✍️ Is this new $10B program for you?

The Hustle

One of the creators of Google Glass is back with a new project called SilentSpeller, which is a smart retainer that allows users to text with their tongue. What’s next – braces that can read minds?

Today’s rundown:

  • Small Biz help: The US government’s $10B program to help small businesses.
  • Nike vs. Lulu: Trouble in athleisure-land.
  • Digits: An oddball lawsuit, pay increases, and the Hulk.
  • Around the web: A mannequin mountain, money-saving tips, and more neat internet finds.

Let’s do it.

The big idea
bundles of money

The US government’s $10B small biz program, explained

$1T.

The US government has spent more than that amount to prop up small businesses since the start of the pandemic, per The Wall Street Journal.

The funds haven’t been evenly distributed, though. And the government is trying to rectify that…

… with a new $10B commitment

The program is called the State Small Business Credit Initiative (SSBCI) and funds will come from the $1.9T covid relief package passed last March.

One of the main goals is to direct money toward disadvantaged groups including racial minorities, rural communities, and veterans.

Republicans are questioning the need for the Democratic initiative, noting that there is an overlap with other programs.

Where did previous funds go?

According to WSJ, the flagship Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) — primarily targeted at small businesses — provided fewer loans on average “in areas with majority Black, Hispanic, American Indian or Alaska Native populations.”

On top of this, it’s estimated that criminals have stolen ~$100B — yes, billions — in covid relief funds. We’re going to go out on a limb and say that money didn’t end up covering payroll for your neighborhood bakery.

How it works

Per the Treasury, the federal government will use the funds to back investing and lending activities, with $3.5B specifically allocated for these buckets:

  • $500m: Very small businesses (fewer than 10 employees)
  • $2.5B: Total state funds for businesses owned by the socially and economically disadvantaged
  • $500m: Technical assistance

States will receive money based on a formula that accounts for hardships (e.g., job losses vs. national average). From there, they set programs — from loans to venture capital — that best target their respective locales.

A major obstacle for the SSBCI is letting people know they are eligible. So, here’s an application overview.

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SNIPPETS

New collab: Yeezy Gap announced a new collection with high-fashion house Balenciaga, with the 1st drop from the collab coming in June. #ecommerce-retail

New ad tech: Spotify launched “Call-to-Action Cards,” a new ad format that lets listeners click into a sponsor’s page mid-podcast. #emerging-tech

Peak crypto crime: Cryptocurrency-related crime reached $14B in 2021, ~2x 2020’s total. #privacy

Happy devs: In 2021, Ethereum had 4k+ monthly active open-source developers working on its platform, compared to 680+ for Bitcoin. #fintech-crypto

Meta’s hot new app: The Oculus app, which accompanies the VR headset, was downloaded ~2m times since Christmas. #big-tech

MFM: Steph Smith tells Sam how Tyler Perry became one of the 1st billionaire actors in the world. #mfm

Twitter thread: Trung Phan highlights 10 tech predictions gone wrong, and the rationale behind them at the time. #hustle-picks

Gym Sues
Mirror Home Gym

Mirror Home Gym. Photo: Mirror.

Nike sues Lululemon over sports tech patents

Lululemon is suing Peloton. Peloton is suing Lululemon. And now, Nike is suing Lululemon?

Nike is accusing Lululemon of patent infringement, but this isn’t about leggings.

The lawsuit pertains to Mirror Home Gym, a device for live and pre-recorded at-home workouts that Lululemon bought in 2020, per CNBC.

Nike says it’s the king of sports tech mountain

Nike’s complaint states that it’s been making digital sports tech since 1983, when it filed a patent for a device that tracked a runner’s speed, distance, time, and expended calories.

Since then, Nike’s gone on to create numerous digital products and apps that it says attract 75m+ active users.

