Hustle Fund backs Fintor, which wants to make it easier to invest in real estate

Farshad Yousefi and Masoud Jalali used to drive through Palo Alto neighborhoods and marvel at the outrageous home prices. But the drives sparked an idea. They were not in a financial position to purchase a home in those neighborhoods (to be clear, not many people are) either for investment or to live. But what if they could invest in homes in up and coming cities throughout the U.S.?

Then they realized that even that might be a challenge considering that with all their student debt, affording a down payment would be impossible.

“There was nothing available out there besides a crowdfunding platform, which when we first signed up, took away $1,000 from our account that we didn’t have, and then our capital would be locked up for 3 to 10 years,” recalls Yousefi.

So the pair started doing research and spoke to 1,000 individuals under the age of 35. Eight out of 10 said they would like to invest in real estate but were deterred by all the barriers to entry.

“There is clearly a large demand for access to real estate,” Yousefi said. “And we wanted to give people a way to invest in it like they can in stocks, via a mobile app.”

And so the idea for Fintor was born.

Yousefi and Jalali founded the company in 2020 with the goal of purchasing homes via an LLC, and turning each into shares through a SEC-approved broker dealer. Individuals can then buy shares of the homes via Fintor’s platform. Its next step is to sign agreements with individual real estate investors or bigger real estate development firms to list their properties on the platform and give people the opportunity to buy shares.

And now Fintor has raised $2.5 million in seed money to continue building out its fractional real estate investing platform. The startup aims to “fractionalize” houses and other residential property, giving people in the U.S. access to investment opportunities “starting with as little as $5.” The company attracted the interest of investors such as 500 Startups, Hustle Fund, Graphene Ventures, Houston-based real estate investor Manny Khoshbin, Mana Ventures and other angel investors such as Cindy Bi, Skyler Fernandes, VU Venture Partners, Minal Hasan, Andrew Zalasin, Alluxo CEO and Founder Safa Mahzari, SquareFoot CEO and founder Jonathan Wasserstrum and Teachable CEO and founder Ankur Nagpal.

Image Credits: Fintor

Fintor is eying markets such as Kansas City, South Carolina, and Houston, Texas, where it already has some properties. It’s looking for homes in the $80,000 to $350,000 price range, and millennials and GenZers are its target demographic.

“Fintor can give the same return as the stock market, but at half the risk,” Yousefi said. “As two [Iranian] immigrants, we’ve seen how much this country has to offer and how real estate sits at the top of everything, yet is so inaccessible.”

The pair had originally set out to raise just $1 million but the round was quickly “way oversubscribed,” according to Yousefi, and they ended up raising $2.5 million at triple the original valuation.

Jalali said the company will use machine learning technology to filter and rate properties as it scales its business model.

“We’ll use ML to categorize neighborhoods and to come up with the price of properties to offer to potential sellers,” he added. “Our ultimate goal is to create indexes so that people can invest in multiple properties in a given city. That creates diversification right away.”

.Elizabeth Yin, co-founder and general partner of Hustle Fund, believes that Fintor is solving a generational problem with real estate.

“Retail investors have almost no access to great real estate investments today and the best opportunities are reserved for the select few,” she told TechCrunch. “Not to mention that in addition to access, retail investors often need a lot of capital in order to have a diversified portfolio or be accredited to join funds.”

Fintor’s approach to securitize real estate assets will give millions of investors who are not accredited investors access they would otherwise not have had, Yin added. 

“Simultaneously, it provides increased liquidity to property owners, while improving the user experience for both parties,” she said. “Effectively this becomes a new asset class, because it’s entirely turnkey and is fractionalized, which opens up many new pockets of investors.”

#ankur-nagpal, #articles, #ceo, #cindy-bi, #crowdfunding, #elizabeth-yin, #entrepreneurship, #financial-technology, #fintech, #funding, #fundings-exits, #graphene-ventures, #houston, #hustle-fund, #kansas-city, #machine-learning-technology, #ml, #palo-alto, #proptech, #real-estate, #recent-funding, #retail-investors, #south-carolina, #squarefoot, #startups, #tc, #technology, #texas, #u-s-securities-and-exchange-commission, #united-states, #venture-capital

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South Carolina Shooting Leaves Five Dead

The victims included the doctor’s wife and two of their eight grandchildren. A suspect was in custody, but the motive was unclear.

