An Amazon warehouse’s IPO plans show how loyalty to the e-commerce giant can breed success for its contractors

Parcels are stored in a truck in a logistics centre of the mail order company Amazon.
Parcels are stored in a truck in a logistics centre of the mail order company Amazon.

  • ROX Financial wants to buy a Bay Area Amazon warehouse and take it public.
  • It wants to buy up more facilities in the future to also lease to the e-commerce giant.
  • The move shows how contractors can piggyback off of Amazon’s success – only if they’re loyal to the firm.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

A company wants to buy a warehouse that is leased to Amazon and take it public under the ticker AMZL, according to a securities filing, possibly making it the first company with a single property to publicly trade in the US.

Newly-formed ROX Financial hopes to raise $84 million as it forms a real-estate investment trust, or REIT, to purchase the 146,000-square-foot warehouse in the San Francisco Bay Area from its current owner. That warehouse was built last year to carry out last-mile delivery orders for customers and houses some of Amazon’s signature blue and grey delivery vans.

The warehouse is leased to Amazon for 12 years under its current owner, according to The Wall Street Journal, which first reported the news. It’s unclear if the warehouse is solely leased to Amazon. An industry trade association source told the paper that a real estate company with just one property has never publicly traded in the US before.

ROX Financial plans to use its IPO to expand its real estate portfolio with more warehouses to lease to Amazon.

“We intend to build Series AMZL into a curated portfolio of logistics properties in one or more locations leased by Amazon.com Services LLC, or Amazon, or its affiliates,” its prospectus says.

Amazon did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment.

But that single property is used to help power Amazon’s sprawling e-commerce business, giving the property owner a major advantage.

And if ROX Financial succeeds in collecting facilities that are leased exclusively to Amazon, it could prove that loyalty to the tech giant could fuel contractors’ success.

Amazon has seen sweeping success in the past year as the pandemic drove sales skyward. That success has helped grow an entire mini-economy of contractors that circulates the e-commerce giant, from third-party sellers to trucking companies to other logistics partners.

Third-party sellers raked in more than half of Amazon’s $386 billion net sales in 2020, and the company is recruiting more. It’s adding 3,700 new sellers daily, according to a study from research firm Finbold, suggesting that Amazon is aware that independent merchants can help it succeed.

Read the original article on Business Insider

14 pitch decks that startups looking to disrupt media and advertising used to raise millions

Restream founders
Restream cofounders Andrew Surzynskyi and Alex Khuda.

  • Investors are pouring money into advertising, media, and marketing startups.
  • They’re trying to capitalize on changing consumer habits and marketers’ need to ensure their ads are working.
  • Check out these pitch decks to see how these startups pitched their visions to VCs and other investors.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Investors are pouring money into startups that are trying to disrupt advertising, media, and marketing.

Insider has been tracking these startups that are using tech to capitalize on changing consumer media habits and marketers’ desire to reach new audiences and ensure their ads are working.

Check out these pitch decks that they’ve used to sell their vision and raise millions from PE and VC investors.

They range from tools that measure digital ad performance to platforms for people seeking out online entertainment.


Data management tools

Google and Apple’s moves to clamp down on third-party cookies and the rise of online shopping have advertisers clamoring for help managing all their customer data so they can effectively market to them.

One such company is 4-year-old Amperity, which sells software that clients like Starbucks, Patagonia, and Crocs use to manage stats from sales, email, e-commerce, and loyalty card programs.

Amperity has raised $100 million in its Series D from existing investors including Tiger Global Management, Declaration Partners, and Madrona Venture Group, for a total of $187 million.

Here’s the pitch deck that helped a marketing tech startup raise $100 million at a $1 billion valuation to help brands manage their data


Out-of-home advertising platform

Outdoor advertising is coming back after being crushed during the pandemic, and adtech startup OneScreen.ai is hoping to cash in with a platform for brands to search, buy, run and measure their out-of-home ad campaigns.

OneScreen just raised $1.2 million in pre-seed funding in a round led by Florida-based fund TechFarms Capital with other investors including HubSpot cofounders Brian Halligan and Dharmesh Shah, Wayfair’s alumni fund Wayfund, Lola.com CEO Mike Volpe, and BuySellAds.com CEO Todd Garland.

See the pitch deck that Google, Hubspot and Wayfair alums used to raise $1.2 million to build the ‘Amazon of out-of-home advertising’


Consumer data-collection

Jeffrey Nicholson
Jeffrey Nicholson.

Tracer started in 2015 as a unit of Gary Vaynerchuk’s ad agency VaynerMedia that automatically collects and organize data that isn’t personally identifiable. Led by Tracer co-founder and CEO Jeffrey Nicholson, it also offers free consulting services. It started by helping VaynerMedia oversee hundreds of millions in ad buys for clients like Oreo maker Mondelez; today, clients include other ad agencies like Labelium; Condé Nast; and pharma giant Sanofi.

Tracer recently raised $9.9 million in seed funding led by big names like former Walmart and Amazon exec Marc Lore and NBA star Kevin Durant’s firm Thirty Five Ventures.

Read the pitch deck a Gary Vaynerchuk-backed data startup used to raise $10 million from investors like Walmart’s ex-ecommerce CEO


Building lifetime customers

As people do more of their shopping online, marketers are trying to get them to become repeat customers.

Former Paypal and Facebook product and data analytics manager Emad Hasan says his startup Retina helps brands like Dollar Shave Club and Madison Reed acquire and keep customers by building lookalike audiences based on companies’ order history and shopper attributes.

It just raised $8 million in Series A funding from Alpha Intelligence Capital, Vertical Venture Partners, and others.

This investor deck helped a former Facebook product manager raise $8 million to help brands boost customers’ long-term value


Data-buying tools

Nick Jordan founded 5-year-old Narrative to let advertisers buy data without the need for data brokers like Epsilon and Acxiom that can be known for not disclosing their data sources or what cut they take.

The marketing-tech firm makes money by taking a cut of data sales and through larger software as a Service (or SaaS) contracts where marketers pay monthly fees for data.

Narrative in September raised $8.5 million in a Series A funding round led by G20 Ventures and which included Glasswing Ventures and MathCapital, bringing its total funding to $14 million.

Here’s the investor deck that helped startup Narrative raise $8.5 million to help marketers buy data safely


Support for online sellers

Adtech vet Paul Palmieri joined Tradeswell as CEO based on his experience as a VC investor, where he saw dozens of DTC companies whose businesses weren’t scalable.

Tradeswell is a SaaS platform that consolidates brands’ marketing, retail, inventory, logistics, forecasting, lifetime value and financial information. Its pitch is that it gives brands insights so they know what to sell to whom, where, and at what price.

US e-commerce is set to be worth $1 trillion by 2023, according to a recent report by Insider Intelligence’s eMarketer, and Tradeswell says it can help traditional and DTC brands save millions of dollars in outsourced contracts and boost their sales.

Tradeswell recently raised $3.3 million in seed round funding from Signalfire and Construct Capital.

This investor deck helped an entrepreneur raise $3.3 million to build ‘the Bloomberg terminal’ for online sellers


Ad performance tools

BrandTotal

BrandTotal is a marketing analytics company that pitches advertisers on the premise that most digital and social media ads are now “dark,” or visible only to the people they’re targeting.

It joins other businesses that promise greater visibility into digital advertising such as Pathmatics, which measures how much brands spend on Facebook and other platforms.

BrandTotal co-founder Alon Leibovich said the company uses AI to track ads and help advertisers understand their competitors’ strategies.

