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...Wait, what was the question? The Hustle Tues, Feb 20 Brought to you by LendingTree… light speed business loans. ‘Kidtech is rising,’ and SuperAwesome is at the forefront with a $100m valuation 2017 was a rocky year for kids content...
Brought to you by LendingTree… light speed business loans.
‘Kidtech is rising,’ and SuperAwesome is at the forefront with a $100m valuation
2017 was a rocky year for kids content on the internet, and the growing need for kid-friendly technology has thrown some heretofore unknown kidtech startups into the spotlight.
The less than 5-year-old kidtech company SuperAwesome is leading the charge, with their first-ever profitable quarter at the end of 2017, 70% growth year-over-year, and a $100m valuation.
So, what exactly is kidtech?
Recent controversies around what should be labeled as “kids content” on platforms like YouTube have shown a pressing need for regulations that make tech safer for kids — and SuperAwesome aims to fill in the gaps.
Their technology powers many big-name platforms in the children’s market like Activision, Hasbro, and Cartoon Network to ensure kid-safe advertising, social engagement tools, and parental controls. And that advertisers aren’t tracking children’s personal data.
Kids using tech? Whodathunk?
SuperAwesome accredits the world’s shift to digital as a main source of its growth, with TV viewing falling 10 to 20% annually — but many companies didn’t take kids into account when the digital shift first started taking place (child “digital budgets” are now growing 25% YoY).
But SuperAwesome’s already got it covered: their kid social platform, PopJam, lets developers create experiences where kids can like, comment, share, and repurpose online kid-friendly content — priming young bucks for the days when tech consumes their lives completely. Perfect.
The ‘Tube’s loss is their gain
Yuh-Tube has been in a frenzy over the past year, desperately trying to figure out how to protect kids from the seemingly insurmountable influx of inappropriate content targeting them on the site.
And if SuperAwesome can figure out how to effectively police it, the world is their playpen.
Protect the babies
Will the real TechCrunch founder please stand up?
On Sunday, TechCrunch founder Michael Arrington published a juicy blog post, wherein he accused Keith Teare of falsely labeling himself as a co-founder of TechCrunch.
According to Arrington, Teare “thought [TechCrunch] was all a stupid idea until [he] didn’t… then tried to take credit without ever actually helping.”
Teare says he never claimed credit for TC, but that Arrington started TC while the 2 were partners in an LLC, Archimedes Ventures, back in 2005 and that he was “very supportive” of Arrington as he was getting the blog off the ground…
So who’s telling the truth here?
There’s no question that Arrington is the mastermind behind TC and that the idea for TechCrunch spun out of his research while working for Archimedes with Teare.
We also know that Arrington is no stranger to dramatic public displays: after AOL acquired the blog in 2010, he announced his resignation by unbuttoning his shirt on stage and revealing a green T-shirt that said “UNPAID BLOGGER.”
“What we’ve got here is failure to communicate”
Arrington has since posted an update that he and Teare have come to a compromise via email to let Teare refer to himself as a “Founding Shareholder” instead.
Teare’s heartbreaking email response? “Friendship is… pretty unconditional in our case. I would like to remain a friend and have you be mine too.”
Google’s new AI algorithm can predict heart disease by looking into your eyes
Google’s health subsidiary, Verily, announced yesterday that their new AI algorithm can assess heart disease risk by analyzing scans of the back of a patient’s eyes.
The new software purportedly can determine a person’s age, blood pressure, and smoking habits and use the data to predict the risk of a major cardiac event.
Ok… how does it work?
The scan takes place on the rear interior wall of the eye (AKA the fundus), where a large number of blood vessels that reflect the body’s health exist. Doctors can make inferences about a person’s cardiovascular health by studying these vessels with a camera.
To “train” the algorithm, Verily’s scientists used machine learning to study medical data from almost 300k patients — some with cardiovascular issues, some without.
