, according to a CNET report on Monday. 
  • Page and Brin attended the company's town hall meeting (known as "TGIF") on May 30th and spoke about the company's cloud strategy, according to sources who spoke to CNET.
  • The duo — who regularly attended in the past and often answered questions during these meetings — had reportedly not shown up to a TGIF in 2019, their longest absence in company history.
  • Their "MIA" status came at a time when the company faced an onslaught of internal pressures from employee organizers over its business decisions and practices. 
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

Google co-founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin recently ended their 6-month, self-imposed quiet period within the company, according to a CNET report on Monday. 

Page and Brin attended the company's weekly all-hands meeting (known as "TGIF") on May 30th and spoke about the company's cloud strategy, according to sources who spoke to CNET. A Google spokesperson confirmed with Business Insider that the co-founders were on-stage at the meeting, alongside Google CEO Sundar Pichai. 

The duo — who regularly attended in the past and often answered questions during these meetings — had reportedly not shown up to a TGIF in 2019, their longest absence in company history. 

Page and Brin's "MIA" status came at a time when the company faced an onslaught of internal pressures from employee organizers over its business decisions and practices, including its handling of harassment cases, involvement in military contracts, and building a censored search engine for China. 

Questions reportedly arose during the May 30th meeting about alleged cases of retaliation against these employee organizers, though that section was handled by Eileen Naughton, Google's Head of People Operations, not Page or Brin. 

Read more: One of the main organizers of the Google Walkout has left the company over fears of 'public flogging, shunning, and stress' if she stayed

Google told Business Insider on Monday that part of the reason why the Alphabet umbrella was created back in 2015 was so that it's co-founders could focus more on the company's "Other Bets," like its self-driving car company Waymo. 

TGIF is an all-hands meeting for Google, which oversees Alphabet's core business of search, YouTube, and Android. Pichai is the CEO of Google, while Page is the CEO of Alphabet. The spokesperson would not confirm which projects Brin is currently working on. 

Still, the spokesperson said, the co-founders like to "pop in" to TGIF meetings from time-to-time. 

Do you work at Google? Got a tip? Contact this reporter via Signal or WhatsApp at +1 (209) 730-3387 using a non-work phone, email at nbastone@businessinsider.com, Telegram at nickbastone, or Twitter DM at @nickbastone.

SEE ALSO: Meet the 14 top executives who lead Alphabet's 'Other Bets,' helping the company go beyond just Google

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Here's why the failed attempt to break up Microsoft will make or break the crackdown on Facebook, Amazon, and Google, according to two top lawyers in the Microsoft case (MSFT, AMZN, AAPL, FB, GOOGL)

Mon, 06/10/2019 - 7:37pm  |  Clusterstock

  • The Microsoft antitrust trial of the 1990s has important lessons for government regulators as they decide what to do about companies that dominant the tech industry today, two central players in the Microsoft case said.
  • The Microsoft case shows how important it is to enforce antitrust laws, even if such an action doesn't lead to a breakup of the targeted company, said Harvard professor Lawrence Lessig and antitrust lawyer Alan Kusinitz.
  • The situation the tech industry was facing before the trial has parallels to today, they said.
  • The case also illustrates how important it is for enforcement officials to essentially do field research by talking with affected market participants and to be clear about what violations they need to prosecute, Lessig and Kusinitz said.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

Two veterans of the Microsoft antitrust battle that raged 20 years ago have some advice for government regulators seeking to curb the power of today's tech giants.

In conversations with Business Insider, Lawrence Lessig, who briefly served as a special master in the Microsoft case, and Alan Kusinitz, who headed up the legal team representing state governments, stressed the importance of policing anticompetitive behavior even if it falls short of a company break-up, the outcome that never materialized  in the Microsoft case.

The objective of venture capital and innovators is to get big enough to be eaten. Nobody really believes they can take on Facebook and win — Lawrence Lessig

They also pointed to strategic decisions that, in hindsight, were critical to bolstering the case against Microsoft, as well to some of the miscalculations that would hurt their cause.  

The lessons of Microsoft could prove to be invaluable amid a growing debate — from Washington, DC to Silicon Valley — over what to do about Amazon, Alphabet, Apple, and Facebook, and their dominance of certain markets. At least part of the debate has focused on whether the government should attempt to bring antitrust cases against the companies and maybe even try to split them up.

The Microsoft case was "extremely successful in creating the conditions for the Silicon Valley boom in the beginning of this century," said Lessig, who served first as a special master — the judge's designated fact finder — in the case and later submitted a "friend of the court" brief in it laying out his assessment of the law and facts. "And we ought to learn that lesson."

Regulators are starting to look again at the power of tech giants

To the extent that the Microsoft case is remembered today, it's often portrayed as having been a waste of time. The judge's order to breakup the company into two parts was blocked and then overturned on appeal.

After George Bush replaced Bill Clinton as president, his administration decided to settle the case rather to go back to court to try to reinstate the breakup order. The case ended with what many believed was little more than a wrist slap. And when Microsoft struggled to compete in the new tech markets — search, mobile, social networking, ecommerce — the case seemed to many people to have been all about nothing.

The tech industry's fast pace of innovation and fierce competition mean that it's always several steps ahead of whatever the government is trying to regulate, the argument went.  The best way to regulate tech, in other words, was simply to let the market do its thing. 

But many inside and outside of Silicon Valley and Washington are re-examining that line of thinking today as the next generation of tech giants has come to hold more and more sway not only over their particular markets, but over the public sphere. The companies have amassed not only massive economic power — they are some of the most valuable and profitable companies on the planet — but also tremendous political power.

