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DIGITAL ENGAGEMENT AND THE CONNECTED CAR: How cars are transforming into digital platforms and opening an entirely new channel for service providers

Posted: 04 Mar 2018 02:00 PM PST

monthlytimespentThis is a preview of a research report from BI Intelligence, Business Insider's premium research service. To learn more about BI Intelligence, click here.

Media consumption is at a saturation point. After rising for much of the last decade, total digital time spent has been nearly static since the start of 2015. As a result, it's increasingly difficult for content producers to win over minutes of consumers' time.

One platform, though, is poised to move the needle and provide a new avenue to boost digital time spent: the connected car. Consumers will spend more time in cars that offer a range of connectivity options, giving them the chance to use the services they know and love in the car.

The key question for service providers is how to take advantage of the connected car by integrating their services into this growing platform.

In a new report from BI Intelligence, we provide a roadmap for service providers looking to offer their services in the car. We analyze media consumption and overall digital time spent trends, and then forecast the growth of the connected car market in relation to the digital time opportunity. Finally, we propose potential routes that service providers can take to get into connected cars and ride-hailing vehicles.

Here are some of the key takeaways:

  • Digital time spent has become nearly static; however, people are spending more time in cars every year, and the growth of connected cars will likely turn these extra minutes into digital time.
  • Getting services into the car is more complicated than ever before, and will require service providers to take different approaches to integration.
  • The introduction of autonomous vehicles and the growth of ride-hailing services in the coming years will completely change what people can do in cars, which will alter the requirements for digital services in these developing platforms.

In full, the report:

  • Analyzes trends in digital time spent and the growth of connected cars.
  • Explains the connected-car ecosystem, where service providers fit in, and what relationships they need to succeed in the space.
  • Provides a detailed explanation of the future of connected cars, which will expand media consumption and offer new e-commerce and payments opportunities.

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

  1. Subscribe to an All-Access pass to BI Intelligence and gain immediate access to this report and over 100 other expertly researched reports. As an added bonus, you'll also gain access to all future reports and daily newsletters to ensure you stay ahead of the curve and benefit personally and professionally. >> Learn More Now
  2. Purchase & download the full report from our research store. >> Purchase & Download Now

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THE INSURTECH REPORT 2.0: The technologies disrupting the insurance industry and what incumbents can do to stay ahead

Posted: 04 Mar 2018 01:30 PM PST

Insurtech 2.0

Tech-driven disruption in the insurance industry continues at pace, and we're now entering a new phase — the adaptation of underlying business models. 

That's leading to ongoing changes in the distribution segment of the industry, but more excitingly, we are starting to see movement in the fundamentals of insurance — policy creation, underwriting, and claims management. 

This report from Business Insider Intelligence, Business Insider's premium research service, will briefly review major changes in the insurtech segment over the past year. It will then examine how startups and legacy players across the insurance value chain are using technology to develop new business models that cut costs or boost revenue, and, in some cases, both. Additionally, we will provide our take on the future of insurance as insurtech continues to proliferate. 

Here are some of the key takeaways:

  • Funding is flowing into startups and helping them scale, while legacy players have moved beyond initial experiments and are starting to implement new technology throughout their businesses. 
  • Distribution, the area of the insurance value chain that was first to be disrupted, continues to evolve. 
  • The fundamentals of insurance — policy creation, underwriting, and claims management — are starting to experience true disruption, while innovation in reinsurance has also continued at pace.
  • Insurtechs are using new business models that are enabled by a variety of technologies. In particular, they're using automation, data analytics, connected devices, and machine learning to build holistic policies for consumers that can be switched on and off on-demand.
  • Legacy insurers, as opposed to brokers, now have the most to lose — but those that move swiftly still have time to ensure they stay in the game.

 In full, the report:

  • Reviews major changes in the insurtech segment over the past year.
  • Examines how startups and legacy players across distribution, insurance, and reinsurance are using technology to develop new business models.
  • Provides our view on what the future of the insurance industry looks like, which Business Insider Intelligence calls Insurtech 2.0.

Subscribe to an All-Access pass to Business Insider Intelligence and gain immediate access to:

This report and more than 250 other expertly researched reports
Access to all future reports and daily newsletters
Forecasts of new and emerging technologies in your industry
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Facebook cofounder Chris Hughes reveals how one conversation he had with Mark Zuckerberg in the rain at Harvard set the course for his life

Posted: 04 Mar 2018 12:25 PM PST

chris hughes

  • Chris Hughes was one of Mark Zuckerberg's roommates and a Facebook cofounder who helped with user experience and media outreach.
  • One rainy night in 2004, Hughes and Zuckerberg had a conversation that resulted in Hughes getting a 2% ownership stake.
  • The stake was worth $500 million when Facebook went public in 2012.
  • Hughes has recently reflected on that fateful night, saying it's a motivation behind his current crusade for a guaranteed income for low-income Americans.

One rainy night in March 2004, Chris Hughes had a conversation with his Harvard roommate that would radically change the course of his life.

His roommate was Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, and the conversation would lead to Hughes making half a billion dollars eight years later.

Hughes is one of the four cofounders who helped turn one of Zuckerberg's dorm projects into a real company, and despite working on the site for three years, he's come to terms with the major role luck has had in his life.

It's a theme he explores in his new book "Fair Shot," and one he discussed with us for an episode of Business Insider's "Success! How I Did It" podcast.

You can listen to the full episode below:

Hughes, 34, explores how his unlikely and sudden rise from a privileged but solidly middle class upbringing to a spot among the United States' wealthiest has recently made him reconsider his role in the world — and it's why he's now advocating for a guaranteed income for working low-income Americans.

He told us he has firsthand knowledge of how the wealth gap in the US can seem so illogical.

"But that is how the economy is working today," he told us. "These small decisions, small conversations like the one I talk about in the book, where Mark Zuckerberg and I went on a walk a couple of months after Facebook had launched and we had an equity conversation," are all that it sometimes takes to separate the 1% from the rest.

The night of that conversation, Hughes was working his $10/hour job at the Hicks House library, checking student IDs. He and Zuckerberg were chatting over AOL Instant Messenger about Facebook, which was about to expand beyond Harvard to new schools. They decided to discuss Hughes' ownership stake in person.

Hughes grabbed his umbrella and met Zuckerberg by their dorm entrance and, sharing the umbrella, went for a walk — it was a conversation they needed to have in private, without risk of their roommates overhearing.

"I came out of the gate saying, 'I want 10% of the company,'" Hughes told us. "He was stressed; I was stressed. It was not the best setup."

Hughes had helped with the site's user experience, and as the cofounder Zuckerberg had deemed him the most socially adept, helped with marketing and arranging the company's earliest media coverage. He felt the 10% ask was "ambitious, but not entirely unreasonable."

As Hughes remembered it in his book, Zuckerberg replied: "I just don't think you've earned that much. I appreciate what you are doing, and I think you could do a lot more as we grow the site, but I need to keep control. And the others need fair equity too."

dustin moskovitz, chris hughes, mark zuckerbergHughes said he stayed in silent thought, considering that the conversation might be more important than friends discussing just another startup. The rain was coming down heavily, and they walked quickly under the single umbrella around campus.

"I am conflict-averse by nature," Hughes wrote, and realized he wasn't as confident about his request as he thought, noting that "my role was secondary and I knew it. I wasn't in a position to make demands, but I was anxious to become more involved."

