Pixwox forbesPosts


When Carnegie Mellon engineering graduate Michelle Wolf decided in 2015 to start a company to commercialize shrimpless shrimp made from seaweed, venture-backed alternative meat brands were barely selling in restaurants and grocery stores. It ended up taking six years, backing from America’s largest meatpacker, Tyson Foods, and an $18 million series A for Wolf’s startup, New Wave Foods, to develop a product ready to manufacture at scale. The startup’s first commercial-ready product is now rolling out across the nation through restaurants and other food service distribution, where 80% of all shrimp is consumed in America. New Wave is one of the first faux-shrimp suppliers attempting to take the lead among a swell of next-generation alternative brands backed by venture capital and other private investors. There are dozens of startups tackling the development and sale of alternative seafood, including Good Catch and Omnifoods’ OmniSeafood. Wolf, who earned a spot on the 2020 #ForbesUnder30 list in food, still stands out, though. Tap the link in bio to learn more about New Wave Foods. (📸: New Wave Foods)
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4 hours ago
Ted Cruz decries Britney Spears’ conservatorship, saying he's “emphatically” in #FreeBritney camp.
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Failing magazines fueled a 3,800% return for shareholders in this British publisher. Zillah Byng-Thorne landed as Future Media CEO in March 2014 after her boss was ousted by investors when a debt-ridden Future’s market cap crumbled to just $40 million, and revenues slumped to $103 million. “The business was going bust,” she says. “The shareholders were exceptionally supportive, but I had to say ‘I have no idea what is going on. Give me a year.’” In her first six months at the helm, Byng-Thorne slashed 400 jobs, around 40% of its staff, moving jobs from San Francisco to the “low cost” west of England, and sold a bundle of 17 magazines. Since then, Byng-Thorne has transformed Future into a digital content powerhouse generating a $95.7 million profit last year from sales of $451 million. The share price is up 3,821% in just over six years, translating into a market cap of $6.3 billion. Byng-Thorne broke Future’s reliance on newsstand and advertising and refocused the entire venture on events, data and, most critically, ecommerce. Around a quarter of Future’s revenue comes from what is known as “affiliate marketing.” Every major media brand, from the New York Times to Forbes, has dabbled in the affiliate marketing sandbox, but with her portfolio of product-focused publications, Byng-Thorne has been able to cash in better than most. Tap the link in bio for the full read.
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Quote of the day.
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Elon Musk became the third person to ever be worth $200 billion on Monday, riding a surging Tesla stock that in turn made him the richest person in the world. His milestone feat follows Amazon founder and space rival Jeff Bezos, who first reached the $200 billion mark in August 2020, and luxury magnate Bernard Arnault, who did so for a short time last month. Shares of Musk’s electric vehicle company Tesla continued a four-month rally, closing up 2.2% at $791.36, the highest they’ve been since February this year. Musk became $3.8 billion richer on Monday and was worth $203.4 billion at the close of markets. He surpasses Bezos, whose fortune fell by $1 billion Monday to $197.7 billion due to a 0.6% decline in Amazon stock. Musk is even richer now than he was at Tesla’s peak in January—when he briefly became the world’s richest tycoon for the first time—because he’s received additional stock option grants that have increased his stake in Tesla; he has about 73.5 million Tesla options worth about $53 billion. Tap the link in bio for a closer look at Elon Musk's wealth. (📸: dpa/picture alliance via Getty Images)
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The Little Car Company’s latest creation is a child-friendly, 2:3 scale Aston Martin DB5, complete with working James Bond gadgets. Limited to 125 examples and priced at £90,000 ($125,000) plus taxes, the DB5 is a 66 percent scale replica of James Bond’s favorite car, and is powered by an electric motor. UK-based The Little Car Company already produces a regular DB5 convertible, designed to be driven by children and adults alike, along with electric scale replicas of the Bugatti Type 35 and Ferrari 250 Testa Rossa. The latest, gadget-packed creation has been built to celebrate the upcoming release of James Bond’s latest adventure—and Daniel Craig’s last in the title role—'No Time To Die.' With more than 20 horsepower and a top speed of over 45mph in its most powerful setting, the James Bond edition of the DB5 Junior features mock mini guns that are deployed from behind the headlights, just as they are in the DB5, freshly modified by MI5’s Q Branch for its latest outing in 'No Time To Die.' Instead of firing bullets, the mini guns move, flash and have sound effects. Tap the link in bio for more details. (📸: The Little Car Company)
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Raymond Svider, chairman of private equity firm BC Partners, remembers the intense pressure he felt in the days leading up to Christmas in 2017. His firm’s biggest investment, the brick-and-mortar pet food retailer PetSmart, was hurtling toward bankruptcy as pet owners moved steadily online. The standard playbook called for ruthless cost cutting to unearth the cash to repay lenders. Svider doubled down instead. He found loopholes in PetSmart’s credit agreements, enabling him to borrow even more money, angering creditors, so he could acquire unprofitable online pet food retailer Chewy. Though it wasn’t profitable, Chewy wasn’t burning cash as it grew rapidly. Most importantly, it was beating Amazon in its niche. It was the perfect way to burnish his troubled bet on PetSmart. Svider wound up paying $3 billion in cash for Chewy, beating out rival Petco, in April 2017. Skeptics howled, its bonds tumbled and lawsuits flew. But four years and a pandemic-inspired pet boom have turned Svider’s rulebreaking gambit into one of the biggest private equity scores ever. Chewy, now publicly traded, is worth more than $31 billion, and its sales have skyrocketed nearly tenfold, to a projected $9 billion for 2021. PetSmart itself is deleveraging, having refinanced its buyout debt in January. All told, Svider’s investors are sitting on a $30 billion windfall. Tap the link in bio for the full read. (📸: Gabby Jones for Forbes)
