The Good News, Bad News, Week

The Good News, Bad News, Week


By Keith Teare • Issue #312

34 new unicorns in May, 3 new decacorns. The best time in 5 years to be a VC? But Tiger is down 52%, 20,000 tech workers have been laid off, Sheryl Sandberg is leaving Facebook. It’s a good news, bad news, week. @geneteare @hunterwalk @gdibner @cz_binance @ftx_official

Content

  • Good News
    • 34 new Unicorns
    • Salesforce growth accelerating
    • Startup valuations are “highly attractive”
    • Money flows to private equity
    • It’s the best time to be a VC
    • Chipotle accepts crypto as payment
    • US insurers like crypto as an investment
    • FTX is growing
    • Binance is investing
    • Securitize tokenizes $500m fund
    • SEC wants ESG claims to be backed up
  • Bad News
    • Tiger down 52% year to date
    • 15,000 tech layoffs in May
    • Sheryl Sandberg leaves Meta
  • Essays of the Week
    • Supreme Court sides against Texas on censorship
    • Young Rich Anti-Capitalists
  • Startup of the Week
    • Twitter
  • Tweet of the Week
    • Gil Dibner

Editorial


First published Fri Jun 3, 2016; substantive revision Fri Oct 2, 2020

“Dialectics” is a term used to describe a method of philosophical argument that involves some sort of contradictory process between opposing sides. In what is perhaps the most classic version of “dialectics”, the ancient Greek philosopher, Plato (see entry on Plato), for instance, presented his philosophical argument as a back-and-forth dialogue or debate, generally between the character of Socrates, on one side, and some person or group of people to whom Socrates was talking (his interlocutors), on the other. In the course of the dialogues, Socrates’ interlocutors propose definitions of philosophical concepts or express views that Socrates challenges or opposes. The back-and-forth debate between opposing sides produces a kind of linear progression or evolution in philosophical views or positions: as the dialogues go along, Socrates’ interlocutors change or refine their views in response to Socrates’ challenges and come to adopt more sophisticated views. The back-and-forth dialectic between Socrates and his interlocutors thus becomes Plato’s way of arguing against the earlier, less sophisticated views or positions and for the more sophisticated ones later.

https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/hegel-dialectics/

I know, it is a bit strange to start with a passage from the course on Dialectics from Stanford. But this is a strange trip we are on. The contradictory process in question is the death of the old happening simultaneously alongside the birth of the new. Hence the good news, bad news week. And the difficulty of knowing whether to be optimistic or pessimistic.

Hegel’s dialectics evolved from Plato’s and are a better tool for understanding change. For Hegel, every moment is in the process of “becoming”. That is to say, the only constant is change. As such the end of an era is also, and at the same time, the beginning of an era.

I am in the camp that we are living through rapid technology-driven transformations in human potential. This week’s bad news is littered with specific examples of victims of that rapid transformation. I think of that as micro-news. News about symptoms. And these symptoms are prone to lead us to false conclusions. An example would be the 52% collapse in Tiger Global’s investments so far this year, and the false conclusion that innovation and technology are dead or stalled. Or that risk-taking should be put on hold.

While it is true that valuations today are below what they were a few weeks ago, that does not mean that investing in fast-growth technology companies was or is a mistake. The macro-news is more significant here than the micro-news. The macro-news speaks to emerging long term opportunities.

Last month saw 34 more unicorns. Salesforce grew by 24% and projected accelerating growth through the rest of the year. Jim Breyer championed early-stage investing as being “highly attractive”, the Wall Street Journal explained that large sums of money are being plowed into private assets in order to benefit from the growth in value that private assets have, and Kyle Harrison of Index Ventures and Contrary says

“Generally my argument is that now is the best time in 5+ years to be a venture investor. A lot of people have made this point about how great companies are started in down markets. As a result if you’re investing in companies getting started right now you’ll see some great businesses get built up

The macro-news speaks to hard emerging trends whereas the micro-news speaks to the consequences for those who are still playing the old game. Some will transform quickly to understand what is in the process of being born. Others will stubbornly refuse to acknowledge that what they did before is no longer relevant.