Hughes made a case for himself as they walked, but caved by the time they reached Harvard's central library, Widener.

"Just give me what you think is fair," Hughes remembered telling Zuckerberg. "I know it's hard to balance all of us." Zuckerberg replied with just an "OK" and walked off into the rain, without even a hood on.

A few weeks later, Hughes discovered Zuckerberg gave him 2%, the lowest stake of the cofounders by multiples, and the stake would shrink a bit when Facebook was reincorporated later in the year.

This stake, however, still brought Hughes about $500 million after the company's IPO in 2012. He told us that for that reason, that discussion in the rain "was at once a spectacular failure of negotiation and also the most successful conversation of my life."

He's reflected on it lately, extrapolating it to the rest of American society. "But what keeps happening in this economy is these small chance events have these outsized impacts, because there's a snowballing effect, because of the winner-take-all kind of system," he said.

"So that what seemed like passing conversations in the rain, in college, can have these outsized effects. That's a new phenomenon. Never before in history have 20-somethings been able to create these companies."

SEE ALSO: Facebook cofounder Chris Hughes reveals how a walk with Mark Zuckerberg changed his life — and the strange feeling he had when he suddenly became extremely wealthy at age 29

DON'T MISS: Facebook cofounder Chris Hughes made $500 million practically overnight — and his sudden wealth changed the way he saw success forever

Join the conversation about this story »

NOW WATCH: LinkedIn's founder explains how Mark Zuckerberg transformed from an awkward kid to one of tech's best CEOs

These 3 companies could sprint ahead of Wall Street when it comes to cryptocurrency

Posted: 04 Mar 2018 10:41 AM PST

Tom Lee

  • 2018 and 2019 could be a big for the cryptocurrency market, according to Fundstrat. 
  • The firm predicts bitcoin will hit $25,000 by the end of 2018, and sees three companies possibly launching their own digital coins. 

Fundstrat, the research firm, is predicting the next two years will be big for bitcoin and the world of crypto

In a note out to clients, analysts led by Tom Lee said at least three companies could issue their own digital tokens in 2018 and 2019. They also doubled down on their bullish forecast for bitcoin, which they say could reach $25,000 by year-end. 

"The fundamental story of crypto is improving in 2018," according to Fundstrat. "And improving apps, such as Robinhood, and now Circle (acquiring Poloniex), are [creating] new on ramps for users this year."

Robinhood, the California brokerage known for its popular stock-trading app, launched Robinhood Crypto in February. On Monday, payments company Circle announced its acquisition of crypto exchange Poloniex. It is also working on launching its own crypto-trading smart phone app, Circle Invest. 

Bitcoin gripped the attention of Wall Street and Main Street as its soared to almost $20,000 in December 2017. The start of 2018 was rough to the digital coin, throwing it all the way down to $5,900 at the beginning of February. But a quick read of the chart indicates that the rest of the year will be bullish for bitcoin. Here's Fundstrat:

"In 6 of the last 7 years, bitcoin posted its annual low within the first 60 days, before March. In 2018, bitcoin was down 50% by Feb 6 (36 days), which falls within that time frame. In other words, as we enter March, this is another reason to view 5,900 as THE LOW for the year and we see bitcoin reaching $20,000 by mid-year and $25,000 by year-end."

As for the crypto ecosystem more broadly, Fundstrat notes three non-financial companies are in the process of issuing or could issue their own digital coins in 2018 or 2019.

Starbucks, the ubiquitous coffee maker, is one company that could dive into crypto in the next 12 to 24 months, Fundstrat said. It's something the company has hinted at before. 

"I think blockchain technology is probably the rails in which an integrated app at Starbucks will be sitting on top of," Howard Schultz, the company's executive chairman, told Fox Business on Tuesday.  

Schultz mentioned the possibility of launching a "proprietary digital currency" as part of those efforts.

Line, a Japanese company, could also launch a digital currency exchange in the next 12 to 24 months.

"The company said it has started the process of registering a virtual currency exchange with the Financial Services Agency but gave no indication as to when this will likely bear fruit," Fundstrat wrote. "Likely to launch a token in conjunction with this effort."  

Also, ecommerce company Rakuten is one company that has already announced it's launching a cryptocurrency based on its loyalty program. 

Meanwhile, Wall Street banks are staying far away from digital currencies. Financial advisers employed by Bank of America Merrill Lynch were instructed to not hawk Grayscale's Bitcoin Investment Trust, an investment product that seeks to mirror the price of bitcoin, to clients. JPMorgan head Jamie Dimon famously called bitcoin "a fraud," and he once said he would fire bankers who trade it for being stupid. 

Join the conversation about this story »

NOW WATCH: Here's why the recent stock market sell-off could save us from a repeat of "Black Monday"

11 truths about flying only flight attendants know

Posted: 04 Mar 2018 10:32 AM PST

flight attendants secrets flying

  • Flight attendants tend to know more about flying than the average passenger.
  • To unearth their secrets, we turned to the experts and asked them what most people don't know about flying.
  • Among the secrets were that you can't actually open the plane door mid-flight (though some have tried) and that many flight attendants avoid drinking the coffee.

No one has more insider knowledge about flying than flight attendants.

By talking to these veteran globetrotters, we unearthed 11 secrets about flying.

Whether you want more attentive service or want to avoid getting kicked off your flight, read on for the inside scoop.

SEE ALSO: A day in the life of a United Airlines flight attendant, who woke up before 3 a.m. and ran circles around me for 9 hours

DON'T MISS: Most people only see part of a flight attendants' job — here are the behind-the-scenes secrets you never knew

READ MORE: A look inside the secret, crew-only lounge where flight attendants hang out when they're not flying

You can't physically open a door mid-flight — and trying could get you kicked off the plane.

Annette Long, a flight attendant with 17 years of experience, told Business Insider that though opening a door mid-flight is impossible, trying to do so would still get you into trouble.

As we've seen in previous incidents, passengers who try to make a jump for it while the plane is in the air usually wind up restrained during the flight and in handcuffs once the plane lands.

In some cases, pilots will make an emergency landing to get the passenger off the flight.

"I don't make those decisions," Long said. "I convey the information to the cockpit and the chief flight attendant, and they make the decision about whether or not we're going to land and get someone off the plane.

Long added: "Most of the pilots say to us, 'If you've got a problem with them, I've got a problem with them,' and they will back us up 100%."



The plane isn't getting cleaned as much as you'd hope.

"The dirtiest part of the plane has to be the tray tables — people constantly lay their heads on them, change babies' diapers, and rest their feet on them," a flight attendant for JetBlue told Business Insider. "I wouldn’t eat off of that even after sanitizing it."

What's more, Long said, "remember, they're using a rag to start row one, and when they end up in row 35, that rag has wiped a lot of tables."

Passengers rarely see or consider unsanitary incidents on the plane, like accidents in the lavatory or a passenger's seat.

"Just so you know, when you go to the bathroom and you're barefoot, or you're in your socks, that's not water on the floor," Long said, adding, "It's just not the cleanest environment."



Flight attendants aren't really supposed to help you lift your bags.

Flight attendants have told Business Insider that they get paid only for flight hours, not for time spent boarding or deplaning.

"So for example, your duty day could actually be 12 hours, but you only get paid for six hours of work," one flight attendant said.

