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Posts tagged as Silicon Valley

In what is apparently not an April Fool’s joke, Impossible Foods and Burger King are launching an …

Burger King isn’t the first fast food chain to bring an Impossible burger to market. According to a report in The New York Times, Burger King is launching the Impossible Whopper in stores in the St.Louis area with plans for a broader rollout later and not as part of some elaborate April Fools day prank.Burger King isnt the first fast food chain to bring an Impossible burger to market.

Thatd be White Castle, which is selling Impossible sliders at stores in the Northeast.Impossible Foods goes to White CastleBut Burger King would certainly be the biggest slinger of ground beef to go with a meatless patty maker.Impossibles largest competition in the meat-substitute market, the publicly traded purveyor of purely beef free patties, Beyond Meat, has a similar deal with Carls Jr. for its own version of a beef-less burger.The Silicon Valley-based Impossible Foods has been on a roll. They introduced a new version of their burger to much fanfare at the Consumer Electronics Show earlier this year, and have been locking in deals with higher-end fast casual restaurants and now large international fast food chains.

In the eight years since the company raised its first $7 million investment from Khosla Ventures, Impossible Foods has managed to amass over $389 million in financing — including a convertible note last year from the Singaporean global investment powerhouse Temasek (which is backed by the Singaporean government) and the Chinese investment fund Sailing Capital (a state-owned investment fund backed by the Communist Party-owned Chinese financial services firm, Shanghai International Group).It remains to be seen if this is a harbinger of things to come for Burger King and whether the fast food giant will embrace other alternative meat companies like the providers of fake chicken or cellular based meat substitutes like Memphis Meats.

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E-cigarette company Juul is now doing health research, but the findings from its first study are limited

On Saturday, for the first time in its roughly two-year history, e-cigarette company Juul presented some data from a clinical trial of its devices.
The company has a reputation for aggressively marketing its dessert-flavored nicotine products to teens, some of whom, research suggests, may now be at a higher risk of using regular cigarettes.But Juul, which is now partially owned by Marlboro maker Altria, is now conducting scientific research. In general, that research is considered a key step toward ensuring that a new product is not causing undo harm to people.
But the study still leaves many unanswered questions about the overall health of vaping, and also leaves unaddressed the issue of use by teens. Juul, a Silicon Valley e-cigarette startup with a reputation for aggressively marketing its dessert-flavored nicotine products to teens, is now doing health research.On Saturday the company, which is now partially owned by Marlboro maker Altria, presented a poster summary of a clinical trial comparing people who exclusively used its devices against people who smoked traditional cigarettes at an annual meeting for the Society for Research on Nicotine and Tobacco. According to Clinical Trials.
The governments database for such research, Juul recently completed at least five other clinical trials including its devices, which have been on the market since 2017. The company is in the process of conducting at least three more, according to the database.For the study presented on Saturday, a group of researchers from Juul and outside lab Celerion looked at 90 adult smokers. Over five days, the researchers analyzed nine biological clues known as biomarkers that are thought to provide insights into disease or illness.In this case, they looked specifically at cancer-causing biomarkers linked with smoking tobacco-based cigarettes. E-cigarettes do not contain tobacco.
The researchers then divided the participants into groups and had some groups abstain from nicotine completely. Others smoked normally.Still others used only Juul e-cigs. The findings suggested positive results for the smokers who quit and completely transitioned to Juul devices.In both the abstinence group and the Juul group, all of the measured biomarkers decreased dramatically. On average, the levels dropped by 85.3% in the non-vaping, non-smoking group and 85% in the Juul group. That suggests that using Juul e-cigarettes in isolation is not linked with some of the potentially cancer-causing effects of smoking regular tobacco cigarettes, the authors concluded.
The study also has some important limitations. Unanswered questions about vaping and healthcaptionPublic-health experts and scientists worry about Juuls skyrocketing popularity among young people who otherwise would not have smoked.
Most experts agree that compared with traditional smoking which involves inhaling burned tobacco vaping is likely healthier. However, a growing body of research suggests that using e-cigarettes comes with health risks of its own.
Juuls analysis did not look at the overall health impacts of using e-cigarettes. Instead, it looked at a small set of biomarkers that are known to be negatively impacted by tobacco use.E-cigarettes dont contain tobacco. A press release summarizing Juuls paper suggested that the study reaffirm the potential for vapor products as a viable alternative to combustible cigarettes.
That conclusion may be premature based on the study, which took place over the course of five days and included 90 people. Most research comparing cigarettes and e-cigarettes is conducted over the course of several years and includes thousands of participants.Previous biomarker research on e-cigarettes has suggested the devices could be linked with negative health effects. Few of these studies have included Juul devices, however.
For example, a recent analysis of biomarkers in e-cigs other than the Juul suggested that vapers inhale toxic substances like lead, nickel, chromium, and manganese in levels higher than whats considered safe by the EPA. Inhaling those metals has been tied to health problems in the lungs, liver, immune system, heart, and brain, as well as some cancers, according to the US Department of Labors Occupational Health and Safety Administration.
Another concern experts have raised with previous e-cigarette research is when scientists exclude users who switch between vaping and smoking, the group of people whom they say make up the majority of e-cig users. For the vaping portion of Juuls study, the researchers looked only at people who exclusively vaped, not people who switch back and forth.That could mean that it ignores the health impacts of real vape use, which could include vaping and smoking rather than just vaping. The study also leaves unaddressed the issue of teen vaping, which recent studies from the Food and Drug Administration suggest were in large part a result of Juuls skyrocketing popularity.A single Juul pod, the refillable cartridge in the Juul e-cig, contains the same amount of highly addictive nicotine as a pack of traditional cigarettes. Several studies have suggested that teens who use e-cigarettes eventually transition to regular cigarettes, and these may be young people who otherwise would not have smoked.