Read this: Elizabeth Warren pulled a ninja move to turn tech angst into a crackdown with real teeth, and tech is going to suffer even if she's not president

To a large extent, Facebook, Google-owned YouTube, and Twitter have become the arbiters of free speech. Changes in Facebook's algorithms can make or break media companies that depend on it for distribution, imperiling the health of a free press. The social networks have been hijacked by miscreants to spread misinformation and propaganda, which has influenced elections and in some cases has led to violence and deaths.

What we've seen over the last 20 years is that monopolies have increased — Alan Kusinitz

Small retailers and goods makers can thrive or die depending on how Amazon treats them and whether it decides to target their markets. Developers and content providers alike can find themselves unable to reach their customers due to to an opaque policy decision by one of the big tech companies.

The market alone won't solve the tech industry's problems

The idea that the market will just solve these problems on its own with no government intervention is deeply mistaken, the veterans of the Microsoft case said. While that view has held sway, the problems have gotten worse, not better.

"What we've seen over the last 20 years is that monopolies have increased," said Alan Kusinitz, a longtime antitrust lawyer who headed up the legal team representing state governments in the Microsoft case. "It's always a mistake to do nothing," he continued.

The laissez-faire view is also mistaken about just how important the Microsoft case was to the tech industry, Kusinitz and Lessig said. It wasn't an accident that competition flourished in the wake of the case, they said.

The case forced Microsoft to change its behavior towards competitors. Prior to the trial, the company was absolutely ruthless, going to lengths to crush any rivals that stood in its way. Microsoft emerged from the case a company that was much less aggressive, partly because of the settlement and partly because it was gun shy after having just been through that battle.

The case "was extraordinarily important in creating an environment where people felt free to innovate without the fear of being destroyed by Microsoft," said Lessig, a professor at Harvard Law School.

Amazon and Google's actions resemble Microsoft's 

There's something similar going on in the tech industry today to how things were before the Microsoft trial, Lessig and Kusinitz said. The big tech companies dominate their areas in similar ways that Microsoft ruled the PC operating system market.

Google's practice of forcing phone makers to sign contracts that required the manufacturers to install its search and other apps if they wanted to use its version of the Android operating system looks like a page right from Microsoft's playbook, Kusinitz said. Amazon's ruthlessness in dealing with its competitors is similar to Microsoft's as is its alleged practice of abusing its platform.

Amazon has been accused of gleaning sales data from sellers in its marketplace and using that information to undermine those sellers by offering similar products and promoting them on its site in ways its rivals can't.

"Bezos is a bad actor," said Kusinitz. Such practices, he continued, "have to be dealt with in some way."

The immense power of the big tech firms discourages the emergence of any competition. Startups generally avoid the areas in which the firms are dominant. Or entrepreneurs build their companies with the express idea that they'll one day be acquired by one of the tech behemoths.

"The objective of venture capital and innovators is to get big enough to be eaten," said Lessig. "Nobody," he continued, "really believes they can take on Facebook and win."

Research is important, as is defining the problem

But government regulators can draw other lessons from the Microsoft case, Lessig and Kusinitz said, particularly in how the state and federal governments pursued it. One is that enforcement officials should essentially do field research, Lessig said. It's one thing to have economic theories about how markets are supposed to work. It's another to talk with real market participants about how things are working in practice.

That kind of research was how enforcement officials came to understand how Microsoft's dominance in the 1990s was distorting the startup ecosystem and tech industry in Silicon Valley, Lessig said. It also led to some crucial trial testimony, he said.

Prosecutors today, similarly, "ought to be really keen to understand exactly how the system works," he said.

It's also important for regulators to focus any potential enforcement action on clear and supportable antitrust charges and to have a good idea of how those violations could be addressed, Kusinitz said.

The Microsoft case focused on the web browser market and the steps the company took to box out Netscape, the first web browser. The states built a strong case that Microsoft had prohibited PC manufacturers from pre-installing Netscape's Navigator and rival browsers on the machines they sold, he said. Such exclusionary conduct is clearly anticompetitive, a finding that was upheld on appeal, Kusinitz noted.

By contrast, the federal government focused its case on Microsoft's efforts to bundle Internet Explorer browser with Windows. That move wasn't as clearly anticompetitive and the rulings against the company on the counts that related to that conduct were overturned on appeal along with the ruling that Microsoft would be broken up.

The federal government made a mistake in focusing on the bundling issue and not the broader issue of how Microsoft was abusing its dominant platform, Kusinitz said.

"You've got to focus in on the problem," Kusinitz said. The federal government's decision to focus on the browser bundling and not Microsoft's abuse of its platform "was a huge failure," he said.

Got a tip about the tech industry? Contact this reporter via email at twolverton@businessinsider.com, message him on Twitter @troywolv, or send him a secure message through Signal at 415.515.5594. You can also contact Business Insider securely via SecureDrop.

SEE ALSO: Europe's competition czar is wrong — it's long past time to break up Google

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

A Goldman Sachs exec explains why the bank isn't sweating concerns over the Apple Card's profitability

Mon, 06/10/2019 - 7:03pm  |  Clusterstock

  • Credit-card industry observers and competitors have cast doubt on the Apple Card's profit potential. 
  • The card, a partnership with Goldman Sachs, boasts some consumer friendly features, including no fees and tools to keep interest payments at bay, which could stymie revenues. 
  • Goldman Sachs isn't sweating the profit concerns, according to Omer Ismail, head of consumer digital finance in the Americas for Goldman's Marcus division.
  • At Business Insider's IGNITION: Transforming Finance event Monday, Ismail said they view card's features as tools to build customer loyalty and a long-term advantage.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories

Not long after the Apple and Goldman Sachs credit-card collaboration was announced to great fanfare, industry observers — some of which bid on but did not win the deal to work with Apple — came out of the woodwork to voice their concern

The problem, as they see it: Goldman's profitability outlook for the Apple Card, which charges no fees and boasts consumer friendly features that help customers avoid paying costly interest, is dim. 

