Biden, Still Grieving His Son Beau, Finds That Not Everyone Wants to Hear About It

Referring to Beau Biden with families of U.S. Marines killed in the Kabul airport bombing drew criticism, but the president remains haunted by memories of a son he described as “me, but without all the downsides.”

#afghanistan, #appointments-and-executive-changes, #biden-joseph-r-iii, #biden-joseph-r-jr, #buttigieg-pete-1982, #delaware, #democratic-party, #dover-air-force-base-del, #iraq, #marjory-stoneman-douglas-high-school-parkland-fla, #national-guard, #united-states-marine-corps, #united-states-politics-and-government

For States Dealing With the Spotted Lanternfly, the Policy Is No Mercy

The spotted lanternfly, an invasive species from Asia, is a voracious plant-eater and public nuisance that could cost state economies hundreds of millions of dollars.

#delaware, #invasive-species, #new-jersey, #northeastern-states-us, #pennsylvania, #spotted-lanternflies, #trees-and-shrubs

In Delaware, Biden Indulges One of His Oldest Habits: Commuting

Still adjusting to the White House, the president sees Delaware as a place where he can be on display but still have his privacy protected.

#biden-jill-tracy-jacobs, #biden-joseph-r-jr, #camp-david-md, #delaware, #presidential-election-of-2020, #rehoboth-beach-del, #senate, #trump-international-hotel-washington-dc, #wilmington-del

Covid Vaccines Are Now on Wheels

Mobile Covid-19 vaccine clinics in vans and buses are rolling up to neighborhoods in Delaware, Minnesota and Washington State to reach people who have been unable to travel to vaccination centers.

#delaware, #disease-rates, #johnsonjohnson, #minnesota, #moderna-inc, #vaccination-and-immunization, #washington-state

A White House Correspondent Gets Back in the Pool (Van)

Following the president on weekends can be dull. But it’s an important assignment with interesting moments — if you are patient.

#biden-joseph-r-jr, #compton-ann-1947, #delaware, #new-york-times, #news-and-news-media

Advanced tax strategies for startup founders

As an entrepreneur, you started your business to create value, both in what you deliver to your customers and what you build for yourself. You have a lot going on, but if building personal wealth matters to you, the assets you’re creating deserve your attention.

You can implement numerous advanced planning strategies to minimize capital gains tax, reduce future estate tax and increase asset protection from creditors and lawsuits. Capital gains tax can reduce your gains by up to 35%, and estate taxes can cost up to 50% on assets you leave to your heirs. Careful planning can minimize your exposure and actually save you millions.

Smart founders and early employees should closely examine their equity ownership, even in the early stages of their company’s life cycle. Different strategies should be used at different times and for different reasons. The following are a few key considerations when determining what, if any, advanced strategies you might consider:

  1. Your company’s life cycle — early, mid or late stage.
  2. The value of your shares — what they are worth now, what you expect them to be worth in the future and when.
  3. Your own circumstances and goals — what you need now, and what you may need in the future.

Some additional items to consider include issues related to qualified small business stock (QSBS), gift and estate taxes, state and local income taxes, liquidity, asset protection, and whether you and your family will retain control and manage the assets over time.

Smart founders and early employees should closely examine their equity ownership, even in the early stages of their company’s life cycle.

Here are some advanced equity planning strategies that you can implement at different stages of your company life cycle to reduce tax and optimize wealth for you and your family.

Irrevocable nongrantor trust

QSBS allows you to exclude tax on $10 million of capital gains (tax of up to 35%) upon an exit/sale. This is a benefit every individual and some trusts have. There is significant opportunity to multiply the QSBS tax exclusion well beyond $10 million.

The founder can gift QSBS eligible stock to an irrevocable nongrantor trust, let’s say for the benefit of a child, so that the trust will qualify for its own $10 million exclusion. The founder owning the shares would be the grantor in this case. Typically, these trusts are set up for children or unborn children. It is important to note that the founder/grantor will have to gift the shares to accomplish this, because gifted shares will retain the QSBS eligibility. If the shares are sold into the trust, the shares lose QSBS status.

QSBS tax strategy

Image Credits: Peyton Carr

In addition to the savings on federal taxes, founders may also save on state taxes. State tax can be avoided if the trust is structured properly and set up in a tax-exempt state like Delaware or Nevada. Otherwise, even if the trust is subject to state tax, some states, like New York, conform and follow the federal tax treatment of the QSBS rules, while others, like California, do not. For example, if you are a New York state resident, you will also avoid the 8.82% state tax, which amounts to another $2.6 million in tax savings if applied to the example above.

This brings the total tax savings to almost $10 million, which is material in the context of a $40 million gain. Notably, California does not conform, but California residents can still capture the state tax savings if their trust is structured properly and in a state like Delaware or Nevada.

Currently, each person has a limited lifetime gift tax exemption, and any gifted amount beyond this will generate up to a 40% gift tax that has to be paid. Because of this, there is a trade-off between gifting the shares early while the company valuation is low and using less of your gift tax exemption versus gifting the shares later and using more of the lifetime gift exemption.

The reason to wait is that it takes time, energy and money to set up these trusts, so ideally, you are using your lifetime gift exemption and trust creation costs to capture a benefit that will be realized. However, not every company has a successful exit, so it is sometimes better to wait until there is a certain degree of confidence that the benefit will be realized.

Parent-seeded trust

One way for the founder to plan for future generations while minimizing estate taxes and high state taxes is through a parent-seeded trust. This trust is created by the founder’s parents, with the founder as the beneficiary. Then the founder can sell the shares to this trust — it doesn’t involve the use of any lifetime gift exemption and eliminates any gift tax, but it also disqualifies the ability to claim QSBS.