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About 60 miles north of Manhattan stands the red brick buildings of the old Mid-Orange Correctional Facility in Warwick, New York. In 2011, then-New York Governor Andrew Cuomo shuttered the prison. Now a decade later, 40 acres of penitentiary farmland is being transformed into the new home of Green Thumb Industries, one of the nation’s largest cannabis companies, and its $150-million cultivation and manufacturing site. By 2023, GTI’s “cannabis campus” will start producing tens of thousands of pounds of cannabis, millions of THC-infused gummies and vape cartridges to fill the shelves of its dispensaries throughout the Empire State. Ben Kovler, the 42-year-old CEO and founder of Chicago-based Green Thumb Industries, which reported $79.3 million in year-over-year EBITDA by the end of the second quarter, is standing in the mud as he presides over the groundbreaking ceremony for his new facility. “The irony of building a cannabis facility near the grounds of what used to be a federal prison is not lost on us,” Kovler tells a group of union leaders and politicians on a cloudy day in early September. “We understand what happened with the War on Drugs. And we're planning to flip that around. Change is really in the air, change is happening in the country, change is happening here. And we're able to go from a place where people used to be locked up for marijuana [to one] where we're going to employ people and enable opportunity, create wealth and create a positive economic environment.” Tap the link in bio for the full read. (📸: Getty Images, 🎨: Forbes)
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Quote of the day.
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In the heart of downtown Los Angeles, you’ll find a private cannabis chef cooking weed-infused pizza à la Naples, Italy, in a wood fire oven. The exclusive Stoney Slice exists in the liminal private-bordering-illicit cannabis chef world, where it’s not quite accessible to have a storefront, and it’s not possible to serve pizzas in dispensaries due to single-serving regulations. “For pizza, the category doesn’t exist yet,” says founder and head chef of Stoney Slice, Kashka Hopkinson. Which is what makes the experience so unique. The pizza that Stoney Chef offers up through limited-order are made fresh and using limited quantities. Its recipes are enough to make an Italian chef swoon, with the added strength of a potent edible. The pizza is out of the box, so-to-speak, following a feature in the LA Times. "Right now, everything in the cannabis industry is so finicky—rules, packaging, stuff like that," Hopkinson says. "Being in the dispensaries and having a storefront where you can consume, that’s the end goal. To be able to have a pizza shop and enjoy it in that space, while it’s hot." Tap the link in bio for the full interview. (📸: Lindsey Bartlett)
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Water prices are soaring in California’s Central Valley, where a quarter of the nation’s food is grown. As the West Coast’s megadrought worsens, one farming company has long been scrutinized for its outsize role in the arid region’s water supply. Wonderful, the closely held company owned by billionaires Stewart and Lynda Resnick, can buy up huge amounts of water whenever it needs more. Most of the Resnicks’ water comes from long-term contracts and other water from land rights they have from the farms they own. Around 9% of the total water used by Wonderful is bought out on the open water market. While that’s not a huge amount of the water it uses, the company can outspend pretty much every other farmer in the region, which can influence water prices. The water that the Resnicks use gets stored underground initially before the water is delivered to the roots of the Resnicks’ pistachios, almonds and pomegranate orchards. Specifically, it is stored in the Kern Water Bank, the most valuable water resource in a region critical to America’s fresh food supply. The water bank, which is a public-private partnership in which the Resnicks own a 57% stake, is a 32-square-mile recharge basin—which looks like floodlands from the street that essentially stores up to 1.5 million acre-feet of water (or 500 billion gallons) underground. This storage arrangement is controversial. Tap the link in bio for the full read. (📸: The Wonderful Co.)
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Growing up in Yerevan, Armenia, Rema Matevosyan and her amateur astronomer grandparents enjoyed heading outside in the middle of the night, paper map carefully marked, to observe the stars. Now as CEO of geospatial data startup Near Space Labs, her technology takes her close. While the billionaire space race has helped spur a wave of interest in companies looking to travel, manufacture and mine off-planet, Near Space is focused a little bit closer, in the stratosphere. There, Matevosyan’s startup collects geospatial data through small autonomous robots attached to weather balloons, a contraption it calls “the Swifty,” capturing up to 1,000 square kilometers of imagery each flight from more than 60,000 feet up. The process is cheaper—and carries a much lower carbon footprint—than flying a special plane or launching a satellite, Matevosyan says. But its data sets could prove just as valuable to insurers, governments, disaster recovery and autonomous vehicle operators alike. Now, with more than 150 flights completed, Brooklyn- and Barcelona-based Near Space is raising a $13 million Series A funding round. The funding brings Near Space’s total funding to $16.8 million so far. Matevosyan appeared on the #ForbesUnder30 list for manufacturing and industry. Tap the link in bio for the full read. (📸: Near Space Labs)
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