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

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

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

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

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

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

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

— Kenneth Shepard (@shepardcdr) August 7, 2019

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Amazon is also encroaching on The Trade Desk's turf

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

— Jackson Proskow (@JProskowGlobal) August 8, 2019

 

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

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

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

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

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

American Express Business Gold Card

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The IHG Premier Card has an $89 annual fee. 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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NOW WATCH: Jeff Bezos is worth over $160 billion — here's how the world's richest man makes and spends his money

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Uber plunges 12% after losing more money than expected (UBER)

Thu, 08/08/2019 - 4:46pm  |  Clusterstock

  • Uber reported second-quarter earnings Thursday that fell short of analyst expectations. 
  • Shares tanked as much as 12% in aftermarket trading on the news. 
  • Uber's CEO Dara Khosrowshahi said that losses should come down in the next few years. 
  • Watch Uber trade live on Markets Insider.

Uber lost more money in the second quarter than experts expected.

Shares of Uber sank as much as 12% late Thursday after the company reported second-quarter earnings results that missed analyst expectations. It's worth noting, however, that Uber's stock rallied more than 8% during regular trading after riding the momentum of rival Lyft's strong report.

Here is what Uber reported versus what analysts surveyed by Bloomberg expected:

  • Revenue: $2.87 billion versus $3.05 billion expected
  • Earnings per share (GAAP): $-4.72 versus $-3.23 expected
  • Net loss: $5.24 billion, in-line with estimates
  • Gross bookings: $15.76 billion

The company posted a net loss of $5.24 billion for the quarter, which it said was mostly due to stock-based compensation from its May IPO. Without the stock-based compensation, losses were about $1.3 billion, 30% more than in the previous quarter. It also posted sales lower than what analysts expected. 

Revenue was $2.87 billion for the quarter, up 12% from the previous year but below the $3.05 billion that analysts anticipated. Gross bookings rose to $15.76 billion, an increase of 31%, but Uber Eats bookings were a smaller portion of that growth than analysts expected, bringing in only $3.39 million. 

The earnings miss comes just a day after Uber's top US competitor Lyft beat analyst expectations for its performance in the second quarter, sending shares up as much as 8%. Uber stock initially rose about 7% after Lyft's earnings beat. 

Uber's CEO Dara Khosrowshahi said that competition is cooling in the ride-hailing market. "We're definitely seeing the competitive environment improve," he said on a call Thursday. 

He also said that shrinking losses are in Uber's future. "We think that 2019 will be our peak investment year," he said. "In 2020, 2021, you'll see losses come down."

Uber was down 5% since its initial public offering through Thursday's close.

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NOW WATCH: Stewart Butterfield, co-founder of Slack and Flickr, says 2 beliefs have brought him the greatest success in life

Facebook is reportedly offering news publishers up to $3 million a year to license articles for an upcoming news section (FB)

Thu, 08/08/2019 - 4:36pm  |  Clusterstock

Facebook is offering millions of dollars to news publishers to license their content and include it in a special section of the social network, according to a report in the Wall Street Journal on Thursday. 

The report, which cites anonymous sources, said that Facebook executives have pitched the offer to publications including Bloomberg, The Washington Post, ABC News, and the Wall Street Journal's own parent company, Dow Jones. Facebook execs have said they would be willing to pay up to $3 million a year for the right to articles, the report said.

The articles would be included in a special section within Facebook devoted to news that the company hopes to launch later this year, according to the Journal.  

Facebook executives did not immediately return Business Insider's request for comment.

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Uber just reported massive losses that were larger than Wall Street expected — and the stock is sinking (UBER)

Thu, 08/08/2019 - 4:30pm  |  Clusterstock

  • Uber on Thursday reported second-quarter earnings that widely missed Wall Street expectations. 
  • The ride-hailing giant lost $4.72 per share on revenues of $3.17 billion.
  • A big chunk of Uber's massive $5.24 billion loss was because of stock-based compensation from its initial public offering earlier this year.
  • The stock was down as much as 12%, or $5.33, in after-hours trading.
  • Follow Uber's stock in real time here.