Omer Ismail, head of consumer digital finance in the Americas for Goldman's Marcus division, isn't sweating it.

When asked about the credit-card's prospects Monday at Business Insider's IGNITION: Transforming Finance event Monday, Ismail threw cold water on the notion that providing value and protection for customers wasn't in their best interest.

"When I think about Marcus overall, the idea that doing right by the customer means being less profitable is just not an idea we subscribe to," Ismail said during a conversation with BI's Dakin Campbell.

Ismail said they take the opposite view: the only way Goldman, a new entrant in the consumer finance world, is going to build a sustainable competitive advantage is by taking care of and winning over customers.

"If you do right by the customer, you're going to ultimately win their loyalty," Ismail said.

Being the new bank on the block gives Goldman advantages, as well. While industry veterans are having to tangle with and spend money revamping ancient systems designed to serve a different era, Goldman is building its consumer business from scratch on the back of modern technology.

"We don't have any legacy business models and we don't have any legacy technology," Ismail said. 

In theory, this should mean Goldman can operate a credit-card business more efficiently and at lower costs than some of its competitors. 

We'll get more clues about the Apple Card's potential and popularity with customers when it launches later this summer. 

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

Hackers stole photos of travelers' faces and license plates collected by the US Customs and Border Protection agency

Mon, 06/10/2019 - 7:00pm  |  Clusterstock

Hackers broke into a database of images of travelers and license plates collected by US Customs and Border Protection, the agency said on Monday.

The hackers gained access to the images through a subcontractor's network, CBP said. The subcontractor, which the agency declined to name, had transferred the photographs to its network in violation of CBP policies, the agency said.

"CBP has alerted members of Congress and is working closely with other law enforcement agencies and cybersecurity entities and its own office of professional responsibility to actively investigate the incident," the agency said in a statement.

The agency became aware on May 31 that the subcontractor had transferred the images to its network. CBP did not say when the subcontractor transferred the photographs, when the cyber attack occurred, or how many images were accessed by the hackers.

Read this: Internet pioneer Paul Vixie thinks we're giving up both privacy and speed thanks to the way we've configured our internet connections

Agency spokesman Mike Niezgoda declined to comment on the incident beyond CBP's statement, which he pasted into an email message.

The agency released a separate copy of the statement as a Microsoft Word document that was entitled, "CBP Perceptics Public Statement," according to the Washington Post, which first reported the security breach. The title seemed to indicate that Perceptics, a company that offers license-plate reader technology, was involved in the incident.

Niezgoda declined to confirm whether Perceptics was connected to the breach. Company representatives did not respond to an email seeking comment.

The CBP had been collecting images of travelers at airports and at land border crossings. It has also begun to use facial recognition to identify travelers, including those trying to enter the country illegally.

Got a tip about computer security industry? Contact this reporter via email at twolverton@businessinsider.com, message him on Twitter @troywolv, or send him a secure message through Signal at 415.515.5594. You can also contact Business Insider securely via SecureDrop.

SEE ALSO: One of the internet's creators says there's a potential of severe dangers from the 'avalanche of devices' on the network

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Here's exactly why it's so important to hire a fee-only financial adviser

Mon, 06/10/2019 - 5:23pm  |  Clusterstock

Personal Finance Insider writes about products, strategies, and tips to help you make smart decisions with your money. We may receive a small commission from our partners, but our reporting and recommendations are always independent and objective.

  • You should always ask your financial adviser before hiring them: Do you earn a commission from the products I buy or investments I make?
  • If they do earn a commission from selling specific products or investments to clients, they're a fee-based financial adviser.
  • These financial advisers do not have to disclose conflicts of interest and are only required to recommend strategies and products that are "suitable" for their client.
  • By contrast, a fee-only financial adviser must be a fiduciary, meaning they are legally required to make recommendations in the best interest of their client, and they only earn money from client fees.
  • If you're looking for a financial adviser, SmartAsset's free tool can help find a licensed professional near you »

If you're in the market for honest, no-holds-barred money advice, there's at least one question you can ask to weed out unfitting financial advisers: Do you earn a commission?

If they answer "yes," they're considered a fee-based financial adviser. Whether a financial planner or investment adviser, "fee-based" refers to the way they earn their money.

In addition to getting paid by the client, fee-based advisers may also get a kickback from directing you to invest in a specific fund or product or open a certain type of account — their fees are based, in part, on where you put your money.

This doesn't mean a fee-based financial adviser will necessarily work against your best interests. It only means that they may be more inclined to recommend products and services for which they get a commission, which may or may not be the best option for your financial planning needs.

Fee-only financial advisers, by contrast, do not get paid commissions. Their only objective is to provide sound financial advice to the client, who is paying them an hourly fee, flat retainer fee, or asset under management fee. They cannot accept kickbacks from insurance companies or brokerage firms if that's where their client chooses to put their money.

SmartAsset's free tool can help find a financial adviser to help with your goals »

Most important, fee-based advisers are not required to be fiduciaries. A fiduciary is legally bound to put their client's interests first. Instead, many fee-based financial advisers follow a loosely monitored "suitability" standard, which allows them to make recommendations so long as it's suitable for their client's goals, risk tolerance, and financial situation. Usually this translates to recommendations that will also earn them money.

As Eric Rosenberg wrote for Business Insider, a fee-based adviser "may have an incentive to put your money in a fund that charges a higher fee because they get a commission even though a better performing or comparable fund that charges a lower fee is available."