This is why product development is such a hard profession. If it has no sense of the historical, that is to say, the temporary phenomena, it will not be able to find product-market fit in the new order.

So, what is dying? “Me too” investing late into previously funded companies on a growth path. This will no longer bear fruit in abundance. SPACs, for now. Quick-win secondary buyouts. Employees flipping from company to company to collect options. And indeed anything that is opportunistic, short-term, hanging onto temporary trends that no longer exist.

And what is being born? This is a harder question because it 100% depends on human decision making. A lot of things might happen. What will happen is the result of millions of human decisions. The list of possible things includes a new global financial system, without the US$ as its reserve currency, and a new DAO-based project governance system that obviates the need for companies and equities. Tokenized assets, including funds. AI and machine intelligence replacing many repetitive tasks that currently only humans can do. Robotics is part of that. Medical breakthroughs that prolong life in a world where work is less and less necessary. Social structures that enable humans to live well in such circumstances free of racism, sexism, and other prejudices. The list is endless. But for those things to happen human decisions need to be made. And that is the scope for investing. ESG, DEI, and other acronyms litter the investing universe. They can become real. or be simply marketing hooks.

The content below speaks to all of these trends, both the new (good news) and the old and dying (bad news) and the aspirations.

What you do this week takes on new significance in the face of these changes. And any notion that what you do does not matter can be safely discarded. It matters.

Video


Good News Week

The Crunchbase Unicorn Board: Stable Of Unicorns Grows To More Than 1,300 As IPO Pipeline Remains Stalled

Gené Teare, @geneteare

Last month, 34 new unicorn companies joined The Crunchbase Unicorn Board, collectively adding $57 billion in value and $8.3 billion in equity funding raised. For the first time, the total count of current unicorns on the Unicorn Board is above 1,300 companies.

Altogether, these startups are valued at $4.6 trillion and have raised $770 billion.

Last month’s new unicorn count is down from May 2021, when 54 companies joined the board. It’s also a few companies short of the 36 new unicorn companies minted in April 2022. But if you cast your gaze back over time, May 2022’s monthly count still exceeds any single month in 2020.

These new unicorns hail from 15 countries. Of those, 20 are headquartered in the U.S., Asia and Europe each have five, three are from Latin America, and one from Africa.

Only two companies exited the board last month.

SpaceX rockets to higher valuation

Elon Musk’s SpaceX, already a unicorn, grew its valuation by 25% compared to seven months ago. It last month raised a megaround of $1.5 billion in funding that valued the company at $125 billion, up from $100 billion in a secondary sale a year ago. The investors were not disclosed for this latest funding.

SpaceX is still the most valuable private technology company in the U.S., and is in third place for the most highly valued private company in the world.

The most valuable company on the Unicorn Board remains Shanghai-based social media company ByteDance, owner of TikTok, last valued at $180 billion in 2020. The second-most valuable is Hangzhou-based digital financial services company Ant Financial, valued at $150 billion in a 2018 funding round.

New decacorns in HR and crypto

Three companies became decacorns last month. They were:

news.crunchbase.com • Share

Salesforce: “We’re Not Seeing Any Downturn or Deceleration”, Growing 24% at $30 Billion in ARR

Following Snowflake’s blow out quarter, Salesforce has now announced a record quarter as well, growing a stunning 24% at a now $30 Billion in ARR.

In fact, that’s acceleration.

At $24B in ARR, Salesforce was growing 20% year-over-year.

“We’re just not seeing material impact on the broader economic world that all of you are in,” Marc Benioff, Salesforce’s co-founder and co-CEO, said on a conference call with analysts.