Uber on Thursday reported second-quarter losses that were wider than Wall Street's expectations. The stock was down as much as 12%, or $5.33, in after-hours trading.

Here are the important numbers: 

  • Revenue: $3.17 billion
  • Earnings per share (GAAP): -$4.72 versus -$3.23 expected
  • Net loss: $5.24 billion, in line with estimates
  • Gross bookings: $15.76 billion (up 37% year over year)

A major chunk of those losses, $3.9 billion, is from stock-based compensation to employees related to the company's initial public offering in May. It's a typical expense for companies who go public, and Uber previously warned in regulatory filings that this large expense would be occurring, so it likely isn't a surprise for investors. 

Even with the noncash expenses, Uber still burned through $920 million in cash during the three-month period. In the same period of 2018, the company spent $153 million.

"'We're very confident that this company, at maturity, can be cash-flow positive," CEO Dara Khosrowshahi said on a conference call with analysts. 

In order to stem its cash burn, Uber laid off 400 marketing employees last month. Those savings, which mostly affected brand marketing and weren't limited to any one geographic area, won't be seen until next quarter. 

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

"While we will continue to invest aggressively in growth, we also want it to be healthy growth, and this quarter we made good progress in that direction," Nelson Chai, Uber's chief financial officer, said in a press release.

Uber's stock has struggled to remain above its first trading price since its May IPO, but it got a major boost on Thursday following Lyft's earnings report on Wednesday afternoon. 

Lyft's report, 24 hours ahead of Uber, handily topped Wall Street expectations. The smaller company, which operates only in North America, as opposed to Uber's global reach, raised its guidance for investors. Wall Street now thinks Lyft could reach profitability sooner than previously expected.

Gross bookings, a closely watched measure for ride-hailing investors that includes most fares and Uber Eats receipts before paying drivers or couriers, reached $15.76 billion. That's a 37% increase from the previous year, Uber said. 

Troy Wolverton contributed to this report. 

More Uber news: 

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

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NOW WATCH: Jeff Bezos is worth over $160 billion — here's how the world's richest man makes and spends his money

34 companies funded by Stephen Ross, the Equinox and SoulCycle owner facing controversy due to ties with Trump

Thu, 08/08/2019 - 4:21pm  |  Clusterstock

  • The backlash against Equinox and SoulCycle in response to a Washington Post report that unearthed owner Stephen Ross' ties to President Donald Trump is showing no signs of slowing down.
  • Ross — an investor and real-estate mogul who also notably owns the Miami Dolphins — has an ownership stake in several other buzzy brands through his firms Related Cos. and RSE Ventures.
  • These brands include trendy eateries like Momofuku, Milk Bar, &pizza, and Bluestone Lane; media companies like VaynerMedia and Derris; and major sporting events, including the Miami Open and International Champions Cup.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

As angry consumers continue to cancel their Equinox memberships and SoulCycle classes upon learning of owner Stephen Ross' ties to President Donald Trump, many may be surprised to find out the investor's brand portfolio runs quite deep. 

Ross holds an ownership stake in 15 brands as the founder and chairman of Related Cos., including buzzy eateries like Momofuku and Bluestone Lane, as well as media companies like VaynerMedia. On Thursday morning, Related had blocked public access to view its list of brands, rendering a message that says "you are not authorized to access this page." Related has not yet responded to Business Insider's request to comment on the change.

Additionally, Ross' venture-capital firm, RSE Ventures — which specializes in sports, entertainment, media, and technology, according to its website — has backed numerous other companies across a wide spectrum of industries. 

Business Insider has reached out to all 34 brands listed as financially tied to Ross and has included their comments below.

Read more: People are threatening to quit Equinox and SoulCycle following a report that the chairman of the trendy fitness brands plans to host a Trump fundraiser

The boycotts erupted on Wednesday when The Washington Post reported that Ross would be hosting a fundraising event for Trump at his New York home in the Hamptons on Friday, with tickets selling for as much as $250,000.