#mass-shootings, #murders-attempted-murders-and-homicides, #rock-hill-sc, #south-carolina

0

Absolutists Are Taking Over the Anti-Abortion Movement

Taking their cue from Trump, they are going all out to overturn Roe v. Wade.

#abortion, #alito-samuel-a-jr, #barrett-amy-coney, #law-and-legislation, #national-right-to-life-committee, #politics-and-government, #porter-janet-1962, #pregnancy-and-childbirth, #roberts-john-g-jr, #south-carolina, #state-legislatures, #states-us, #supreme-court-us, #thomas-clarence, #trump-donald-j, #united-states

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Nevada Is Moving to Vote Before Iowa in 2024. Harry Reid Makes the Case.

Goodbye, Iowa and New Hampshire. Hello, Nevada and South Carolina? The former Nevada senator is just one voice arguing that it’s time to change the nomination calendar.

#biden-joseph-r-jr, #clyburn-james-e, #iowa, #nevada, #new-hampshire, #primaries-and-caucuses, #reid-harry, #south-carolina

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A ‘Race’ to Vaccinate, After South Africa Variant Is Detected in South Carolina

The mutation raised the stakes for South Carolina, which is reporting the second-highest rate of new infections in the nation. It is believed to be less receptive to vaccines.

#coronavirus-2019-ncov, #disease-rates, #south-carolina, #vaccination-and-immunization

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Florida ‘Monkey Whisperer’ Is Charged With Illegal Animal Sales

Jimmy Wayne Hammonds, who runs an exotic animal ranch, illegally sold rare monkeys, prosecutors said.

#alabama, #animals, #california, #florida, #monkeys-and-apes, #nevada, #new-york-times, #south-carolina, #united-states, #wildlife-trade-and-poaching

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Home services platform Porch acquires four companies

Only a few weeks after its SPAC IPO, Porch today announced that it has made four acquisitions, worth a total of $122 million. The most important here is probably the acquisition of Homeowners of America for $100 million, which gets Porch deeper into the home insurance space. In addition, Porch is also acquiring mover marketing and data platform V12 for $22 million, as well as home inspection service Palm-Tech and iRoofing, a SaaS application for roofing contractors. Porch did not disclose the acquisition prices for the latter two companies.

You may still think of Porch as a marketplace for home improvement and repair services — and that’s what it started out as when it launched about seven years ago. Yet while it still offers those services, a couple of years after its 2013 launch, the company pivoted to building what it now calls a “vertical software platform for the home.” Through a number of acquisitions, the Porch Group now includes Porch.com, as well as services like HireAHelper, Inspection Support Network for home inspectors, Kandela for providing services around moving and an insurance broker in the form of the Elite Insurance Group. In some form or another, Porch’s tools are now used — either directly or indirectly — by two-thirds of U.S. homebuyers every month.

Porch founder and CEO Matt Ehrlichman. Image Credits: Porch

As Porch founder and CEO Matt Ehrlichman told me, he had originally planned to take his company public through a traditional IPO. He noted that going the increasingly popular SPAC route, though, allowed him to push his timeline up by a year, which in turn now enables the company to make the acquisitions it announced today.

“In total, we had a $323 million fundraise that allows us now to not only be a public company with public currency, but to be very well capitalized. And picking up that year allows us to be able to go and pursue acquisitions that we think make really good fits for Porch,” Ehrlichman told me. While Porch’s guidance for its 2021 revenue was previously $120 million, it’s now updating that guidance to $170 million based on these acquisitions. That would mean Porch would grow its revenue by about 134% year-over-year between 2020 and 2021.

As the company had previously laid out in its public documents, the plan for 2021 was always to get deeper into insurance. Indeed, as Ehrlichman noted, Porch these days tends to think of itself as a vertical software company that layers insurtech on top of its services in order to be able to create a recurring revenue stream. And because Porch offers such a wide range of services already, its customer acquisition costs are essentially zero for these services.

Image Credits: Homeowners of America

Porch was already a licensed insurance brokerage. With Homeowners of America, it is acquiring a company that is both an insurance carrier as well as a managing general agent..