This isn’t to say a slowdown isn’t coming, or that some industries aren’t impacted. Snowflake also noted certain industries were buying / using less, even if overall growth at the end of the quarter was very strong. And Salesforce noted it’s slowing down hiring, and taking a break from bigger acquisitions, for now. That’s still a cautious note in Salesforce’s optimism and blow-out numbers.

www.saastr.com • Share

‘Startup valuations are still highly attractive,’ says early Facebook investor, Jim Breyer

Jim Breyer, early Facebook investor, joins ‘TechCheck’ to discuss if he is investing in today’s equity markets, if private valuations are lagging the stock market’s performance and what stocks he’s selling.

www.youtube.com • Share

Wealthy Investors Pile Into Private Equity to Escape Stock Volatility

Individual investors are increasing their bets on private-equity vehicles, hoping that these funds’ long-term horizon will offer a refuge from volatile public stock and fixed-income markets.

Private-fund managers say inflows of money from wealthy individual investors have increased this year, and asset managers expect the trend to continue as higher interest rates and inflation weigh on publicly traded assets.

With the S&P 500 down about 17% and U.S. aggregate bond indexes falling about 8% this year through May 25, stock and bond mutual funds have begun seeing outflows of tens of billions of dollars a week, according to data from the Investment Company Institute, the main lobbying group for fund managers.

Private-markets funds have been enjoying inflows amid the turmoil in public markets, said Anastasia Amoroso, chief investment strategist at iCapital Network Inc., a financial-services company that gives high-net-worth investors access to private-equity funds. Assets serviced by iCapital have risen by about 16% in the first four months of 2022, to $125 billion, according to the firm.

People are attracted to the premise that private funds can avoid daily price swings and potentially scoop up bargains when markets fall, according to Ms. Amoroso, who added that private-credit and private real-estate funds have been in particularly high demand.

“An asset class with a longer-term investment horizon, whose job is to allocate capital over time, becomes an attractive proposition in a downturn,” Ms. Amoroso said.

Some observers see the current moment as a potential tipping point in private funds’ long — and mostly unsuccessful — courtship of individual investors.

An Untapped Source of Capital

Private-equity firms are working hard to raise​money from individual investors, who on​average allocate far less of their investments​to private markets than do pension funds or​university endowments.

Average allocationsSources: Willis Towers Watson Global Pension​Assets Study 2021; 2021 NACUBO-TIAA Study of​Endowments; PitchBook Data Inc. Note: *Represents the upper end of an estimated 1%​to 2% range.

In the U.S., accredited investors — in general, those with $200,000 or more in annual salary or $1 million in investible assets — are permitted to invest in private funds. However, such investors invest relatively little in the aggregate in private funds. World-wide, only about 1% to 2% of the estimated $80 trillion held by individual investors is allocated to alternative investments, according to PitchBook Data Inc., which tracks private-markets data.

Private-markets firms still receive the vast majority of their investments from institutions rather than individuals. But U.S. public pension plans — for decades, private equity’s main source of capital — face their own funding challenges. With markets falling this year, some pensions have slowed their investments in illiquid private funds for fear they will end up overallocated to such investments, making it tougher for private-equity managers to raise capital.

www.wsj.com • Share

Is Now a Bad Time To Be a VC?

“We’re Just People”

For almost any job there is a pool of people interested in “picking your brain on the industry.” Whether you work in software development, law, investing, or mushroom foraging (probably). When I was getting into venture there were countless people who helped me way more than anyone could expect them to so I’ve always felt a strong obligation to pay it forward to folks looking to break into venture. I’ve even tried to capture my learnings throughout my career in what I affectionately refer to as “My Music.

Sometimes those conversations can be a little mind numbing. I think a lot about this “We’re just people” scene from The Big Sick. I’ll get on a call with someone and try to be overwhelmingly helpful (all any VC could want). “What can I do? I’ll walk you through everything I would do. Inside baseball. What can I tell you?” And almost every time its (1) “what is your day-to-day like?” (2) “Is your firm hiring?” and (3) “well that’s all the questions I have, but I really appreciate your time.” I just want to reach through the zoom screen and shake them out of their conformity-induced Matrix mindset. “It’s just you and me! Ask the real questions!”