The benefit is that all the future appreciation of the asset is transferred out of the founder’s and the parent’s estate and is not subject to potential estate taxes in the future. The trust can be located in a tax-exempt state such as Delaware or Nevada to also eliminate home state-level taxes. This can translate up to 10% in state-level tax savings. The trustee, an individual selected by the founder, can make distributions to the founder as a beneficiary if desired.

Further, this trust can be used for the benefit of multiple generations. Distributions can be made at the discretion of the trustee, and this skips the estate tax liability as assets are passed from generation to generation.

Grantor retained annuity trust (GRAT)

This strategy enables the founder to minimize their estate tax exposure by transferring wealth outside of their estate, specifically without using any lifetime gift exemption or being subject to gift tax. It’s particularly helpful when an individual has used up all their lifetime gift tax exemption. This is a powerful strategy for very large “unicorn” positions to reduce a founder’s future gift/estate tax exposure.

For the GRAT, the founder (grantor) transfers assets into the GRAT and gets back a stream of annuity payments. The IRS 7520 rate, currently very low, is a factor in calculating these annuity payments. If the assets transferred into the trust grow faster than the IRS 7520 rate, there will be an excess remainder amount in GRAT after all the annuity payments are paid back to the founder (grantor).

This remainder amount will be excluded from the founder’s estate and can transfer to beneficiaries or remain in the trust estate tax-free. Over time, this remainder amount can be multiples of the initial contributed value. If you have company stock that you expect will pop in value, it can be very beneficial to transfer those shares into a GRAT and have the pop occur inside the trust.

This way, you can transfer all the upside gift and estate tax-free out of your estate and to your beneficiaries. Additionally, because this trust is structured as a grantor trust, the founder can pay the taxes incurred by the trust, making the strategy even more powerful.

One thing to note is that the grantor must survive the GRAT’s term for the strategy to work. If the grantor dies before the end of the term, the strategy unravels and some or all the assets remain in his estate as if the strategy never existed.

Intentionally defective grantor trust (IDGT)

This is similar to the GRAT in that it also enables the founder to minimize their estate tax exposure by transferring wealth outside of their estate, but has some key differences. The grantor must “seed” the trust by gifting 10% of the asset value intended to be transferred, so this approach requires the use of some lifetime gift exemption or gift tax.

The remaining 90% of the value to be transferred is sold to the trust in exchange for a promissory note. This sale is not taxable for income tax or QSBS purposes. The main benefits are that instead of receiving annuity payments back, which requires larger payments, the grantor transfers assets into the trust and can receive an interest-only note. The payments received are far lower because it is interest-only (rather than an annuity).

IDGT Estate tax savings

Image Credits: Peyton Carr

Another key distinction is that the IDGT strategy has more flexibility than the GRAT and can be generation-skipping.

If the goal is to avoid generation-skipping transfer tax (GSTT), the IDGT is superior to the GRAT, because assets are measured for GSTT purposes when they are contributed to the trust prior to appreciation rather than being measured at the end of the term for a GRAT after the assets have appreciated.

The bottom line

Depending on a founder’s situation and goals, we may use some combination of the above strategies or others altogether. Many of these strategies are most effective when planning in advance; waiting until after the fact will limit the benefits you can extract.

When considering strategies for protecting wealth and minimizing taxes as it relates to your company stock, there’s a lot to take into account — the above is only a summary. We recommend you seek proper counsel and choose wealth transfer and tax savings strategies based on your unique situation and individual appetite for complexity.

#california, #capital-gains-tax, #column, #delaware, #estate-tax, #nevada, #new-york, #startups, #tax, #tax-laws, #tc

Atlanta’s early stage investment renaissance continues with Overline’s $27 million fund close

Michael Cohn became a celebrity in the Atlanta startup ecosystem when the company he co-founded was sold to Accenture in a deal valued somewhere between $350 million and $400 million nearly six years ago.

That same year, Sean O’Brien also made waves in the community when he helped shepherd the sale of the  collaboration software vendor, PGi, to a private equity firm for $1.5 billion.

The two men are now looking to become fixtures in the city’s burgeoning new tech community with the close of their seed-stage venture capital firm’s first fund, a $27.4 million investment vehicle.

Overline’s first fund has already made commitments to companies that are expanding the parameters of what’s investible in the Southeast broadly and Atlanta’s startup scene locally.

These are companies like Grubbly Farms, which sells insect-based chicken feed for backyard farmers, or Kayhan Space, which is aiming to be the air traffic control service for the space industry. Others, like Padsplit, an Atlanta-based flexible housing marketplace, are tackling America’s low income housing crisis. 

“Our business model is very different from that of a traditional software startup, and the Overline team’s unique strengths and operator mindset have been invaluable in helping us grow the company,” said Sean Warner, CEO and co-founder of Grubbly Farms. 

That’s on top of investments into companies building on Atlanta’s natural strengths as a financial services, payments and business software powerhouse.

For all of the activity in Atlanta these days, the city and the broader southeastern region is still massively underfunded, according to O’brien and Cohn. The region only received less than 10 percent of all the institutional venture investments that were committed in 2020. Indeed, only seven percent of Atlanta founders raise money locally when they’re first starting out, an Overline survey suggested.

“The data reflects what we have seen throughout our careers building, growing, and investing in startups. There is no shortage of phenomenal founders and businesses coming out of Atlanta and the Southeast, but they often struggle to find institutional capital at their earliest stages,” said O’Brien, in a statement. “Overline will lead as the first institutional check for these companies and be a true partner to the Founders throughout their lifecycle—supporting them on the strategic and operational business initiatives and decisions that are critical to a company’s success.” 