Nike claims Lululemon’s Mirror infringes on 6 patents, which broadly include activity-tracking devices that:

  • Prompt 2 users in different locations to compete in a challenge
  • Instruct users based on heart rate
  • Give users “streak awards” based on performance
  • Let users share their activity to social media

Lululemon’s response asserts that Nike’s patents are “overly broad” and therefore invalid. And if that sounds familiar, it’s because my, how the tables have turned!

When Lululemon claimed certain Peloton leggings and sports bras infringed on its patents, Peloton countersued, saying that Lululemon’s patents were invalid for the same reason.

Interestingly, one of the leggings Lululemon mentioned in its complaint is a Peloton collab with Nike. Meanwhile, Lululemon received its own patent for a new shoe line coming later this year.

Drama!

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2022 milestones go here →
Digits
meme

Digits: An oddball lawsuit, pay increases, and the Hulk

1) A $6B lawsuit against the New York Giants and New York Jets claims the teams take advantage of “New York” branding despite being in New Jersey. “Many NFL fans would not attend… if they were warned in advance that they play in the State of New Jersey,” the suit reads.

2) In 2022, there’s good news and bad news for wages. The good news: companies are expected to set aside 3.9% of payroll for pay increases. The bad news: they’re doing it to combat inflation, so it’s less of a gracious gift and more of a band-aid.

3) The Hulk flexed his muscles last week when a private collector dropped $490k on a rare copy of the Incredible Hulk No. 1 comic. The copy is unique in that it shows the Hulk in grey, not green. Marvel realized the grey printed inconsistently, and decided to swap it with green (thankfully).

4) Facebook is banning advertisers that target users’ health conditions, a move many have advocated for some time. But the decision also presents a problem for medical researchers who rely on Facebook to help recruit ~3m clinical trial participants each year.

5) Some people subscribe to Netflix. Others, to Spotify. This month, though, some folks might become subscribers to Taco Bell through its $10 Taco Lover’s Pass which lets you grab 1 taco per day each month — worth it if you really, really love tacos.

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AROUND THE WEB

💿 On this day: In 2000, AOL and Time Warner merged into a $350B company. But by 2002, profits had sunk. In 2018, Time Warner was acquired by AT&T.

👀 That’s cool: A British woman built a mountain out of mannequins that would have otherwise gone in the trash. Visitors who need mannequins can grab as many pieces as they can in 15 minutes.

🎧 Podcast: Author Diana Kander hosts The Growth League, a new podcast where each week, Kander interviews one successful woman about her habits, tactics, and rules for growth.

💻 Useful: Snipclip is a tool you can use to create recordings of yourself and your screen at the same time, which can be super handy if you need to demo something.

💰 How to: Saving up for something? CNBC has tips on adopting a low-buy or no-buy period to save money.

🪁 Chill out: Need a relaxing reset? Enjoy this peaceful virtual playground.

Meme of the day

Which brand is this like for you? (Source: Buzzfeed)

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Damn, you’re on a roll. You’ve got the pint glass. You’ve got the hat. It’s time to complete your collection, don’t you think?

Get {35 – referral_count} more referrals and we’ll send you our favorite piece of Hustle swag: The Startup Sweatshirt. Slipping into this piece of fleece might just transport you to Silicon Valley (or maybe somewhere better, your pick).

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Trends Screenshot

Hey, we see you. You’re out there spreading the gospel of The Hustle like it’s nobody’s business. Seems like you might be ready for a little more…

Get {75 – referral_count} more referrals and we’ll slide you a free subscription to Trends.

And no, this ain’t an ad. We just think you’re the kinda person who would thrive in our top-tier community (it’s usually $299) full of founders, investors, and builders (AKA ambitious, no B.S. business folks like you — and enjoy our premium research and content.

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dinner with Sam Parr

Well, well. Look who climbed the ladder. We’re so proud.

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Get {1000 – referral_count} more referrals and you’ve got yourself a meeting with Sam Parr, founder of The Hustle. You might recognize him from the My First Million podcast. He loves that you love his good ol’ newsletter, and wants to treat you.

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