In response, #GrabYourWallet founder Shannon Coulter urged consumers to boycott Ross-owned companies, and several notable figures, including Chrissy Teigen, Billy Eichner, and Ilana Glazer, said on social media they planned to cancel their Equinox memberships. 

On Wednesday night, Ross shared a statement with the Miami Herald reporter Adam Beasley, in which he mentioned his decades-long relationship with Trump and his intention to work with "leaders on both sides of the aisle" to address his "deep concern for creating jobs and growing our country's economy." 

"I always have been an active participate in the democratic process," Ross said in the response. "While some prefer to sit outside of the process and criticize, I prefer to engage directly and support the things I deeply care about. I have known Donald Trump for 40 years, and while we agree on some issues, we strongly disagree on many others and I have never been bashful about expressing my opinions."

We took a closer look at the companies in Ross' brand portfolio. Here they are:

SEE ALSO: Crunch Fitness is trying to win over people ditching Equinox and SoulCycle in protest of the trendy fitness brands' chairman's ties to Trump

Equinox

Equinox is a luxury fitness and lifestyle company that boasts several celebrity clients and pricey memberships.



Equinox issued a statement on Wednesday.

The company sought to distance itself from the fundraiser and said it had "nothing to do with the event" and did not support it.



SoulCycle

SoulCycle, which is owned by Equinox, is an upscale cycling studio. 



SoulCycle CEO Melanie Whelan responded to the controversy in a tweet on Wednesday.

The CEO said SoulCycle "in no way endorses" the Trump fundraiser hosted by Ross and the investor "is not involved in the management" of the company.



VaynerMedia

VaynerMedia is a digital-media company. A spokesperson for VaynerMedia declined to comment when contacted by Business Insider.



Bluestone Lane coffee

Bluestone Lane is a cafe and coffee company. 



&pizza

&pizza is a trendy pizza company primarily on the East Coast. 



Momofuku

On Thursday, David Chang, the founder and head chef of the Momofuku restaurant group, used his podcast, "The Dave Chang Show," to share an impassioned response denouncing Ross' ties to Trump. 

"I personally am a staunch opponent to President Trump and everything he stands for," Chang said on the podcast. "I f---ing hate him. Anyone that normalizes gun violence, white supremacy, putting kids into cages, his general lack of decency and respect for anyone else — he is destroying our democratic norms. I cannot stand behind him." 

Chang continued, thanking Ross for his support over the years before urging him to cancel the fundraiser. 

"I'm imploring you to reconsider hosting this fundraiser," he said. "It flies in the face of everything we believe in at Momofuku. It frightens many of the people that work for you, and it contradicts what I hoped to accomplish before taking your money in the first place."



Milk Bar

Milk Bar is a popular bakery run by Christina Tosi as part of the Momofuku restaurant group. 

 

 

 



Milk Bar CEO Christina Tosi issued a statement in the wake of the backlash.

Tosi wrote that Milk Bar "is in no way affiliated with the Trump fundraiser" and that "company decisions are all made independently by the Milk Bar team and me." The CEO also said that she personally did not support Trump's policies and that Milk Bar believes "unequivocally in equal rights for all."



Blink Fitness

Blink Fitness has more than 80 locations across the US. 



Snark Park

Snark Park is an experiential exhibition space in Hudson Yards in New York City.  



Pure Yoga

Pure Yoga is a series of yoga studios in New York City.



Starry

Virginia Lam Abrams, the spokesperson for the internet service provider Starry, wrote in a statement to Business Insider that Related is only a minority investor and holds no board seat for the privately held company. Still, Related plays an integral role in their business. 

"We work with Related Companies to connect their apartment communities with competitive, affordable broadband service," she wrote. "In particular, they are an important partner for us in enabling Starry to deploy free and low-cost internet access solutions in their affordable housing portfolio, which is the largest in the nation. As companies, we are aligned with the shared mission of lowering barriers to broadband access and providing consumers with competitive alternatives to the incumbent monopolies. That is what makes Related Companies a great partner as we grow and expand our network."

She added: "Mr. Ross's personal political viewpoints and his decision to host this fundraiser are entirely his own."



