Yesterday, a group of Volkswagen shareholders demanded $10.6B in damages resulting from the now-infamous dieselgate in the opening day of Volkswagen’s long-awaited investor trial.
Since VW pleaded guilty to criminal charges of falsifying emissions tests in 2015, it has paid nearly $32B to customers and regulators. But it’s not over yet -- the German automaker still has to settle the score with its angriest adversary: Its own investors.
Unlike the EPA’s original criminal case (which convicted VW of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and violating the Clean Air Act, landing execs in jail), VW investors have accused the company of failing to disclose obligatory information about the impending disaster to shareholders.
After VW’s diesel debacle first hit the fan when the EPA dished out a “notice of violation” on Sept. 18, 2015, the company failed to alert its shareholders of the scandal for 4 days -- long enough for the VW shares to lose 37% of their value.
To reclaim some of VW’s nearly $30B in lost market value, German institutional investor Deka will lead 1,670 shareholders in this week’s suit by arguing the company knowingly withheld investor info.
The suit is well-funded thanks to vindictive hedge funds that bet against VW during its scandal and lost. But payouts for many investors depend on whether the court allows payouts for a scandal that began well before the 2012 statute of limitations in 2005.
Since these investors represent less than half of the total plaintiffs, this result will set a multibillion dollar precedent for the rest of the 4k plaintiffs.
And, even if it comes out on top of this case, VW’s not short on scandals to manage. Just last week, the company recalled 10k SUVs due to airbag defects.
Perlego has closed $4.8m in funding to make it easier for college students to afford books while also having money left over to fulfill basic living needs like food, and sleep.
Why? Because textbooks are f*cking expensive. Research shows prices have increased more than 800% from 1978 to 2012.
But, Perlego wants to change all of that: Founded by Gauthier Van Malderen and Matthew Davis, their model is designed to give students and professionals unlimited access to over 200k academic and professional eBook titles for around $15 a month.
To pull it off, the company works with 650 publishers, including big names like Oxford University Press, Princeton University Press, Macmillan Higher Education, and Cengage Learning.
According to Van Malderen, publishers will benefit through “data collection, reduced piracy, and no cannibalization from second-hand print sales.”
Oh, yes, and of course money. Publishers will receive 65% of each subscription on a consumption basis.
According to TechCrunch, Perlego will use the new funding to grow the team and support the company’s growth across the UK and Europe, and also further invest in developing its product.
Perlego has also joined Founders Factory this month as part of its edtech accelerator program, which is backed by Holtzbrinck Macmillan -- one of the world’s largest academic publishers.
Solid-state battery maker Solid Power raised $20m from companies like Samsung, A123 Systems, and Hyundai Cradle to scale up its technology in hopes to reign supreme over all EV batteries.
According to the company, it already has a working prototype of an all-solid-state rechargeable, lithium-metal battery, AKA the holy grail of innovation in the battery market. But, wait…
As technology advances, batteries of the future will need to carry more energy in the same size requirements of today’s batteries.
To get there, chemists need to use materials with “higher energy density” than batteries used today -- Solid Power claims its prototype can store 2-3x the energy of current lithium-ion.
Founded in 2012, Solid Power employs battery researchers and engineers in a 21k-square-foot facility along the front range of the Rocky Mountains in Colorado, and they plan to build another facility with the money raised.
In the first half of 2018 alone, investors have pumped double the amount into battery startups than they invested in all of 2017.
Bloomberg projects that as electric-vehicle adoption increases, the market for batteries is going to grow from almost 100 gigawatt-hours today to more than 1.5k GWh by 2030.
And Solid Power already has an ‘in’ with the EV industry: Last year, it partnered with BMW to develop the company’s solid-state batteries to tailor their tech toward automotive requirements for “high performance” electric vehicles.
TransferWise, a 7-year-old fintech startup that makes it easier to transfer money internationally, announced yesterday that it turned a profit for the 2nd consecutive year.
Buoyed by a fintech industry that’s growing rapidly to support increasingly international global businesses, TransferWise doubled its user base from 2m to 4m this year and increased revenue 75% from $86m to $152m.
By pooling money in several locations, TransferWise cuts middlemen out of the transfer process, cutting fees from the 5% charged at most banks to 0.6%.
T-Wise also recently launched a “borderless” European debit card that lets users pay and receive money seamlessly in numerous currencies -- a benefit that is more important than ever thanks to the looming Brexit.
The international money transfer industry is expected to grow from a $1.5B industry in 2017 to a $5.9B industry by 2023.
Startups WorldRemit and Revolut are raising tons of cash (a respective $233m and $336m compared to TransferWise’s $396m) to carve out their pieces, but neither startup is profitable yet.
Traditional money transfer services are also investing heavily in new digital services. Western Union recently announced a “fintech expansion” to broaden the reach of its money transfer operations (which are already active in 200 countries and territories).
In 2015, brothers Jordan, Jake, and Jimmy DeCicco launched Kitu Super Coffee out of Jordan’s college dorm room, turning it into a test kitchen for their organic, low-calorie, high-protein coffee drink.
By 2018, they were face-to-face with Shark Tank’s Mark Cuban, Barbara Corcoran, and Rohan Oza.
The Sharks commended the DeCicco brothers on Super Coffee’s great taste while being “high protein, high good fats, [and] low sugar.”
But Shark Tank was just the beginning.
Kitu Super Coffee is all of those things -- plus 10 grams of completely organic protein and 5g of MCT Oil (healthy fats for energy).
Drinking Super Coffee is like filling your body’s tank up with premium fuel instead of corn oil: Your engine runs cleaner and you’re not gonna have a breakdown in the clutch (AKA, that 2pm presentation for your boss).
But hey, don’t just take our word for it, let Kitu speak for itself: Super Coffee is now sold in retailers like the legendary Wawa, high-end gyms like Equinox, colleges across the country -- and, of course, on Amazon. Hustle readers get 20% off with code HUSTLE2018.
Oh, and the other thing the Sharks complimented the DeCiccos on? Their “high energy.”
1. Any business that operates out of a physical building. 2. Pre-internet, a store. 3. Much like billboard advertising, a business model so out of vogue, it’s back in vogue again.
Pro tip: When in doubt, call it a pop-up shop.
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