“We’re able to capture all of the economic value from the consumer as we help them get insurance set up with their new home and we can really control that experience to delight them. As we wrap all the technology we’ve invested in around that experience we can make it super simple and instant to be able to get the right insurance at the right price for your new home. And because we have all of this data about the home that nobody else has — from the inspection we know if the roof is old, we know if the hot water system is gonna break soon and all the appliances — we know all of this data and so it just gives us a really big advantage in insurance.”

Data, indeed, is what a lot of these acquisitions are about. Because Porch knows so much about so many customers, it is able to provide the companies it acquires with access to relevant data, which in turn helps them offer additional services and make smarter decisions.

Homeowners of America is currently operating in six states (Texas, Arizona, North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia and Georgia) and licensed in 31. It has a network of more than 800 agencies so far and Porch expects to expand the company’s network and geographic reach in the coming months. “Because we have [customer acquisition cost]-free demand all across the country, one of the opportunities for us is simply just to expand that across the nation,” Ehrlichman explained.

As for V12, Porch’s focus is on that company’s mover marketing and data platform. The acquisition should help it reach its medium-term goal of building a $200 million revenue stream in this area. V12 offers services across multiple verticals, though, including in the automotive space, and will continue to do so. The platform’s overall focus is to help brands identify the right time to reach out to a given consumer — maybe before they decide to buy a new car or move. With Porch’s existing data layered on top of V12’s existing capabilities, the company expects that it will be able to expand these features and it will also allow Porch to not offer mover marketing but what Ehrlichman called “pro-mover” services, as well.

“V12 anchors what we call our marketing software division. A key focus of that is mover marketing. That’s where it’s going to have, long term, tremendous differentiation. But there are a number of other things that they’re working on that are going to have really nice growth vectors, and they’ll continue to push those,” said Ehrlichman.

As for the two smaller acquisitions of iRoofing and Palm-Tech, these are more akin to some of the previous acquisitions the company made in the contractor and inspection verticals. Like with those previous acquisitions, the plan is to help them grow faster, in part through integrating them into the overall Porch group’s family of products.

“Our business is and continues to be highly recurring or reoccurring in nature,” said Porch CFO Marty Heimbigner. “Nearly all of our revenues, including that of these new acquisitions, is consistent and predictable. This repeat revenue is also high margin with less than 20% cost of revenue and is expected to grow more than 30% per year on our platform. So, we believe these deals are highly accretive for our shareholders.”

#arizona, #contractor, #exit, #finance, #financial-services, #georgia, #ing-group, #insurance, #insurance-broker, #ma, #mergers-and-acquisitions, #north-carolina, #porch, #real-estate, #software, #software-platform, #south-carolina, #tc, #texas, #united-states, #virginia

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Jaime Harrison Said to Be Pick for Next D.N.C. Chair

Mr. Harrison, a veteran of South Carolina politics, was the Democratic nominee against Senator Lindsey Graham and shattered fund-raising records in the race.

#biden-joseph-r-jr, #democratic-national-committee, #democratic-party, #harrison-jaime-r-1976, #south-carolina

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South Carolinians Mock Redesigned Palmetto Tree on Proposed State Flag

A proposed new look for the beloved state tree has drawn complaints that it looks like a toilet brush or like one of the palmettos battered by Hurricane Hugo in 1989.

#flags-emblems-and-insignia, #palmetto-tree, #south-carolina, #vexillology

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What Does President-Elect Biden Owe to Black Voters, Communities?

In his victory speech, the president-elect said of Black voters: “You’ve always had my back, and I’ll have yours.” Many of those voters are watching to see what he does in office.

#biden-joseph-r-jr, #black-people, #presidential-election-of-2020, #presidential-transition-us, #south-carolina

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Navy Research Confirms Need for Strict Coronavirus Testing Protocols

Two new studies clarify how Covid-19 spreads among young adults and expose the limits of quarantine measures.

#charleston-sc, #citadel-the-military-college-of-south-carolina, #coronavirus-2019-ncov, #coronavirus-risks-and-safety-concerns, #cruises, #dormitories, #marine-corps-recruit-depot-parris-island-sc, #new-england-journal-of-medicine, #quarantines, #south-carolina, #united-states-defense-and-military-forces, #uss-theodore-roosevelt-cvn-71-ship, #your-feed-health, #your-feed-healthcare, #your-feed-science

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Lindsey Graham Wins a Fourth Term in South Carolina, Beating Jaime Harrison

Mr. Graham, a Republican, fended off Jaime Harrison, a Democrat, whose campaign captured liberal energy — and dollars — from across the country.