Pocket Living

Pocket Living helps first-time home owners navigate real estate in London. 



Dog City

Dog City is a dog day-care service. 



Hudson Yards

Related Cos. invested $25 billion in the development of Hudson Yards, the massive real-estate complex in New York City.



Core

Shaun Osher, the founder and CEO of the boutique real-estate firm Core, shared the below statement with Business Insider:

"As a naturalized American who immigrated to the US in my twenties from South Africa, and who lived for years in fear of being deported while my immigration status was being sorted, I hope that Mr. Ross spends his time with the President advocating for the humane treatment of all people wishing to live here in peace, immigrants and non-immigrants alike," he wrote.

He added: "I wish that all those attending the event push for the American dreams and values that brought me here in the first place. Anything less undermines the very idea of America's greatness  — a haven for those wishing to reach the highest potential for themselves and their families. The very reason so many of us risked everything to be here today."

 

 

 



Miami Dolphins

The Miami Dolphins are part of the NFL. 



Hard Rock Stadium

Hard Rock Stadium is home to the Miami Dolphins. 



Lola

Lola is a feminine-care company that sells organic tampons. 



International Champions Cup

The International Champions Cup is a major global soccer tournament. 



Miami Open

The Miami Open is an annual tennis tournament. 



Drone Racing League

DRL is a global professional racing league for drone pilots. It declined to comment.



Skout Cybersecurity

Skout delivers cybersecurity protection to companies.



Outstanding Foods

Outstanding Foods makes popular snacks like Pig Out Chips. 



Banza

Banza is a gluten-free-pasta company. 



Derris

Derris is the public-relations agency that represents buzzy brands like Glossier, Everlane, and Warby Parker. 



FanVision

FanVision develops mobile technology for car racing. 



Omaze

Omaze is an online fundraising platform. 



Krossover

Krossover is a sports-coaching service that offers post-game analysis and statistics.



Crossfield Digital

Crossfield Digital develops mobile apps and websites. 



Radiate

Radiate is a video-education company for C-suite executives. 



NextVR

NextVR is a virtual-reality company. 



PrimeSport

PrimeSport is a global sports-travel and event-management company.



Student Sports

Student Sports is a marketing organization for student athletes. 



June

June is a modern-appliance company that makes products for a smart and connected kitchen. 

Shoshy Ciment and Irene Jiang contributed reporting to this story. 



Stocks erase weekly losses as China trade-war tensions simmer

Thu, 08/08/2019 - 4:17pm  |  Clusterstock

Stocks erased weekly losses on Thursday after China continued to stabilize the yuan, alleviating worries of a currency war breaking out with the US. It also calmed nerves around the global trade conflict.

China set the yuan's fixing price just above 7 yuan per dollar — a higher-than-expected level — prompting investors to exit safe haven assets like bonds and gold.

Elsewhere, the yield on the 10-year Treasury note extended its weekly slump. Gold also dropped off its 6-year high and dipped below $1,500 during intraday trading. 

Here's a look at the major indexes as of the 4:00 p.m. close: 

Chinese said its exports rebounded from a 1.3% decline in June, and climbed 3.3% in July from the same month last year as shipments to Europe and Southeast Asia increased. The upbeat data lifted some uneasiness over trade tensions potentially pushing the global economy toward a recession. 

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Stocks experienced a sharp sell-off earlier in the week after China allowed the value of its currency to drop below 7 yuan per US dollar, sparking the initial fears of the trade war evolving into a battle of currencies. On Wednesday, Central banks in Thailand, New Zealand, and India took measures to prop up economic growth by lowering interest rates prompting a rally in global stocks. 

President Trump doubled-down on his criticism of the Federal Reserve on Thursday writing in a tweet that the central bank has "called it wrong at every step of the way." The president also said he was disappointed with the strength of the US dollar, which he has consistently supported weakening to make US exports cheaper and more competitive. 

Within the S&P 500, these were the largest gainers:

And the largest decliners:

Warren Buffet-backed Kraft Heinz slid as much as 16% to a record intraday low after the company's delayed-earnings results missed expectations. The food conglomerate also announced $1.2 billion in business write-downs. Buffet owns about 27% of the company. 