But these days as the wall streets run red with blood from the mark downs and layoffs people have started softly asking the real question, “is now maybe not a great time to be a venture investor?” There is certainly a healthy debate about that but like anything the answer to the question gets more complex as you spend more time doing something. “It depends.”

“Wartime Investors”

Generally my argument is that now is the best time in 5+ years to be a venture investor. A lot of people have made this point about how great companies are started in down markets. As a result if you’re investing in companies getting started right now you’ll see some great businesses get built up. I’m in that camp. At Contrary we focus primarily on pre-seed to Series C companies so there is plenty of opportunity for the companies we invest in to take advantage of a more flexible labor market.

investing1012dot0.substack.com • Share

Chipotle will now accept cryptocurrency in US stores

Chipotle, the popular Mexican-style fast-food restaurant chain, will now accept cryptocurrency payments through Flexa, a digital payments platform.

www.theblockcrypto.com • Share

11% of US insurers invest — or are interested in investing — in crypto

Of the 328 CFOs and CIOs representing around half of the global insurance industry, 6% responded their firm was either already invested or considering an investment into cryptocurrencies.

United States-based insurers are the most interested in cryptocurrency investment according to a Goldman Sachs global survey of 328 chief financial and chief investment officers regarding their firm’s asset allocations and portfolios.

The investment banking giant recently released its annual global insurance investment survey, which included responses regarding cryptocurrencies for the first time, finding that 11% of U.S. insurance firms indicated either an interest in investing or a current investment in crypto.

Speaking on the company’s Exchanges at Goldman Sachs podcast on Tuesday, Goldman Sachs global head of insurance asset management Mike Siegel said he was surprised to get any result:

“We surveyed for the first time on crypto, which I thought would get no respondents, but I was surprised. A good 6% of the industry respondents indicated that they’re either invested in crypto or considering investing in crypto.”

Asia-based insurers were next in line, with 6% interested or currently invested, and European insurers came in at only 1%.

cointelegraph.com • Share

FTX surpassed Coinbase as second-biggest centralized crypto exchange in May

FTX overtook Coinbase’s spot in May as the second biggest centralized crypto exchange in terms of market share, according to data compiled on The Block Research.

The dominant player in the market was still Binance by far, which commanded a 64.1% share, followed by FTX (10.8%) and Coinbase (9.6%) during the monthly period.

Coinbase has recently faced some struggles, posting a net loss of $430 million for Q1 2022and falling on the stock market by roughly 36% in May.

The company has pointed toward current market conditions — with declining prices in crypto across the board — as a driver for its most recent results, as well as a reason to tread with caution. It recently announced that it was slowing hiringand launching an initiative to cut spending.

Last week, Coinbase became the first crypto company to enter the Fortune 500.

After Coinbase, the most popular centralized exchanges during the period were Kraken (3.7%), Bitfinex (2.6%), and LMAX Digital (2.6%).

Overall, crypto trading volumes increased by 19.6% in May, hitting in total of $830.4 billion, according to The Block’s legitimate volume index.

www.theblockcrypto.com • Share

Binance raises $500 million fund to invest in ‘Web3’ as crypto slides into bear market — CNBC

KEY POINTS

  • Binance Labs, the company’s venture arm, has raised $500 million for a fund dedicated to investing in Web3 start-ups.
  • Web3 is a movement in tech that aims to create a new version of the internet based on blockchain technology.
  • Bitcoin and other digital currencies have plunged sharply since reaching all-time highs in November.

Binance, the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchange, is launching its own venture capital fund.

The company’s venture arm, Binance Labs, said Wednesday it has raised $500 million for its debut start-up fund, securing backing from venture capital firms DST Global and Breyer Capital as well as unnamed family offices and corporations. It comes after Andreessen Horowitz last week announced a mammoth $4.5 billion fund to invest in crypto start-ups.

Binance Labs plans to use the capital to invest in companies building “Web3.” Though still an ill-defined term, Web3 loosely refers to a hypothetical future iteration of the internet that’s more decentralized than online platforms today and incorporates blockchain, the shared digital ledgers behind most major cryptocurrencies.