This pitch has helped BrandTotal win business from big brands like L’Oréal and raise $12 million in a Series B funding round, bringing its total funding to $20 million.

Canada’s INcapital Ventures led the latest round along with Maor Investments, Glilot Capital Partners, Flint Capital, KDC Media Fund, and FJ Labs.

This investor deck helped startup BrandTotal raise $20 million to date to help advertisers like L’Oréal see how their digital ads are working


E-commerce advertising services

Brands are increasingly becoming advertising platforms, giving rise to a cottage industry of adtech companies that help marketers build their own ad businesses.

One such firm is 9-year-old adtech firm Adzerk, which is rebranding as Kevel.

EMarketer reports that e-commerce advertising will be a $17 billion market this year. Retailers like Walgreens, Walmart, and Instacart have led the charge, but Kevel sees an opportunity for other types of brands to build ad businesses of their own.

In December, Kevel raised $11 million in a Series A round led by Fulcrum Equity with Commerce Ventures, MathCapital and Food Retail Ventures also participating.

A digital ad firm just raised $11 million to help brands like United Airlines and Ticketmaster build their own ad businesses


Targeted ad tools

Mathieu Roche, CEO of ID5

Google’s and Apple’s moves to clamp down on privacy and digital-ad targeting have been a boon for startups trying to find workarounds like identity solutions.

One such firm is ID5, a European startup that helps advertisers find audiences to target and make sure people don’t repeatedly see the same ads. It makes money from licensing its ID to adtech companies for a monthly fee that ranges from $5,000 to $30,000, CEO Mathieu Roche said. The company gives away its technology to publishers to grow adoption of the ID.

ID5 closed a $6 million Series A funding round in March from Alliance Entreprendre, Progress Ventures, and 360 Capital Partners. The 4-year-old company has raised a total of $7.5 million.

Read the pitch deck that a startup used to raise $6 million to save targeted advertising


Privacy compliance help

New privacy regulations are springing up around the globe, and publishers and marketers are turning to technology companies to stay on the right side of these laws and avoid huge fines.

One of the companies capitalizing on the increased focus on data privacy is Sourcepoint. Founded by adtech vets Ben Barokas and Brian Kane, the US-based technology company has a platform that lets publishers and advertisers get legal consent from people to use their data.

Sourcepoint recently raised $17 million in additional funding, led by new investor Arrowroot Capital, bringing its total funding to $47.8 million since it launched in 2015.

The pitch deck used to raise $17 million for a startup that helps advertisers and publishers comply with privacy laws


Real-time market research

Former CEO of Publicis agency MRY and Suzy CEO Matt Britton

Agency veteran Matt Britton pitches his consumer intelligence startup Suzy as an always-on digital assistant like Siri or Alexa for marketers. It has a panel of 1 million US consumers that lets marketers conduct surveys and research on subjects like product development and ad effectiveness testing.

He closed a $34 million Series C round last year, bringing its total raised to $46 million.

Rho Ventures, Bertelsmann Digital Media Investments, Triangle Peak Partners, and Foundry Group participated in the Series C round in March ($18 million) and September ($16 million).

An agency vet used this pitch deck to sell what he called the ‘Siri for marketers,’ landing clients including Johnson & Johnson and Chipotle


Livestreaming tools for creators

Livestreaming startup Restream was founded in 2015 to help gaming content creators grow their reach by livestreaming to Twitch and YouTube at the same time.

It’s since expanded to serve musicians, politicians, influencers, publishers, non-profit organizations, and other businesses and says its goal is to democratize broadcasting. Restream said half its 2.5 million users are now non-gamers. Most of its users are nonpaying, but it sells subscriptions from $19 to $299 per month that come with features like the ability to record streams and access to more customer support.

Restream announced in August that it had raised $50 million in fresh funding from investors including Sapphire Ventures and Insight Partners.

Read the 14-slide pitch deck that helped livestreaming startup Restream raise $50 million amid the pandemic


Video streaming subscriptions

CuriosityStream is a 5-year-old streaming service founded by former Discovery Communications founder John Hendricks. It went public in fall 2020 through a reverse merger with Software Acquisition Group, a SPAC led by Jonathan Huberman, who formerly led video adtech firm Ooyala.

CuriosityStream is differentiated from other streaming services in that it focuses on factual content like documentaries and features, with more than 3,100 titles available. It reported 13 million paying subscribers buying monthly and yearly subscriptions ranging from $3 a month to $70 a year.

The deal with Software Acquisition Group gave CuriosityStream $180 million in cash.

The investor deck that CuriosityStream used to secure $180 million to take on rival video streaming services


Reaching online sports fans

overtime founder

Overtime wants to be the next ESPN, but for social media.

It started 2016 by Endeavor vets Dan Porter and Zack Weiner with a focus on high-school sports and athletes and has expanded into areas including esports.

Overtime captures game highlights through people it pays to film events and also creates original programming and events. It distributes content mainly on social platforms like YouTube, Instagram, and TikTok.

Its core business is making money from ads, sponsorships, and merchandise, and projects making $200 million in annual revenue by 2024.

It recently raised $80 million from investors including Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, rapper Drake, and Reddit cofounder Alexis Ohanian, The Wall Street Journal recently reported.

Leaked pitch deck shows how sports-media startup Overtime plans to reach $200 million in revenue by 2024

Read the original article on Business Insider

Jeff Bezos is about to hand over the keys of Amazon to a new CEO. Read his final letter to shareholders right here.

jeff bezos
Amazon cofounder and CEO Jeff Bezos.

  • Amazon CEO and cofounder Jeff Bezos is stepping down as chief executive on Monday.
  • Every year since Amazon went public, Bezos has written a widely read letter to the shareholders.
  • His final letter, below, includes what Bezos sees as the future of the company.
  • Visit the Business section of Insider for more stories.

In 1997, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos wrote his first letter to shareholders and set a precedent for decades of startups after it.

Despite Amazon’s tiny footprint at the time, Bezos’ letter to shareholders laid out a bold vision for the company: a relentless focus on customers above all else, and a prioritization of reinvestment over short-term shareholder returns.

Each year since, Bezos has written a new letter to shareholders that has become highly anticipated. As Bezos is scheduled to step down as chief executive on Monday, he published his final letter earlier this year.

In it, Bezos highlighted a critical concept that has guided his oversight of one of the world’s biggest companies: “You have to create more than you consume,” Bezos says in the letter. “Your goal should be to create value for everyone you interact with.”

He also defended Amazon as “Earth’s best employer and Earth’s safest place to work” – a direct refutation of repeated allegations from delivery and warehouse employees who say they’re overworked, and are forced to pee in bottles to save time. “The fact is, the large team of thousands of people who lead operations at Amazon have always cared deeply for our hourly employees, and we’re proud of the work environment we’ve created,” Bezos said.

And he looks to the future as well, where Andy Jassy will take over as CEO. “It’s a hard job with a lot of responsibility,” he said. “Andy is brilliant and has the highest of high standards. I guarantee you that Andy won’t let the universe make us typical.”

Read the full letter:

To our shareowners:

In Amazon’s 1997 letter to shareholders, our first, I talked about our hope to create an “enduring franchise,” one that would reinvent what it means to serve customers by unlocking the internet’s power. I noted that Amazon had grown from having 158 employees to 614, and that we had surpassed 1.5 million customer accounts. We had just gone public at a split-adjusted stock price of $1.50 per share. I wrote that it was Day 1.