In early June, the Securities and Exchange Commission adopted a new set of rules for investment advisers and brokers requiring them to provide a "relationship summary" to clients before working with them, The New York Times reported. The document is meant to spell out fees, commissions, conflicts of interest, and legal conduct, but experts say there's no industry standard for how this will look, so transparency likely won't improve much immediately for the everyday investor.

For now, you can find exact fees and commissions for investment advisory firms with more than $25 million in assets under management laid out in part two of Form ADV, a document filed with the SEC detailing the firm's operations. Some firms will link to the form on their website, but it's also available through a search tool on the SEC's Investment Adviser Public Disclosure website.

Looking for a financial adviser? SmartAsset's free tool can help you find the right person for you »

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Tesla is gearing up for its annual shareholder meeting amid wild stock fluctuations and mounting pressure on Elon Musk (TSLA)

Mon, 06/10/2019 - 4:10pm  |  Clusterstock

  • Tesla's annual shareholder meeting is set to kick off at 2:30 PM local time on Wednesday in California. 
  • Investors will be voting to re-elect two board members, as well as on proposals relating to supermajority voting and a public policy committee. 
  • A major proxy advisory service is urging shareholders to vote against Ira Ehrenpreis's re-election.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories

Tesla shareholders will convene for the company's annual investor meeting on Tuesday afternoon in California, amid one of the company's most challenging months yet.

Since they last assembled in 2018, Tesla's market value has declined by more than 30% thanks to a failed bid to take the company private by CEO Elon Musk, which resulted in $20 million fines for himself and the company as part of a settlement with federal regulators.

In April, shortly after Tesla and the SEC agreed on new terms regarding Musk's social media usage to end the months-long legal battle, Tesla announced that four members of its board of directors will leave their posts after their tenures are up.

Brad Buss and Linda Johnson Rice will leave the board following Tuesday's meeting, and Steve Jurvetson — who returned from an extended leave of absence stemming from sexual misconduct allegations at his venture capital firm in April — will leave in 2020 along with Antonio Gracias shortly after.

In addition to the board reshuffling, investors will have plenty of other issues on their minds after the challenging last 12 months of Tesla's business. Falling deliveries and quarterly earnings in the first half of 2019 also weighed on the stock, which traded below $200 per share in May before recovering slightly. In past years, Tesla's stock price has risen dramatically following announcements at the company's annual meeting.

This year, shareholders will consider the re-election of two board members, new equity incentive and employee stock purchase plan, recertification of the company's outside accounting firm, a proposed public policy committee, and proposed simple majority rule to replace the current super majority.

Here are all the proposed items for Tesla's annual shareholders' meeting on Tuesday:

SEE ALSO: Tesla employees are giving the company lower scores on LinkedIn and Glassdoor, and some say there's a hole in senior leadership

Proposal 1: Re-electing two directors

Tesla's directors have nominated Ira Ehrenpreis, the second-longest serving board member after Kimbal Musk, and Kathleen Wilson-Thompson for re-election to the board. If re-elected, which is likely, they will serve for three years, as is the board's current structure. However, if a proposal to reduce director terms to two years is successful, they will serve the shorter amount of time.

A major shareholder advisory service is urging investors to vote against the nomination of Ehrenpreis, due to Tesla's skyrocketing equity awards.

"Tesla does not have traditional incentive programs and, while no NEOs received bonuses in 2018, equity awards are sizable and lack performance vesting conditions,' Institutional Shareholder Services, or ISS, said in a May report.

"Investors increasingly expect at least a meaningful portion of long-term incentives be tied to pre-set, disclosed forward-looking performance goals. Concerns are also raised regarding the magnitude of grants to other NEOs, as all but one of the NEOs received 2018 pay in excess of the median CEO in the ISS-selected peer group."

"While these concerns would normally warrant an adverse recommendation for the advisory compensation proposal, the company has adopted a triennial say-on-pay frequency and will not present the proposal again until 2020," ISS continued. "In the absence of a say-on-pay proposal on the ballot, shareholders are advised to vote against compensation committee member Ira Ehrenpreis."

Tesla defended Ehrenpreis' re-election in its proxy statement.

"We believe that Mr. Ehrenpreis possesses specific attributes that qualify him to serve as a member of the Board and to serve as chair of each of our Nominating and Corporate Governance Committee and our Compensation Committee, including his experience in the Cleantech and venture capital industries," the company said. 

Glass-Lewis, the other major proxy advisor, does not have the same concerns about Ehrenpreis' re-election and recommends a "for" vote on the proposal. Tesla's board of directors also recommends a "for" vote.

Both Tesla and the proxy advisors recommend director Kathleen Wilson-Thompson for re-election.



Proposal 2: A new equity incentive plan

Tesla is asking shareholders for approval to issue 12.5 million new shares as part of a new equity incentive plan. This will allow the company to continue issuing stock as compensation for employees and executives.

ISS and Glass-Lewis are worried the new issuances will dilute shareholders' total equity by about 6.8%, and are therefore urging investors to reject the proposal.

"Stock purchase plans enable employees to become shareholders, which gives them a stake in the company's growth," ISS said in its report.

"However, purchase plans are beneficial only when they are well-balanced and in the best interests of all shareholders. From a shareholder's perspective, plans should have reasonable purchase discounts and offering periods, and they should limit the number of shares allocated. In this case, the plan's purchase price is at least 85 percent of fair market value and the offering period is not longer than 27 months. Also, the number of shares allocated to the plan is not more than 10 percent of outstanding shares. As such, support for this proposal is warranted."

In its proxy statement, Tesla urged shareholders to vote for the proposal:

"While we offer to our employees restricted stock units, which tend to retain some value even if the market value of our stock decreases, the equity-based compensation to our directors is exclusively in the form of stock options, which have value only to the extent, if any, that our stock price increases following their grant. Consequently, a large portion of our non-employee directors' compensation is entirely at risk," the company said. 