Shares of Lyft rose as much as 9% after the ride-sharing company reported second-quarter earnings that surpassed Wall Street forecasts. The company recorded $867 million in revenue during the second quarter, with a loss per share of $0.68. Analysts expected revenue of $809 million and a loss per share of $1.74. 

Every sector within the S&P 500 rose on Thursday, with both technology and energy stocks gaining more than 2%. 

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Cannabis-related job searches have skyrocketed over 650% in the past 3 years. Here's who's hiring and what skills you need to get in.

Thu, 08/08/2019 - 3:42pm  |  Clusterstock

  • Cannabis-related job postings in the US have quadrupled in the past three years as more states legalize the drug, according to a new report from the job site Indeed.
  • During the same time period, cannabis-related job searches increased 650%, indicated a huge demand for jobs in the brand new industry.
  • See below for a list of who's hiring, and sign up for our new cannabis newsletter, Cultivated

Cannabis legalization is spreading around the US and job-seekers are highly interested in the brand-new industry, according to a new report from the employment-search firm Indeed.

Since 2016, cannabis-related job searches have skyrocketed 650%, according to Indeed economist Andrew Flowers. Over the same time period, the number of cannabis-related job postings has quadrupled, from 231 per million in May 2016 to 915 per million in May 2019.

"There are very few industries have seen a seven-fold increase in job seeker searches in three years," Flowers said in an interview. "Very few." 

Read more: From a master's in medical cannabis to a minor in weed, these are the college programs growing the next crop of marijuana entrepreneurs

In the past year alone, cannabis-related job postings have increased by 90%, according to Flowers. And if you want to land a gig in the booming industry, your best bet is probably in sales and retail.

The most common cannabis job posting on Indeed is for "budtender," which is a person who works at a dispensary and helps customers navigate the plethora of pot products. Coming in at number two is "sales associate" followed by "sales representative."

The second basket of popular cannabis jobs is all around the growing and cultivating of the crop itself, for positions like "grower," "trimmer," and "agriculture technician." And third, medical cannabis companies are hiring pharmacists and physicians to help research cannabis-based drugs and diagnose patients.

This year, Harvest has the most job openings among US cannabis companies, followed by Smoker's Choice, and Cresco Labs. On the cannabis-tech side, Weedmaps is hiring lots of data scientists and software engineers.

A quick scan of Harvest's job board shows hiring across divisions include sales, marketing, retail, and legal, meaning there is lots of opportunity for those with different skill sets to jump into the cannabis industry.

Cannabis is legal for adult use in 11 states and medically legal in 33 states. Illinois became the latest state to legalize earlier this year.

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Leslie Wexner, the billionaire behind Victoria’s Secret, says disgraced financier Jeffrey Epstein misappropriated at least $46 million from him

Thu, 08/08/2019 - 12:29am  |  Clusterstock

  • Victoria's Secret billionaire Leslie Wexner said convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein "misappropriated vast sums of money" from his fortune while Epstein was his financial advisor.
  • Wexner was one of Epstein's only known clients, and observers say that Epstein's decades-long relationship to the high-powered billionaire contributed to his success
  • While the two had previously been described as "close personal friends," Wexner last month said he "regretted" ever crossing paths with Epstein and said he "completely severed" all ties with Epstein 12 years ago.
  • Epstein was arrested last month and charged with sex trafficking and conspiracy to commit sex trafficking. He has pleaded not guilty. If convicted, he faces up to 45 years in prison.

Victoria's Secret billionaire Leslie Wexner said convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein "misappropriated vast sums of money" from his fortune while Epstein was his financial advisor.

In a letter to members of his namesake Wexner Foundation, seen by the Wall Street Journal, the CEO and founder of L Brands, the parent company to Victoria's Secret, claimed that Epstein "had misappropriated vast sums of money from me and my family."

"This was, frankly, a tremendous shock, even though it clearly pales in comparison to the unthinkable allegations against him now," Wexner continued in the letter.