The launch of Binance’s new fund arrives at a time when bitcoin and other digital currencies are down sharply. Bitcoin has plunged more than 50% since reaching an all-time high of nearly $69,000 in November. That’s taken a toll on publicly-listed crypto companies like Coinbase, whose shares have plunged 69% since the start of 2022. Investors fear the slump will feed through to privately-held crypto start-ups.

While start-up valuations of $1 billion or more are “slowing down a bit,” there’s “no current impact in early-stage private markets,” Ken Li, Binance Labs’ executive director of investments and M&A, told CNBC.

Binance Labs is hoping to capitalize on the recent plunge in digital assets to find founders building what it sees as the next big thing in tech. Its bets will be split into pre-seed, early-stage and growth equity, and the fund will invest in tokens as well as shares.

“We are looking for projects with the potential to drive the growth of the Web3 ecosystem,” Li said. Such projects may include infrastructure, nonfungible tokens, and decentralized autonomous organizations. Binance estimates there are currently around 300,000 to 500,000 active Web3 developers, a number it hopes to grow “substantially.”

www.cnbc.com • Share

Securitize Tokenizes $500 Million Venture Fund Nemesis — Crowdfund Insider — Crowdfund Insider

Nemesis Technologies, a global venture capital fund, has enlisted the assistance of Securitize to tokenize a $500 million venture fund. Nemesis is based in Japan.

Securitize is both a primary issuance platform and secondary trading market powering the future of digital securities. While based in the US, Securitize is building a global footprint using technology to remove intrinsic friction from securities offerings and trading via blockchain technology.

For this specific securities offering, Securitize is acting as a digital transfer agent to “issue, manage their tokenized shares.”

Nemesis founder and Chief Investment Officer, Pierre Mauriestold the Capital Quest:

“We have spent the last few years building software and data structures that enables us to be a pioneering the digital securities ecosystem. We use the infrastructure that have been co-built to provide liquidity, run validators, and help portfolio teams better understand their own ecosystem with our novel approach. We look forward to continuing to push to the very frontier of how digitalized VC fund(s) and DeepTech can create unseen value and creation.”

Mauries added they are pleased to be working with Securitize.

Eiji Kovayashi, Head of Securitize Japan, said the VC fund is predicted to be the world’s largest tokenized fund of its kind.

www.crowdfundinsider.com • Share

New SEC rules would require ESG funds to back up their claims

New SEC rules could make ESG funds abide by some standards, which would be refreshing given that the label that doesn’t have a whole lot of actual meaning at the moment.

Environmental, social and governance (ESG) credentials in the U.S. are pretty much useless. The rating system for funds allows asset managers to essentially define the terms for themselves, which is why an oil and gas giant like Exxon Mobil can end up on the S&P 500 ESG list while an EV company like Tesla doesn’t make the cut (because of its lack of a climate plan, among other issues). Elon Musk was pretty pissed, needless to say.

With two proposed rule changes this week, the SEC aims to require asset managers to provide more clarity, both by demanding solid proof of a fund’s ESG bona fides and by targeting fund names that are potentially deceptive.

“I think investors should be able to drill down to see what’s under the hood of these strategies,” SEC Chair Gary Gensler said in a statement.

If the rules are finalized in something close to their current form, as experts anticipate they will be, it will be much more likely that a fund that self-describes as “green” or “sustainable” or “ESG” will actually have to prove it.

Steven Rothstein, who leads the Ceres Accelerator for Sustainable Capital Markets, said certain large tech companies and others that walk the ESG walk are likely to remain included in ESG funds, even as asset managers start taking a longer, harder look at their portfolios.

“Companies that are leaders in this area, that have a proven track record, that disclose more information: They will have more opportunities from investors to be considered for their fund,” Rothstein said.