Flight attendants' unions won't cover them if they get injured trying to lift your bags into the overhead bin. And since being out of work and out of money is no fun for anybody, you shouldn't expect flight attendants to take that risk for you.



See the rest of the story at Business Insider

3 crypto exchanges are planning to hire more than 1,000 staff — but it's not going to be easy

Posted: 04 Mar 2018 10:06 AM PST

FILE PHOTO -  A monitor shows various cryptocurrencies' exchange rates against Japanese Yen including NEM coin (middle in the top) at 'nem bar', where customers can pay with NEM coins, in Tokyo, Japan January 29, 2018. REUTERS/Kim Kyung-Hoon

  • A slew of crypto exchanges are looking to hire, with Coinbase, Kraken, and Circle preparing to double their head count in 2018.  
  • Between them, they're looking to add around 1,250 staff. 
  • "There is a significant shortage of people who have expertise and acumen in this space," said Mike Poutre, the chief executive of The Crypto Company, a crypto market structure firm.

 

If you know someone looking for a job in the crypto, tell them the exchanges are hiring en masse. 

Exchanges -- the gate keepers of the crypto world where buyers and sellers come together and tokens change hands -- struggled to shepherd a niche market into the mainstream during the crypto boom of 2017. 

At the end of 2017 -- when bitcoin was trading close to $20,000 -- 24-hour trading volumes across the cryptocurrency market soared as high $70 billion. At the same time, hundreds of thousands of new users jumped on the bandwagon. This precipitated countless exchange outages and even forced a handful of exchanges to close their doors to new users

Volumes have since come back down to Earth since the beginning of 2018. Still, at around $20 billion, they are still four times higher than they were in November of last year. But the relative calmness of the market has provided a chance for crypto exchanges to take a breath and ramp up hiring. 

Coinbase, Kraken, and Circle, which recently announced its  acquisition of crypto exchange Poloneix, are all looking to double their headcount in 2018. Many of those positions will be in the back office, working on building out systems to fend off the type of outages that were wide-spread in 2017. Bulking up customer service teams is another priority. 

"We're effectively doubling the numbers in terms of headcount, from roughly 250 to 500," Dan Romero, VP and general manager at San Francisco-based Coinbase, told Business Insider. 

The company has more than 50 job posts on LinkedIn, spanning positions from compliance to tech to customer services to human resources. 

It's the same story over at Kraken, another San Francisco exchange. A person familiar with the company's operations said it is on the fast track to 1,000 employees and it's prepared to add 800 people to its staff in 2018. 

Sean Neville, the cofounder of Circle, told Business Insider that the company, which has under 200 employees, is set to double its head count within the year. 

"There is some work to do in addressing customer support requests and technical issues," Neville said. 

There's no doubt that this will be a tough feat, especially considering how rare crypto and blockchain talent is.

"There is a significant shortage of people who have expertise and acumen in this space," said Mike Poutre, the chief executive of The Crypto Company, a crypto market structure firm. "A lot of them who are well-versed in these topics are pretty financially independent."

Join the conversation about this story »

NOW WATCH: Here's a great explanation of what the blockchain is from the person tasked with explaining it to the world

The US Navy's next advanced aircraft carrier is 70% complete — watch the latest 888-ton chuck drop into place

Posted: 04 Mar 2018 09:57 AM PST

One of Wall Street's best stock pickers isn't losing sleep over the tech industry's biggest fear

Posted: 04 Mar 2018 09:18 AM PST

Mark Zuckerberg

  • The biggest fear facing mega-cap tech companies is the prospect of regulation.
  • Matt Moberg, who manages the $5 billion Franklin DynaTech Fund, is non-plussed by the prospect of increased regulatory oversight, arguing companies have survived such shake-ups in the past.

Around Silicon Valley, "regulation" is a dirty word, and one that strikes fear in the hearts of even the wealthiest and most successful executives.

Look no further than a recent panel at the World Economic Forum in Davos, where Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff expressed worry. Meanwhile, Alphabet CFO Ruth Porat deflected questions on the prospect of more regulatory oversight, calling an inquiry about whether Google is too big an "unanswerable question."

Matt Moberg, a portfolio manager who oversees the $5 billion Franklin DynaTech Fund, shares no such worries or reservations.

As a long-term investor, he's focused on the big picture. And he says even if mega-cap tech titans like Facebook and Alphabet are forced to — heaven forbid — break up, historical precedent suggests that things could end up OK in the end, if not better.

In an interview with Business Insider, Moberg elaborated on those thoughts and also discussed how his European history degree informs his investment decisions and outlined his unique approach to diversification. Read the full story here. Here's what Moberg had to say (emphasis ours):

"Even big concerns like the regulations that could affect mega-cap tech companies, we’ve seen that play out before. So we have a playbook. And while it’s not the same, they’re great reference points.

Quite frankly, things rarely end that poorly. Even if these companies get broken up, their break-ups actually end up being great companies themselves. Doing this gives us some confidence over the long term."

SEE ALSO: Meet the wildly successful portfolio manager whose history degree is his secret weapon for crushing Wall Street

Join the conversation about this story »

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THE MOBILE PAYMENTS REPORT: Key strategies that wallet providers can implement to break from disappointing growth

Posted: 04 Mar 2018 09:05 AM PST

mobile payments lumiscapeThis is a preview of a research report from BI Intelligence, Business Insider's premium research service. To learn more about BI Intelligence, click here.

In the US, the in-store mobile wallet space is becoming increasingly crowded. Most customers have an option provided by their smartphone vendor, like Apple, Android, or Samsung Pay. But those are often supplemented by a myriad of options from other players, ranging from tech firms like PayPal, to banks and card issuers, to major retailers and restaurants.

With that proliferation of options, one would expect to see a surge in adoption. But that’s not the case — though BI Intelligence projects that US in-store mobile payments volume will quintuple in the next five years, usage is consistently lagging below expectations, with estimates for 2019 falling far below what we expected just two years ago. 

As such, despite promising factors driving gains, including the normalization of NFC technology and improved incentive programs to encourage adoption and engagement, it’s important for wallet providers and groups trying to break into the space to address the problems still holding mobile wallets back. These issues include customer satisfaction with current payment methods, limited repeat purchasing, and consumer confusion stemming from fragmentation. But several wallets, like Apple Pay, Starbucks’ app, and Samsung Pay, are outperforming their peers, and by delving into why, firms can begin to develop best practices and see better results.

A new report from BI Intelligence addresses how in-store mobile payments volume will grow through 2021, why that’s below past expectations, and what successful cases can teach other players in the space. It also issues actionable recommendations that various providers can take to improve their performance and better compete.

Here are some of the key takeaways:

  • US in-store mobile payments will advance steadily at a 40% compound annual growth rate (CAGR) to hit $128 billion in 2021. That’s suppressed by major headwinds, though — this is the second year running that BI Intelligence has halved its projected growth rate.
  • To power ahead, US wallets should look at pockets of success. Banks, merchants, and tech providers could each benefit from implementing strategies that have worked for early leaders, including eliminating fragmentation, improving the purchase journey, and building repeat purchasing.
  • Building multiple layers of value is key to getting ahead. Adding value to the user experience and making wallets as simple and frictionless as possible are critical to encouraging adoption and keeping consumers engaged. 