According to CNBC, Wexner's letter did not specify how much money was recovered from Epstein's financial mismanagement. Though according to The Journal, tax records indicate that Epstein made a $46 million contribution to a Wexner charitable fund in January 2008. In his letter, Wexner alleged in his letter that this amount represented only a "portion" of the total sum mishandled by Epstein.

He added that "every dollar" of that money originally belonged to the Wexner family. A representative for Wexner did not comment to The Journal on whether the "misappropriation" was reported to authorities.

Business Insider could not immediately reach an attorney for Epstein for comment.

According to the New York Times, Wexner gave Epstein power of attorney in 1991, handing the disgraced financier almost complete control of his financial affairs for more than a decade. The power allowed Epstein to hire people, sign checks, buy and sell properties, and even borrow money on Wexner's behalf. 

Wexner was also one of Epstein's only known clients, and observers say that Epstein's decades-long relationship to the high-powered billionaire contributed to his success. Epstein is said to have received millions of dollars from Wexner, and reportedly owned mansions and private planes previously owned by Wexner or his companies. 

Read more: Victoria's Secret billionaire Leslie Wexner gave near-total control of his finances to Jeffrey Epstein, according to a stunning new account of their controversial friendship 

While the two were described as "close personal friends" in a 2002 lawsuit, the relationship between them soured after charges of sexual misconduct against Epstein surfaced. Wexner last month wrote in a company memo that he "regretted" ever crossing paths with Epstein and said he "completely severed" all ties with Epstein 12 years ago.

Epstein pleaded guilty to state charges of soliciting prostitution in June 2008 and registered as a sex offender as part of a deal cut with the US Attorney's Office in Miami. He was sentenced to 18 months in prison but only served 13 months in a private wing of the Palm Beach County Jail where he was allowed to work in an office six days per week.

Epstein was arrested last month and charged with sex trafficking and conspiracy to commit sex trafficking. He has pleaded not guilty. If convicted, he faces up to 45 years in prison.

SEE ALSO: Jeffrey Epstein reportedly lived the life of a billionaire thanks to hand-me-downs from Victoria's Secret head Les Wexner

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NOW WATCH: Jeff Bezos is worth over $160 billion — here's how the world's richest man makes and spends his money

Eco-friendly home product maker Grove Collaborative acquires feminine care startup Sustain Natural for undisclosed amount

Thu, 08/08/2019 - 12:01am  |  Clusterstock

  • On Thursday, eco-friendly cleaning and home product maker Grove Collaborative announced it had acquired feminine care startup Sustain Natural for an undisclosed amount.
  • Meika Hollender, Sustain Natural's cofounder and CEO, will remain at the head of the Sustain brand under Grove Collaborative cofounder and CEO Stuart Landesberg.
  • At the time of the deal, Sustain had 15 full-time employees, Hollender confirmed to Business Insider. She said they had to "move away" from a significant portion of the team, but would not confirm how many, if any, were joining her at Grove Collaborative.
  • Hollender said Sustain Natural was fundraising when she was approached by Landesberg. 
  • The Vermont-based startup had raised a little over $10 million in three angel funding rounds since 2013. Its most recent round was in January, according to Pitchbook data.
  • Click here for more BI Prime stories.

Grove Collaborative, an eco-friendly home products startup, isn't letting its $212 million in venture funding go to waste.

On Thursday, the subscription service announced it was acquiring Vermont-based Sustain Natural, a sustainable line of feminine hygiene and sexual health products, for an undisclosed sum. 

"It's mind blowing that we got to sell our business to another B Corp that values sustainability," Sustain Natural cofounder and CEO Meika Hollender told Business Insider. A B Corp is a private certification given to for-profit companies focused on environmental sustainability. "I had mixed feelings about what an exit for Sustain would look like because we are so committed and mission driven," Hollender said.

Read More: Startups with women founders are on track to see record venture investment in 2019

Hollender will remain on as head of the new Sustain Naturals brand under Grove Collaborative cofounder and CEO Stuart Landesberg. Landesberg told Business Insider that he had been a fan of Hollender's for a while, and was pleased with how the partnership ultimately shook out given the similar missions and certifications of their businesses (both are certified B Corporations). 