The limited partners in Overline’s first fund also reflects the firm’s emphasis on regional roots. The privately held email marketing behemoth Mailchimp anchored the fund, which also included partners like Cox Enterprises, Social Leverage,

Overline is supported by a bench of impressive partners that reflects the firm’s roots in the Southeast. Anchored by marketing platform, Mailchimp, additional partners include Cox Enterprises, Scottsdale, Ariz.-based Social Leverage, Wilmington, Del.-based Hallett Capital, and Atlanta Tech Village founder David Cummings, along with Techstars co-founder David Cohen. 

“At Mailchimp, we love our hometown of Atlanta, and are proud of the robust startup ecosystem that’s growing in our city. The Overline founding team’s vision of deploying smart, local capital into startups in Atlanta and the Southeast aligns with our goals of promoting and advancing local innovation,” said Rick Lynch, CFO, Mailchimp, in a statement.

The firm expects to make investments of between $250,000 to $1.5 million into seed stage companies and has already backed 11 companies including, Relay Payments, a logistics fintech company that has raised over $40 million from top-tier investors. 

“When we set out to build Atlanta Tech Village almost a decade ago, one of our primary goals was to help Atlanta develop into a top 10 startup city, where all entrepreneurs would thrive. We’re making tremendous strides as a community, as evidenced by the number of newly minted unicorns,” said serial entrepreneur and Atlanta Tech Village founder David Cummings. “I believe in Overline’s thesis that value-add institutional early-stage capital is critical to the ecosystem’s continued development. Since the early days, Michael and Sean have been an active presence in our community in a way that goes far beyond being a source of capital—as mentors, advisors, and champions of Atlanta founders. I am proud to be one of their first investors.”

#accenture, #advisors, #america, #arizona, #atlanta, #cfo, #co-founder, #collaboration-software, #corporate-finance, #cox-enterprises, #david-cohen, #delaware, #economy, #entrepreneurship, #finance, #financial-services, #mailchimp, #money, #private-equity, #serial-entrepreneur, #social-leverage, #startup-company, #tc, #techstars, #venture-capital

She Vanished Decades Ago. Her Children Just Learned She Had Been Killed.

William Heiser Jr. said his father had told him and his sister that their mother, Marie Heiser, had “just packed up her stuff and left.”

#delaware, #dna-deoxyribonucleic-acid, #forensic-science, #genealogy, #heiser-marie-petry, #missing-persons, #murders-attempted-murders-and-homicides, #parabon-nanolabs-inc, #philadelphia-pa

Shell’s Gamechanger Accelerator selects three companies for its energy transition accelerator

Yesterday, the European oil and gas major producer Shell announced the latest cohort selected to participate in its Shell GameChanger Accelerator (GCxN), focused on supporting companies developing tech for the transition away from fossil fuels.

The three companies will have access to technical resources through Shell that can serve to aid in their commercialization.

“GCxN’s fourth cohort will help prove that electrochemistry technologies can replace carbon-intensive legacy processes. As renewable energy costs continue to drop, cross-industry initiatives and partnerships will prove that it’s possible to cost-effectively scale these technology applications and achieve real-world impact,” said Haibin Xu, Shell’s GCxN program manager.

Shell’s acceleartor provides startups selected for the program with up to $250,000 in non-dilutive financing. Participants are nominated by network partners coming from incubators, accelerators, and universities and then are subjected to a screening process by Shell and NREL. 

Graduates of the program have raised $52 million in the three prevoius batches and have added 51 new jobs to the green economy, according to a statement.

Each of the new companies in the cohort are focused on creating ways to reduce carbon emissions in sectors that are carbon intensive and hard to transition to more sustainable practices, according to a statement. 

So without further ado, here’s the latest batch of startups backed by Shell:

  • Air Company — This Brooklyn-based business is turning carbon dioxide into alcohols, spirits, fragrances, sanitizers and products for consumer industries. It eventually wants to get into the synthetic fuel business. 
  • Ionomr Innovations — Green hydrogen production, hydrogen fuel cells and carbon capture technologies require ion-exchange membranes and polymers, and this Vancouver-based company wants to make those components cheaper and more environmentally friendly.  
  • Versogen Hailing from President Joe Biden’s home state of Delaware, the company formerly known as W7 energy is producing high performance hydroxide exchange membranes to drive down the cost of fuel cells. 

“Almost every aspect of our modern lives depends on certain materials and fuels, but with great consequence. For example, the American manufacturing industry is on-track to become the nation’s largest source of greenhouse gas emissions within the next ten years,” said Katie Richardson, GCxN program manager at the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), in a statement. “The selected GCxN startups are restructuring essential building blocks to reduce the carbon impact of essential goods and services.” 


Early Stage is the premier ‘how-to’ event for startup entrepreneurs and investors. You’ll hear first-hand how some of the most successful founders and VCs build their businesses, raise money and manage their portfolios. We’ll cover every aspect of company-building: Fundraising, recruiting, sales, product market fit, PR, marketing and brand building. Each session also has audience participation built-in – there’s ample time included for audience questions and discussion. Use code “TCARTICLE at checkout to get 20 percent off tickets right here.

#articles, #brooklyn, #climate-change, #delaware, #energy, #fuel-cell, #fuel-cells, #greenhouse-gas-emissions, #hydrogen-fuel, #joe-biden, #oil-and-gas, #president, #shell, #shells, #tc, #u-s-department-of-energy, #vancouver

Folx Health raises $25 million for virtual clinical offerings and care for the LGBTQIA+ community

Folx Health is leveraging the explosion of virtual care services to offer greater access to healthcare focused on the needs of the LGBTQIA+ community, and has raised $25 million in new funding to help it grow.