We’ve come a long way since then, and we are working harder than ever to serve and delight customers. Last year, we hired 500,000 employees and now directly employ 1.3 million people around the world. We have more than 200 million Prime members worldwide. More than 1.9 million small and medium-sized businesses sell in our store, and they make up close to 60% of our retail sales. Customers have connected more than 100 million smart home devices to Alexa. Amazon Web Services serves millions of customers and ended 2020 with a $50 billion annualized run rate. In 1997, we hadn’t invented Prime, Marketplace, Alexa, or AWS. They weren’t even ideas then, and none was preordained. We took great risk with each one and put sweat and ingenuity into each one.

Along the way, we’ve created $1.6 trillion of wealth for shareowners. Who are they? Your Chair is one, and my Amazon shares have made me wealthy. But more than 7/8ths of the shares, representing $1.4 trillion of wealth creation, are owned by others. Who are they? They’re pension funds, universities, and 401(k)s, and they’re Mary and Larry, who sent me this note out of the blue just as I was sitting down to write this shareholder letter:

Letter to Jeff Bezos, from shareholder (1)
Letter to Jeff Bezos, from shareholder (2)

I am approached with similar stories all the time. I know people who’ve used their Amazon money for college, for emergencies, for houses, for vacations, to start their own business, for charity – and the list goes on. I’m proud of the wealth we’ve created for shareowners. It’s significant, and it improves their lives. But I also know something else: it’s not the largest part of the value we’ve created.

Create More Than You Consume

If you want to be successful in business (in life, actually), you have to create more than you consume. Your goal should be to create value for everyone you interact with. Any business that doesn’t create value for those it touches, even if it appears successful on the surface, isn’t long for this world. It’s on the way out.

Remember that stock prices are not about the past. They are a prediction of future cash flows discounted back to the present. The stock market anticipates. I’m going to switch gears for a moment and talk about the past. How much value did we create for shareowners in 2020? This is a relatively easy question to answer because accounting systems are set up to answer it. Our net income in 2020 was $21.3 billion. If, instead of being a publicly traded company with thousands of owners, Amazon were a sole proprietorship with a single owner, that’s how much the owner would have earned in 2020.

How about employees? This is also a reasonably easy value creation question to answer because we can look at compensation expense. What is an expense for a company is income for employees. In 2020, employees earned $80 billion, plus another $11 billion to include benefits and various payroll taxes, for a total of $91 billion.

How about third-party sellers? We have an internal team (the Selling Partner Services team) that works to answer that question. They estimate that, in 2020, third-party seller profits from selling on Amazon were between $25 billion and $39 billion, and to be conservative here I’ll go with $25 billion.

For customers, we have to break it down into consumer customers and AWS customers.

We’ll do consumers first. We offer low prices, vast selection, and fast delivery, but imagine we ignore all of that for the purpose of this estimate and value only one thing: we save customers time.

Customers complete 28% of purchases on Amazon in three minutes or less, and half of all purchases are finished in less than 15 minutes. Compare that to the typical shopping trip to a physical store – driving, parking, searching store aisles, waiting in the checkout line, finding your car, and driving home. Research suggests the typical physical store trip takes about an hour. If you assume that a typical Amazon purchase takes 15 minutes and that it saves you a couple of trips to a physical store a week, that’s more than 75 hours a year saved. That’s important. We’re all busy in the early 21st century.

So that we can get a dollar figure, let’s value the time savings at $10 per hour, which is conservative. Seventy-five hours multiplied by $10 an hour and subtracting the cost of Prime gives you value creation for each Prime member of about $630. We have 200 million Prime members, for a total in 2020 of $126 billion of value creation.

AWS is challenging to estimate because each customer’s workload is so different, but we’ll do it anyway, acknowledging up front that the error bars are high. Direct cost improvements from operating in the cloud versus on premises vary, but a reasonable estimate is 30%. Across AWS’s entire 2020 revenue of $45 billion, that 30% would imply customer value creation of $19 billion (what would have cost them $64 billion on their own cost $45 billion from AWS). The difficult part of this estimation exercise is that the direct cost reduction is the smallest portion of the customer benefit of moving to the cloud. The bigger benefit is the increased speed of software development – something that can significantly improve the customer’s competitiveness and top line. We have no reasonable way of estimating that portion of customer value except to say that it’s almost certainly larger than the direct cost savings. To be conservative here (and remembering we’re really only trying to get ballpark estimates), I’ll say it’s the same and call AWS customer value creation $38 billion in 2020.

Adding AWS and consumer together gives us total customer value creation in 2020 of $164 billion.

Summarizing:
Shareholders $21B
Employees $91B
3P Sellers $25B
Customers $164B
Total $301B

If each group had an income statement representing their interactions with Amazon, the numbers above would be the “bottom lines” from those income statements. These numbers are part of the reason why people work for us, why sellers sell through us, and why customers buy from us. We create value for them. And this value creation is not a zero-sum game. It is not just moving money from one pocket to another. Draw the box big around all of society, and you’ll find that invention is the root of all real value creation. And value created is best thought of as a metric for innovation.

Of course, our relationship with these constituencies and the value we create isn’t exclusively dollars and cents. Money doesn’t tell the whole story. Our relationship with shareholders, for example, is relatively simple. They invest and hold shares for a duration of their choosing. We provide direction to shareowners infrequently on matters such as annual meetings and the right process to vote their shares. And even then they can ignore those directions and just skip voting.

Our relationship with employees is a very different example. We have processes they follow and standards they meet. We require training and various certifications. Employees have to show up at appointed times. Our interactions with employees are many, and they’re fine-grained. It’s not just about the pay and the benefits. It’s about all the other detailed aspects of the relationship too.

Does your Chair take comfort in the outcome of the recent union vote in Bessemer? No, he doesn’t. I think we need to do a better job for our employees. While the voting results were lopsided and our direct relationship with employees is strong, it’s clear to me that we need a better vision for how we create value for employees – a vision for their success.

If you read some of the news reports, you might think we have no care for employees. In those reports, our employees are sometimes accused of being desperate souls and treated as robots. That’s not accurate. They’re sophisticated and thoughtful people who have options for where to work. When we survey fulfillment center employees, 94% say they would recommend Amazon to a friend as a place to work.

Employees are able to take informal breaks throughout their shifts to stretch, get water, use the rest room, or talk to a manager, all without impacting their performance. These informal work breaks are in addition to the 30-minute lunch and 30-minute break built into their normal schedule.

We don’t set unreasonable performance goals. We set achievable performance goals that take into account tenure and actual employee performance data. Performance is evaluated over a long period of time as we know that a variety of things can impact performance in any given week, day, or hour. If employees are on track to miss a performance target over a period of time, their manager talks with them and provides coaching.

Coaching is also extended to employees who are excelling and in line for increased responsibilities. In fact, 82% of coaching is positive, provided to employees who are meeting or exceeding expectations. We terminate the employment of less than 2.6% of employees due to their inability to perform their jobs (and that number was even lower in 2020 because of operational impacts of COVID-19).

Earth’s Best Employer and Earth’s Safest Place to Work

The fact is, the large team of thousands of people who lead operations at Amazon have always cared deeply for our hourly employees, and we’re proud of the work environment we’ve created. We’re also proud of the fact that Amazon is a company that does more than just create jobs for computer scientists and people with advanced degrees. We create jobs for people who never got that advantage.

