The fugitive venture capitalist was just found liable for insider trading and fraud. The Hustle Tues, Apr 3 Brought to you by Salesforce Essentials... delivering customer service miracles daily. At long last, justice is served to the fugitive venture capitalist who swindled $65m The case is pretty much closed for Iftikar Ahmed, a fugitive venture […]
April 3, 2018
The fugitive venture capitalist was just found liable for insider trading and fraud.
At long last, justice is served to the fugitive venture capitalist who swindled $65m
The case is pretty much closed for Iftikar Ahmed, a fugitive venture capitalist who fled to India after swindling his company in 2015.
Ifty -- as VC’s like to call him -- hopped from Harvard to Goldman to his final venture capital firm, Oak Investment Partners, before being indicted for insider trading and defrauding Oak.
And the verdict is: liable
For anyone who slept through the law school class about liability: criminal wrongdoers are guilty, while civil wrongdoers are liable -- but make no mistake, Ifty got caught.
Ifty the shifty first landed on the wrong side of the law in April 2015, with an SEC insider trading accusation. Only then did the brass at Oak decide to check their books, and what they found -- well, it made them look pretty stupid.
So how’d he do it?
A scheme borrowed from a 3rd-grader with a sweet tooth
Thrifty Ifty asked mom (aka Oak) for more money than he needed to buy candy (aka international e-commerce companies). Then, when he bought the candy and brought it home, he’d pocket the rest of the cash.
Using his piggy bank padded with company shekels, Ifty had already bought himself a $9.6m mansion in Greenwich, CT, and luxury penthouses in Manhattan by the time a Connecticut court froze his assets in 2015.
But if Ifty was a misbehaving child…
Oak Investment Partners was a really negligent parent.
The SEC investigation revealed that Ifty manipulated at least 9 Oak investments for personal gain -- often by making fake invoices, listing false exchange rates, or just making up numbers. In all of these cases, no one at Oak bothered to check Ifty’s work.
For venture capital firms built on trust between partners, fraud is an ongoing challenge. With $9B to insulate themselves, though, Oak managed to keep their doors open -- even when Ifty tried to countersue for $133m while living in exile on his buddy’s couch in India.
What momma don’t know
Alibaba buys out food delivery service Ele.me at $9.5B valuation
The Alibaba Group has announced that it will acquire the rest of online food delivery company Ele.me in a deal that values the company at $9.5B.
The Chinese tech giant first invested in Ele.me two years and currently owns close to 43% of the company’s voting shares along with its affiliates.
Get it while it’s hot
Founded by Mark Zhang and Jack Kang in 2008, Ele.me claims to be China’s biggest online delivery and local services platform, but at its core, it’s a logistics technology company that uses their logistics system to provide local delivery services.
With the deal, Ele.me will continue to operate under its own brand, and Mark Zhang will become chairman as Wang Lei, the current VP of Alibaba group, will take over as Ele.me’s CEO.
This is a part of Alibaba’s “new retail” strategy
This is the latest in a frenzy of investments and acquisitions by Alibaba as they look to grow their physical presence in the retail space.
Their plan is to combine e-commerce and offline retail to make it easier to move and spend cash between brick-and-mortar stores and Alibaba businesses.
With Ele.me, they look to complement Koubei, their affiliate local services platform, by combining Ele.me’s online home delivery services with Koubei’s consumer acquisition and engagement capability for restaurants.
Express Scripts forces Axios to take down leaked drug pricing contract
Two weeks ago, Axios got their hands on a 36-page contract template leaked by a source in the healthcare industry that gave insight into the mysterious way Express Scripts negotiates prescription prices with drug companies.
Alas, within a fortnight, Express Scripts forced the document to be taken off the web. So Axios came in pens a blazin’, fighting back the only way they know how -- a 4-part expose outlining Express Scripts secretive process for setting drug prices.
