WeWork’s IPO vs. Jewish holidays


September 18, 2019

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Today, Strider helps you find out if your intern is a spy and Wells Fargo joins the list of big banks giving crypto the ol’ college try, but first…

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Listen to our podcast 🎧 Season 2 of my My First Million is live. Listen here to learn how John Fiorentino raised $5m on Kickstarter to re-invent the blanket. Teaser: This one’s heavy.

Did a Jewish holiday kill the WeWork IPO?

WeWork’s parent company, the We Company, has postponed its IPO — which was expected next week — until October or later.

There are a number of reasons for the delay: After losing $1.37B in the first half of the year and coming under fire for shady corporate governance, the company has struggled to convince investors it’s really worth its $47B private valuation.

But the most immediate reason for WeWork’s postponement is also perhaps the most interesting: Rosh Hashanah.

Wait, what?

That’s right — an inconveniently timed holiday can kill an IPO.

As of last weekend, WeWork was set to begin its roadshow on Monday of this week. But minor internal disagreements prevented the company from starting its roadshow on Monday — and by Tuesday it was too late.

Why? Because if WeWork starts its roadshow now, it will conflict with Rosh Hashanah (which begins Sept. 29), and, as Axios’ Dan Primack notes, “It’s generally considered disrespectful to roadshow during the Jewish high holidays.”

Then, a week after Rosh Hashanah, it’s Yom Kippur — another IPO no-go.

You see, a good IPO is all about the roadshow…

And a good roadshow is all about timing. 

In WeWork’s case, the company chose to postpone its IPO rather than risk a botched roadshow. 

Why is the roadshow so important? Because it’s a company’s biggest chance to advertise itself to investors before hitting the big leagues. 

Roadshows are intense — and often several weeks long, hence the Rosh Hashanah conflict. And they’re extra important for embattled businesses like WeWork that still have something to prove to investors. 

WeWork’s wacky IPO may be a warning

WeWork, which was once valued at $47B, has slipped to an estimated valuation of between $10B and $12B. 

Earlier this year, the company secured a $6B credit line from big banks to keep the lights on. But a condition of that credit required WeWork to go public this year — and raise at least $3B in the process. 

Based on the company’s most recent valuations, though, it wouldn’t have raised the necessary $3B — which could send WeWork spiraling even further downward. 

So next time you take your multibillion-dollar company public, make sure to get your ducks in a row — and check your calendar for Jewish holidays.

Oy vey
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Strider wants global IP-thieves to know this town ain’t big enough for the both of them

Strider, a startup that offers a screening tool to help prevent foreign governments from planting intellectual property-stealing moles inside companies, has come out of its stealth mode, Axios reports. 

The company plans to root out the spooks by keeping a database of human interactions with governments. But will the new tool really help stabilize trust among domestic and international businesses, or will it further separate them?

Hungry, hungry hIPpos

If you don’t believe corporate spies are real, it’s probably because you’re a corporate spy. And the corporate spy life has been good because there have been few solutions to suss out individuals with malicious ties to foreign governments — until now. 

Many countries — *ahem* China — have been known to send double agents to apply for jobs at foreign companies and steal their IP for their own domestic firms to copy and sell. Sometimes they’ll even go as far as forming company partnershipsallegedly — before swiping their trade secrets (Remember Huawei? T-Mobile sure does). 

Strider’s twin co-founders Eric and Greg Levesque (if those are their real names) have quietly provided similar screening technology to US intelligence agencies and large firms — now they’re just announcing their business publicly.

And it feels pretty necessary…

Strider believes its new tool enables companies to recruit from nations like China or Russia while minimizing the risk and worry in the current global IP war.

“The reality is that we live in a day and age where companies operate globally,” Eric Levesque told Axios. “We assess the risk of espionage, to allow them to do it safely.”

Sneaky sneaky
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Wells Fargo makes it official: Big banks are getting in on cryptocurrency 

Wells Fargo just announced it will launch a US dollar-linked stablecoin, making it the latest financial titan to get in on cryptocurrency. 

Now, a cyberpunk concept has really gone corporate 

Wells Fargo Digital Cash — the very creative name for Old Man Fargo’s tokenized dollars — will launch next year. Wells Fargo’s proprietary digital ledger tech (DLT) will allow users to move money internally across the firm’s global network in “near real-time.” 

Wells Fargo isn’t the only big bank digging the digidollar. JPMorgan launched JPM Coin earlier this year… and it’s likely other banks will follow suit with tokens and networks of their own. 

So… why go crypto?

In its early days, the unregulated nature of cryptocurrency networks created concerns that it would enable tax evasion, money laundering, and other darknet activities (talk about naughty bits).

But banks are discovering that blockchain-based technologies allow instantaneous payment transfers. 

And in an increasingly global economy, this is especially attractive because businesses can move funds outside of normal operating hours while cutting the time and costs associated with such transactions and eliminating the need for middlemen.

Once Bitcoined twice shy

Ohh sheet: Casper aims to make your dreams a bit sweeter with CBD gummy bears

Millennial-focused mattress startup Casper has partnered with hemp company Plus to release a line of CBD sleep gummies. It’s the latest in Casper’s series of sleep-centric offerings (including dog beds, bedside tables, and Glow lamps) aimed at helping the brand become the “Nike of Sleep.” 

Casper has been a leader among direct-to-consumer startups —  one of several brands to transform traditionally yawn-inducing staples (think: razors, meds, luggage and feminine products) into must-haves for millennials dreaming of attaining a certain branded lifestyle ideal. 

The snooze market has potential since, well, everyone does it

By offering science-backed slumber services in addition to its mattresses, Casper has secured new revenue streams while appealing to the rising value that sleep-deprived consumers place on holistic health and wellness…. also on weed. 

However, emerging competitors such as Avocado and Lull are in hot pursuit. We’ll see if entering the thriving CBD space helps Casper differentiate itself and turn a profit… In the meantime, if you need us we’ll be poppin’ gummies at The Dreamery.

There’s a nap for that
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See ya later, paper
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