Despite what we’ve accomplished, it’s clear to me that we need a better vision for our employees’ success. We have always wanted to be Earth’s Most Customer-Centric Company. We won’t change that. It’s what got us here. But I am committing us to an addition. We are going to be Earth’s Best Employer and Earth’s Safest Place to Work.

In my upcoming role as Executive Chair, I’m going to focus on new initiatives. I’m an inventor. It’s what I enjoy the most and what I do best. It’s where I create the most value. I’m excited to work alongside the large team of passionate people we have in Ops and help invent in this arena of Earth’s Best Employer and Earth’s Safest Place to Work. On the details, we at Amazon are always flexible, but on matters of vision we are stubborn and relentless. We have never failed when we set our minds to something, and we’re not going to fail at this either.

We dive deep into safety issues. For example, about 40% of work-related injuries at Amazon are related to musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs), things like sprains or strains that can be caused by repetitive motions. MSDs are common in the type of work that we do and are more likely to occur during an employee’s first six months. We need to invent solutions to reduce MSDs for new employees, many of whom might be working in a physical role for the first time.

One such program is WorkingWell – which we launched to 859,000 employees at 350 sites across North America and Europe in 2020 – where we coach small groups of employees on body mechanics, proactive wellness, and safety. In addition to reducing workplace injuries, these concepts have a positive impact on regular day-to-day activities outside work.

We’re developing new automated staffing schedules that use sophisticated algorithms to rotate employees among jobs that use different muscle-tendon groups to decrease repetitive motion and help protect employees from MSD risks. This new technology is central to a job rotation program that we’re rolling out throughout 2021.

Our increased attention to early MSD prevention is already achieving results. From 2019 to 2020, overall MSDs decreased by 32%, and MSDs resulting in time away from work decreased by more than half.

We employ 6,200 safety professionals at Amazon. They use the science of safety to solve complex problems and establish new industry best practices. In 2021, we’ll invest more than $300 million into safety projects, including an initial $66 million to create technology that will help prevent collisions of forklifts and other types of industrial vehicles.

When we lead, others follow. Two and a half years ago, when we set a $15 minimum wage for our hourly employees, we did so because we wanted to lead on wages – not just run with the pack – and because we believed it was the right thing to do. A recent paper by economists at the University of California-Berkeley and Brandeis University analyzed the impact of our decision to raise our minimum starting pay to $15 per hour. Their assessment reflects what we’ve heard from employees, their families, and the communities they live in.

Our increase in starting wage boosted local economies across the country by benefiting not only our own employees but also other workers in the same community. The study showed that our pay raise resulted in a 4.7% increase in the average hourly wage among other employers in the same labor market.

And we’re not done leading. If we want to be Earth’s Best Employer, we shouldn’t settle for 94% of employees saying they would recommend Amazon to a friend as a place to work. We have to aim for 100%. And we’ll do that by continuing to lead on wages, on benefits, on upskilling opportunities, and in other ways that we will figure out over time.

If any shareowners are concerned that Earth’s Best Employer and Earth’s Safest Place to Work might dilute our focus on Earth’s Most Customer-Centric Company, let me set your mind at ease. Think of it this way. If we can operate two businesses as different as consumer ecommerce and AWS, and do both at the highest level, we can certainly do the same with these two vision statements. In fact, I’m confident they will reinforce each other.

The Climate Pledge

In an earlier draft of this letter, I started this section with arguments and examples designed to demonstrate that human-induced climate change is real. But, bluntly, I think we can stop saying that now. You don’t have to say that photosynthesis is real, or make the case that gravity is real, or that water boils at 100 degrees Celsius at sea level. These things are simply true, as is the reality of climate change.

Not long ago, most people believed that it would be good to address climate change, but they also thought it would cost a lot and would threaten jobs, competitiveness, and economic growth. We now know better. Smart action on climate change will not only stop bad things from happening, it will also make our economy more efficient, help drive technological change, and reduce risks. Combined, these can lead to more and better jobs, healthier and happier children, more productive workers, and a more prosperous future. This doesn’t mean it will be easy. It won’t be. The coming decade will be decisive. The economy in 2030 will need to be vastly different from what it is today, and Amazon plans to be at the heart of the change. We launched The Climate Pledge together with Global Optimism in September 2019 because we wanted to help drive this positive revolution. We need to be part of a growing team of corporations that understand the imperatives and the opportunities of the 21st century.

Now, less than two years later, 53 companies representing almost every sector of the economy have signed The Climate Pledge. Signatories such as Best Buy, IBM, Infosys, Mercedes-Benz, Microsoft, Siemens, and Verizon have committed to achieve net-zero carbon in their worldwide businesses by 2040, 10 years ahead of the Paris Agreement. The Pledge also requires them to measure and report greenhouse gas emissions on a regular basis; implement decarbonization strategies through real business changes and innovations; and neutralize any remaining emissions with additional, quantifiable, real, permanent, and socially beneficial offsets. Credible, quality offsets are precious, and we should reserve them to compensate for economic activities where low-carbon alternatives don’t exist.

The Climate Pledge signatories are making meaningful, tangible, and ambitious commitments. Uber has a goal of operating as a zero-emission platform in Canada, Europe, and the U.S. by 2030, and Henkel plans to source 100% of the electricity it uses for production from renewable sources. Amazon is making progress toward our own goal of 100% renewable energy by 2025, five years ahead of our initial 2030 target. Amazon is the largest corporate buyer of renewable energy in the world. We have 62 utility-scale wind and solar projects and 125 solar rooftops on fulfillment and sort centers around the globe. These projects have the capacity to generate over 6.9 gigawatts and deliver more than 20 million megawatt-hours of energy annually.

Transportation is a major component of Amazon’s business operations and the toughest part of our plan to meet net-zero carbon by 2040. To help rapidly accelerate the market for electric vehicle technology, and to help all companies transition to greener technologies, we invested more than $1 billion in Rivian – and ordered 100,000 electric delivery vans from the company. We’ve also partnered with Mahindra in India and Mercedes-Benz in Europe. These custom electric delivery vehicles from Rivian are already operational, and they first hit the road in Los Angeles this past February. Ten thousand new vehicles will be on the road as early as next year, and all 100,000 vehicles will be on the road by 2030 – saving millions of metric tons of carbon. A big reason we want companies to join The Climate Pledge is to signal to the marketplace that businesses should start inventing and developing new technologies that signatories need to make good on the Pledge. Our purchase of 100,000 Rivian electric vans is a perfect example.

To further accelerate investment in new technologies needed to build a zero-carbon economy, we introduced the Climate Pledge Fund last June. The investment program started with $2 billion to invest in visionary companies that aim to facilitate the transition to a low-carbon economy. Amazon has already announced investments in CarbonCure Technologies, Pachama, Redwood Materials, Rivian, Turntide Technologies, ZeroAvia, and Infinium – and these are just some of the innovative companies we hope will build the zero-carbon economy of the future.

I have also personally allocated $10 billion to provide grants to help catalyze the systemic change we will need in the coming decade. We’ll be supporting leading scientists, activists, NGOs, environmental justice organizations, and others working to fight climate change and protect the natural world. Late last year, I made my first round of grants to 16 organizations working on innovative and needle-moving solutions. It’s going to take collective action from big companies, small companies, nation states, global organizations, and individuals, and I’m excited to be part of this journey and optimistic that humanity can come together to solve this challenge.

Differentiation is Survival and the Universe Wants You to be Typical
This is my last annual shareholder letter as the CEO of Amazon, and I have one last thing of utmost importance I feel compelled to teach. I hope all Amazonians take it to heart.

