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Onward and upward: Uber Eats acquires food delivery startup that makes its own food
With companies like Amazon and others moving closer to the action in the delivery space, Uber food delivery branch Uber Eats has acquired Ando, a delivery-only restaurant founded by Momofuku owner and chef David Chang.
According to Ando’s website, the company is shutting down its service effective immediately as they begin to “integrate with Uber Eats.”
The cheesesteak and fried chicken “joint” is considered a ‘ghost restaurant’ (a restaurant with no physical location), which relies heavily on its tech to maintain food freshness during delivery.
Since launching in 2016, Uber Eats has been one of their main delivery partners, and now — with the announcement — their only delivery partner.
Uber Eats is growing like crazy
A surefire bright spot in Uber’s tumultuous last couple of years, Uber Eats is profitable in 27 of their 120 global markets and is on pace to surpass $3B in sales this year.
According to Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi, “[Uber Eats will] be the largest food delivery company in the world this year.”
A beautiful partnership
With so many competitors (like Deliveroo, Grubhub, and Caviar to name just a few) looking to carve out a niche in the food delivery game, Uber Eats’ partnership with Ando is likely just the first of more joint ventures.
As for Ando, they gain access to a larger audience for their signature cuisine and the chance to set the standard for restaurant technology as Uber Eats continues to build out their menu of future restaurant partners.
Sure ’nuff: Startup hippo raises $25m in the white-hot insurance tech space
California-based “insurtech” company Hippo just raised a brand spankin’ new round to — try not to choke on all the buzzwords — “[reimagine] homeowners insurance with a customer-centric model by leveraging big data.”
Essentially, they’re capitalizing on the inefficiencies of the current insurance model to simplify the claims process after a disaster — and VCs are lovin’ it.
According to CEO Assaf Wand, Hippo’s tech team has streamlined the regulatory process, allowing them to launch in new states in as little as 2 weeks, compared to the 12-month launch time of most traditional insurers (they’ve expanded into CA, AZ, TX, and PA since launching last April ).
Trendy apps ain’t where it’s at anymore
VCs aren’t just jumping on “sexy” startups lately — they’re going for new players that are shaking up the game in tried-and-true industries like agriculture, shipping and logistics, and, of course, insurance.
Case in point: Insurtech has grown from almost nonexistent in 2010 to 57 deals closed in the first half of 2017 alone, including high-dollar drops like Softbank’s $120m vote of confidence in rental and homeowners insurance startup Lemonade.
Amazon’s long-awaited autonomous grocery store opened yesterday in Seattle, and people cannot stop talking about it.
Last year, the tech powerhouse began testing the autonomous convenience store — designed to let customers walk in, pick up items, and purchase them without having to stand in line or open a wallet.
Now, after reworking a few technological kinks, the store is ready to… Amazon Go.
The entrance to the cashier-less store was described by The New York Times as “entering a subway station,” with a row of gates meeting customers as they file in. Only those with the store’s smartphone app may enter.
Once inside the 1800-square-foot market, customers are met with the same fully stocked shelves inhabiting any old grocery store.
But with Amazon Go, the difference lies in what isn’t there: customers aren’t met with cashiers or registers, or even shopping carts. The behind-the-scenes technology, while kept largely mum, is said to use the same sensory hardware that powers self-driving cars.
Ok, so what’s the plan here?
Over the past year, the race to unstaffed brick-and-mortars has been largely led by Chinese companies like Alibaba and JD.com, who’ve set the standard with superior technology and more actualized retail strategies.
Amazon hasn’t yet disclosed any such strategy — but it seems hellbent on eradicating the grocery store line.
Unfortunately, if this tweet is any indication, they’ve still got some kinks to work out…
Chinese imports are flooding South Korea’s kimchi market
Few things are more quintessential to South Korea than kimchi, a delicious fermented cabbage side dish seasoned with garlic and chili powder. It’s been a staple of Korean cuisine for centuries, and the average citizen consumes about 40 lbs of the stuff annually.
But behind the dish’s popularity, Korea is in the throes of a massive kimchi trade deficit — largely because it can’t compete with Chinese imports.
The import/export blues
According to the Taipei Times, South Korea dropped $129m on 275k metric tons of imported kimchi last year (99% of which was from China), but only managed to export 24k metric tons, worth $81m.
In total, that amounts to a $47.3m trade deficit — meaning Korea’s own native dish is now dominated by a foreign market.
The main reason for this is that Korean producers just can’t compete with China on prices: at $3.36/kg, domestic kimchi is nearly 7x the price of the Chinese imports ($0.50/kg).
Thy neighbor’s cabbage
South Korea has been in a kimchi deficit since ‘06 and has been reliant on Chinese kimchi since 2010, when massive rainfall crimped cabbage supply and forced the country to reduce tariffs on imported kimchi.
Since then, China’s seized the opportunity to fill the kimchi-sized hole in Korea’s stomach — and now, the majority of the kimchi you’ll find in Seoul and surrounding cities is from China.
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Side hustle: Make extra cash selling useful guides on pretty much anything
In big cities like San Francisco and NYC, spare room listings on Craigslist get hundreds of email inquiries. So, in 2014 I created a guide on how to write the perfect roommate email so folks could stick out in the crowd, and created a simple landing page to let people pay to download it.
To make it popular, I asked websites that came up on the first page of Google for “moving to San Francisco” to link to my guide and we’d split the profits. A few said yes.
Since launching, The Miracle Craigslist Guide has sold thousands of copies. My girlfriend even bought it before we met!
The secret to making this work was a website called Gumroad
Gumroad makes it dead easy to sell simple e-products like PDFs, music, or digital subscriptions. Gumroad lets you accept payments, build a simple sales page, and payout affiliates.
So, looking for a weekend project? Do this:
Pick a valuable piece of information. Something everyone asks you about, like a resume or a nutrition plan.
Create the document and upload it on Gumroad.
Write a badass landing page. (Don’t know how to do that? Take this course offered by my buddy Neville. It changed my life.)
Google what customers would search for to find your product.
Email the top 50 results, and offer to split the profits that come from linking to your page, using Gumroad’s affiliate feature.
Do people love the product? Expand.
— Sam, Chief Roommate Matchmaker
PS: What other products would you like me to write about? Comment here and let us know.