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Opinion: The rules of fashion and beauty branding are changing

Jasmine Bina is a brand strategist. Lifestyle branding is starting to outgrow its roots. Until recently, most premium players in beauty and fashion had Lifestyle branding is starting to outgrow its roots.
Until recently, most premium players in beauty and fashion had taken a page out of the luxury playbook and centered their lifestyle brands around an aspiration: the idea that the consumer should want a certain life that you’ve yet to attain.  But aspiration creates a tangible separation between the user and the product, and as more and more consumers become willing to pay for the promise of a premium experience, they’ve also come to reject the distancing nature of aspiration in exchange for something more intimate.
Brands need to be paying attention to this evolution of the lifestyle consumer, and a small crop of companies is showing what it means to create a brand for the future of the space.The conversation comes first If you do away with fonts, colors, filters and aesthetics, most brands will fall into one of two camps: those with nothing left to differentiate themselves and those that have gone much deeper to start a unique conversation.
Most of athleisure falls into the first camp. Once you remove the highly stylized imagery with saturated colors and strong female figures, there is very little brand or lifestyle remaining.
But a brand like Outdoor Voices has decided to instead engage in a larger dialogue, one that founder Tyler Haney describes as being “human, not superhuman.”That guiding belief has shaped their conversations with the user at every touchpoint, from viral posts showing cellulite on women and a #DoingThings campaign celebrating the joy of everyday activities to the very fabrics deliberately chosen to act technical but not feel or look like they are.
These aren’t marketing gimmicks. They’re part of a conversation that is always exploring what the “human” side of the user is, at the very life moments when those users are exploring the concept for themselves, between work and play, gym time and downtime.
The next wave of lifestyle brands won’t be defined by the ideal they are projecting. They will be the ones who insert themselves into the important life moments of their users specifically, those life moments that echo the brand’s guiding beliefs.
Self-discovery is the new benefit.But benefits like this stop short of an even deeper consumer experience: self-discovery. The Ordinary (which charges a premium not in price, but in time and effort) does this in an unsuspecting way, compelling users to become skin-care experts when decoding cryptic product labels and creating their own regimens.
In the arduous process, users discover that they themselves can be the expert and take control of their skin health in a way that traditional skin care has never allowed for.Similarly, Patagonia isn’t selling a cause, but it’s instead selling a way to mean something in this world.
All birds isn’t really selling comfort; it’s selling the Silicon Valley dream of realizing one’s potential a particularly alluring form of self-discovery that creatives, lawyer-types and gig-economy workers all care about.Self-discovery moves us away from the notion of emulation (which is so core to aspirational brands) and toward empowerment.
Brands that empower the self-discovery journey are already pushing the frontier of lifestyle.Tension moves people deeper into the brandTension has long been a topic of discussion in brand strategy, but as lifestylehas gained ubiquity over the past few years, the value of tension has changed, as well.
Hims (and its newly launched female companion brand, Hers) creates tension around the idea of gender and shame. Troublesome masculine archetypes are deflated with a good sense of humor and real talk, but what’s really happening here is a brand that’s forcing people to really look at their own harmful biases.
Everything Hims talks about on the homepage of its website is about the user, not the product. Rather than saying, Look at who we are, it says, We see who you are.
Users will either strongly identify or feel a strong disconnect. The tension will move people in one direction or another, but the one thing tension will not allow is for people to stand still.
Tension creates movement. If the future of lifestyle brands is about creating a conversation that supports self-discovery for the user, then tension is the critical ingredient for making that conversation come to life.We’re moving deeper into the heart of the user, and for brands, that means rethinking what is actually being sold. It is the intimacy, not the distance, that matters.