Here is a passage from Richard Dawkins’ (extraordinary) book The Blind Watchmaker. It’s about a basic fact of biology.

“Staving off death is a thing that you have to work at. Left to itself – and that is what it is when it dies – the body tends to revert to a state of equilibrium with its environment. If you measure some quantity such as the temperature, the acidity, the water content or the electrical potential in a living body, you will typically find that it is markedly different from the corresponding measure in the surroundings. Our bodies, for instance, are usually hotter than our surroundings, and in cold climates they have to work hard to maintain the differential. When we die the work stops, the temperature differential starts to disappear, and we end up the same temperature as our surroundings. Not all animals work so hard to avoid coming into equilibrium with their surrounding temperature, but all animals do some comparable work. For instance, in a dry country, animals and plants work to maintain the fluid content of their cells, work against a natural tendency for water to flow from them into the dry outside world. If they fail they die. More generally, if living things didn’t work actively to prevent it, they would eventually merge into their surroundings, and cease to exist as autonomous beings. That is what happens when they die.”

While the passage is not intended as a metaphor, it’s nevertheless a fantastic one, and very relevant to Amazon. I would argue that it’s relevant to all companies and all institutions and to each of our individual lives too. In what ways does the world pull at you in an attempt to make you normal? How much work does it take to maintain your distinctiveness? To keep alive the thing or things that make you special?

I know a happily married couple who have a running joke in their relationship. Not infrequently, the husband looks at the wife with faux distress and says to her, “Can’t you just be normal?” They both smile and laugh, and of course the deep truth is that her distinctiveness is something he loves about her. But, at the same time, it’s also true that things would often be easier – take less energy – if we were a little more normal.

This phenomenon happens at all scale levels. Democracies are not normal. Tyranny is the historical norm. If we stopped doing all of the continuous hard work that is needed to maintain our distinctiveness in that regard, we would quickly come into equilibrium with tyranny.

We all know that distinctiveness – originality – is valuable. We are all taught to “be yourself.” What I’m really asking you to do is to embrace and be realistic about how much energy it takes to maintain that distinctiveness. The world wants you to be typical – in a thousand ways, it pulls at you. Don’t let it happen.

You have to pay a price for your distinctiveness, and it’s worth it. The fairy tale version of “be yourself” is that all the pain stops as soon as you allow your distinctiveness to shine. That version is misleading. Being yourself is worth it, but don’t expect it to be easy or free. You’ll have to put energy into it continuously.

The world will always try to make Amazon more typical – to bring us into equilibrium with our environment. It will take continuous effort, but we can and must be better than that.

* * *

As always, I attach our 1997 shareholder letter. It concluded with this: “We at Amazon.com are grateful to our customers for their business and trust, to each other for our hard work, and to our shareholders for their support and encouragement.” That hasn’t changed a bit. I want to especially thank Andy Jassy for agreeing to take on the CEO role. It’s a hard job with a lot of responsibility. Andy is brilliant and has the highest of high standards. I guarantee you that Andy won’t let the universe make us typical. He will muster the energy needed to keep alive in us what makes us special. That won’t be easy, but it is critical. I also predict it will be satisfying and oftentimes fun. Thank you, Andy.

To all of you: be kind, be original, create more than you consume, and never, never, never let the universe smooth you into your surroundings. It remains Day 1.

Sincerely,

Jeffrey P. Bezos
Founder and Chief Executive Officer
Amazon.com, Inc.

Got a tip? Contact Insider senior correspondent Ben Gilbert via email (bgilbert@insider.com), or Twitter DM (@realbengilbert). We can keep sources anonymous. Use a non-work device to reach out. PR pitches by email only, please.

Read the original article on Business Insider

See 12 pitch decks that startups looking to disrupt media and advertising used to raise millions

Restream founders
Restream cofounders Andrew Surzynskyi and Alex Khuda.

  • Investors are pouring money into advertising, media, and marketing startups.
  • They’re trying to capitalize on changing consumer habits and marketers’ need to ensure their ads are working.
  • Check out these pitch decks to see how these startups pitched their visions to VCs and other investors.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Investors are pouring money into startups that are trying to disrupt advertising, media, and marketing.

Insider has been tracking these startups that are using tech to capitalize on changing consumer media habits and marketers’ desire to reach new audiences and ensure their ads are working.

Check out these pitch decks that they’ve used to sell their vision and raise millions from PE and VC investors.

They range from tools that measure digital ad performance to platforms for people seeking out online entertainment.


Consumer data-collection

Jeffrey Nicholson
Jeffrey Nicholson.

Tracer started in 2015 as a unit of Gary Vaynerchuk’s ad agency VaynerMedia that automatically collects and organize data that isn’t personally identifiable. Led by Tracer co-founder and CEO Jeffrey Nicholson, it also offers free consulting services. It started by helping VaynerMedia oversee hundreds of millions in ad buys for clients like Oreo maker Mondelez; today, clients include other ad agencies like Labelium; Condé Nast; and pharma giant Sanofi.

Tracer recently raised $9.9 million in seed funding led by big names like former Walmart and Amazon exec Marc Lore and NBA star Kevin Durant’s firm Thirty Five Ventures.

Read the pitch deck a Gary Vaynerchuk-backed data startup used to raise $10 million from investors like Walmart’s ex-ecommerce CEO


Building lifetime customers

As people do more of their shopping online, marketers are trying to get them to become repeat customers.

Former Paypal and Facebook product and data analytics manager Emad Hasan says his startup Retina helps brands like Dollar Shave Club and Madison Reed acquire and keep customers by building lookalike audiences based on companies’ order history and shopper attributes.

It just raised $8 million in Series A funding from Alpha Intelligence Capital, Vertical Venture Partners, and others.

This investor deck helped a former Facebook product manager raise $8 million to help brands boost customers’ long-term value


Data-buying tools

Nick Jordan founded 5-year-old Narrative to let advertisers buy data without the need for data brokers like Epsilon and Acxiom that can be known for not disclosing their data sources or what cut they take.

The marketing-tech firm makes money by taking a cut of data sales and through larger software as a Service (or SaaS) contracts where marketers pay monthly fees for data.

Narrative in September raised $8.5 million in a Series A funding round led by G20 Ventures and which included Glasswing Ventures and MathCapital, bringing its total funding to $14 million.

Here’s the investor deck that helped startup Narrative raise $8.5 million to help marketers buy data safely


Support for online sellers

Adtech vet Paul Palmieri joined Tradeswell as CEO based on his experience as a VC investor, where he saw dozens of DTC companies whose businesses weren’t scalable.

Tradeswell is a SaaS platform that consolidates brands’ marketing, retail, inventory, logistics, forecasting, lifetime value and financial information. Its pitch is that it gives brands insights so they know what to sell to whom, where, and at what price.

US e-commerce is set to be worth $1 trillion by 2023, according to a recent report by Insider Intelligence’s eMarketer, and Tradeswell says it can help traditional and DTC brands save millions of dollars in outsourced contracts and boost their sales.

Tradeswell recently raised $3.3 million in seed round funding from Signalfire and Construct Capital.

This investor deck helped an entrepreneur raise $3.3 million to build ‘the Bloomberg terminal’ for online sellers


Ad performance tools

BrandTotal

BrandTotal is a marketing analytics company that pitches advertisers on the premise that most digital and social media ads are now “dark,” or visible only to the people they’re targeting.

It joins other businesses that promise greater visibility into digital advertising such as Pathmatics, which measures how much brands spend on Facebook and other platforms.

