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Friday Feels: Russia's Accusations and a Startup's Downfall
Friday, June 2nd, 2023
1. Pandemic Turns Promising Startup into the World's Saddest Rental Platform
NestAway, the once-promising Indian startup, has experienced quite a downfall, selling for a measly $11 million after being valued at $225 million. Aurum, a PropTech firm, took advantage of NestAway's situation and snatched it up. And get this, Aurum is actually going to invest $3.6 million out the gate to stabilize NestAway's crumbling business. Talk about throwing good money after bad! NestAway's revenue has shrunk from $9.5 million to $3 million in just two years, largely due to the pandemic as the home rental platform went from featuring 50,000 properties to only 18,000. Jitendra Jagadev, the founder of NestAway, claimed that they revolutionized city living and became a trusted brand. Well Jitendra, I guess you could say you revolutionized it right into the ground!
2. Russia Doubts iPhones, But Has Full Faith in Soviet-Era Typewriters
Russia has accused the US of hacking thousands of Apple phones in a spy plot. Russia's Federal Security Service (FSB) claims that Apple and the NSA were in cahoots, but conveniently provides no evidence. Apple denies the allegation, stating they've never inserted backdoors into their products (because Siri isn't already listening to everything). Moscow-based Kaspersky Lab, known for being one of the world's top cybersecurity firms, says their own employees fell victim to the attack, targeting senior leadership, middle management, and diplomats from Israel, Syria, China, and NATO. Russia warns against iPhones, fearing Western intelligence. At this point, Russia should save itself the anguish and revert to a good old pen, paper and carrier pigeon. Talk about trust issues.
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3. New Quest 3: Finally, a Headset Thinner Than Your Patience for Meta's Metaverse
Meta Platforms has unveiled its newest mixed reality headset, the Quest 3, just in time to face off against Apple's upcoming VR debut. Priced at $499, this device will be 40% thinner than its predecessor and will feature color mixed reality so we can experience the vibrant hues of the virtual world while looking like a complete dork. Despite Meta's dominance in the market, they've struggled to convince anyone outside the gaming niche to buy into their immersive metaverse. Mark Zuckerberg, the visionary leader of Meta, made the announcement of the new device on Instagram, showcasing his deep understanding of the gaming community and their preferred social media platform. The Quest 3 also boasts a new Qualcomm chipset with double the graphics performance of its predecessor, promising a smoother user experience for all those willing enough to strap the contraption to their faces.
4. Netflix Shareholders Give Executives a Reality Check
Netflix shareholders flexed their democratic muscles and withheld support for the executive pay package in a non-binding vote. The Writers Guild of America West, currently on strike, asked investors to reject the proposed compensation, arguing it would be "inappropriate" to give fat paychecks while writers are surviving on instant ramen. Last year, Netflix's executive pay package received a pitiful 27% approval, prompting the company to make changes like capping CEO salaries. This year, the top executives will still enjoy their lavish payouts while the writers sharpen their picket signs and demand better treatment. It's a clash of egos, with negotiations resembling a circus act. Stay tuned for the grand finale.
5. Stripe's Masterplan Revealed: Making Money by Letting Others Spend It
Fintech giant Stripe jumps into the credit game, because why not? They've launched a new charge card program that makes it easier for businesses to access credit with Stripe guiding startups through compliance and risk oversight. The company claims this will not only bring in more revenue but also provide financing capabilities to their customers "with little additional operational cost" as they'll make money from interchange fees and compliance fees. We're just curious if Stripe will ever IPO. What's the update there?