It’s part of a revolution in care that’s targeting the needs of specific communities with access to physicians that understand those needs. And it’s all made possible by virtual interactions.

“We have a good sense of the nature of the need and the depth of the pain in the community,” said A.G. Breitenstein, the founder and chief executive of Folx Health. “As a non-binary lesbian and healthcare industry veteran, I have seen and experienced firsthand just how broken the current system is for the queer and trans community,”

Breitenstein said Folx would be using the cash to try and expand to all fifty states and increase the available products and services the healthcare company would look to make available to the queer and trans community.

“Whether it’s HRT, PrEP, sexual health or family creation, health care is essential for us to be who we are. It’s about time we build a platform for ourselves, so Queer and Trans people feel seen, heard, and celebrated,” she said in a statement. 

That was one reason why Bessemer Venture Partners leapt at the chance to lead the new financing round for Folx, according to Morgan Cheatham, an investor out of Bessemer’s New York office. The other was the size of the market.

“At a high level, 2% of the population identify as transgender,” said Cheatham. “At that math, when we looked at that, we were able to see a multibillion dollar market opportunity not just to provide [hormone replacement therapy], but to provide a healthcare destination for this community.”

Telescoping out to the opportunity to provide care to the LGBTQ community broadly, when that population represents about 10% to 20% of the population is a “deca-billion opportunity,” said Cheatham.

Breitenstein envisions offering family planning services, broad primary care, and sexual health and wellness care in addition to the hormone therapies that the company currently offers.

Folx joins a cohort of companies tackling health issues specifically for the LGBTQIA+ community which include the mental healthcare service, Violet; Included Health, an employee benefit service; and Plume, which focuses on care for the transgender community.

“We believed in the vision and the approach that she’s taking. She’s building a healthcare experience that is celebratory and dignified rather than one that pathologizing healthcare,” said Cheatham. 

For Bessemer and Cheatham, the investment speaks to broader opportunities to identify specific populations that need care tailored to their specific experience. That includes companies like Spora Health and Live Chair Health, which focus on providing healthcare specifically to people of color.

“Our individual identities whether it be socioeconomic status, race, gender… All of these things inform how we interface with the medical industrial complex,” Cheatham said.

Previous investors Define Ventures and Polaris Venture Partners will also participate in the round, which follows quickly on the heels of Folx’s launch from stealth in December 2020. 

For its patients, Folx Health is offering Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT: testosterone or estrogen) with monthly plans starting at $59 a month. Folx Health will also begin releasing its sexual health and wellness offerings starting with Erectile Dysfunction (ED) treatment, soon to be followed by at-home STI Testing and Treatment, all customized for the specifics of Queer and Trans bodies, the company said. 

The services will include unlimited on-demand clinical support with at-home lab testing (for most plans) and home-delivered medications (costs may vary based on medication). The company’s services are now available in California, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Illinois, Massachusetts, North Carolina, New York, Texas, Virginia, and Washington.

The company is also launching a Folx Library, which will serve as a content hub and resource for Queer and Trans health, written by Folx clinicians and its broader community.

“Our partnership with Folx is a historical moment. It’s challenging to articulate how transformative Folx is for our community. We do so mindful of the brilliant and brave Queer and Trans people who fought for this moment to happen,” said Cheatham in a statement.

#california, #connecticut, #define-ventures, #delaware, #erectile-dysfunction, #florida, #healthcare, #healthcare-industry, #illinois, #massachusetts, #new-york, #north-carolina, #polaris-venture-partners, #spora-health, #tc, #texas, #virginia, #washington

Dear Santa, Why Are You Behind Plexiglass?

All over the country, the annual Christmas ritual for children looks and feels different this year.

#children-and-childhood, #christmas, #delaware, #new-jersey, #north-pole, #pennsylvania, #quarantine-life-and-culture, #santa-claus, #shopping-centers-and-malls

Storm May Bring Over 6 Inches of Snow From Virginia to New England

Some areas north and west of the Interstate 95 corridor in New Jersey and Pennsylvania may get more than a foot of snow on Wednesday, the National Weather Service said.

#cuomo-andrew-m, #delaware, #east-coast-us, #interstate-95, #national-weather-service, #new-jersey, #new-york-city, #new-york-metropolitan-area, #new-york-state, #north-carolina, #northeastern-states-us, #pennsylvania, #philadelphia-pa, #restaurants, #snow-and-snowstorms, #virginia, #weather

Material From Giuliani Spurred a Separate Justice Dept. Pursuit of Hunter Biden

The inquiry, based out of Pittsburgh, was run parallel to an investigation in Delaware and raised alarms among F.B.I. agents about politicization.

#barr-william-p, #biden-hunter, #biden-joseph-r-jr, #brady-scott, #delaware, #federal-bureau-of-investigation, #giuliani-rudolph-w, #justice-department, #pittsburgh-pa, #presidential-election-of-2020, #trump-ukraine-whistle-blower-complaint-and-impeachment-inquiry, #trump-donald-j, #united-states-attorneys, #united-states-politics-and-government

Supreme Court Backs Muslim Men in Case on No-Fly List

The court also dismissed a challenge to Delaware’s court system, which takes account of judges’ partisan ties to create ideological balance.