#democratic-party, #graham-lindsey, #harrison-jaime-r-1976, #republican-party, #senate, #south-carolina

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Graham and Harrison Battle Over the ‘New South,’ in Their Final Appeals

As Jaime Harrison called Lindsey Graham a 1950s relic, the Republican incumbent urged voters to re-elect him to help protect a way of life.

#elections-senate, #graham-lindsey, #harrison-jaime-r-1976, #presidential-election-of-2020, #south-carolina

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Black Senate Candidates in South Tell Democrats to ‘Meet the Moment’

Several Black Democrats are running competitively in conservative states, and they are doing so by talking explicitly about race.

#biden-joseph-r-jr, #black-people, #campaign-finance, #democratic-party, #espy-mike, #georgia, #graham-lindsey, #hyde-smith-cindy, #mississippi, #phillips-steve, #politics-and-government, #presidential-election-of-2020, #race-and-ethnicity, #south-carolina, #trump-donald-j, #warnock-raphael-g

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Lindsey Graham Leads Jaime Harrison in South Carolina Race, Poll Shows

Mr. Graham, in a tough fight for re-election, is ahead by six percentage points, a Times/Siena College poll shows. President Trump leads Joseph R. Biden Jr. by eight points in a state he won by 14 in 2016.

#barrett-amy-coney, #biden-joseph-r-jr, #black-people, #elections-senate, #graham-lindsey, #harrison-jaime-r-1976, #politics-and-government, #polls-and-public-opinion, #presidential-election-of-2020, #senate, #south-carolina, #trump-donald-j, #united-states-politics-and-government

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South Carolina Is Changing. Is It Enough to Put Jaime Harrison Over the Top?

The state hasn’t had a Democratic senator in decades. Mr. Harrison is betting that immigration and growing support from women will change that.

#elections-senate, #graham-lindsey, #harrison-jaime-r-1976, #senate, #south-carolina

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Jaime Harrison Raises $57 Million as Democratic Cash Floods Senate Races

The amount is the highest quarterly fund-raising total for any Senate candidate in U.S. history and part of an extraordinary surge of money pouring into Democrats’ campaigns.

#campaign-finance, #elections-senate, #graham-lindsey, #harrison-jaime-r-1976, #presidential-election-of-2020, #republican-party, #south-carolina

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Supreme Court Revives Witness Requirement for South Carolina Absentee Ballots

The majority, overturning lower courts’ rulings that the requirement burdened the right to vote during a pandemic, made an exception for ballots cast before it acted and received within two days.

#absentee-voting, #decisions-and-verdicts, #south-carolina, #supreme-court-us, #united-states-politics-and-government, #voter-fraud-election-fraud, #voter-registration-and-requirements

0

A Dish That Reflects Our Nation: Okra Soup

This simple Gullah Geechee dish emphasizes the freshness of its ingredients — representing at least four continents and five spiritual traditions.

#cooking-and-cookbooks, #slavery-historical, #soups, #south-carolina

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‘You Would Do the Same’: Graham Is Defiant on Supreme Court Reversal

Senator Lindsey Graham said he would refuse to confirm a Republican’s Supreme Court nominee in a presidential election year. Now he is rushing to deliver President Trump’s third justice.

#courts-and-the-judiciary, #ginsburg-ruth-bader, #graham-lindsey, #harrison-jaime-r-1976, #presidential-election-of-2020, #republican-party, #senate, #senate-committee-on-the-judiciary, #south-carolina, #supreme-court-us, #united-states-politics-and-government

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University of South Carolina Disciplines Fraternities for Virus Violations

Disciplinary action is taken over parties and large gatherings as cases mount on campus.

#colleges-and-universities, #columbia-sc, #coronavirus-2019-ncov, #fraternities-and-sororities, #parties-social, #quarantines, #school-discipline-students, #shutdowns-institutional, #south-carolina, #tests-medical, #university-of-south-carolina

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Isaias Live Updates: Fires, Flooding and Tornadoes as Storm Charges Over Land

Isaias, now a tropical storm, made landfall as a hurricane in North Carolina, and is causing widespread power outages as it cuts a path north.