BrandTotal co-founder Alon Leibovich said the company uses AI to track ads and help advertisers understand their competitors’ strategies.

This pitch has helped BrandTotal win business from big brands like L’Oréal and raise $12 million in a Series B funding round, bringing its total funding to $20 million.

Canada’s INcapital Ventures led the latest round along with Maor Investments, Glilot Capital Partners, Flint Capital, KDC Media Fund, and FJ Labs.

This investor deck helped startup BrandTotal raise $20 million to date to help advertisers like L’Oréal see how their digital ads are working


E-commerce advertising services

Brands are increasingly becoming advertising platforms, giving rise to a cottage industry of adtech companies that help marketers build their own ad businesses.

One such firm is 9-year-old adtech firm Adzerk, which is rebranding as Kevel.

EMarketer reports that e-commerce advertising will be a $17 billion market this year. Retailers like Walgreens, Walmart, and Instacart have led the charge, but Kevel sees an opportunity for other types of brands to build ad businesses of their own.

In December, Kevel raised $11 million in a Series A round led by Fulcrum Equity with Commerce Ventures, MathCapital and Food Retail Ventures also participating.

A digital ad firm just raised $11 million to help brands like United Airlines and Ticketmaster build their own ad businesses


Targeted ad tools

Mathieu Roche, CEO of ID5

Google’s and Apple’s moves to clamp down on privacy and digital-ad targeting have been a boon for startups trying to find workarounds like identity solutions.

One such firm is ID5, a European startup that helps advertisers find audiences to target and make sure people don’t repeatedly see the same ads. It makes money from licensing its ID to adtech companies for a monthly fee that ranges from $5,000 to $30,000, CEO Mathieu Roche said. The company gives away its technology to publishers to grow adoption of the ID.

ID5 closed a $6 million Series A funding round in March from Alliance Entreprendre, Progress Ventures, and 360 Capital Partners. The 4-year-old company has raised a total of $7.5 million.

Read the pitch deck that a startup used to raise $6 million to save targeted advertising


Privacy compliance help

New privacy regulations are springing up around the globe, and publishers and marketers are turning to technology companies to stay on the right side of these laws and avoid huge fines.

One of the companies capitalizing on the increased focus on data privacy is Sourcepoint. Founded by adtech vets Ben Barokas and Brian Kane, the US-based technology company has a platform that lets publishers and advertisers get legal consent from people to use their data.

Sourcepoint recently raised $17 million in additional funding, led by new investor Arrowroot Capital, bringing its total funding to $47.8 million since it launched in 2015.

The pitch deck used to raise $17 million for a startup that helps advertisers and publishers comply with privacy laws


Real-time market research

Former CEO of Publicis agency MRY and Suzy CEO Matt Britton

Agency veteran Matt Britton pitches his consumer intelligence startup Suzy as an always-on digital assistant like Siri or Alexa for marketers. It has a panel of 1 million US consumers that lets marketers conduct surveys and research on subjects like product development and ad effectiveness testing.

He closed a $34 million Series C round last year, bringing its total raised to $46 million.

Rho Ventures, Bertelsmann Digital Media Investments, Triangle Peak Partners, and Foundry Group participated in the Series C round in March ($18 million) and September ($16 million).

An agency vet used this pitch deck to sell what he called the ‘Siri for marketers,’ landing clients including Johnson & Johnson and Chipotle


Livestreaming tools for creators

Livestreaming startup Restream was founded in 2015 to help gaming content creators grow their reach by livestreaming to Twitch and YouTube at the same time.

It’s since expanded to serve musicians, politicians, influencers, publishers, non-profit organizations, and other businesses and says its goal is to democratize broadcasting. Restream said half its 2.5 million users are now non-gamers. Most of its users are nonpaying, but it sells subscriptions from $19 to $299 per month that come with features like the ability to record streams and access to more customer support.

Restream announced in August that it had raised $50 million in fresh funding from investors including Sapphire Ventures and Insight Partners.

Read the 14-slide pitch deck that helped livestreaming startup Restream raise $50 million amid the pandemic


Video streaming subscriptions

CuriosityStream is a 5-year-old streaming service founded by former Discovery Communications founder John Hendricks. It went public in fall 2020 through a reverse merger with Software Acquisition Group, a SPAC led by Jonathan Huberman, who formerly led video adtech firm Ooyala.

CuriosityStream is differentiated from other streaming services in that it focuses on factual content like documentaries and features, with more than 3,100 titles available. It reported 13 million paying subscribers buying monthly and yearly subscriptions ranging from $3 a month to $70 a year.

The deal with Software Acquisition Group gave CuriosityStream $180 million in cash.

The investor deck that CuriosityStream used to secure $180 million to take on rival video streaming services


Reaching online sports fans

overtime founder

Overtime wants to be the next ESPN, but for social media.

It started 2016 by Endeavor vets Dan Porter and Zack Weiner with a focus on high-school sports and athletes and has expanded into areas including esports.

Overtime captures game highlights through people it pays to film events and also creates original programming and events. It distributes content mainly on social platforms like YouTube, Instagram, and TikTok.

Its core business is making money from ads, sponsorships, and merchandise, and projects making $200 million in annual revenue by 2024.

It recently raised $80 million from investors including Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, rapper Drake, and Reddit cofounder Alexis Ohanian, The Wall Street Journal recently reported.

Leaked pitch deck shows how sports-media startup Overtime plans to reach $200 million in revenue by 2024

Read the original article on Business Insider

See the pitch decks that fast-growing advertising and media startups used to raise millions from top VCs

Restream founders
Restream cofounders Andrew Surzynskyi and Alex Khuda.

  • Investors are pouring money into advertising, media, and marketing startups.
  • They’re trying to capitalize on changing consumer habits and marketers’ need to ensure their ads are working.
  • Check out these pitch decks to see how these startups pitched their visions to VCs and other investors.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Investors are pouring money into startups that are trying to disrupt advertising, media, and marketing.

Insider has been tracking these startups that are using tech to capitalize on changing consumer media habits and marketers’ desire to reach new audiences and ensure their ads are working.

Check out these pitch decks that they’ve used to sell their vision and raise millions from PE and VC investors.

They range from tools that measure digital ad performance to platforms for people seeking out online entertainment.


Consumer data-collection

Jeffrey Nicholson
Jeffrey Nicholson.

Tracer started in 2015 as a unit of Gary Vaynerchuk’s ad agency VaynerMedia that automatically collects and organize data that isn’t personally identifiable. Led by Tracer co-founder and CEO Jeffrey Nicholson, it also offers free consulting services. It started by helping VaynerMedia oversee hundreds of millions in ad buys for clients like Oreo maker Mondelez; today, clients include other ad agencies like Labelium; Condé Nast; and pharma giant Sanofi.

Tracer recently raised $9.9 million in seed funding led by big names like former Walmart and Amazon exec Marc Lore and NBA star Kevin Durant’s firm Thirty Five Ventures.

Read the pitch deck a Gary Vaynerchuk-backed data startup used to raise $10 million from investors like Walmart’s ex-ecommerce CEO


Data-buying tools

Nick Jordan founded 5-year-old Narrative to let advertisers buy data without the need for data brokers like Epsilon and Acxiom that can be known for not disclosing their data sources or what cut they take.

The marketing-tech firm makes money by taking a cut of data sales and through larger software as a Service (or SaaS) contracts where marketers pay monthly fees for data.