#constitution-us, #courts-and-the-judiciary, #delaware, #federal-bureau-of-investigation, #muslims-and-islam, #supreme-court-us, #tanvir-muhammad, #united-states-politics-and-government

After Centuries of Obscurity, Wilmington Is Having a Moment

Joe Biden’s hometown, known chiefly for its dull, corporate vibe, has become the center of the political universe. Residents are thrilled.

#biden-joseph-r-jr, #delaware, #united-states-politics-and-government

Biden Fractures Foot Playing With His Dog, Putting Him in a Boot

The president-elect visited an orthopedic specialist, and while initial X-rays did not show an obvious fracture, a more detailed CT scan showed hairline cracks.

#biden-joseph-r-jr, #delaware, #major-dog, #presidential-transition-us, #trump-donald-j, #united-states-politics-and-government

Biden Calls Trump’s Attack on Electoral Process ‘Totally Irresponsible’

Choosing his words carefully, the president-elect stepped up his criticism of President Trump and warned that the delayed transition sent “a horrible message about who we are as a country.”

#biden-joseph-r-jr, #coronavirus-2019-ncov, #delaware, #general-services-administration, #governors-us, #presidential-election-of-2020, #presidential-transition-us, #trump-donald-j, #united-states-politics-and-government

Sports Helped Shape Biden. But Expect a Quieter Fan in the White House.

Playing football in high school helped the president-elect overcome a stutter. And while he is known to be a sports fan, he has not displayed a taste for inserting politics in sports.

#baseball, #biden-joseph-r-jr, #delaware, #football, #green-draymond, #james-lebron, #presidential-election-of-2020, #trump-donald-j, #university-of-delaware, #washington-nationals

President-elect Biden’s German Shepherd Major Will Be the First Shelter Dog in the White House

President-elect Biden is headed to Washington with Champ and Major, who will be the White House’s first shelter dog.

#biden-joseph-r-jr, #bo-dog, #delaware, #major-dog, #presidential-election-of-2020

Democracy Required Kind of a Lot of Patience, Actually

Delaware’s own Joe Biden was eventually named the winner of the 2020 presidential race. By then, Delaware itself had gotten a decent turn in the spotlight, as the nation waited.

#biden-joseph-r-jr, #delaware, #democratic-party, #politics-and-government, #presidential-election-of-2020, #wilmington-del

Five Takeaways From President-Elect Biden’s Victory Speech

As he addressed the nation from Delaware, Joseph R. Biden Jr. set a tone that was very different from President Trump’s.

#biden-joseph-r-jr, #delaware, #harris-kamala-d, #presidential-election-of-2020, #trump-donald-j

Dancing in the Streets, and a Parking Lot, for Joe Biden

Defeating President Trump can do strange things for a man’s reputation.

#biden-joseph-r-jr, #delaware, #democratic-party, #harris-kamala-d, #presidential-election-of-2020

How Many Danced, Celebrated in the Streets After Biden’s Victory

Defeating President Trump can do strange things for a man’s reputation.

#biden-joseph-r-jr, #delaware, #democratic-party, #harris-kamala-d, #presidential-election-of-2020

How Joe Biden Won the Presidency

Joseph R. Biden Jr. campaigned as a sober and conventional presence, concerned about the “soul of the country.” He correctly judged the character of the country, and benefited from President Trump’s missteps.

#biden-joseph-r-jr, #blake-jacob-august-23-2020-shooting, #bottoms-keisha-lance, #delaware, #democratic-party, #duckworth-l-tammy, #dunn-anita, #garcetti-eric-m, #george-floyd-protests-2020, #harris-kamala-d, #police-reform, #presidential-election-of-2020, #presidents-and-presidency-us, #republican-party, #trump-donald-j, #united-states-politics-and-government, #whitmer-gretchen

Joe Biden, the Traditionalist Who Ran as Himself

Joseph R. Biden Jr. has spent his career devoted to institutions and relationships. And those are the tools he will rely on to govern a fractured nation.

#biden-joseph-r-jr, #clyburn-james-e, #content-type-personal-profile, #delaware, #democratic-party, #murray-shailagh, #politics-and-government, #presidential-election-of-2020, #senate-committee-on-the-judiciary, #states-us, #trump-donald-j, #united-states-politics-and-government, #violence-against-women-act-1994

Biden’s Limited Campaign Schedule: Wise Tactic or Misguided Gamble?

Joe Biden is counting on voters to view him as a safe and steady alternative to a president who regularly dismisses virus precautions. But his measured campaign pace may be scrutinized if he loses.

#axelrod-david, #barrett-tom-1953, #biden-joseph-r-jr, #coronavirus-2019-ncov, #delaware, #harris-kamala-d, #presidential-election-of-2020, #richmond-cedric, #states-us, #trump-donald-j, #united-states-politics-and-government, #white-house-coronavirus-outbreak-2020

Facebook steps into cloud gaming — and another feud with Apple

Facebook will soon be the latest tech giant to enter the world of cloud gaming. Their approach is different than what Microsoft or Google has built but Facebook highlights a shared central challenge: dealing with Apple.

Facebook is not building a console gaming competitor to compete with Stadia or xCloud, instead the focus is wholly on mobile games. Why cloud stream mobile games that your device is already capable of running locally? Facebook is aiming to get users into games more quickly and put less friction between a user seeing an advertisement for a game and actually playing it themselves. Users can quickly tap into the title without downloading anything and if they eventually opt to download the title from a mobile app store, they’ll be able to pick up where they left off.

Facebook’s service will launch on the desktop web and Android, but not iOS due to what Facebook frames as usability restrictions outlined in Apple’s App Store terms and conditions.

With the new platform, users will  be able to start playing mobile games directly from Facebook ads. Image via Facebook.