In full, the report:

  • Sizes the US in-store mobile payments market and examines growth drivers.
  • Analyzes headwinds that have suppressed adoption.
  • Identifies three strategic changes providers can make to improve their results.
  • Evaluates pockets of success in the market.
  • Provides actionable insights that providers can implement to improve results.

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

  1. Subscribe to an ALL-ACCESS Membership with BI Intelligence and gain immediate access to this report AND more than 250 other expertly researched deep-dive reports, subscriptions to all of our daily newsletters, and much more. >> Learn More Now
  2. Purchase and download the report from our research store. >> Purchase & Download Now

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Here's why Spotify is bypassing the normal IPO process — and why more companies don't do it

Posted: 04 Mar 2018 08:09 AM PST

spotify daniel ek

  • Spotify on Wednesday filed an F-1 prospectus for its so-called "direct listing."
  • It follows the company's confidential filing of initial public offering documents at the end of December.
  • Spotify is perfectly positioned to effectively use a direct listing due to its unique combination of name-brand recognition and an already-massive private market valuation.
  • Just because Spotify is doing a direct listing doesn't mean other companies should follow suit. It's a risky process, and one not built for everyone.
  • "When we think about why companies go public, they do it for liquidity, to raise their profile, for capital," John Tuttle, head of global listings at NYSE, told Business Insider. "But for those companies that are well-capitalized, all they really need is liquidity."

Spotify is entering uncharted waters as it attempts to go to market without a traditional initial public offering — but its approach isn't as crazy as it seems.

The 10-year-old Swedish company filed an F-1 prospectus for a direct public offering on Wednesday, outlining its plan to list shares on the New York Stock Exchange under the ticker "SPOT." Spotify listed a valuation of 1 billion euros, although that figure is likely to change.

At the core of the company's so-called direct listing is an enviable combination of two main factors: (1) huge name-brand recognition and (2) an already-massive private market valuation. Those put Spotify into rarefied air, giving it flexibility to pursue a public offering in a way that's not usually seen.

In order to fully comprehend what Spotify is doing, it's important to understand the mechanics of a direct listing, how it differs from a normal IPO and, perhaps most importantly, the rationale for doing one. That goes a long way towards explaining why it's so rare for a company to do one.

Here's a handy guide to understanding the method behind Spotify's move:

What is a direct listing?

Kathleen Smith, principal of Renaissance Capital, said recently that doing a direct listing is like opening a store and hoping people will just stop by. Erin Griffith of Fortune once cleverly said that "if an IPO is like a wedding, a direct listing is running off to elope."

By listing shares for sale on an exchange, a company cuts out the middle man. That means foregoing the usual process of enlisting underwriters who market the stock to institutional investors.

In other words, the company is flying solo and hoping there's already enough pent-up investor interest. And it's saving itself from having to pay hefty fees in the process.

So how does Spotify arrive at a trading price on its first day of trading? After all, a normal IPO arrives in the market with a price that's been established through the maneuverings of underwriters.

In the end, it'll be the type of auction that takes place when a stock is first available for trading — except without that initial pricing backstop. That likely means at least one day of highly volatile movements as investors discover a price. It's relatively uncharted territory, and as Bloomberg's Matt Levine pointed out in a recent column, it "will be a whole new kind of fun."

Why is Spotify planning to do one, and what does it mean for existing investors?

As mentioned above, doing a direct listing can save millions of dollars in underwriting fees. However, that alone is no reason to do one. Most companies would experience major issues building demand without a banking contingency marketing its shares behind the scenes. Spotify's willingness to bypass underwriters shows how big of a wager the company is making on its existing investment profile.

And it makes sense when you look at where Spotify stands right now. The company said last week that it had reached 70 million subscribers, while it received a private market valuation of as much as $19 billion last year. With those statistics in mind, it's perhaps a little easier to understand that the company would bet on itself.

In the end, Spotify doesn't need public investors to achieve a huge market valuation. All it needs is more share liquidity — something that an exchange offers that the company can't get anywhere else.

"When we think about why companies go public, they do it for liquidity, to raise their profile, for capital," John Tuttle, head of global listings at NYSE, told Business Insider. "But for those companies that are well-capitalized, all they really need is liquidity."

Tuttle also noted that direct listings are "not for every company."

So what does this all mean for existing investors? Most importantly, they won't have their holdings diluted by underwriters or large institutions.

Recode's Edmund Lee perfectly summarized Spotify CEO Daniel Ek's reasoning in a recent article: "Why give all that money to brokers and big funds instead of to people who own Spotify, like his investors, his employees and Ek himself?"

Why doesn't every company do one?

The answer to this question can be mostly figured out through the rationale offered above, and it's pretty simple: only the most highly-valued and publicly-visible companies are equipped to pull off a direct listing.

Spotify is in a unique situation, having achieved a so-called "unicorn" valuation multiple times over, while also being tied to the music-listening habits of millions of people across the globe. It's well-positioned to thrive on the open market without the investment banking infrastructure that normally props up a newly-public company.

What are the risks?

At the time of listing, the deal hasn't been shopped around to large institutions that have historically been known to buy big chunks of shares and hold on to them for far longer than the average day trader.

This leaves the stock more exposed to volatility, which can be a double-edged sword, and might ultimately dissuade those institutions from entering the shares as a stabilizing force. Also contributing to price swings will be the price discovery outlined above — which will occur when Spotify shares hit the market without underwriter help.

Another risk — albeit one that doesn't matter to Spotify directly — is that a successful direct listing could inspire copycats to try and circumvent the IPO process. As stated throughout, Spotify is uniquely positioned to thrive through a direct offering, and other companies might not be so fortunate.

Frank Chaparro contributed reporting.

SEE ALSO: MORGAN STANLEY: We've entered the final stage of the stock market's remarkable rally

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THE US SMART HOME MARKET REPORT: Systems, apps, and devices leading to home automation

Posted: 04 Mar 2018 08:03 AM PST

smart home voice assistant benefits

This is a preview of a research report from BI Intelligence, Business Insider's premium research service. To learn more about BI Intelligence, click here.

The US smart home market has still yet to meet the expectations many observers had in the early part of this decade.

The same issues BI Intelligence first identified back in 2015 still plague the space — persistently high prices, technological fragmentation, and consumers' lack of a perceived benefit from the devices.

But the newfound popularity of smart home voice control has revolutionized smart home ecosystems across the country, and convinces more consumers to equip their homes with smart devices on a daily basis. The Amazon Echo, released in 2014, has become immensely popular and capable, awakening users to the utility of both voice control and smart home devices. This has prompted companies to rush to release competing devices and integrate voice control into their smart home ecosystems.

In a new report from BI Intelligence, we examine the overall state of the US smart home market — both the professionally and self-installed markets. We analyze the factors driving demand for smart home devices and smart home voice speakers, and discuss the future of voice control in the home.

Here are some key takeaways from the report:

  • Voice control is becoming a key remote interface within the home, a trend that began with the introduction of the Amazon Echo in 2014. Since then, Google, Samsung, and Apple have all integrated voice control into their smart home ecosystems.
  • While progress has been made, prices are still too high and consumers still have yet to show strong demand for smart home devices.
  • The US smart home market is only now entering the mass market phase of consumer adoption and overcoming the chasm that it sat in back in 2015.