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GoTrendier raises $3.5 million to take on Spanish-language fashion marketplaces

GoTrendier, a peer-to-peer fashion marketplace operative in Mexico and Colombia, has raised $3.5 million USD to do just that. And investors are 5 million to take on Spanish-language fashion marketplaces 14 hours Thanks to environmentally conscious young buyers, throwaway culture is dying not only in the U.S. but also in Latin America and startups are poised to jump in with services to help people recycle used clothing. GoTrendier, a peer-to-peer fashion marketplace operative in Mexico and Colombia, has raised $3.5 million USD to do just that.And investors are eyeing the startup as the digital fashion marketplace growth leader in Spanish-speaking countries. GoTrendier, founded by Belén Cabido, is a platform that lets users buy and sell secondhand clothing. Cabido tells me that the new capital will enable GoTrendier to expand deeper into Mexico and Colombia, and launch in a new country: Chile. GoTrendier enables users to buy and sell used items through the GoTrendier site and app.The platform categorizes users as either salespeople or buyers. Salespeople create their own stores by uploading photos of garments along with a description and sale price.
Buyers browse the platform for deals and once a buyer bites, the seller is given a prepaid shipping label. Sound familiar? Businesses like Poshmark and GoTrendier have no actual inventory, which allows the companies to take on less of a risk by having smaller overhead costs.In turn, the company acts as more of a social community for fashion exchanges.In order to make money, Poshmark takes a flat commission of $2.95 for sales under $15. For anything more than that, the seller keeps 80 percent of their sale and Harvard Business School study.GoTrendier has a similar commission pricing strategy, taking 20 percent off plus an additional nine pesos (about 48 cents in U.S currency) for all purchases. But these companies are also largely venture-backed.In the case of GoTrendier, tGoTrendier amassed a user base of 1.3 million buyers and sellers throughout its four years of existence.
The service operates in Mexico and Colombia, and will use its newest capital to launch in Chile another market Cabido says is experiencing high demand for a secondhand fashion buying and selling service.Online marketplace companies are growing in Latin America as smartphone adoption and digital banking services multiply in the region.But international expansion has proven to be an issue. EnjoeiMany have remarked that Latin Americas tech scene is filled with copycats or companies that emulate the business models of American or European startups and bring the same service to their home market.
In order to secure bigger foreign investment checks, founders from growing tech regions like Latin America certainly must invent proprietary technologies. Yet theres still value and capital in so-called copycat businesses.
Why? Because the users are there and in some cases its just easier to start up.According to investor Sergio Pérez of Sabadell Venture Capital, The volume of the market for buying and selling second-hand clothes in the world was 360 million transactions in 2017 and is expected to reach 400 million in 2022.
A 2018 report from ThredUp also claimed that the size of the global secondhand market is set to hit $41 billion by 2022. The throwaway culture is disappearing thanks to environmentally conscious millennial buyers.As designer Stella McCartney famously said, The future of fashion is circular – it will be restorative and regenerative by design and the clothes we love never end up as waste.” By buying on GoTrendier, the company claims its users have been able to save USD $12 million and have avoided more than 1,000 tons of CO2 emissions.
Founders building companies in Latin America arent necessarily as capital-hungry as Silicon Valley-based founders, (where a Series A can now equate to $68 million, apparently). Cabido tells me her company is able to fulfill operations and marketing needs with a lean staff of 30, noting that theres a lot of natural demand for buying and selling used clothing in these regions, thus creating organic growth for her business.
She wasnt looking to raise capital, but investors had their eye on her. [Investors] saw the tension of the marketplace, and we demonstrated that GoTrendiers user base could be bigger and bigger, she says.With sights set on new markets like Chile and Peru, Cabido decided to move forward and close the round.  Poshmark, which benefits from indirect and same-side network effects, has raised $153 million to date from investors like Temasek Holdings, GGV and Menlo Ventures.