Proposal 3: Approving the company's employee stock purchase plan

Tesla allows employees to purchase stock at a significant discount, and the Board has already approved a continuance of this plan. Now it needs shareholder approval.

"Tesla strongly promotes a culture of stock ownership in order to incentivize employees to contribute to our successes, from which they reap the benefit of increases in our stock's value," the company said in its proxy statement. "For this reason, in addition to establishing minimum stock ownership and holding periods for our directors and named executive officers, we offer equity awards to all of our employees."

ISS and Glass-Lewis also support the proposal as employee stock plans "align the interests of employees and shareholders and encourage a sense of ownership at companies," Glass Lewis writes.



Proposals 4 and 8: A simple majority vote

Two separate proposals deal with eliminating a supermajority vote. One is supported by Tesla's board, and one is not.

James McRitchie, an activist investor who runs the site CorpGov.net has submitted proposal 8, which urges Tesla to adopt a simple majority and eliminate the current supermajority voting requirements, which he says could enhance shareholder rights.

"Large funds, such as T. Rowe Price, BlackRock, SSgA and Northern Trust generally support elimination of supermajority requirements, since most view them as an entrenchment device for management," the proposal reads. "Currently a 1 % special interest minority of shares can frustrate the will of shareholders casting 66% of shares in favor. In other words a 1 % special interest minority could have the power to prevent shareholders from improving our corporate governance.

ISS supports the measure, but Tesla and Glass-Lewis are urging investors to vote against it.

"The Board has determined that this proposal would not serve the best interests of Tesla or our stockholders, because we have separately included a proposal (Proposal Four) for our stockholders to directly approve amendments to each of our Certificate of Incorporation and our Bylaws to eliminate any voting requirements therein that require greater than a majority vote of our stockholders," the board said in its opposing statement. "Unlike this proposal, which is advisory and non-binding, Proposal Four would result in our implementing such amendments upon approval, and the Board urges our stockholders to vote for Proposal Four."

Proposal four, which the board supports, also eliminates the supermajority vote requirement for amending the company's governing documents.



Proposal 5: Reducing director terms from three to two years

Tesla is asking investors for permission to shorten the term lengths that directors serve on its board from three years currently to two years. The Board is urging investors to vote for the measure, something both proxy advisors also support.

"While this proposal would not result in a fully declassified board, the reduction from three to two board classes would represent an incremental increase to overall board accountability," ISS writes. "As such, support for this proposal is warranted."



Proposal 6: Ratifying Tesla's outside auditor

Tesla needs shareholder approval to continue its use of Pricewaterhouse Coopers as the company's auditor and outside public accounting firm. Both proxy advisors also support the motion, as is typical of most companies' annual meeting.



Proposal 7: Establishing a public policy committee

Jing Zhao, who owns 12 shares of Tesla, has proposed a public policy committee to "oversee the Company's policies including human rights, environment, domestic governmental regulations, foreign affairs and international relations affecting the Company's business."

Zhao argues that "many companies, such as the dead Yahoo and the troubled facebook [sic], failed without a public policy committee. The Company's current Audit Committee, Compensation Committee, and Nominating and Corporate Governance Committee are not adequate to deal with the new age of global competition, confusion, conflicts and confrontation. The Company needs not only an independent Chairman (or Chairwoman), but also a public policy committee.."

Tesla's board does not support the proposal, arguing that it already has the necessary powers to guard against public policy issues.

"Ultimately, the Board is responsible for overseeing the major risks that we face, and its members represent a unique collection of diverse backgrounds and experience in a variety of industries that allows them to react to new risks and business conditions," it said in an opposing statement.



Goldman Sachs is sending much less mail to potential Marcus customers. A senior exec lays out the reason why.

Mon, 06/10/2019 - 4:00pm  |  Clusterstock

  • Goldman Sachs has slashed the number of direct mailings it sends out to attract new customers to its Marcus personal loans product.
  • The slowdown is a result of enacting a "test and learn" philosophy to marketing and choosing those strategies that offer the greatest reward, according to Omer Ismail, head of consumer digital finance in the Americas for Goldman's Marcus division.
  • At Business Insider's IGNITION: Transforming Finance event on Monday, Ismail said the bank will modulate its use of various marketing strategies based on the success it's having.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories

For a long time, direct mail has been a cornerstone of the credit card and consumer lending industry's efforts to attract new customers. The strategy requires sending promotional materials — often glossy brochures or cardboard stock — in the mail to select groups of potential customers. 

Goldman Sachs has followed a similar playbook to boost its consumer lending business. Last December, for example, the bank sent more than twice the amount of direct mail than any other lender, or 49 million pieces, according to Credit Suisse estimates and data from advertising tracker Mintel Comperemedia.

But by February, Goldman's mailings had plunged to 14 million, according to the data. By April, the latest data available, it was still far below previous highs, at 16 million. 

See also: JPMorgan spends $11 billion on technology. But a top exec at the giant bank says some clients don't want it to be a tech company.

While it's not clear why — Bloomberg reported in October that Goldman had slashed its 2019 lending goals for Marcus, the bank could be looking to save money, or it could be something else entirely. Omer Ismail, head of the Americas for Goldman's consumer-finance unit, ascribed it to better success in other marketing channels. Ismail spoke on Monday at Business Insider's IGNITION: Transforming Finance event.

"Direct mail happens to be an important marketing channel, we've used it and we continue to use it, but the truth is we have looked at a lot of different forms of digital marketing," he said. "We will modulate one or the other based on the success that we're having."