While Apple has suffered an onslaught of criticism in 2020 from developers of major apps like Spotify, Tinder and Fortnite for how much money they take as a cut from revenues of apps downloaded from the App Store, the plights of companies aiming to build cloud gaming platforms have been more nuanced and are tied to how those platforms are fundamentally allowed to operate on Apple devices.

Apple was initially slow to provide a path forward for cloud gaming apps from Google and Microsoft, which had previously been outlawed on the App Store. The iPhone maker recently updated its policies to allow these apps to exist, but in a more convoluted capacity than the platform makers had hoped, forcing them to first send users to the App Store before being able to cloud stream a gaming title on their platform.

For a user downloading a lengthy single-player console epic, the short pitstop is an inconvenience, but long-time Facebook gaming exec Jason Rubin says that the stipulations are a non-starter for what Facebook’s platform envisions, a way to start playing mobile games immediately without downloading anything.

“It’s a sequence of hurdles that altogether make a bad consumer experience,” Rubin tells TechCrunch.

Apple tells TechCrunch that they have continued to engage with Facebook on bringing its gaming efforts under its guidelines and that platforms can reach iOS by either submitting each individual game to the App Store for review or operating their service on Safari.

In terms of building the new platform onto the mobile web, Rubin says that without being able to point users of their iOS app to browser-based experiences, as current rules forbid, Facebook doesn’t see pushing its billions of users to accessing the service primarily from a browser as a reasonable alternative. In a Zoom call, Rubin demoes how this  could operate on iOS, with users tapping an advertisement inside the app and being redirected to a game experience in mobile Safari.

“But if I click on that, I can’t go to the web. Apple says, ‘No, no, no, no, no, you can’t do that,’ Rubin tells us. “Apple may say that it’s a free and open web, but what you can actually build on that web is dictated by what they decide to put in their core functionality.”

Facebook VP of Play Jason Rubin. Image via Facebook.

Rubin, who co-founded the game development studio Naughty Dog in 1994 before it was acquired by Sony in 2001, has been at Facebook since he joined Oculus months after its 2014 acquisition was announced. Rubin had previously been tasked with managing the games ecosystem for its virtual reality headsets, this year he was put in charge of the company’s gaming initiatives across their core family of apps as the company’s VP of Play.

Rubin, well familiar with game developer/platform skirmishes, was quick to distinguish the bone Facebook had to pick with Apple and complaints from those like Epic Games which sued Apple this summer.

“I do want to put a pin in the fact that we’re giving Google 30% [on Android]. The Apple issue is not about money,” Rubin tells TechCrunch. “We can talk about whether or not it’s fair that Google takes that 30%. But we would be willing to give Apple the 30% right now, if they would just let consumers have the opportunity to do what we’re offering here.”

Facebook is notably also taking a 30% cut of transaction within these games, even as Facebook’s executive team has taken its own shots at Apple’s steep revenue fee in the past, most recently criticizing how Apple’s App Store model was hurting small businesses during the pandemic. This saga eventually led to Apple announcing that it would withhold its cut through the end of the year for ticket sales of small businesses hosting online events.

Apple’s reticence to allow major gaming platforms a path towards independently serving up games to consumers underscores the significant portion of App Store revenues that could be eliminated by a consumer shift towards these cloud platforms. Apple earned around $50 billion from the App Store last year, CNBC estimates, and gaming has long been their most profitable vertical.

Though Facebook is framing this as an uphill battle against a major platform for the good of the gamer, this is hardly a battle between two underdogs. Facebook pulled in nearly $70 billion in ad revenues last year and improving their offerings for mobile game studios could be a meaningful step towards increasing that number, something Apple’s App Store rules threaten.

For the time being, Facebook is keeping this launch pretty conservative. There are just 5-10 titles that are going to be available at launch, Rubin says. Facebook is rolling out access to the new service, which is free, this week across a handful of states in America, including California, Texas, Massachusetts, New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Delaware, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Washington, D.C., Virginia and West Virginia. The hodge-podge nature of the geographic rollout is owed to the technical limitations of cloud-gaming– people have to be close to data centers where the service has rolled out in order to have a usable experience. Facebook is aiming to scale to the rest of the U.S. in the coming months, they say.

#america, #android, #app-store, #california, #cloud-gaming, #computing, #connecticut, #delaware, #epic-games, #executive, #facebook, #google, #iphone, #jason-rubin, #maryland, #massachusetts, #microsoft, #mobile-app, #mobile-game, #new-jersey, #new-york, #operating-systems, #pennsylvania, #rhode-island, #software, #sony, #spotify, #tc, #texas, #tinder, #united-states, #virginia, #virtual-reality, #vp, #washington-d-c, #web-browser, #xcloud

What We Know and Don’t About Hunter Biden and a Laptop

President Trump’s allies have promoted claims of corruption aimed at the former vice president’s son in an effort to damage the Biden campaign.

#biden-hunter, #biden-joseph-r-jr, #burisma-holdings-ltd, #computers-and-the-internet, #delaware, #ethics-and-official-misconduct, #federal-bureau-of-investigation, #giuliani-rudolph-w, #laptop-computers, #new-york-post, #presidential-election-of-2020, #rumors-and-misinformation, #trump-donald-j, #ukraine, #united-states-politics-and-government

Joe Biden’s Non-Radical 1960s

Trump has called Biden a tool of leftist agitators. Friends say that has never much been his way, even as a young man surrounded by protest.