#east-coast-us, #hurricanes-and-tropical-storms, #mid-atlantic-states-us, #national-hurricane-center, #new-jersey, #new-york-city, #north-carolina, #northeastern-states-us, #pennsylvania, #south-carolina, #weather

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Isaias Live Updates: Storm Could Regain Hurricane Strength

Tropical Storm Isaias is forecast to become a Category 1 hurricane again and make landfall in the Carolinas on Monday. Flash flooding and tornadoes are possible.

#hurricanes-and-tropical-storms, #north-carolina, #south-carolina, #weather

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Tropical Storm Isaias, Grazing Florida, Takes Aim at Carolinas

The Florida coast was spared severe damage on Sunday, but much of the Eastern Seaboard is threatened with flooding rains.

#bahama-islands, #florida, #hurricanes-and-tropical-storms, #national-weather-service, #north-carolina, #south-carolina, #weather

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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

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James Brown’s Will: Is It Inching Toward Closure After 14 Years?

A decision by the Supreme Court of South Carolina has raised expectations that the many legal fights over the singer’s estate may soon be drawing to a close.

#black-lives-matter-movement, #brown-james-1933-2006, #copyrights-and-copyright-violations, #hynie-tommie-rae, #marriages, #music, #pop-and-rock-music, #scholarships-and-fellowships, #south-carolina, #suits-and-litigation-civil, #wills-and-estates

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The States Come Back. The Virus Never Left.

Readers from Florida and South Carolina are appalled that so many people do not wear masks. A mother relishes the time with children who have returned home.

#coronavirus-reopenings, #florida, #south-carolina

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President Trump reportedly will sign executive order temporarily suspending work visas for H-1B holders

President Donald Trump is expected to sign an executive order temporarily halting work visas like the H-1B visa program for highly skilled workers, cutting off a critical source of foreign labor for tech companies already complaining about tech talent shortages, according to reports in media outlets including The Wall Street Journal and The New York Times.

Visa-holders already in the US and those applicants who have received a visa already are exempt from the ban. But the restrictions are intended to last until the end of the year, which would disrupt the government’s typical process of awarding new visas at the beginning of the national fiscal calendar in October.

Officials from the Trump Administration told the Journal that the move is intended to protect American jobs, but executives in the technology industry have long warned that visa restrictions would hurt the nation’s ability to compete in industries that have both strategic and financial significance as engines of economic growth.

Tech officials have even cited immigration curbs as a factor that would force companies to relocate more of their operations overseas in an effort to hire and retain top technology talent.

“The technology industry is working overtime to keep Americans connected during a global pandemic by providing food delivery services, telehealth care, collaborative business solutions, and ways for families and friends to stay connected,” said Linda Moore, the president and chief executive of the tech industry’s lobbying group, TechNet. “Looking forward, technology will continue to be crucial to the rebuilding of our economy. Today’s executive order only hinders the ability of businesses to make decisions on how best to deploy their existing workforce and hire new employees. This will slow innovation and undermine the work the technology industry is doing to help our country recover from unprecedented events.”

According to the news reports, officials expect these new restrictions to last until the end of the year, and expand the immigration bans that the President put in place in April that blocked family members of U.S. citizens from immigrating and slashed the number of visas available to high-skilled  workers looking to immigrate to the US.

Estimates provided to the Wall Street Journal indicate that roughly 525,000 people will be unable to enter the country as a result of the expanded travel restrictions including 170,000 green-card holders barred from entering the US since April. The Trump administration official quoted by the Journal called the initiative an “America-first recovery” that would potentially open up 500,000 jobs for out-of-work Americans.

Technology executives are already voicing their displeasure with the reported ban. “Banning all H1B [sic] visas means CEOs like me have to open offices and hire more people in countries like Canada that allow immigration. This visa ban is morally wrong and economically stupid,” wrote Anshu Sharma, the chief executive officer of the technology startup Skyflow.

Investors are also up-in-arms about the decision’s impact on America’s ability to compete.

“Whether his administration realizes it or not, they creating a significant handicap for US innovation. Our most innovative and impactful portfolio companies and many of their employees started as H-1b holders,” wrote Stonly Baptiste, the co-founder of technology investment fund, Urban.us. “We literally couldn’t have built our portfolio in an environment without H-1B. And we’re not even an immigrant focused fund.”

