Photo: Boston Business Journal
A new online business that matches private coaches with athletes has raised $6.7 million in a recent round of fundraising. The company, founded in 2012 by Jordan Fliegel ’08, currently pairs athletes and coaches who play team sports, but is expanding into dance, yoga and fitness.
Point Judith Capital of Boston and General Catalyst Partners of Cambridge led the new round of fundraising, according to Boston Business Journal. Sean Marsh ’95, of Point Judith, has also joined the CoachUp board. The new funding “will continue to support our core mission of helping athletes reach the next level in their training and athletic pursuits,” Fliegel said in a news release.
CoachUp serves more than 15,000 coaches and more than 42,000 athletes. Based in Boston, the company employs 18 full-time staff, and completed the 2012 MassChallenge program and the fall 2012 TechStars Boston accelerator.
Investor Stanley Druckenmiller ’75 talks about two of the investors he says still have the “guts” to make the big market calls in this clip from CNBC.
In addition to his numerous other contributions, Bill Gates offers an annual summer reading list to the world. This year’s six picks are all books that Gates read earlier this year. The topics include business, science, history — and even a novel. John Brooks’ Business Adventures also comes recommended by Warren Buffett (who recommended it to Gates himself).
Giver, taker or matcher? Most of us are said to be matchers, along the lines of “you bought last time, so I’ve got this one.” Wharton School of Business professor Adam Grant says such transactional behavior of maintaining a balance of giving and taking is a mistake in business. He says givers, by extending their contributions more widely, cultivate a broader and more diverse network. Read more.
Emil Gaal ’15 and Bridgett McCoy ’15
Big business is often blamed for environmental degradation, but two students are turning to the for-profit world to fulfill their ambitions to help the environment. This summer Emi Gaal ’15 is working for an international energy corporation — one that is building renewable energy plants. And Bridgett McCoy ’15 is working for a large commercial bank, but one founded on the mission to use “finance to deliver sustainable development for unserved people, communities and the environment.” Read the full story.
It’s easier to switch from task to task when everything is contained within a screen. Think about it: you wouldn’t drop everything and head to the grocery store each time you wanted or were out of a food item, would you? Unfortunately, switching back and forth between tasks to continuously stay connected through texts, emails, and more has a similar (although less visible) detriment to productivity. It can take as much as 20 minutes to reorient yourself to a focused task after a distraction, and allowing yourself to be casually distracted can knock you down as much as 10 IQ points. Giving yourself as little as 30 minutes of distraction-free time can make a huge impact on how much you accomplish.
Shapeways 3D printing company has increased its employee base to help with Google’s Made with Code initiative. After disclosing that a mere 30% of Google employees are female, Google has created this program to get more girls interested in science and technology at a young age. Spokeswomen include Chelsea Clinton and Mindy Kaling, as well as organizations such as Seventeen Magazine and Girl Scouts. Shapeways 3D will expand and use four of EOS’s largest 3D printers to allow daily printing of 8,000 bracelets coded by girls. Shapeways CEO Peter Weijmarshausen hopes the initiative will encourage girls to create and run their own Shapeway shops in the future.
Eric Goldwyn ’03, investigator of urban affairs, has written a compelling article for The New Yorker on how ride-sharing networks like Uber are changing the landscape for professional taxi- and other drivers out there. There have always been cheaper and more expensive transportation options when it comes to hiring a driver, with some more knowledgeable than others – London’s black-cab drivers complete a 5 year training on the fastest routes through the city, for example. Yet combined with GPS technology, Goldwyn argues, “startups like Uber argue that technology can transform the casual driver into a professional.” Part-time ride-sharers are sure to make it more difficult to earn a living driving cabs, and it is up to the taxi companies to figure out how to compete.
Michael ’04 and Melissa Fensterstock know the secret to a good vacation: it has to be bug-free. While on their honeymoon in Southeast Asia, the couple was introduced to a local mix of essential oils to help them repel the numerous mosquitos. Most bug sprays smell less than appealing, but this one was a decadent combination of vanilla, exotic citrus and more. The duo saw their business opportunity, and Michael quit his job to develop the fragrance product – called Aromaflage – full-time. The product is now sold in resort areas such as Canyon Ranch and Martha’s Vineyard, where vacationers are bound to spend time outside. It has also been picked up by larger online retailers such as Circle & Square and Uncommon Goods.
“There are Burmese refugee women that hand-craft Aromaflage,” Michael said in an interview with Bloomberg Businessweek, “so we have a social impact to our supply chain, which is really inherent in our business. Doing well by doing good is important to both Melissa and myself.”
New initiatives and regulations for healthy, nutrition-savvy kids are great. But what if they are crushing a healthy entrepreneurial spirit? Bake sales, which have long helped school clubs and sports teams raise fast cash, also teach kids how to sell things — and give them the confidence boost that comes along with it. These bake sales may be banned if their products don’t meet fat, sugar, calorie and salt content regulations set by the USDA (read: that’s hard for a brownie or cupcake to do). With a curriculum already devoid of personal finance training in many states, supporters of financial education worry that kids will not learn the basic enterpreneurial skills a bake sale can teach. As a result, Domino’s Pizza is coming out with a pizza that conforms to these regulations , and it’s likely other businesses will follow suit.