In full, the report:

  • Analyzes current consumer demand for smart home devices based off results from BI Intelligence's proprietary survey.
  • Forecasts future growth in the number of smart home devices installed in American homes.
  • Analyzes the factors influencing the proliferation of voice control devices in the homes.
  • Identifies and analyzes the market strategies of various companies that have integrated voice control into their smart home ecosystems.

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

  1. Subscribe to an All-Access pass to BI Intelligence and gain immediate access to this report and over 100 other expertly researched reports. As an added bonus, you'll also gain access to all future reports and daily newsletters to ensure you stay ahead of the curve and benefit personally and professionally. >> Learn More Now
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Here's what happens to your body when you've been in virtual reality for too long

Posted: 04 Mar 2018 08:00 AM PST

playstation VR

If you're anything like me, you've probably wondered how long you could hide from the real world in your virtual-reality (VR) headset, and questioned what would happen if you spent extended hours in the digital world. 

The easy answers are: not very long, and very unpleasant things, respectively.

The complicated answer is that everyone experiences VR differently, and not all VR headsets or platforms are created equal, so certain games on certain headsets on certain people are going to cause more problems than others. The makers of the most popular VR headsets, the Oculus Rift and HTC Vive, recommend taking "at least a 10 to 15 minute break every 30 minutes, even if you don't think you need it."

Here are a few things that can happen if you spend too much time in VR, and some hilarious videos to demonstrate:

SEE ALSO: A large number of people have come out saying VRChat has saved their lives — here's what it's like to experience the online meeting place of the 21st century

LOSS OF SPATIAL AWARENESS

In every guide to getting started with VR, step number one is always to make sure that the area around you is clear of any furniture, cables, animals, small children or other things you could trip on, run into, or knock over.

This is especially true for full-room VR experiences like those provided by the HTC Vive, but is equally important for those who are using a stationary or seated game.

Spending more than the recommended 30 minutes in VR will — in nearly every case — cause you to lose spatial awareness of the room around you. After 30 minutes, it is much more difficult to identify where things are in the physical world, from inside your headset.

Here's an example of what can go wrong when this happens:

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DIZZINESS AND DISORIENTATION

Disorientation varies very widely among VR users. Those who are prone to motion sickness or vertigo are much more likely to experience uncomfortable disorientation while in VR, but the feeling can happen to anyone that hasn't taken a break in awhile. 

Games that involve flying, high-speed movement, heights and falling are known to cause extreme disorientation and should be avoided by anyone prone to this kind of reaction. 

Makers of VR headsets say that you should take off the equipment immediately if you feel dizzy at all, to avoid accidents like the one this guy had:

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SEIZURES

Most makers of VR equipment don't recommend people with epileptic conditions or special sensitivities to rapidly changing light try the experience, but these symptoms can occur even if the user has never experienced a seizure before. 

According to the instructional booklet that comes with the Oculus Rift:

Some people (about 1 in 4000) may have severe dizziness, seizures, eye or muscle twitching or blackouts triggered by light flashes or patterns, and this may occur while they are watching TV, playing video games or experiencing virtual reality, even if they have never had a seizure or blackout before or have no history of seizures or epilepsy.

The likelihood of having a VR-induced seizure is compounded by the number of hours you spend in the headset without a break, so a good rule of thumb is to treat VR like playing a sport. Every so often, take a break for water, and catch your breath.



See the rest of the story at Business Insider

The evidence is piling up that Amazon will choose Washington, DC for its HQ2 (AMZN)

Posted: 04 Mar 2018 07:50 AM PST

washington dc

  • There is now some compelling evidence that Amazon is looking very closely at the Washington, DC area for its second headquarters, called HQ2.
  • Hints the company has dropped — both on purpose and inadvertently — are starting to add up.
  • There are other reasons why the company may want to place its headquarters in DC.

The race for Amazon's second headquarters is heating up, and Washington, DC, just might be in the lead. 

The evidence is now piling up that Amazon is looking seriously at the nation's capital for its HQ2. After all, it might be the only place large enough to capture the company's growing ambitions across multiple sectors with its high-profile colleges, strong transportation system, and high concentration of powerful people.

Here are all of the reasons it's looking likely that DC will be chosen for Amazon's HQ2:

SEE ALSO: Amazon might soon send you a photo of your own front door — here's why

An article on a local news site in Arlington, Virginia, blew up overnight, and the site says the views mostly came from what appears to be an internal Amazon.com page.

A local news site called ARLnow.com said it recently saw an unusual spike in traffic to an article from December titled "County Wins Top Environmental Award from US Green Building Council," explaining how Arlington County was the first in the US to be selected for an environmental award.

ARLnow.com speculated that the page was linked closely with Amazon's search for the city for its second headquarters, dubbed HQ2, and that the traffic spike indicated Arlington is being considered seriously.



Amazon has drastically increased its lobbying efforts.

Amazon has rapidly expanded its DC lobbying efforts in the last five years, according to Bloomberg.

The company has increased its lobbying spending by more than 400% in the last five years. It has also widely expanded both the number of issues and the number of entities it lobbies, according to Bloomberg. To do this, it has nearly doubled the number of lobbyists it employs.

The company is reportedly fighting to be seen as a job creator rather than a job taker. It's working to have more influence in Washington as it expands and moves rapidly into areas like drone aviation, cloud computing, and grocery.

In 2015, Amazon hired Jay Carney — press secretary under former President Barack Obama — to oversee corporate affairs, and he now oversees the DC policy office, which opened in 2014.

These moves are also powerful signifiers of a desire to have more influence in Washington. One way Amazon could have more influence is by relocating some of its corporate operations in or near the city. It could do that with its HQ2 project, which promises to bring significant investment to the chosen area.



Three of the 20 remaining HQ2 contenders are in the DC metro area.

Northern Virginia and Montgomery County, which border Washington, DC, are the only proposals under consideration that are not from a major city.

Additionally, DC is the only metro area with three separate locations appearing on the short list. 

That may indicate that Amazon has selected DC as its most desirable area for HQ2.

The battle among the three locations is likely to be the fiercest, as they won't be able to point to the region as a differentiating factor and must throw in their best incentives. No other locations on the list are as close and have this degree of disadvantage.

 



See the rest of the story at Business Insider

SpaceX faces a growing list of competitors in the new space race — here's what their futuristic rockets will do

Posted: 04 Mar 2018 07:20 AM PST

elon musk laugh smile face expression falcon heavy rocket press conference feb 6 2018 reuters RTX4RL3G

Once the butt-end of rocket industry jokes, SpaceX has completely disrupted the world's market for launches with high-performance, increasingly low-cost, and ever-more-reusable rockets.

Founded by entrepreneur Elon Musk in 2002, SpaceX did not have an easy start — it was bordering on bankruptcy in 2008 after three failed launches.

Today the aerospace company has about $10 billion worth of launches booked, built the world's most powerful operational rocket, and touts an ambitious goal to colonize Mars.

Its success has so far relied on its workhorse launcher: the 229-foot-tall Falcon 9 rocket. But continued industry dominance is anything but guaranteed.

In the near future, Musk and SpaceX will face competition from a number of companies, including Jeff Bezos' Blue Origin, that are developing reusable, next-generation rocket engines and boosters.

Here's how the competition in the new space race stacks up.