Also on the chopping block are H-2B visas, which are used to let short-term seasonal workers in landscaping and non-farm jobs into the country, J-1 jobs for short-term workers like camp counselors and au pairs and L-1 visas for corporate company transfers, the Journal reported.

Healthcare workers, coronavirus researchers, food supply workers in food packaging are all exempt from the visa suspensions.

Technology executives aren’t the only ones coming out against the tighter immigration rules. A group of nine Republican senators including South Carolina’s powerful senior senator, Lindsey Graham, and Texas Senator John Cornyn, issued a joint letter on May 27, which pleaded with the President to reconsider the rumored immigration restrictions.

“Guest workers are needed to boost American business, not take American jobs,” they wrote.

#america, #anshu-sharma, #canada, #chief-executive-officer, #contents, #donald-trump, #executive, #h-1b-visa, #official, #president, #skyflow, #south-carolina, #tc, #the-new-york-times, #the-wall-street-journal, #trump-administration, #united-states, #wall-street-journal

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Public Health Experts Reject President’s View of Fading Pandemic

Contrary to Trump’s recent comments, specialists say, recent increases are real, and the virus is like a “forest fire” that will burn as long as there is fuel.

#arizona, #centers-for-disease-control-and-prevention, #coronavirus-2019-ncov, #coronavirus-reopenings, #florida, #gottlieb-scott-1972, #harvard-university, #homeland-security-department, #johns-hopkins-university, #masks, #oklahoma, #south-carolina, #texas, #trump-donald-j, #tulsa-okla, #university-of-minnesota, #wolf-chad-f, #your-feed-healthcare

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Has Lindsey Graham Become Too Trumpy for South Carolina? Not So Fast

Democrats are mounting a vigorous Senate campaign, backing Jaime Harrison, a candidate with strong fund-raising. But as they argue that Mr. Graham has become too conservative for the state, the senator has gained supporters.

#elections-senate, #graham-lindsey, #harrison-jaime-r-1976, #horry-county-sc, #south-carolina

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Major Problems With Voting in Atlanta as 5 States Hold Primaries

Some voting machines were not working as polls opened, and Georgia voters reported long lines and widespread frustration. Nevada, North Dakota, South Carolina and West Virginia are also voting today.

#cunningham-joe, #elections-governors, #elections-house-of-representatives, #elections-senate, #georgia, #handel-karen-c, #horsford-steven-a, #islam-nabilah, #justice-james-c-ii, #mcbath-lucy, #nevada, #north-dakota, #ossoff-jon, #presidential-election-of-2020, #primaries-and-caucuses, #south-carolina, #west-virginia

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The Sunday Read: ‘The Condition of Black Life Is One of Mourning’

After nearly two weeks of national unrest, Claudia Rankine reflects on the reality of repetition in the systems of institutionalized racism.

#black-people, #charleston-sc, #george-floyd-protests-2020, #mass-shootings, #podcasts, #rankine-claudia, #roof-dylann-storm, #south-carolina

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Inside an Extraordinary G.O.P. Event: ‘Pressing Flesh and Kissing Babies’ Again

At the South Carolina event, attended by Senators Lindsey Graham and Tim Scott, there were few masks and no social distancing — and that was the point.

#coronavirus-2019-ncov, #coronavirus-reopenings, #elections-senate, #graham-lindsey, #horry-county-sc, #republican-party, #scott-timothy-eugene, #south-carolina

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Tropical Storm Bertha Could Cause Dangerous Flooding in the South

Bertha was named a tropical storm less than two hours before it made landfall near Charleston, S.C., on Wednesday.

#floods, #hurricanes-and-tropical-storms, #national-weather-service, #north-carolina, #rain, #south-carolina, #virginia, #weather

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Job or Health? Restarting the Economy Threatens to Worsen Economic Inequality

The coronavirus recession has exacerbated the racial and income divides in America. Lifting restrictions too soon will make them worse and leave workers with a bleak choice.

#black-people, #coronavirus-2019-ncov, #georgia, #hispanic-americans, #income, #income-inequality, #labor-and-jobs, #layoffs-and-job-reductions, #minorities, #race-and-ethnicity, #recession-and-depression, #south-carolina, #states-us, #unemployment, #united-states-economy, #wages-and-salaries, #whites

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Making Marines Without Making Them Sick

After a brief pause, Parris Island is once again taking Marine recruits, with some modifications to the grueling 13-week boot camp.