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‘Bollywood Boulevard’ showcases century of Hindi cinema

Elizabeth Chalier & Sunthar Visuvalingam. CHICAGO: “Bollywood Boulevard (BB): A Journey Through Hindi Cinema” regaled a mixed audience at McAninch Arts Center (MAC) in Glen Ellyn, over the weekend of February 9 and 10.
ArticlesFeatured ContentsBreaking NewsAmerica land of opportunities where failure not stigma: Indian-American entrepreneurWASHINGTON: America is a land of opportunities where failure is considered not as a stigma but a path to success, a top Indian-American entrepreneur and philanthropist from the Silicon Valley.
Delhi vs Centre: SC delivers split verdict on control of services, refers it to larger benchNEW DELHI: The Supreme Court on Thursday delivered a split verdict on the contentious issue of division of powers between the Delhi government and the Centre over control of services,.Delhi vs Centre: Non clarity in judgment unfortunate; Delhiites will continue to suffer, says AAPNEW DELHI: Delhis ruling Aam Aadmi Party Thursday said it was unfortunate that there was no clarity in the Supreme Courts split verdict on who controls services in the National.
Grade 10 students develop AI device to help fix postureGURUGRAM: A team of Class 10 students here has developed a portable, cost-effective and user-friendly device driven by artificial intelligence (AI) that may help correct the posture of those suffering.Non-BJP parties to move SC against use of EVM: AP CMAMARAVATI: Some of the non-BJP parties have decided to approach the Supreme Court against the use of Electronic Voting Machines (EVM), Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu said here.
Bookings start for first commercial run of Vande Bharat Express on Feb 17NEW DELHI: Bookings have started for the first commercial run of the Vande Bharat Express, billed as Indias fastest train, on February 17 between Delhi and Varanasi, railways said Thursday.PM Modi on two-day visit to South Korea from Feb 21NEW DELHI: Prime Minister Narendra Modi will pay a two-day visit to South Korea next week during which he will hold talks with President Moon Jae-in on a host of.
WB to see hard bargaining between Left, Congress for LS pollsKOLKATA: The West Bengal units of the CPI(M) and the Congress may have got the go-ahead from their central leadership for entering into a seat-sharing pact for the Lok Sabha.Maha sugar mill takes lead in making ethanol from cane juiceKOLHAPUR/PUNE: A cooperative sugar mill in Kolhapur district of Maharashtra has taken the lead in producing fuel grade ethanol directly from sugarcane juice in the state, a senior official said.
Rajnath Singh flags off inaugural flight from Lucknow to NajafLUCKNOW: Union Home minister Rajnath Singh Thursday flagged off the inaugural flight from Uttar Pradeshs capital city to Najaf in Iraq. Speaking on the occasion, he said the government wants.

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