He cited a recent campaign where the bank plastered three US train stations with advertising messages and did other outdoor advertising. Last year, it partnered with JoJo Fletcher, who gained fame on ABC's "The Bachelorette," to pitch Marcus loans for home renovations.

It's using a philosophy that Osmail referred to as "test and learn" to figure out what works best for driving customer growth. 

See also: A Goldman Sachs exec explains why the bank isn't sweating concerns over the Apple Card's profitability

One common problem with direct mail is that it can be expensive, pushing up the cost of customer acquisition and making it harder to turn a profit. Financial technology firms often cite such costs as one of the key limiting factors to their growth and Goldman execs including CEO David Solomon have talked about improving the bank's efficiency.

The bank has already spent $1.1 billion on building and promoting the consumer finance operation. 

Goldman has turned to partnerships as a way to gain a lot of customers at once, signing an agreement in 2017 with Intuit's TurboTax software and announcing in March an agreement with Apple to launch a credit card. Harit Talwar, global head of Goldman's consumer business, has said more announcements are in the works and that partnerships is one of three . 

"The other thing that I'd say is when we think about marketing capabilities and growing our business and growing distribution, partnerships is a really important way of doing it," Ismail said. "You continue to see different ways of marketing, both where we are directly acquiring customers and where we are doing it through marquee partners like Intuit and Apple."

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The innovation heads at Barclays and Morgan Stanley break down how their firms leverage technology to stay one step ahead of the competitors trying to steal their business

Mon, 06/10/2019 - 3:03pm  |  Clusterstock

  • Innovation executives from Barclays and Morgan Stanley spoke on Monday at Business Insider's IGNITION: Transforming Finance event at the New York Stock Exchange. 
  • Megan Brewer, head of technology innovation office at Morgan Stanley, said her group allows businesses to get input on problems from employees across the bank, as opposed to just those that work directly with it.
  • Mariquit Corcoran, head of partnerships and programs for group innovation at Barclays, added it's important to get employees involved early in the innovation process, and that small changes can sometimes go a long way in terms of improving efficiency. 
  • For more stories like this, visit Business Insider's homepage.

Like a large cruise ship, big banks aren't know for their ability to move quickly or change direction at a moment's notice. Banks' size and regulatory requirements means fostering change is often times a marathon, not a sprint.

However, eager to keep pace with agile competitors cutting into their market share, banks have made efforts to ease the hurdles that come with introducing new technology into their organization.  

Executives at Barclays and Morgan Stanley tasked with leading the innovation efforts at the banks spoke Monday at Business Insider's IGNITION: Transforming Finance event at the New York Stock Exchange about programs they have in place. 

Megan Brewer, head of technology innovation office at Morgan Stanley, said her group provides an alternative to the traditional route taken to innovate within a bank where the business works with its tech partner to come up with a proof of concept. 

Morgan Stanley's technology innovation office has access to 140 leaders with domain expertise across the entire bank. As a result, the group is able to decide if a solution to the problem already exists in another part of the bank, or if it is an entirely new challenge. 

In the case of the latter, over 3,000 technologists have signed on to work on solutions. The majority, Brewer added, are eager to tackle challenges outside of their area of expertise. For example, Brewer said there are a number of machine learning experts that work in the wealth management space who enjoy looking at problems on the institutional side of the bank.

"What we are offering the business is a chance to tap into people who might have different ideas on how to solve their problem," Brewer said.

Read more: Wall Street's massive tech spend has reached an 'inflection point' as billions in investments are starting to pay off

Money, people and lab resources are all made available for the technologists to tackle the problem. Morgan Stanley employees have the ability to launch a public cloud lab from their desktop that gives them access to a variety of tools for working on ideas. 

"We accelerate the time to value on a lot of these ideas because we are able to reduce the barriers they face in trying to get them done," Brewer said. 

She added that employees are motivated to get involved in the program because they'll be able to work on problems outside their day-to-day jobs, allowing them to hone new skills, and get access to senior leaders they might not typically deal with. 

Managers are also motivated as consideration of involvement in the program is baked into Morgan Stanley's talent review and promotion process. 

"You, as a manager, are also getting evaluated on whether you are creating time and safe spaces for your employees to participate in our program or any innovation program within the firm," Brewer said. 

See more: The head of tech for Citigroup's global consumer bank points to 2 key themes for managing its $8 billion tech budget

For Mariquit Corcoran, Barclays' head of partnerships and programs for group innovation, it's all about planting the seed early.

Whether it's public forums in which business leaders voice issues they are face that employees are encouraged to tackle, or internal tools the bank uses to enable employees to pitch ideas, the goal is get them engaged early on. 

"In order to to get colleagues excited about innovation, they have to be able to be a part of it and get involved from the get go," Corcoran said. 

The idea also doesn't necessarily have to be groundbreaking, she added. Sometimes tweaking things is all it takes to make a big difference.

"You always talk about innovation having to be transformational technology," Corcoran said. "We like to say often times it is just slightly changing something someone does that makes getting that job done faster, better, more efficient."

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How to make money from home, without going to an office every day

Mon, 06/10/2019 - 2:59pm  |  Clusterstock

  • It can feel like there are endless ways to make money from home, but being smart about the opportunities you take can make a big difference.
  • Consider how much time you want to put into this job, where your skills would be most effective, and whether the jobs you're finding are legitimate. It's not uncommon for "make money from home" opportunities to be scams.
  • Once you've chosen a job (or two), make sure to spread the word that you're looking for work, and have a plan for the money you make — and don't forget about taxes.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

Whether you already work a full-time job, stay home with the kids, or are in school, making some extra side money from the comfort of your own home is an easy way to pad your budget.

Before diving right into the plentiful "work from home" market, there are some important things to consider.