SEE ALSO: $2,000 per orange? Here's how much money it costs to launch stuff into space

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United Launch Alliance

Aerospace industry titans Boeing and Lockheed Martin formed ULA in 2005, and the company currently relies on its Delta IV Heavy launcher to get the biggest payloads into space. But that rocket costs at least $350 million per launch — several times more expensive than SpaceX's new and reusable $90 million Falcon Heavy system. Plus, Delta IV Heavy can only lift half as much payload as the Falcon Heavy.

As an answer to SpaceX's new rocket, ULA is working on a more powerful and partly reusable launcher called Vulcan. That rocket will recycle the engines of its booster, which is the biggest and most costly part of a rocket. (And the engines make up about two-thirds of a booster's cost.)

According to ULA's plan, a system called SMART will pop the engines off, guide them through Earth's atmosphere behind an aeroshell, and parachute them toward the ground. A helicopter will then grab the parachute and engines.

A forthcoming system called ACES will also make the upper stage of the rocket reusable and refuel-able in orbit.

Tory Bruno, ULA's CEO, told Business Insider that a Vulcan launch will cost below $100 million to start.



ArianeGroup

One of SpaceX's lowest-cost and biggest competitors is ArianeGroup, which is often known by its launch-focused subsidiary, Arianespace.

The company is working on a follow-up to its highly successful Ariane 5 rocket, dubbed Ariane 6. It may launch as soon as 2020. The most powerful variant of Ariane 6 could potentially carry about twice as much payload as SpaceX's Falcon 9 rocket into orbit some 22,236 miles above Earth.

At first, Ariane 6 won't have reusable engines. But SpaceNews reports that the rockets may eventually get equipped with reusable Prometheus engines — expensive parts that a winged, pop-off machine called Adeline might fly back to a runway. 

In the end, Ariane 6's makers expect the rocket to achieve lower ounce-for-ounce launch prices that what SpaceX currently offers.



Blue Origin

One of SpaceX's biggest looming rivals is also the most secretive.

Founded by Amazon billionaire Jeff Bezos in 2000, Blue Origin has been most public about its smaller space tourism rocket system, New Shepard. But in September 2016, Blue Origin announced its plans for the enormous, reusable, and orbit-capable New Glenn rocket system.

Reusable rocket engines, called BE-4s, will power that launcher. Its biggest future iteration will stand about 313 feet tall, have three rocket stages, and possibly make voyages to the moon or Mars routine.

Bezos is planning to debut the first New Glenn rocket in 2020. Blue Origin has begun that work in a 750,000-square-foot hangar in Cape Canaveral, Florida (Business Insider asked to visit, but the company declined).

It's not certain how much a New Glenn launch will cost, though the booster will take off and land like SpaceX's, allowing it to get reused for future launches. That would save Blue Origin tens of millions of dollars in the process.

As of March 2017, Blue Origin had at least one customer signed up to launch a payload.



See the rest of the story at Business Insider

Inside the Financial Gym, where trainers offer you wine and Kleenex as they strip you ‘financially naked’ and analyze your money issues

Posted: 04 Mar 2018 07:00 AM PST

Shannon McLay

Step inside the Financial Gym's second-story suite overlooking a bustling midtown Manhattan enclave, and you'll be greeted by a perky trainer before being offered a glass of wine and a seat at the Money Bar.

Brace yourself, because in a few moments, you'll be asked to get naked — financially, that is. 

The Financial Gym isn't a gym, per se, and the workout you're about to endure isn't for your glutes. Rather, the Financial Gym offers an exercise regimen tailored to another integral aspect of your life: your budget.

Your first workout at the gym, which founder Shannon McLay has cheekily dubbed the "financially naked session," might involve a glass of wine, a box of Kleenex, and a radical re-envisioning of your finances. You'll be asked a number of questions. How much money do you make? Are you in debt? What kind of credit cards do you use? Do you want to own a house? Do you want to travel the world? Are you getting married? Are you planning on having a baby?

From there, you'll be assigned a trainer and a finance fitness plan that's customized to your specific finance goals. Or, as McLay puts it: "A diet regimen that's like Weight Watchers, but for your budget."

The Financial Gym, which opened its new headquarters on 25th Street in early February, is the fruition of an idea envisioned by McLay four years ago, when she was working as a financial advisor at Merrill Lynch. As a financial advisor with over a decade of experience in investment banking, McLay repeatedly received requests from friends and colleagues to help them sort out their finances.

Financial Gym

"People were constantly coming up to me who didn't have $250,000 in assets and asking, 'Hey, can you help me with my money?'" she said. "I realized that they wanted to talk to someone about how to manage their money. They wanted to go to a place. And I realized that most people don't have a place that exists where they can talk about their finances."

But creating a financial advisory company in New York that provided a physical location as its primary offering was an uphill battle for McLay, who received pushback from investors from the very start. As she attempted to acquire funding for her first investment round, she was repeatedly dogged with the questions of, "Why can't this be an app? Why does this need to be a place?"

For McLay, the answer to these inquiries was obvious. The Financial Gym could only ever be a place, she felt, because in order to effect positive change in people's lives, they needed not only a human connection, but an environment where they felt comfortable talking about their finances.

"The majority of our client meetings start out with people talking about fear and shame —  these are the two words that always come out," she said. "People are walking around, totally overwhelmed by feelings of fear and shame when it comes to their finances, and it's like, what, you're going to go to an app to figure that out?"

McLay is determined to offer everything that an app can't: a holistic approach to finances tailor-made to each client's life goals.

"We plan finances around our clients' lives and what they want out of life," she said. "We ask them if they want kids, if they want to retire earlier, if they want to backpack around the world for a year, and we try to find a financial path that fits their aspirations."

At the gym, each trainer's goal for their clients is to offer a path to financial independence.  McLay describes this as "the ability to work when you want to work, and not because you have to work."

Financial Gym

In keeping with its app-free ethos, the plans offered by the Financial Gym are surprisingly devoid of technology. You won't be offered resources in the form of an app or a website. Instead, you'll receive a folder of paperwork outlining a detailed to-do list, which includes the types of credit cards you should apply for, the amount of debt you need to pay off in a month, and the amount of money you'll need to save. 

Each month, clients are graded on their financial fitness. Get straight As, and you'll be awarded a badge. Slip up on your budget goals and you might be demoted to a "D."  "Our clients are obsessed with their quarterly review," said McLay. "People really respond to grade-based feedback."

McLay's clients are from a mix of different backgrounds. Some of her clients command triple-figure salaries but struggle to pay off student debt, while others are blue-collar families saddled with punishing mortgages who dream of financial independence. Regardless, the Financial Gym prices its advisory plans at exactly the same rate: $85 a month for a monthly meeting, an on-call financial advisor, and a financial fitness plan suited to their life goals. For couples, monthly rates start at $145, and for students, it's $35 a month. 

"I wanted to price it like a regular gym," said McLay. "I wanted to create something that real people could afford."

Take a look inside the first Financial Gym:

SEE ALSO: Move over, Prada: Millennials can't get enough of Koio, an Italian sneaker company that sells luxury shoes for a fraction of the cost

McLay designed the gym to feel like a home away from home. "I don't want this to feel like a workspace," she said. "Most people work on money in their home. We want this to be like their second home."



The gym is equipped with cozy workspaces that double as private meeting rooms with sliding barn doors.