The algorithm was able to tell which patients had heart issues with 70% accuracy (just shy of the 72% accuracy of traditional blood testing).
Health tech: the new “it” initiative
Whether it’s insurtech, biotech, or some other new sexytech we’ve never heard of, companies are chomping at the bit to get into the healthcare industry.
Last month alone, Amazon decided to create their own company health insurance free from “profit-making incentives,” while Apple announced their new effort to sync user medical records with their health app on the iPhone as part their new iOS.
Google’s heart disease pre-cog has a lot of promise, but many physicians feel the work needs to continue before it should achieve acceptance on a broader level. Nonetheless, it is a huge breakthrough for “non-invasive” health evaluations.
One of the most iconic guitar brands in history is facing potential bankruptcy
According to a report by the Nashville Post, Gibson — maker of legendary guitars like the Les Paul and the Flying V — is in serious financial straits.
In the 116-year-old company’s heyday, rock gods like Jimmy Page, Slash, and Eric Clapton shredded on their products, and inspired entire generations to pick up the 6-string.
Now, Gibson faces $145m in unpaid bank loans and a shrinking market for electric guitars.
When tech isn’t the solution
Founded in 1902 in Kalamazoo, Michigan, Gibson’s financial troubles began relatively recently, and can largely be attributed to technology.
In the last decade, the industry has seen electric guitar sales slip from 1.5m to 1m units per year — and in an attempt to revamp interest, Gibson’s CEO, Henry Juszkiewicz, made a series of bad investments in electronics, including a wildly unsuccessful, multi-million dollar push for “self-tuning” guitars.
About a year ago, a subsidiary of Blackstone kept the company afloat with a $130 million loan — but now, investors are getting testy.
It’s not just a Gibson problem; it’s a guitar problem
Another major guitar brand, Fender, is $100m debt and has watched their revenue fall by 19% since 2012. The world’s largest guitar retailer, Guitar Center, is $1.6B in debt and faces an uncertain future.
At Gibson, Juszkiewicz has 3 options in front of him: he can refinance the company’s debt at an unfavorable rate, pay it off with his own equity, or declare bankruptcy.
Unfortunately, the last of these seems most likely.
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“The world is full of money. Some of it has my name on it. All I have to do is collect it.”
“How to Get Rich” by Felix Dennis is a book that everyone should read, but frankly, the cringeworthy title often keeps me from recommending it.
That said, I’ve read this book a dozen times and refer to it regularly.
Why? Because Felix Dennis is the poetic, vulgar, recovering alcoholic, rock n roll version of Richard Branson.
In 1970’s, he launched a magazine empire (Blender, Maxim, Stuff) and made a fortune, and in his book, he writes about the things I wish my father told me about handling my finances, growing up, being bold, a leader, and creating wealth.
Here are a few of my favorite lines:
“Issuing staff credit cards, company cell phones or cars is the road to ruin.”
“Too many people want to make a blockbuster movie and live in Beverly Hills. Not enough people want to dig holes. Obviously, waste disposal is an enormous and fantastic industry.”
“Once you believe that you are infallible, that your success will automatically lead to more success, and that you have ‘got it made,’ reality will be sure to give you a rude wake-up call. Believing your own bullshit is always a perilous activity, but never more fatal than for the owner of a start-up venture.”
Felix is blunt, funny, loveable, honest, and provides actionable tips for living a bold life. Give “How to Get Rich” a read and let me know if you love it.
— Sam, CEO of The Hustle
This edition of The Hustle was brought to you by
You’re 24hrs away from “approved!”
If you’re in business long enough, you know moving up-and-to-the-right doesn’t come cheap. Websites need updating, inventory needs purchasing, and equipment breaks.
Long story short: money comes and goes. It’s inevitable, like taxes and customers with opinions.
But getting the credit to keep things humming means suffering the long walk to your bank — AKA a dimly lit den of overstuffed chairs and the dreaded sound of “no.”