"Who you can exit to has changed and that was exciting," Hollender said of the deal. "They can sell our product to their customers because they are our customers and we were going to go after them anyway."

Landesberg's company, which sells eco-friendly cleaning, home, and personal products as part of a subscription model, currently partners with Sustain Natural competitors Seventh Generation and Kora. Hollender's father, Jeffrey, was the cofounder and CEO of Seventh Generation before starting Sustain Naturals in 2013 with Meika.

"Beyond the incredible assortment and products Sustain has, we look up to Meika and the mission of Sustain," Landesberg told Business Insider. "We benefit from having the experience that Meika brings in and actually getting stuff done in a way that's pretty unusual."

Although Hollender will be joining Landesberg and team in Grove Collaborative's San Francisco headquarters, she said Sustain Natural had to "move away" from a significant portion of its 15-person team, but would not confirm how many, if any, were joining her at Grove Collaborative. The brand will act be a subsidiary of Grove Collaborative moving forward, so primary functions like customer service and acquisition will fall to the startup's 150-person team in Portland, Oregon. 

Sustain Natural had raised a little over $10 million in angel funding since 2013, according to Pitchbook data. The company most recently granted a majority ownership to Combe, the creator of feminine care products like Vagisil, for $2.5 million in January.

"We were getting ready to fundraise and whenever you are there, acquirers and that sort come knocking," Hollender said. "It has always been on our mind, but we were not actively looking for an exit at this moment."

SEE ALSO: 2 years after the founder of 500 Startups left amid sexual harassment allegations, 2 women are running the firm and setting a new bar in the male-dominated business

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NOW WATCH: How Area 51 became the center of alien conspiracy theories

A new lawsuit accuses Apple of violating user's privacy by allegedly allowing Siri to record without consent (AAPL)

Wed, 08/07/2019 - 6:27pm  |  Clusterstock

  • A recently filed class-action lawsuit accuses Apple of violating user privacy by allegedly recording consumers and minors with its Siri digital assistant without consent.
  • The lawsuit comes after The Guardian reported that the contractors Apple hires to evaluate Siri's performance regularly hear confidential interactions.
  • Apple announced that it was suspending its Siri grading program globally following the report.
  • Amazon also came under fire earlier this year over how it handles Alexa recordings.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories. 

Apple is facing a class-action lawsuit claiming that the company's Siri voice assistant is violating customer privacy by allegedly recording users without their consent.

The lawsuit, which Bloomberg first reported, comes after The Guardian discovered that the contractors Apple hires to evaluate Siri's performance regularly hear confidential interactions that may have occurred when Siri was triggered unintentionally. Apple announced that it was suspending its Siri grading program globally following the report.

The lawsuit alleges Siri users are being recorded without their consent and accuses Apple of failing to inform consumers that could happen.

Apple did not immediately respond to Business Insider's request for comment regarding the lawsuit.

Apple isn't the only company to come under fire for the way it manages recordings picked up by its virtual assistant. Privacy concerns over Amazon's Alexa bubbled up earlier this year after Bloomberg reported that the retail giant had hired thousands of people to listen to voice recordings captured by its Echo smart speakers to improve its accuracy. 

What happens to your Siri requests

When you ask Siri a question, your name and the request you've asked Siri is sent to Apple's voice-recognition servers. But that information is tied to a random identifier that your device generates, meaning it's not associated with your Apple ID.

The company saves voice recordings for up to six months at a time to improve Siri's accuracy. After that six-month period, it saves another copy of the data without its identifier for up to two years. Apple may also save some recordings, transcripts, and associated data beyond that two years to improve Siri, and in the past some of that data had gone through a grading process that involved human reviewers.

Apple has since suspended that grading program, but it's unclear if it made any other changes in regards to how it handles user data.

SEE ALSO: Apple's first foldable device could arrive in 2021, but it might not be an iPhone

Join the conversation about this story »

NOW WATCH: Here's why phone companies like Verizon and AT&T charge more for extra data



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