People get emotional around money, says McLay, and the Money Bar's beverage selection is intended to help clients take the edge off. "We say we go through wine and Kleenex here, that's our inventory," she said.



See the rest of the story at Business Insider

The unregulated world of 'emotional support animals' is driving airlines crazy — and science is on their side

Posted: 04 Mar 2018 06:45 AM PST

therapy dogs airport

  • Unlike service dogs, "emotional support animals" are an unregulated group.
  • Some such animals have been causing serious problems on flights: peeing, defecating, and mauling passengers.
  • There's little scientific evidence about what emotional support animals really do for people.
  • Airlines are cracking down on support animals and issuing tighter regulations.


Emotional support peacocks. Emotional support snakes. Emotional support hamsters.

People have been bringing all sorts of "support animals" into public places recently, arguing the creatures should be allowed to fly on planes and come into offices or restaurants because they serve a mental-health purpose. 

But what does an emotional support pet actually do, and does the designation really mean anything?

FILE PHOTO: A peacock spreading its feathers is seen at the Wat Phra Dhammakaya temple, in Pathum Thani province, Thailand March 10, 2017. REUTERS/Chaiwat Subprasom/File Photo

Forensic psychologist Jeffrey Younggren from the University of Missouri put it bluntly to Business Insider: Scientists don't know if such pets do anything "other than make somebody happy," he said.

Younggren has spent years studying the growing trend of clients asking their therapists to sign letters certifying that they need an emotional support animal.

"The research is quite inconsistent on whether the animals really do anything at all," Younggren said.

But despite that lack of evidence, many therapists are signing "ESP" letters for their patients these days, without even seeing the animals in action. 

"How can you say the animal does something if you've never seen them with a patient?" Younggren said.

As more such letters get signed, more people are using the designation to let their pets fly on planes with them for free. And airlines have seen a huge spike in in-flight problems. Animals have been peeing, defecating, biting, and in one case mauling people on board Delta planes. The company reported an 84% increase in incidents involving unruly animals since 2016. 

On March 1, Delta started requiring anyone flying with an emotional support pet to sign a waiver stating that the animal can behave on a flight. The airline is also initiating other restrictions, including requiring proof of vaccination for emotional support pets and only accepting certification letters from a doctor or mental health professional. (In the past, travelers could easy pay for such a letter online.) United is also upping its policies, ABC News reported. 

What is an emotional support animal?

There's not really any regulation about what constitutes an emotional support pet, and people can buy their way into a designation pretty easily online for around $70.

Researchers in California looked at more than a decade of records of registered "assistance" dogs and found that from 1999-2012 there was a huge uptick in the number of smaller dogs, older dogs, and dogs used for psychiatric and medical assistance in the state. Those researchers argued that their study revealed a growing trend of "misunderstanding" and "misuse" of support dogs. 

According to the Americans with Disabilities Act, a service animal must be trained to perform tasks for a person with a disability, be it physical or psychiatric. Disabilities include things like being blind or deaf, using a wheelchair, relying on a dog to remind you to take meds, or having a dog around in case of an anxiety attack.

Under federal law, only dogs and miniature horses weighing less than 100 pounds qualify for the "service animal" designation.

These trained animals are on the job and allowed to accompany their humans anywhere that members of the general public can go (including businesses, hospitals, and just about anywhere that's not a sterile operating room).

But the law is very clear: "Service animals are working animals, not pets." The ADA even spells out that "dogs whose sole function is to provide comfort or emotional support do not qualify as service animals under the ADA."

The Fair Housing Act, however, is a bit more lenient: It says that US tenants have a right to keep "assistance animals," including emotional support pets, in their homes even if a leaser has a strict no-pets policy. 

Therapy dogs are a third category of animal, and they're trained to help calm patients down during therapy sessions, usually in clinical settings. 

Animals can help people feel better, but they have to be trained

People who train and certify dogs to work with patients are worried about the growing number of untrained pets flying around on planes.

dog and cat pets

Alice Smith, a client services coordinator at the PAWS dog training center in Florida, told Business Insider that untrained pets are giving real service dogs a bad name.

"There are people who just wanna be able to take their dogs with them everywhere, and they go online and buy a vest," Smith said. She added that if owners don't put in the six months to a year required to train an animal, the dog can end up barking and acting out in public. 

However, Smith believes dogs can be a huge help for people dealing with anxiety and depression. As a pet owner herself, she said she's benefitted from having dogs around when she's upset. 

"My dogs have just known it," she said. "They would come over to me, and get close to me, and as soon as I would pet them, I would calm down." 

Smith said there are likely many other people who'd benefit from having a furry, well-behaved friend nearby. In recent weeks, she said she's fielded calls from students in Florida who are scared about getting on the bus after the recent school shooting and think a support dog might help. Other kids call the training center because they're getting bullied and want an emotional support dog to help them get through the day safely. Dogs can also help guide their owners to exits in a panic, or just lean into a person to calm them down in a crowd.

"They can feel that dog's pressure, and know the dog's there," Smith said.

But Younggren pointed out that some people are afraid of dogs or allergic to them. For those individuals, a flight alongside an emotional support pet could be an anxiety- or illness-provoking experience.

It boils down to a simple, well-known problem, he said: "People who love dogs think everybody loves dogs."

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A 39-year-old who left college to found his first biotech company now manages $365 million of his own money — here's what he looks for when he invests

Posted: 04 Mar 2018 06:15 AM PST

Christian Angermayer

  • Christian Angermayer, a 39-year-old investor, left college in the late 1990s to help found a biotech company that would eventually become Alnylam Pharmaceuticals.
  • When he sold the company, Angermayer used the money to launch his family office, which still invests in healthcare and biotech companies.
  • Angermayer explained how he picks his investments and why he's not cut out to be in venture capital.

Christian Angermayer has spent about half his life as an investor.

Angermayer, 39, helped found a biotech company in 2000 that eventually became Alnylam Pharmaceuticals, quitting school to work on it. Today, the company has a market cap of about $12 billion. In December, it submitted its first drug, Patisiran, to the Food and Drug Administration for approval.

Angermayer now invests through his family office, Apeiron Investment Group, in three main areas: financial services, technology, and life sciences. It has about $365 million in assets.

A family office, he said, fit his style better than traditional venture capital. Typically, VCs fund several different companies in hopes that at least a few will be successful. That doesn't work for Angermayer.

"I can't see companies die," Angermayer told Business Insider. "I can't be a normal VC."

When investing, whether in a startup or a company needing a new direction, Angermayer looks for two or three "trigger factors" he can act on — it keeps him from investing in companies in the earlier stages of developing a treatment, which can be a riskier bet if it fails a key trial.

In the case of MagForce, a medical-device company approved in Europe to treat brain cancer, it needed to hire a new CEO, roll out its device, and get more funding.

After Angermayer invested in 2013, MagForce hired Ben Lipps, a veteran medical-device executive, as CEO. MagForce is now running a clinical trial in the US with the technology to treat prostate cancer.

It was also Angermayer's approach to Compass Pathways, a startup working to get psilocybin (the active ingredient in magic mushrooms) therapy approved for use in clinics to help treat depression and anxiety.

Because psilocybin has previously been tested, the company can go straight to later-stage trials, which could make it more straightforward to get to approval.

"I don't like gambling," Angermayer said.