#draft-and-recruitment-military, #marine-corps-recruit-depot-parris-island-sc, #south-carolina, #united-states-defense-and-military-forces, #united-states-marine-corps

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Coronavirus Looms as Businesses Reopen in Some States

Some states have taken tentative steps toward reopening businesses shuttered by the coronavirus. In Georgia, it meant a few residents were out getting haircuts and their tongues pierced.

#alaska, #barbers-and-barbering, #coronavirus-2019-ncov, #georgia, #kemp-brian-p, #oklahoma, #shopping-and-retail, #south-carolina

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‘I Am Beyond Disturbed’: Internal Dissent as States Reopen Despite Virus

Several mayors and employers have asked residents to ignore the Georgia governor’s declaration that some businesses can resume operation while the coronavirus lingers.

#coronavirus-2019-ncov, #georgia, #governors-us, #kemp-brian-p, #mayors, #south-carolina, #states-us

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Uber Eats customers have given $3 million in direct contributions to restaurants

Uber Eats customers have given $3 million in direct contributions to restaurants using a new feature on the app designed in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The milestone caps off a related campaign by Uber Eats to match up to $3 million in contributions made by customers. Uber Eats is sending its $3 million in matched funds to the National Restaurant Association’s Restaurant Employee Relief Fund. The company had previously donated $2 million to RERF.

The matching campaign has ended. However, the restaurant contribution feature, which was first rolled out in New York and is now in 20 countries, will continue.

The restaurant contribution feature was developed by a team of engineers in a flurry of activity over about seven days, according to Therese Lim, who leads the restaurant product management team for Uber Eats.

“There was no executive who said ‘oh we need to build this feature, you all go build this now,” Lim said, adding that this was a grassroots effort prompted by the wave of restaurants that were forced to close regular dine-in eating due to the spread of COVID-19. Lim said Uber Eats users started reaching out to employees via LinkedIn, email and other means to ask how they could help restaurants.

“We started to see restaurants get impacted severely by this,” Lim said. “This was particularly true as the various states started implementing shelter-in-place or stay-at-home orders.”

The team had two primary concerns — beyond the basic backend operations — about the feature. They didn’t want it to cannibalize the amount of tips that users gave delivery workers, nor did they want it to cause customers to buy less from restaurants.

The team started to roll out the feature in a small area within New York City on April 1 to make sure tipping of delivery workers wasn’t impacted. The feature launched April 3 across the entire city and then expanded over the next week to the rest of the United States. The contribution feature is now live on the Uber Eats in 20 countries.

“We didn’t want to introduce anything that actually hurts restaurants,” Lim said. “It was important to make sure we weren’t introducing  friction into the experience that would cause a user to become impatient or displeased with the outcomes and maybe not actually finish their order.”

Those concerns didn’t bear out, according to data compiled since the app feature launched. Customers not only tipped more, they were also frequent users of Uber Eats.

Users who made restaurant contributions tipped their couriers 30% to 50% more than orders without a contribution, according to Uber. About 15% of Uber Eats customers in the U.S. who made a restaurant contribution were repeat contributors.

Data also shows that early dinner time, around 6 p.m., was the most generous time period, according to Lim. Dinner time, between 5 p.m. to 11 p.m., was the most popular for contributions, making up 60% of contribution dollars.

And certain foods, namely international cuisine, encouraged more contributions from users. French, Ethiopian, Argentinian and Thai restaurants had the highest contribution rates, according to Uber.

Some states were more generous than others. The top five most generous states, by percentage of active Uber Eats users who made at least one contribution, were Washington, Vermont, Montana, Connecticut, and South Carolina.

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#alabama, #florida, #georgia, #mississippi, #national-weather-service, #south-carolina, #tornadoes, #weather

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#biden-joseph-r-jr, #black-people, #bloomberg-michael-r, #buttigieg-pete-1982, #democratic-party, #presidential-election-of-2020, #primaries-and-caucuses, #race-and-ethnicity, #sanders-bernard, #south-carolina, #steyer-thomas-f, #united-states-politics-and-government, #voting-and-voters, #warren-elizabeth

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