While very few companies have flawless climate commitments, it is rare for a major tech company to have no plan at all. For this reason, Andrew Behar, CEO of shareholder advocacy group As You Sow, said that the SEC rules could be to the advantage of companies that have “coherent” climate plans and are more likely to fit the ESG bill. Smaller renewables companies could also benefit. If asset managers are required to choose between dropping an ESG label from their fund and dropping companies like Exxon, Behar said, Exxon will probably be on the chopping block.

“They’re going to need to invest in something, so they’ll probably be investing in more renewable energy companies because they’re going to want to keep, whatever, 7–8% of their funds in energy,” he added.

The proposals come in light of widespread concerns about “greenwashing” in the ESG investment space. As sustainable investing gathers momentum — investments are set to hit roughly $50 trillion by 2025 — asset managers can slap the ESG label on funds that don’t necessarily have environmental, social and governance concerns at the center of their strategies. This is why fossil fuel corporations and other companies in similar industries sneak into ESG funds.

“I believe that we are heading toward some standardization of language, of glossary,” said Behar, noting that the European Union will also be putting out its own ESG definitions in the coming months.

And just two months ago, the SEC proposed rules to create a framework for how publicly traded companies report their emissions and climate pledges. The SEC’s latest move is a sign that it’s trying to impose some order on ESG investment and climate-related disclosures overall.

The new rules are open to public comment for 60 days, or until July 24.

www.protocol.com • Share


Bad News Week

Tiger Global Losses for Year Reach 52% After Drop in May

Losses at Tiger Global Management reached 52% this year, prompting the firm to cut management fees and create separate accounts for the illiquid wagers of customers who want to redeem.

The firm’s hedge fund sank 14.2% last month, buffeted by losses in several stocks and substantial markdowns in its private assets, according to an investor letter seen by Bloomberg and a person with knowledge of the matter.

As the value of its public holdings plummeted, Tiger’s exposure to illiquid venture capital bets comprised too much of its portfolio — leading the firm to tell investors in its hedge and long-only funds that, if they wish to redeem, their private investments will be placed in a separate account that will be cashed out at a later date. The firm is also cutting management fees for the hedge fund by half a percentage point to 1% through December 2023.

“We take very seriously that our recent performance does not live up to the standards we have set for ourselves over the last 21 years and that you rightfully expect,” the New York-based firm wrote in a letter to investors. “Our team remains maximally motivated to earn back recent losses.”

www.bloomberg.com • Share

15,000 Tech Workers Have Been Let Go In May. Were You One of Them?

RIF aka reduction in force. Sounds like a Magic: The Gathering card but it’s actually a polite way of saying you’re being laid off. And with the tech valuation reckoning underway, if you’ve been RIF’ed you’re not alone. I can’t tell you whether this is just a few months of rightsizing or a multiyear recession but I do anticipate there are going to be more cuts — and outright failed startups — before our industry outlook returns to half-full instead of half-empty. In these moments there tends to be a lot of content to help CEOs and founders manage through a downturn, but not as much for those team members impacted. So let me take a (non-exhaustive) cut at Things You Should Know If You’ve Been RIF’ed….

hunterwalk.medium.com • Share

Sheryl Sandberg is leaving Meta after 14 years

Sheryl Sandberg is stepping down as COO of Meta after 14 years as one of Mark Zuckerberg’s top lieutenants at the company. She will remain on the company’s board of directors.

In a post on Facebook, she said she plans to depart Meta in the fall and that “over the next few months, Mark and I will transition my direct reports.” Javier Olivan, currently Meta’s Chief Growth Officer, will take on the COO role, Zuckerberg wrote on Facebook. But, he said that Olivan’s role will be “will be different from what Sheryl has done” as COO. “It will be a more traditional COO role where Javi will be focused internally and operationally, building on his strong track record of making our execution more efficient and rigorous,” Zuckerberg said.

www.engadget.com • Share


Essays of the Week

Tech won at the Supreme Court. Soon, it might not be so lucky.

Hello and welcome to Protocol Policy! Today I’m going to tell you why I’m going to boast of tech-policy hipster cred to all the Supreme Court reporters, plus a deep dive into the companies staying mum on Ghana’s anti-gay push and this week’s real most exciting development for judiciary watchers.