#biden-joseph-r-jr, #black-people, #careers-and-professions, #civil-rights-movement-1954-68, #content-type-personal-profile, #delaware, #democratic-party, #demonstrations-protests-and-riots, #nineteen-hundred-sixties, #presidential-election-of-2020, #race-and-ethnicity, #syracuse-university, #trump-donald-j, #united-states-politics-and-government, #university-of-delaware, #vietnam-war

What Makes a Good Duck Painting? The Government Suggests Some Hunting

A new rule in the Federal Duck Stamp Contest, requiring artists to include hunting themes in their submissions, has raised eyebrows and objections in the duck painting community.

#art, #audubon-society-national, #connecticut, #conservation-of-resources, #delaware, #ducks, #fish-and-wildlife-service, #friends-of-animals, #hunting-and-trapping, #north-america

Sarah McBride Is Set to Be the Nation’s Highest-Ranking Transgender Official

Ms. McBride, who would be the first openly transgender person to serve in any state’s senate, won a primary for a safely Democratic seat in Delaware.

#coons-christopher-a, #delaware, #elections-senate, #elections-state-legislature, #mcbride-sarah-1990, #transgender-and-transsexuals

11 Students on a First Day of School Like No Other

Students across the country discussed math, masks and managing anxiety as the year begins.

#cherry-hill-nj, #children-and-childhood, #chillicothe-ohio, #coronavirus-2019-ncov, #coronavirus-reopenings, #delaware, #e-learning, #education, #education-k-12, #florida, #georgia, #home-schooling, #kennesaw-ga, #miami-fla, #tacoma-wash, #teenagers-and-adolescence, #wilmington-del, #zoom-video-communications

Closing Night at the D.N.C.: Joe Biden Accepts Democratic Nomination

Mr. Biden urged Americans to have faith that they could “overcome this season of darkness,” and he pledged to bridge the country’s divisions in ways President Trump had not.

#biden-joseph-r-jr, #buttigieg-pete-1982, #delaware, #democratic-national-convention, #democratic-party, #harris-kamala-d, #presidential-election-of-2020, #presidents-and-presidency-us, #trump-donald-j, #united-states-economy, #united-states-international-relations, #united-states-politics-and-government

Biden’s Milwaukee Trip Is Canceled, and So Is a Normal Presidential Campaign

The Democrats bowed to the realities of the pandemic and canceled the major in-person speeches that were still planned for their convention this month.

#biden-joseph-r-jr, #coronavirus-2019-ncov, #delaware, #democratic-national-committee, #democratic-national-convention, #democratic-party, #milwaukee-wis, #presidential-election-of-2020, #wisconsin

Thinking of Traveling in the U.S.? These States Have Travel Restrictions

A third of states have strict measures in place for visitors, from mandatory testing to quarantine requirements.

#alabama, #alaska, #american-automobile-assn, #automobiles, #boise-idaho, #california, #chicago-ill, #connecticut, #coronavirus-2019-ncov, #coronavirus-reopenings, #delaware, #florida, #georgia, #hawaii, #idaho, #illinois, #indiana, #iowa, #kansas, #louisiana, #maine, #massachusetts, #miami-dade-county-fla, #mississippi, #nevada, #new-england-states-us, #north-carolina, #pennsylvania, #rhode-island, #south-carolina, #states-us, #tennessee, #texas, #travel-and-vacations, #travel-warnings, #utah, #vermont, #wisconsin

New Jersey and Delaware Primary Elections: What to Watch For

Joseph R. Biden Jr.’s home state is holding a presidential primary, and New Jersey has a full slate of congressional primaries on tap in an election that will be held mostly by mail.

#delaware, #democratic-party, #elections-house-of-representatives, #gottheimer-joshua-s-1975, #harrison-brigid-callahan, #kennedy-amy-l-1978, #kreibich-arati-s, #new-jersey, #presidential-election-of-2020, #primaries-and-caucuses, #van-drew-jeff

All bets are off as Hertz pulls plan to issue $500 million in new stock

Hertz, which filed for bankruptcy last month, halted its $500 million stock offering Wednesday after the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission told the rental company it would review its controversial plan to sell shares that could soon be wiped out completely.

Hertz disclosed Monday that it would issue a $500 million stock offering following approval from the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the District of Delaware . Last week, the court gave Hertz permission to sell up to 246.8 million unissued shares (about $1 billion) to Jefferies LLC.

The financially strained company was aiming to tap into a new pool of speculative short-term retail investors in an effort to raise capital. But that plan got the SEC’s attention. Staff at the regulatory agency reached out to Hertz on Monday afternoon and told the company it intended to review its Prospectus Supplement, according to an SEC filing Wednesday. Trading was halted briefly Wednesday prior to Hertz’s announcement.

More from Hertz:

After discussions with the Staff, sales under the ATM Program were promptly suspended pending further understanding of the nature and timing of the Staff’s review. The company is not currently offering any shares under the ATM Program. The company’s advisors have been in regular contact with the Commission since the Staff’s initial contact on June 15, 2020. 

As COVID-19 spread throughout the globe, business trips and other travel stopped, leaving Hertz with an unused asset — lots and lots of cars. It wasn’t just that revenue stopped coming in; used car prices plummeted, further devaluing its fleet.

Hertz filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy May 22. But as its business dried up, prospectors jumped in. Retail investors, including those using the Robinhood trading app, invested in Hertz and drove up the stock price. Hertz stock dropped more than 83% between February 21 and March 18. It rose briefly and then continued to slide until May 26, when shares closed at $0.56 (that’s down 97.24% from the closing high in February).

