Wannabe CEOs

March 18th, 2024

Presented by RYSE

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ISO something to run // Illustration by Kate Walker

Monday is here again, and if you’re looking to mix up your morning routine, check out Spotify’s new music discovery tool, “Song Psychic.” The feature lets users ask Spotify a question (from a pre-populated menu), and instead of giving a boring ole answer, the platform responds with a song — like an audio Magic 8 Ball. We can see this getting very silly or very existential quite quickly.

In other news… CEOs hunt for a company to run, SpaceVIP serves dinner in orbit, and Mercedes-Benz hires humanoid robots.

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Feb. 22, 2024

Today we get into OpenAI's new video tech Sora, how influencers and content creators are trying to get their payment standardized, and Travis Kelce's rising star.


🎞️ Film preservation isn’t just for physical film — preservationists are sounding the alarm that digital files are getting corrupted from neglect as well. Read More → thr

🌑 Space startup Interlune is developing a way to harvest the gas helium-3 from the Moon — an element that’s in limited supply on Earth and could revolutionize quantum computing and medical imaging. Read More → wired

💅🏻 Paris Hilton said she got as much buzz from her branded Roblox world as she would have from a $60 million ad campaign. Read More → venturebeat

🦾 Mercedes-Benz has rolled out Apptronik’s humanoid robots at some of its factories in a pilot program for the robots to take over low-skill, physically-intensive labor. Read More → techcrunch

💰 Disney revealed, as part of its defense against its proxy fight with Nelson Peltz, that it’s so far made $12 billion off its $4 billion acquisition of Lucasfilm. Read More → thr

Is the idea of fine dining in space exciting to you?

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52.4% of you voted No in Friday’s poll: Do you use Facebook Marketplace?

“I don’t use it regularly but have on occasion when I needed to sell something. It depends on the area you live in and what you’re selling. Sometimes I use Craigslist, sometimes NextDoor, and sometimes FB Marketplace. They all have different audiences.”

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“I’ve used it to sell many items, but it’s full of scammers trying to get your personal information, so sellers beware. They’re getting better and better at impersonating legitimate buyers, so it’s getting harder to tell.”


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Wannabe CEOs raise funds to find a company

The Future. Although they’ve been around for decades, search funds — money allocated for would-be entrepreneurs who are looking to acquire an existing business or merge several — are surging in popularity. They’ve historically been reserved for MBAs from top schools, but mass layoffs at blue-chip companies may lead to a broader boom of C-suite takeovers.

Conquest capital
Why start a business when you can just buy one?

  • Funds start by seeding an entrepreneur with enough resources to cover their salary and expenses for their search.

  • Once a company is targeted, funds provide more capital for a purchase.

  • Targets are typically “profitable and in a fragmented industry (think HVAC, home health care, or waste management)” with owners who are looking to retire, per NYT.

  • Entrepreneurs realize their dream of becoming CEO, while funds make money when the company eventually sells or IPOs.

In 2020 and 2021 alone, search funds raised a whopping $800 million — one-third of the total amount raised since their inception in 1986. The number of funds has also increased, multiplying from 20 funds in 2013 to 105 in 2023.

That’s because they’ve been a good bet for investors, having a rate of return of 35% — far more than the average of 15% from private equity firms over the last 20 years. No wonder PE firms are also getting into the search fund business.

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  • Watch: Jimmy Donaldson, aka MrBeast, breaks down what he hopes his legacy will be in a conversation with Forbes.

  • Read: MEL Magazine shares an extensive oral history of music-ripping platform LimeWire, detailing how it changed consumer behavior for the rise of music streaming.

  • Listen: Parrot Analytics’ Julia Alexander joins The Town to discuss Netflix’s “sports-adjacent” programming strategy.


Courtesy of SpaceVIP

SpaceVIP takes fine dining into orbit

The Future. A new space startup plans to take guests on a six-hour balloon trip to 100,000 feet to enjoy a gourmet tasting menu in the stratosphere. With another company, France-based Zephalto, also planning similar trips, the next space race may be rooted in hospitality.

Served in the stratosphere
SpaceVIP hopes to make date night out of this world.

  • Six guests at a time will be able to watch the sun rise over the curvature of the Earth… and have WiFi to show it off.

  • The company has hired Michelin-starred chef Rasmus Munk (he runs Alchemist, which ranks #5 on the World’s Best 50 Restaurants) to create an innovative dinner menu for the trip.

Trips aboard the Space Perspectives-built spacecraft (with balloons developed by NASA) will start next year, and the company says reservations are already booking up.

That’s pretty wild when tickets run $500,000 a pop.

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Today’s email was written by David Vendrell.
Edited by Boye Akolade. Copy edited by Kait Cunniff.
Published by Darline Salazar.

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