How to make money from home 1. Think about your time

It's nice to think you could sit down at your computer, work for an hour or two and make hundreds of dollars, but unless you're highly skilled in a very niche area, the odds of that happening are pretty slim. Most "make money from home" jobs are things that can be done quickly and easily, without much skill, so they don't tend to pay a lot.

If you're just hoping to cash in on whatever free time you have at home that you would otherwise spend trolling Instagram or binge-watching Netflix, then proceed ahead. If you'd really like to make some steady, predictable money, then an actual part-time or seasonal job might better suit your needs.

2. Narrow down your field of work

Google "work from home" and you'll get billions — seriously — of results.

Start your job search by looking through some of the options to narrow down the area in which you'd like to work. There's money to be made by answering online surveys and questions, selling your Instagram photos for marketing campaigns and even hosting dinner parties in your home.

The best way to make the most money from your home with one of these opportunities is to pick one you really think you'll enjoy (and therefore be good at) and really perfect your talent.

3. Weed out the scams

The last thing you want to do is set yourself up with a work from home job only to find out the whole thing is a hoax. Protect yourself by doing your due diligence before signing up with any company.

Signs that a job might not be legit include missing or confusing contact information, overall bad grammar or a sloppy website, high-pressure moves to get you to sign up for the job quickly or a request for personal information — like a Social Security number or bank details — up front.

A quick Google search and a check through the Better Business Bureau will also help give you a better sense of how a company is performing and whether or not it is legit.

4. Sign up for a helpful service

You don't need to navigate the waters of work-from-home jobs all by yourself. These days, there are plenty of services that can help. For example, sites like FlexJobs, ZipRecruiter and Glassdoor allow you to customize your search for work-from-home options.

5. Get the word out

Using online sites is the best way to see what's available to the general public, but getting the word out with your former coworkers, current colleagues, and friends that you're looking to make a little extra cash while working from home is a good way to hear about any other potential opportunities that might not even be listed online.

6. Set yourself up for success

Once you've narrowed down a job field and put some feelers out, make sure you have all the resources you'll need to make the most money while working from home. This could mean upgrading your computer, downloading apps on your phone, making sure you have good cell service or installing a home line. Just be sure to have a plan to at least make back whatever money you have to sink into preparing for your new side job.

7. Have a plan for that money

Once you've found a job that's making you money while you work from home, be sure to use that cash for what you originally planned to use it for. If you want to funnel any extra money directly into savings, set up a separate savings account and plan to make the move from checking to savings once or twice a month so that you aren't tempted to spend it.

If you want to use it help pay down debts, try putting the money directly towards those debts as soon as it comes in.

8. Don't forget about taxes

If the money that you are making through your work-from-home side job isn't taxed, you'll need to remember to handle that on your own. Consider setting up a separate savings account and putting a certain percentage into it from each paycheck to go towards quarterly tax payments.

An accountant can help you determine whether or not you'll actually need to make quarterly tax payments based on how much you expect to make, as well as how much you should save for taxes based on where you live and other factors.

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NOW WATCH: The world's tallest mountains like Mount Everest and K2 have a 'death zone' — here's a first-hand account of what it's like

Tesla's monster rally rages on as analysts make an about-face ahead of the carmaker's annual meeting (TSLA)

Mon, 06/10/2019 - 2:45pm  |  Clusterstock

  • Tesla surged on Monday after logging its best week since October.
  • Some analysts are becoming increasingly optimistic over the demand picture for Tesla's cars after fears over demand drove shares lower by 46% this year. 
  • One Tesla analyst upgraded the stock on Monday after he came away from meetings with electric-car makers in China more positive about demand there.
  • The rally comes as Tesla is scheduled to host its annual shareholder meeting on Tuesday.
  • Watch Tesla trade live.

Tesla shareholders, rejoice. 

Shares of the electric-car maker jumped by as much as 6% on Monday after a blockbuster week for the stock amid a string of positive commentary surrounding demand for Tesla's vehicles — one of the core issues that's plagued the stock in recent months.

Last week, Tesla posted its biggest weekly gain since October, surging by 10.5% and outperforming the broader market as stocks logged their best week of the year. Also buoying investor sentiment was a positive story about North American deliveries on the news website Electrek, Craig Irwin, an analyst at the investment firm Roth Capital, said. Electrek tends to cover Tesla in a positive light.

"While we believe rising battery costs are likely to be a 2019 margin headwind, demand from China will likely be stronger than most anticipate, reducing the potential for lowered 2019 unit guidance," Irwin told clients on Monday.

He upgraded Tesla to "buy" from "neutral" after coming away from four meetings with electric-vehicle producers in China more positive about demand there. This marks something of a change in tone for the analyst, who previously cut his price target twice this year amid several disappointing developments for the automaker.

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Other analysts have recently expressed optimism ahead of the company's annual shareholder meeting scheduled for Tuesday. Wall Street's increasingly positive view follows months of analysts cutting their earnings estimates, price targets, and investment ratings en masse.

Joseph Osha, a JMP Securities analyst and one of the more bullish Tesla voices, told clients last week that his checks show Tesla's second quarter looks better than the first, which was a massive disappointment for investors.

"The numbers show that more Model 3s were registered in April and May than during all of the first quarter, and it is important to note that Tesla's quarterly vehicle deliveries are typically back-end loaded," Osha told clients last week. "Demand for the Model 3 continues to be solid."

Read more: The investment giant that was once Tesla's biggest Wall Street backer cut its stake in half last year. Now it's dumped most of what was left.

Another prominent Tesla watcher, the Morgan Stanley analyst Adam Jonas, said in May the stock could fall to $10 in a worst-case scenario. But in his latest note, he told clients he believes weak demand is "largely temporary." 