SEE ALSO: There's a clear playbook for how Amazon could upend the healthcare business — along with an obvious victim

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THE IoT PLATFORMS REPORT: How software is helping the Internet of Things evolve

Posted: 04 Mar 2018 06:01 AM PST

IoT Platforms Market Size

This is a preview of a research report from BI Intelligence, Business Insider's premium research service. To learn more about BI Intelligence, click here.

The Internet of Things (IoT) is growing rapidly as companies around the world connect thousands of devices every day. But behind those devices, there’s a sector worth hundreds of billions of dollars supporting the IoT. 

Platforms are the glue that holds the IoT together, allowing users to take full advantage of the disruptive potential of connected devices. These platforms allow the IoT to achieve its transformational potential, letting businesses manage devices, analyze data, and automate the workflow.

In a new report, BI Intelligence examines the evolving IoT platform ecosystem. We size the market and identify the primary growth drivers that will power the IoT platform space in the next five years. And we profile many of the top IoT platforms, discussing key trends in the platform industry like platform consolidation. 

Here are some of the key takeaways:

  • The IoT platforms market is set to expand rapidly in the years to come, with current leading platforms expanding and others entering the space.
  • We define the key categories into which IoT platforms fall: building block open platforms, closed high-end platforms, and product management platforms.
  • We highlight the ways platforms can help companies reach the full five stage potential of the IoT.

In full, the report:

  • Explains the coming growth of the IoT platforms.
  • Profiles a number of leading platforms.
  • Highlights the central role platforms play in the IoT.
  • Looks to the future of the IoT platforms market.

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

  1. Subscribe to an All-Access pass to BI Intelligence and gain immediate access to this report and over 100 other expertly researched reports. As an added bonus, you'll also gain access to all future reports and daily newsletters to ensure you stay ahead of the curve and benefit personally and professionally. >> Learn More Now
  2. Purchase & download the full report from our research store. >> Purchase & Download Now

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One glaring piece of evidence refutes the claim that playing violent video games causes gun violence

Posted: 04 Mar 2018 06:00 AM PST

Doom

  • In the wake of the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School on February 14, President Trump resurfaced the ongoing debate over violent video games.
  • "The level of violence on video games is really shaping young people's thoughts," Trump said last week. On Thursday, White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders announced an upcoming meeting with game industry executives.
  • The argument that violent video games cause gun violence is contradicted by one major piece of evidence: The same games are sold around the world, yet gun violence is far more prevalent in the United States.


On February 14, yet another school shooting happened in the United States.

At Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, a 19-year-old gunman killed 17 students and staff members with a legally purchased AR-15 rifle. Survivors of that tragedy have become activists, helping to rekindle and fuel an ongoing push for gun control.

And that push has spurred lawmakers to act.

President Trump has met with members of Congress since February 14 in an attempt to set an agenda on gun control legislation. Trump even stunned some Republican members of Congress in a recent meeting, pushing for Democrats and Republicans to work together on issues like restricting "military-style" weapons.

But Trump has also suggested that the influence of violent media is to blame for the ongoing issue of gun violence in the US. "The level of violence on video games is really shaping young people's thoughts," he said in a meeting last week. "And then you go the further step, and that's the movies."

Trump is suggesting that violent video games and films are at least partly responsible for the rise and persistence of gun violence in the US.

It's an argument that dates back to the Columbine High School shooting in 1999.

The two Columbine High School gunmen were active "Doom" players. Since the game primarily focuses on shooting a gun — at demons, in outer space — commentators suggested that the gunmen had trained for the real-life shooting by playing "Doom." The game featured a gun as the main point of interaction and perspective — the "first-person shooter" was a relatively new concept in video games back in 1999 — and thus arose suspicion.

If these teenage gunmen were playing this game, and capable of committing such a horrific act, what did that mean for all the other kids playing these games?

Doom (original, PC)

But there's a simple reason why that doesn't make much sense: "The same video games played in the US are played worldwide; however, the level of gun violence is exponentially higher in the US than in other countries."

That's according to the Entertainment Software Association, the group that represents major video game industry stakeholders like Microsoft, Sony, Nintendo, Activision, EA, and others. It's not surprising that the trade group representing the video game industry feels this way — but it's a hard point to argue.

Though first-person shooter games like "Call of Duty," "Battlefield," and "Halo" are popular with American video game players, they're also popular all over the world. The game industry is a global market, with platforms like the PlayStation 4 that serve territories with extremely restrictive gun laws and territories with relatively lax gun laws.

Even though these games are played all over the world, the United States is a standout statistically in terms of gun violence. If violent games were causing violent behavior, it stands to reason that the connection would be more consistent around the world.

Whether or not it's good for children to be exposed to graphical violence in games, or theatrical violence in movies, isn't clear. It probably isn't. What is clear is that playing violent games and watching violent movies doesn't directly cause violent behavior. We have the evidence to prove it, and it's staring us right in the face.

SEE ALSO: The White House says Trump will meet with video game execs next week — but the games industry says it never got an invitation

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I drove a $43,500 Chevy Colorado ZR2 — and it was one of the best pickups I've ever tested (GM)

Posted: 04 Mar 2018 05:57 AM PST

Chevy Colorado ZR2

  • The 2018 Chevy Colorado ZR2 is a highly capable off-roader, with a robust 4WD system.
  • But the pickup can still do everyday duty.
  • For the price, you're getting a lot of truck for the money.

I've always been a big fan of the Chevy Colorado, the compact (really, mid-sized) pickup truck that Chevy rolled out a few years ago to invigorate the small-pickup segment.

The Chevy Colorado has been a big hit, compelling Ford to revive its own Ranger pickup in the US. So in addition to a pickup-truck war among the big guys — the Ford F-150 full-size, along with the forthcoming all-new Chevy Silverado and the Ram 1500 — we have a skirmish shaping up in the smaller-pickup segment, between Chevy and Ford.

Adding to the fun is the bevy of high-performance variants we now have in the market. We just put the Chevy Silverado Z71 up against the might Ford Raptor, and recently I got to check out the 2018 Chevy Colorado ZR2, the oomphier sibling of the regular truck.

Our $43,475 tester was well-equipped and ready for off-road action, but sadly I spent most of my time driving around suburban New Jersey. That's a shame, as fans of the ZR2 know that it's a capable rock-buster and really made to haul dirt bikes out the desert for dusty thrills.

Anyway, here's what I thought:

SEE ALSO: We drove a $63,000 Ford Raptor and a $58,000 Chevy Silverado Z71 to see which pickup truck we liked better — here's the verdict

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"Cajun Red Tintcoat!" What a great color! I want all my cars to look like this in the future.

Our test truck was $43,475 — the Colorado ZR2 is already a lot pricier then the $20,000 basic Colorado, but out tester came well-optioned out of the box before a few extras added about $700



Our ZR2 came with a crew cab and a "short box" bed. Some folks don't much like short boxes, but I think for the uses that most owners would put the Colorado to, the short box is ideal.

Home Depot runs, gardening, maybe some light brush-clearing and log-hauling duty — none would over stress the short box. I figure you could get two mountain bikes in there. Our tester also came with an installed roof rack for skis.



The Colorado ZR2 kind of blends aggression with sporty sleekness. Personally, I don't think the various fascia elements — grille, badge, headlights — are in good balance.



See the rest of the story at Business Insider