Narrative in September raised $8.5 million in a Series A funding round led by G20 Ventures and which included Glasswing Ventures and MathCapital, bringing its total funding to $14 million.

Here’s the investor deck that helped startup Narrative raise $8.5 million to help marketers buy data safely


Support for online sellers

Adtech vet Paul Palmieri joined Tradeswell as CEO based on his experience as a VC investor, where he saw dozens of DTC companies whose businesses weren’t scalable.

Tradeswell is a SaaS platform that consolidates brands’ marketing, retail, inventory, logistics, forecasting, lifetime value and financial information. Its pitch is that it gives brands insights so they know what to sell to whom, where, and at what price.

US e-commerce is set to be worth $1 trillion by 2023, according to a recent report by Insider Intelligence’s eMarketer, and Tradeswell says it can help traditional and DTC brands save millions of dollars in outsourced contracts and boost their sales.

Tradeswell recently raised $3.3 million in seed round funding from Signalfire and Construct Capital.

This investor deck helped an entrepreneur raise $3.3 million to build ‘the Bloomberg terminal’ for online sellers


Ad performance tools

BrandTotal

BrandTotal is a marketing analytics company that pitches advertisers on the premise that most digital and social media ads are now “dark,” or visible only to the people they’re targeting.

It joins other businesses that promise greater visibility into digital advertising such as Pathmatics, which measures how much brands spend on Facebook and other platforms.

BrandTotal co-founder Alon Leibovich said the company uses AI to track ads and help advertisers understand their competitors’ strategies.

This pitch has helped BrandTotal win business from big brands like L’Oréal and raise $12 million in a Series B funding round, bringing its total funding to $20 million.

Canada’s INcapital Ventures led the latest round along with Maor Investments, Glilot Capital Partners, Flint Capital, KDC Media Fund, and FJ Labs.

This investor deck helped startup BrandTotal raise $20 million to date to help advertisers like L’Oréal see how their digital ads are working


E-commerce advertising services

Brands are increasingly becoming advertising platforms, giving rise to a cottage industry of adtech companies that help marketers build their own ad businesses.

One such firm is 9-year-old adtech firm Adzerk, which is rebranding as Kevel.

EMarketer reports that e-commerce advertising will be a $17 billion market this year. Retailers like Walgreens, Walmart, and Instacart have led the charge, but Kevel sees an opportunity for other types of brands to build ad businesses of their own.

In December, Kevel raised $11 million in a Series A round led by Fulcrum Equity with Commerce Ventures, MathCapital and Food Retail Ventures also participating.

A digital ad firm just raised $11 million to help brands like United Airlines and Ticketmaster build their own ad businesses


Targeted ad tools

Mathieu Roche, CEO of ID5

Google’s and Apple’s moves to clamp down on privacy and digital-ad targeting have been a boon for startups trying to find workarounds like identity solutions.

One such firm is ID5, a European startup that helps advertisers find audiences to target and make sure people don’t repeatedly see the same ads. It makes money from licensing its ID to adtech companies for a monthly fee that ranges from $5,000 to $30,000, CEO Mathieu Roche said. The company gives away its technology to publishers to grow adoption of the ID.

ID5 closed a $6 million Series A funding round in March from Alliance Entreprendre, Progress Ventures, and 360 Capital Partners. The 4-year-old company has raised a total of $7.5 million.

Read the pitch deck that a startup used to raise $6 million to save targeted advertising


Privacy compliance help

New privacy regulations are springing up around the globe, and publishers and marketers are turning to technology companies to stay on the right side of these laws and avoid huge fines.

One of the companies capitalizing on the increased focus on data privacy is Sourcepoint. Founded by adtech vets Ben Barokas and Brian Kane, the US-based technology company has a platform that lets publishers and advertisers get legal consent from people to use their data.

Sourcepoint recently raised $17 million in additional funding, led by new investor Arrowroot Capital, bringing its total funding to $47.8 million since it launched in 2015.

The pitch deck used to raise $17 million for a startup that helps advertisers and publishers comply with privacy laws


Real-time market research

Former CEO of Publicis agency MRY and Suzy CEO Matt Britton

Agency veteran Matt Britton pitches his consumer intelligence startup Suzy as an always-on digital assistant like Siri or Alexa for marketers. It has a panel of 1 million US consumers that lets marketers conduct surveys and research on subjects like product development and ad effectiveness testing.

He closed a $34 million Series C round last year, bringing its total raised to $46 million.

Rho Ventures, Bertelsmann Digital Media Investments, Triangle Peak Partners, and Foundry Group participated in the Series C round in March ($18 million) and September ($16 million).

An agency vet used this pitch deck to sell what he called the ‘Siri for marketers,’ landing clients including Johnson & Johnson and Chipotle


Livestreaming tools for creators

Livestreaming startup Restream was founded in 2015 to help gaming content creators grow their reach by livestreaming to Twitch and YouTube at the same time.

It’s since expanded to serve musicians, politicians, influencers, publishers, non-profit organizations, and other businesses and says its goal is to democratize broadcasting. Restream said half its 2.5 million users are now non-gamers. Most of its users are nonpaying, but it sells subscriptions from $19 to $299 per month that come with features like the ability to record streams and access to more customer support.

Restream announced in August that it had raised $50 million in fresh funding from investors including Sapphire Ventures and Insight Partners.

Read the 14-slide pitch deck that helped livestreaming startup Restream raise $50 million amid the pandemic


Video streaming subscriptions

CuriosityStream is a 5-year-old streaming service founded by former Discovery Communications founder John Hendricks. It went public in fall 2020 through a reverse merger with Software Acquisition Group, a SPAC led by Jonathan Huberman, who formerly led video adtech firm Ooyala.

CuriosityStream is differentiated from other streaming services in that it focuses on factual content like documentaries and features, with more than 3,100 titles available. It reported 13 million paying subscribers buying monthly and yearly subscriptions ranging from $3 a month to $70 a year.

The deal with Software Acquisition Group gave CuriosityStream $180 million in cash.

The investor deck that CuriosityStream used to secure $180 million to take on rival video streaming services


Reaching online sports fans

overtime founder

Overtime wants to be the next ESPN, but for social media.

It started 2016 by Endeavor vets Dan Porter and Zack Weiner with a focus on high-school sports and athletes and has expanded into areas including esports.

Overtime captures game highlights through people it pays to film events and also creates original programming and events. It distributes content mainly on social platforms like YouTube, Instagram, and TikTok.

Its core business is making money from ads, sponsorships, and merchandise, and projects making $200 million in annual revenue by 2024.

It recently raised $80 million from investors including Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, rapper Drake, and Reddit cofounder Alexis Ohanian, The Wall Street Journal recently reported.

Leaked pitch deck shows how sports-media startup Overtime plans to reach $200 million in revenue by 2024

Read the original article on Business Insider

Amazon just got sued by the US government for the first time, alleging the world’s largest online marketplace is engaging in unfair practices with third-party sellers

Amazon logo
Amazon now joins Facebook and Google, which have both been hit with antitrust lawsuits.

Hello! This story is from today’s edition of Morning Brew, an awesome daily email publication read by 2.5 million next-generation leaders like you. Sign up here to get it!

Do Amazon’s marketplace policies make shopping on the internet more expensive?

Washington, DC, Attorney General Karl Racine thinks so, which is why he sued Amazon over antitrust allegations yesterday.

Those allegations: Amazon’s restrictive agreements with third-party sellers limit their ability to sell products for less on other e-commerce sites, artificially inflating prices and reducing competition.