Robinhood traders looked at Hertz and didn’t see the poor fundamentals; they saw opportunity. By March 18, more than 3,500 Robinhood users held Hertz stock, according to Robintrack. A month later, that number popped to more than 18,000, and then nearly doubled to surpass 43,000 users by May 21. It peaked June 14, when more than 170,000 Robinhood users held Hertz stock. The stock price rose 887.5% since that May 26 low, until it reached $5.53 on June 8. Shares of Hertz have since fallen 63.8% and closed Wednesday at $2.

#advisors, #atm, #automotive, #corporate-finance, #delaware, #finance, #hertz, #money, #robinhood, #stock, #stock-market, #u-s-securities-and-exchange-commission

Forget the casino, bankrupt Hertz can now sell up to $1 billion in stock

Hertz, the rental car company that is going through Chapter 11 bankruptcy proceedings, can now sell up to $1 billion in stock as it seeks to tap into one of the hottest tickets in town: traders with an appetite for short-term speculative bets. .

The decision Friday by the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the District of Delaware gives Hertz permission to sell as up to 246.8 million unissued shares to Jefferies LLC. Hertz, which made the emergency request Thursday, has not entered into an agreement with Jefferies, the company noted in a regulatory filing.

Yes, that’s right. The company, which is fighting the New York Stock Exchange from being delisted, can sell stock that might soon be wiped out completely. And it appears there are plenty of retail investors willing and ready to jump in on this scheme.

Shares of Hertz closed at $2.83 Friday, a 37.38% rise from the previous day’s close. The company has seen its share price rise more than 400% since reaching a historical closing low of $0.56 on May 26.

Last month, Hertz filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. The filing was hardly a surprise. The rental company has been crushed by the COVID-19 pandemic. Once business trips and other travel was halted, Hertz was suddenly sitting on an unused asset — lots and lots of cars. It wasn’t just that the revenue spigot was turned off. Used car prices also went into free fall, which further devalued the fleet.

The company said in its May filing that it had more than $1 billion in cash on hand, which it said it will use to keep the business operating through the bankruptcy process. Since then, another compelling source of capital has emerged. Robinhood traders, we’re looking at you.

This week, Hertz was No. 2 on the popularity chart at Robintrack, a website that tracks Robinhood’s data. The chart tracks the number of Robinhood users holding a particular stock over a 1-day, 3-day, 1-week and 1-month periods. This week, the most popular stock in terms of increases in traders, was Nikola Motor, a company that saw its share price skyrocket despite forecasting that it wouldn’t generate a drop of revenue until at least 2021.

To fully immerse ourselves in this puzzling trend, let’s go into the TechCrunch time machine — bleep bop bleep — and look at February 21, 2020. Hertz shares closed at $20.29, the highest closing price since January 2018. At that time, about 1,064 Robinhood users held Hertz stock.

As the COVID-19 pandemic sent the economy into a tailspin, Hertz stock followed suit and dropped more than 83% between February 21 and March 18. It rose briefly and then continued to slide until May 26 went shares closed at $0.56 (that’s down 97.24% from the closing high in February). Meanwhile, over at Robinhood, Hertz’s problems started to look like a buying opportunity. Robinhood traders began to invest in Hertz as the stock price fell. By March 18, more than 3,500 Robinhood users held Hertz stock. A month later, that number popped to more than 18,000 and then nearly doubled to surpass 43,000 users by May 21.

Robintrack - Hertz shares

Image Credits: Robintrack

Hertz filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy May 22. And that’s when it got nutty.  As of Friday, 170,046 Robinhood users held Hertz stock.

To be clear, Robinhood is just one of the many tools retail investors use. What’s popular on Robinhood might not reflect broader investor sentiment. However, it does provide a snapshot into what younger and newer investors are interested in.

#automotive, #delaware, #economy, #finance, #hertz, #money, #new-york-stock-exchange, #nikola-motor, #rental-car, #robinhood, #stock, #tc, #techcrunch

Coronavirus and Beaches: Can I Safely Enjoy the Sun, Surf and Sand?

As states reopen, experts say socially distant outdoor activities, like swimming or running along the shore, are some of the safer ways to re-engage with the world. Here, tips for how to enjoy the beach now.

#bathrooms-and-toilets, #beaches, #california, #centers-for-disease-control-and-prevention, #coronavirus-2019-ncov, #coronavirus-reopenings, #delaware, #east-coast-us, #florida, #hygiene-and-cleanliness, #lifeguards, #los-angeles-county-calif, #states-us, #travel-and-vacations

How (and Why) to Use Native Plants

You know they support pollinators and native wildlife, but you may not have a meadow where they’ll feel at home. Here’s what to do.

#birds, #butterflies-and-moths, #delaware, #gardens-and-gardening, #insects, #mt-cuba-center-hockessin-del, #native-plants, #real-estate-and-housing-residential

Chickens Are Killed by Delaware Plant as Workers Are Depleted by Covid-19

An industry group said nearly 2 million chickens were “depopulated” at the plant’s farms in Delaware and Maryland because of staffing challenges from illness and quarantines.

#agriculture-and-farming, #chickens, #coronavirus-2019-ncov, #delaware, #maryland, #poultry, #tyson-foods-inc, #tyson-john-h

A Candidate in Isolation: Inside Joe Biden’s Cloistered Campaign

Walled off from voters in a distinctive kind of lockdown, Mr. Biden has developed a routine, of sorts, as he seeks the presidency from his basement.

#biden-jill-tracy-jacobs, #biden-joseph-r-jr, #coronavirus-2019-ncov, #coronavirus-aid-relief-and-economic-security-act-2020, #delaware, #dillon-jennifer-omalley, #medicine-and-health, #murthy-vivek-h, #presidential-election-of-2020, #summers-lawrence-h, #united-states-politics-and-government