Pharmacy benefits managers like Express Scripts act as middlemen between drug companies and employer health plans. And they have a few tricks up their sleeves when it comes to making money off medicine…
Like a secret, “proprietary algorithm”
AKA, a black box of calculations used to determine whether a drug is billed as a brand, or a generic (labeling a drug as a “brand” costs employers a ton more -- and is far more lucrative for Express Scripts).
Not to mention a vise-grip on pharmacies: Independent pharmacists report being strong-armed into signing contracts that reimburse them at rock-bottom rates for filling prescriptions, rather than lose their patient base.
And they’re not exactly paying their profits forward
Anthem dumped Express Scripts last year after accusing them of collecting lucrative rebates from drug companies and keeping them all to themselves, instead of passing those benefits on to Anthem.
States that partner with Express Scripts to provide Medicaid are following suit -- the state of West Virginia, for example, predicts it’ll save $30m this year by being its own pharmacy benefit manager.
Smugglers used drones and inter-skyscraper cables to get $80m of iPhones into China
Last week, Chinese border patrol authorities arrested 26 smugglers for running a smuggling operation that made Ocean’s Eleven look like stealing candy from an unattended Halloween bowl.
Under the cover of night, the smugglers flew two 660-foot-long cables between skyscrapers in Hong Kong and mainland China using drones. Packing tiny bags full of refurbished iPhones, the hardware-traffickers transported 15,000 phones across the border before sunrise.
Why go to such great lengths (and heights)... for iPhones?
The tiny Sham Chun River is all that physically separates the “Special Administrative Region” of Hong Kong from the city of Shenzhen, a part of mainland China -- but the two cities are worlds apart for consumers.
“Special” tax exemptions make iPhones $200 cheaper in Hong Kong than across the river, opening up a huge black market for iPhones and other luxury items along the Hong Kong-Shenzhen border.
People will do anything... for the right profit margin
The recent heist was far from the first high-profile smuggling case -- last year, a woman was apprehended with 102 iPhones strapped to her chest -- but it was the first time commercial drones were known to be adapted for smuggling in China.
Authorities in Shenzhen (which is home to DJI, the world’s largest commercial drone manufacturer) have announced plans to combat drone-smuggling with a combination of high-resolution surveillance -- and more drones, the classic fix for everything!
Cryptocurrency prices may be diving, but blockchain shenanigans are still red hot. Google recently announced it would no longer accept applications for cryptocurrency mining Chrome extensions.
According to Google, 90% of mining extensions did not comply with Google’s use terms -- meaning they failed to tell users when they were zapping sweet computational power for mining. Chalk it up to blockchain-fever. [XDA Developers]
It’s 2018: If your business isn’t running with the sky people (AKA cloud), you’re bringing up the rear. Zoho gives you everything needed to run your business from, well, anywhere.
And that means everything. Zoho apps cover your business from marketing to HR, sales to finance, and of course CRM -- if it’s a business essential, Zoho has the solution. Throw in a fully customizable platform and built-in integration across apps, and you got yourself success-sauce. [ZOHO]
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How I stopped worrying and learned to love small tasks
Alright, love is a strong word. Like, maybe. Ok, I’m cordial with small tasks at best.
But, as a master procrastinator, I’ve found that putting off little things like quick emails or, say, rinsing a dish in my apartment typically has one of 2 outcomes:
It sits in the back of my mind, sucking minute amounts of focus from every task throughout my day.
It leaves my mind immediately and completely, never to return until it’s far too late (and 3 months later I realize I never responded to that email… or washed that plate).
Any task that comes across my plate that takes 5 minutes or less to do, I do right then and there.
It’s contrary to the idea of time blocking, but I’ve found that once my workflow is disrupted with a minor ask, 90% of the damage is already done.
Knocking it out right away and clearing it off my plate allows me to refocus fully on my work, and amounts to little more time and effort than setting a reminder or trying to hang onto it in my head.
Mentally, it’s also a way to make unappealing tasks feel more doable (re: washing dishes). It’s simple, but effective. Have other tricks for getting sh*t done throughout the day? Share ‘em in the comments here.