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When Cars, Crime, and Couture Collide
Friday, March 24th, 2023
Block, Cash, and Fraud: Hindenburg Research’s Holy Trinity
Activist investment group Hindenburg Research has declared war (in the form of stock-shorting) against the fintech giant Block, owner of the digital wallet Cash App and payments platform Square. After a two-year investigation, Hindenburg Research alleges that Block misled investors on key metrics and allowed Cash App to become the hub of illegal activity, such as sex trafficking, trafficking of minors, and fraud relating to COVID-relief stimulus checks from the US government. If that wasn’t enough, according to their report between 40% and 75% of accounts reviewed on Cash App were fake. So, if you see someone using the app, you’re most likely not looking at a real person. Block denies all claims as they plan to work with the SEC and explore legal action against Hindenburg Research. There's nothing better than suing your accusers to prove your innocence.
Start-up Kream Proving You Can Sell Used Clothes and Make Millions, Unlike Sad Garage Sale
Hold on to your Chanel folks, because luxury fashion resale platform Kream just raised a whopping $168 million in a series C funding round. Led by returning investor Altos Ventures and featuring new investors like SoftBank Ventures Asia, Samsung Securities, and Mirae Asset Capital, this round values the company at a staggering $742 million - more than double its previous valuation of $306 million in October 2021. Even though the tech industry has been tightening its Gucci belt, Kream managed to secure capital given the platform’s monthly active users doubled to 5.3 million in the past year and gross merchandise value increased by 270% in Q3 2021 and 190% in Q4 2021. The company plans to expand its staff, invest in Asian reselling platforms, onboard more luxury items and brands, and develop an inspection program to weed out counterfeits. Because who wants “Firkins” or “Lewis Vuitton” anyway?
Hivemapper: Turning Everyday Drivers into Professional Cartographers
Hivemapper, a start-up going after Google’s monopoly on B2B mapping services, has managed to collect one million kilometers of unique street-level imagery data in just three months since its launch. This is a remarkable feat, considering that Google Maps took 12 years to map 16.1 million kilometers. Hivemapper's innovative model relies on a global network of contributors who use their dashcams to capture data, with drivers and editors rewarded with cash and other prizes. We’re sure Google is shaking in their boots… after all, what could be more reliable than mapping the world through the windshield of someone's car? Jokes aside, with Hivemapper's plan to map 10 million kilometers by early next year, we can't wait to see what exciting new features they'll add to their maps, like 'street view of a traffic jam', 'take shortcut through neighbor’s backyard' or 'high speed police chase mode'.
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Ford Model e? More like Ford Model Eh, We're Not Tesla
Ford's EV division, Ford Model e, is expected to face losses of $3 billion this year as it invests in new factories and materials. With big ambitions to achieve an 8% profit margin before interest or taxes by 2026, Ford is doubling the production rate of its EV stars - the Mustang Mach-E and F-150 Lightning. The company’s combustion-engine divisions, Ford Blue and Ford Pro, are expected to bring in between $9 billion and $11 billion in pre-tax profits; however, it's the EV division that's stealing the show and lighting up Ford's path to the future.
Apple’s “Think Different” Approach Actually Just 1984 Surveillance
In a bold move, Apple is enforcing a three-day-per-week policy for in-person work and using employee badge records to track attendance. Workers who fail to comply with this mandate may face escalating warnings and, in some cases, termination. Big Brother, oops we mean Apple, has gradually required employees to return to the office in a hybrid working setup, with some teams having to show up in-person full-time while others enjoy a more laissez-faire schedule. Some teams get to have flexible schedules, while others get to have flexible job security - it's all about balance! The company has also delayed workers' bonuses and implemented other cost-cutting measures, all while reassuring employees that layoffs will be the last resort.