You’ll be back

The Texas law that would hobble social media content moderation is off again after the Supreme Court reinstated a pause on the measure, but a clash over the First Amendment online could still go badly for the likes of Meta and Twitter — and soon.

To understand why, it helps to explain why every tech lawyer had their jaw locked for almost three weeks until yesterday:

  • Back in May, NetChoice, a tech trade group, asked the high court to block the law, which would force social media platforms to carry all viewpoints or else face lawsuits.
  • That move came right after a panel of federal appeals court judges with an apparently poor grasp of tech let the statute go into effect.
  • The appeals court ruling had reversed a pause on the provision that a federal trial court imposed late last year over concerns that the state is unconstitutionally punishing private companies for their views.

The lag at the Supreme Court caused tech types to worry the justices were readying a U-turn on the Court’s long-held views of free speech and the internet — especially since the industry’s request came on the emergency docket that’s supposed to move fast enough to handle death-penalty appeals.

  • “The delay isn’t a good sign for the tech cos,” Jameel Jaffer, executive director of the Knight First Amendment Institute, which has previously opposed the must-carry provisions, tweeted last week.

Instead, the majority of the court, without explaining its reasoning, did reinstate an injunction on the law, pending a full appeal. But in the process, three conservatives — Justices Samuel Alito, Clarence Thomas and Neil Gorsuch — railedagainst the legal foundation for social media.

www.protocol.com • Share

The young, rich, anti-capitalist capitalists

Andrea Pien is a 35-year-old millionaire. A wealth manager once warned her to carefully steward her money, saying that inherited wealth was often squandered away in just a few generations. “But my partner and I aren’t planning on having children,” Pien said. “What are we hoarding money for? Especially when the world is literally burning.”

So in March 2020, Pien hired Phuong Luong, founder of financial planning firm Just Wealth, to help her redistribute some of her wealth back to society. That means taking some of it out of Wall Street and investing it in ventures that promote human well-being and economic fairness over profits.

Pien is one of a small but growing number of wealthy people seeking a more radical approach to investing. Some call it the seemingly contradictory term “anti-capitalist” investing; others refer to it as “transformative investing.” In general, proponents are going beyond merely disincentivizing unethical behavior in companies. They’re trying to shift more of the balance of financial power into the hands of the working class, transforming an economic system that they believe has unjustly given just a few people control over a majority of the capital. Some investors want to spend down all of their wealth through anti-capitalist investing, while others still want to get a return on their investments but make sure these investments are into ventures they feel promote social justice.

Financial professionals in the space say they’ve seen rising interest in this kind of investing strategy in recent years, and they attribute some of the interest to social justice becoming a bigger priority in the aftermath of the 2020 racial justice reckoning and a deeply unequal pandemic that killed so many Black and brown working-class people.

www.vox.com • Share


Startup of the Week

Twitter is building a tool for keyword alerts, in case you need more Twitter notifications

Twitter appears to be working on a feature called “Search Subscribe,” which will let users opt to receive notifications for new tweets matching a search query. The feature was first spotted by developer Dylan Roussel, and appears to put Twitter’s bell notification icon next to the search box in its app. Tap the bell, and you’ll get notifications for new results.

Search Subscribe is only showing up in the Twitter Alpha app for now, so you shouldn’t take this as a sign that it’s imminent or even definitely coming. But it’s an interesting idea, and yet another attempt from Twitter to make it easier for users to find the stuff they’re actually looking for. Right now you can get notifications for individual users, or selectively mute or block things by keyword, but you can’t opt into specific tweets rather than specific tweeters. As 9to5Google points out, the closest analog to this is probably TweetDeck, which lets you create a column for a search result and get notifications every time it updates. And given TweetDeck’s looming demise as a native app, it’s good to see any of its features migrating to the lone remaining Twitter clients.

www.theverge.com • Share


Tweet of the Week


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