Malls, meet Instagram

September 13, 2019

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Today, Drivetime lets drivers play games hands-free and America’s white-hot hiring market is on an unplanned spree, but first…

The Hustle Daily Email

Neighborhood Goods’ fresh funding makes direct-to-consumer stores look, well, good

It’s a beautiful day at Neighborhood Goods, a department store concept for direct-to-consumer brands. 

Why? As TechCrunch reports, the Dallas-based startup just raised $11m to expand its network of digital-age department stores.

Neighborhood Goods thinks retail’s death was exaggerated

Sure, traditional brick-and-mortar stores may have struggled in recent years. But online brands with high online engagement can do well by offering “experiences” — and merchandise — in physical spaces.

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Neighborhood Goods’ Plano, Texas, flagship store provides retail space for Rothy’s, Dollar Shave Club, and Stadium Goods, giving these Instagram-forward brands a chance to connect with their fans — and, of course, sell them stuff — IRL.

It works like this: Brands launch extended pop-up shops, where they host events and sell their wares. Because there’s no long-term rental commitment for these brands, there’s an ever-changing roster of shops for consumers to explore. 

It’s not the only Brick-and-Mortar 2.0 on the block, either

Another IRL retail startup called Bulletin connects up-and-coming retailers with female-founded breakthrough brands across an array of verticals, letting brands run on consignment to test their products. 

Meanwhile, on Manhattan’s Far West Side, the Hudson Yards mall boasts a “Floor of Discovery,” which rents physical space to “digitally native” brands like M. Gemi. 

Next up? The Goods is going to more ’hoods

Neighborhood Goods plans to expand to new retail locations in Austin, Texas, and NYC. 

The company also plans to build out brand-partner incentives by investing in back-end analytics and data on activations. 

And, on the consumer side, it will build features for online browsing and in-store pickup … in essence, taking shopping back to the digital realm.

Shop it like it’s hot
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Big businesses are becoming really concerned about… holiday hiring?

It may feel like summer is barely over, but America’s most colossal companies are already stressing out about the holidays.

In the past few weeks, a number of massive companies — ranging from UPS to Wendy’s — have announced plans to hire tens of thousands of employees. 

Why is everyone so gung-ho about hiring this year?

The labor market is historically tight — the unemployment rate is holding steady at an unusually low 3.7% — and many companies are struggling to fill open jobs.

The number of job openings has actually exceeded the number of unemployed Americans for the last 17 months, so companies that need to do lots of hiring have to be more proactive than usual to find workers. 

Companies that fulfill online orders are leading the pack…

Which is no surprise. Delivery companies always need to staff up for the delivery season — and this year’s hiring spree will be more competitive than ever thanks to the strong economy and low unemployment rate.

Here’s a roundup of the hungriest hirers in the game right now:

Work it

Drivetime wants to prove that the future of car safety is all fun and games

Earlier this week, a startup called Drivetime raised $11m to continue developing interactive, voice-based games for car drivers.

The San Francisco-based startup, which was only founded in 2018, advertises its hands-free entertainment products as a way for drivers to “beat boredom” on long trips… and to do it safely.

It’s like going on a road trip with Alex Trebek

For $10 a month, Drivetime’s voice recognition-powered games give drivers an immersive entertainment alternative to music or podcasts. 

Drivetime’s most recent game is a hands-free version of Jeopardy. The company also offers a program called Storytime (an interactive audiobook) and a daily trivia game.

But it’s not just fun… it’s also safe

Hands-free voice games don’t just prevent drivers from dangerous boredom-busters like absentminded scrolling, they actively help drivers pay attention: Studies have shown that “alertness maintaining tasks” allow drivers to stay more focused.

A number of startups are building systems to monitor drowsy drivers. 

But Drivetime goes a step further — and actively prevents drivers from becoming drowsy in the first place. And if it continues to succeed, it’s likely that other companies will follow Drivetime’s lead.

Thanks, Alex

According to new research, the best company logos are ‘descriptive’

Since corporate logos are more of an art than a science, they don’t actually matter that much… right?

Not quite: According to new analysis from the Harvard Business Review, “descriptive logos” are more effective than non-descriptive logos.

So, what’s the difference?

Descriptive logos incorporate what the company actually sells into their logo design — like Burger King’s logo, which sandwiches the words “Burger King” between 2 burger buns.

Non-descriptive logos, on the other hand, feature design elements that are unrelated to a company’s product — like the McDonald’s golden arches.

According to the research, descriptive logos are more highly associated with consumers’ willingness to buy.

Well then why aren’t all logos descriptive?

Descriptive logos work best for unfamiliar, smaller companies because they establish their brands as reliable — even to consumers who have never heard of them.

But for large, well-known companies, the value of descriptive logos diminishes: People either trust big brands or they don’t, and logos are unlikely to tip the scales (the world’s most recognizable brands — Coca-Cola, Google, GE — don’t have descriptive logos).

Of course, there are always exceptions: As HBR notes, small companies that make products associated with “unpleasant” things won’t benefit from descriptive logos.

So, if you’re planning on starting a pest control company, maybe don’t incorporate dead rats into your logo. Otherwise, descriptive logos are tight.

Lo-go for the gold

We might live like we’re in our 20s after we turn 60 

We’re all getting old. By 2060, the US population over age 65 will be about 98m. That’s about twice what it is now.

With so many people aging comes a major question: How and where are we going to live comfortable lives?

Wendi Burkhardt used to say her dream retirement would be owning a house and sharing it with all her friends. Then she decided to start a company to make it happen. 

Making the golden years less lonely

Burkhardt’s company, Silvernest, is one of many startups that uses the sharing economy to increase connectivity and reduce social isolation among retirees. The company uses a proprietary algorithm to help retirees find roommates and live like the 2040 version of “Friends.” 

Another startup, Papa, connects college-aged people with seniors to help them with errands and provide companionship. Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian’s Initialized Capital has invested millions in the “age tech” space.

Odd couple pairings

Burkhardt says women around 65 are the most common homeowners on Silvernest. But about 20% of the pairings are intergenerational.

That includes the time a 59-year-old woman started living with a 31-year-old ex-Marine man for 18 months. 

“That is not what she was expecting,” Burkhardt says. “It ended up being a great success.”

Like “Friends” but when you’re 65 →  

Want to know more about age tech?

The previous story was adapted from a Trends report by The Hustle. Check out the full story here.


Once at odds, investing and sustainability are now on the same page

While many big companies aren’t doing anything to protect the Amazon or prevent orangutans from going extinct, John Hancock is taking a different approach. 

How? By helping people invest in companies doing good in the world with their new conscious investing platform, COIN

Inspired by the Sustainable Development Goals of the United Nations, COIN allows you to invest your money in companies that support clean water access, climate action, gender equality, and other social and environmental initiatives. 

In other words, your money can make change — and we like that, because we like good causes. And puns. 

The Wrap-up: COIN is a new way to invest in yourself and the world.

Get $55 when you invest $250 using code COIN55.

Invest in the future
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