"For the remainder of 2019, we expect a significant sequential improvement in demand driven by: continued European ramp, greater availability of leasing, Model S/X refresh, introduction of lower priced models and a number of price reductions," Jonas wrote last week.

Still, some investors are still betting the stock could tumble from current levels.

An unnamed investor on Monday effectively assumed a big short position in Tesla with a complex options strategy, an analysis from Susquehanna derivatives strategists showed.

"While not stock impactful at the time, the trading is interesting as it indicates where the investors think the bottom could be in shares (at month-end) and expresses a willingness to buy 800k shares there," about 13% below current levels, the strategists led by Alison Edwards wrote. "Further, it follows investors last week similarly getting short ~22k JunQ 190 puts."

Tesla is down 35% this year. 

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

Stocks are popping on Trump's Mexico tariff suspension. But the market's still littered with major risks, experts warn.

'We're going to get rolled': Billionaire investor Stanley Druckenmiller breaks down why the US is headed for devastating losses to China in the trade and tech wars

We just got the latest evidence Trump's trade war is throwing a wrench in business plans

Join the conversation about this story »

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

Here's what the tallest residential building in NYC will look like when it's completed in 2020

Mon, 06/10/2019 - 2:39pm  |  Clusterstock

 

The tallest residential building in New York City just listed its first condos for sale.

Central Park Tower, which sits at 225 W 57th Street on Billionaires' Row along the southern end of Central Park, surpassed 432 Park Avenue in height this spring, making it the tallest residential building in the city — and one of the tallest in the world.

When it's completed in 2020, the luxury skyscraper will stand at 1,550 feet.

Read more: I spent a day on NYC's Billionaires' Row. Here's your ultimate guide to one of the city's glitziest streets, which borders Central Park and is home to the most expensive apartment ever sold in the US.

The first seven condos listed in Central Park Tower include a two-bedroom for $6.9 million, a three-bedroom for $18.8 million, and a five-bedroom on the 112th floor for $63 million.

Central Park Tower, from Extell Development and Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill Architecture, will house 179 luxury condos starting on the 32nd floor. The building will also include the exclusive Central Park Club with 50,000 square feet of amenities spread across three floors, and a new 320,000-square-foot, seven-story Nordstrom New York flagship store. 

Here's a peek at what Central Park Tower will look like when it's finished in 2020. 

SEE ALSO: I spent a day on NYC's Billionaires' Row. Here's your ultimate guide to one of the city's glitziest streets, which borders Central Park and is home to the most expensive apartment ever sold in the US.

DON'T MISS: Jeff Bezos is reportedly looking to drop $60 million on an NYC apartment, but he already owns 4 condos in the city — look inside the building where he owns $13 million worth of real estate

Central Park Tower sits at 225 W 57th Street on Billionaires' Row in New York City, along the southern edge of Central Park.

In wealthy cities around the world, from New York to London to Los Angeles, a certain ritzy neighborhood or street is being given an extravagant nickname: Billionaires' Row, which refers to a part of the city where some of the richest people live in ultra-expensive homes.



The building is one of a bevy of super-tall luxury skyscrapers rising along Billionaires' Row that are home to some of the most expensive residential real estate in the world. Some were recently finished, and others are still under construction.

Central Park Tower's neighboring buildings have sold multimillion dollar condos to high-profile buyers including Dell Technologies founder Michael Dell, Chinese billionaire Liu Yiqian, and billionaire Ken Griffin, who broke the record for the most expensive home ever sold in the US when he bought a $238 million penthouse at 220 Central Park South.



The newest renderings of Central Park Tower show a grand lobby outfitted with the finest finishings.

The tower was designed by Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill Architecture (AS+GG), with interiors by Rottet Studio.



Central Park Tower will include 179 ultra-luxury residences ranging from two- to eight-bedroom residences.

The first seven condos available in Central Park Tower today include a two-bedroom for $6.9 million, a three-bedroom for $18.8 million, a four-bedroom for $33.38 million, and a five-bedroom on the 112th floor for $63 million.

The living spaces are placed in the corners of the residences to maximize the views of the city and Central Park, according to the developer.



The homes are clearly designed with the striking views at top of mind.

The residences start on the 32nd floor and are outfitted with floor-to-ceiling windows.



In addition to the 179 residences, Central Park Tower will include the exclusive Central Park Club.

The private club will offer 50,000 square feet of luxury amenities spread across three floors, including a 14th-floor terrace with a 60-foot swimming pool, a sundeck and cabanas, and poolside food and drink service.



The club will also have its own fitness and wellness program.

The wellness amenities include an indoor pool, a spa offering massages, facials, and body treatments, and a fitness center with private swimming classes, coaches, and personal training services.

In addition to the lavish amenities available to residents and club members, Central Park Tower will house a new 320,000-square-foot, seven-story Nordstrom New York flagship store. 



Solar Freeze (@freeze_solar ) mobile cold storage units are reducing post-harvest loses among users by 40-60% - @Spore_mag

Mon, 06/10/2019 - 1:39pm  |  Timbuktu Chronicles
Spore reports:
STRATEGIC STORAGE

Mobile refrigerated units, powered using solar energy, are providing farmers with an opportunity to preserve their produce at a convenient time and place.

Solar-powered cold storage units are being used by over 2,000 fruit and vegetable farmers in eastern Kenya to reduce post-harvest losses and gain better access to local markets. Set up in 2016, agri-tech company Solar Freeze has established easily accessible, mobile cold rooms, located in rural areas for farmers to store their produce before being transported to market. Farmers are thus able to harvest their crops at a convenient time, and seek suitable markets, whilst their produce is preserved. According to company director, Dysmus Kisilu, the green energy innovation has seen a 40-60% reduction in post-harvest losses among its users...[more]


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