  • Until 2019, the suit says, Amazon flat-out banned sellers on its marketplace from offering their items for cheaper elsewhere.
  • When lawmakers started snooping around, Amazon threw out that rule…then ended up replacing it with a clone, Racine said. If sellers try to list products on other sites for a lower cost, Amazon will allegedly bury them on its site.

In a statement, Amazon said Racine “has it exactly backwards-sellers set their own prices for the products they offer in our store…and like any store we reserve the right not to highlight offers to customers that are not priced competitively.”

Why it’s a big deal

Actually…if we’re being honest…the lawsuit itself isn’t a huge deal. It was filed only in DC, not federal court, and Racine didn’t invite other AGs to the party, as is common in these types of cases. So overall, the lawsuit doesn’t have a lot of teeth.

But it’s important in many ways, too. It’s believed to be the first time that Amazon’s been sued by the US government over antitrust allegations. It also strikes at the core of Amazon’s retail business: its marketplace, which brings in more than half of the company’s total sales.

Bottom line: Amazon now joins Facebook and Google, which have both been hit with antitrust lawsuits. Those cases will be slower moving than you on a Saturday morning, and experts say the tech companies have the advantage due to the current structure of antitrust law.

This story is from today’s edition of Morning Brew, a daily email publication. Sign up here to get it!

Read the original article on Business Insider

Curbside pickup became one of Target’s most valuable weapons to compete with Amazon during the pandemic, and it shows no signs of slowing down

Target curbside delivery
  • Target reported strong first-quarter earnings on Wednesday.
  • Its same-day services – including curbside delivery, store pickup, and its delivery service Shipt – grew by 90%.
  • Experts say these delivery options give Target a competitive edge over Amazon and keep its stores relevant.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Target’s curbside and pickup delivery options have become a key part of its business model.

The big-box chain reported blockbuster first-quarter earnings Wednesday despite coming up against strong comparatives from the year before. Sales at stores open at least a year across both its online and in-store business were up 23% year-on-year.

But the standout component in its earnings was its same-day services – including curbside delivery, store pickup, and delivery through its service Shipt – which are all fulfilled by stores. These grew by more than 90%, led by a 123% boost in curbside delivery specifically, it said.

These services enable Target to leverage its store network and put brick-and-mortar front and center of its business model, giving it a competitive advantage over online-centric Amazon. According to the earnings release, 95% of all sales in the first quarter were fulfilled by its stores.

“Stores continued to be the linchpin of Target’s online capability, once again validating management’s strategic decision to position them at the center of its online flywheel, ” Moody’s vice president Charlie O’Shea wrote in a note emailed to Insider on Wednesday.

The company’s physical footprint “is a major strategic advantage,” Neil Saunders, managing director at GlobalData Retail, said in a note to clients on Wednesday. “Using existing real estate to drive online helps Target’s profitability and improves efficiency for shoppers – which is one of the reasons Target has high satisfaction ratings for its online business,” he said.

In a call with investors Wednesday, CEO Brian Cornell said that its same-day services also have “better economics” than traditional online delivery options as there are no shipping costs.

These services will be a “big part” Target’s capital investment over the next few years, he said. “We expect those services to be very sticky over time.”

The US has been slower than other parts of the world to move into curbside and buy-online-pick-up-in-store delivery options. According to estimates from Insider Intelligence, “click-and-collect” sales more than doubled in 2020 in the US and are expected to grow at this rate through 2024.

Walmart, Best Buy, and Macy’s are among other major retailers to be coming in on this opportunity.

Read the original article on Business Insider

Amazon now offers in-garage delivery to all US Prime grocery shoppers in a bid to curb ‘porch piracy’

Amazon in-garage delivery
Amazon in-garage delivery.

  • Amazon is expanding in-garage delivery for groceries to 5,000 towns and cities across the US.
  • Amazon Fresh and Whole Foods Market customers need a smart garage door lock to pick the delivery option.
  • In-garage and in-home delivery options help Amazon to curb porch thefts.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Amazon said Tuesday that all Prime members using Amazon Fresh and Whole Foods Market could have groceries delivered to their garages when they’re not at home.

Before Tuesday, this was only offered in five cities.

Customers need a connected smart garage door lock so the delivery person can let themselves in, Amazon said. Amazon also recommends that shoppers watch the delivery on a smart-home camera.

Amazon launched “Key by Amazon” in 2017 as a way for people to get items delivered into their home when they were away. In 2018, it started “in-garage” delivery for packages, which is now available in 4,000 cities across the US.

Read more: I’m a criminal justice expert who studies porch piracy. Here’s my advice for retailers who don’t want their customers’ packages to get stolen.

In late 2020, it expanded garage delivery to groceries, too. As of Tuesday, customers in 5,000 towns and cities, where Amazon Fresh and Whole Foods Market online grocery deliveries are offered, will be able to pick it as a delivery option.

Amazon’s in-home and in-garage delivery is, in part, designed to prevent packages and groceries from being stolen from your doorstep – and in turn, to save Amazon money.

Thefts by so-called “porch pirates” lead to millions of dollars worth of lost products every day, costing online retailers like Amazon considerable amounts of money.

Read the original article on Business Insider

Jeff Bezos posts his final letter to shareholders as Amazon CEO. Read the key takeaways and full note.

jeff bezos
Amazon cofounder and CEO Jeff Bezos.

  • Amazon CEO and cofounder Jeff Bezos is stepping down as chief executive later this year.
  • Every year since Amazon went public, Bezos has written a widely-read letter to the shareholders.
  • His final letter, below, includes what Bezos sees as the future of the company.
  • Visit the Business section of Insider for more stories.

In 1997, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos wrote his first letter to shareholders and set a precedent for decades of startups after it.

Despite Amazon’s tiny footprint at the time, Bezos’ letter to shareholders laid out a bold vision for the company: a relentless focus on customers above all else, and a prioritization of reinvestment over short-term shareholder returns.

Each year since, Bezos has written a new letter to shareholders that has become highly anticipated. With Bezos scheduled to step down as chief executive later this year, he just published his final letter.

In it, Bezos highlights a critical concept that has guided his oversight of one of the world’s biggest companies: “You have to create more than you consume,” Bezos says in the letter. “Your goal should be to create value for everyone you interact with.”

He also defends Amazon as “Earth’s best employer and Earth’s safest place to work” – a direct refutation of repeated allegations from delivery and warehouse employees who say they’re overworked, and are forced to pee in bottles to save time. “The fact is, the large team of thousands of people who lead operations at Amazon have always cared deeply for our hourly employees, and we’re proud of the work environment we’ve created,” Bezos says.

And he looks to the future as well, where Andy Jassy will take over as CEO. “It’s a hard job with a lot of responsibility,” he says. “Andy is brilliant and has the highest of high standards. I guarantee you that Andy won’t let the universe make us typical.”

Read the full letter:

To our shareowners:

In Amazon’s 1997 letter to shareholders, our first, I talked about our hope to create an “enduring franchise,” one that would reinvent what it means to serve customers by unlocking the internet’s power. I noted that Amazon had grown from having 158 employees to 614, and that we had surpassed 1.5 million customer accounts. We had just gone public at a split-adjusted stock price of $1.50 per share. I wrote that it was Day 1.

We’ve come a long way since then, and we are working harder than ever to serve and delight customers. Last year, we hired 500,000 employees and now directly employ 1.3 million people around the world. We have more than 200 million Prime members worldwide. More than 1.9 million small and medium-sized businesses sell in our store, and they make up close to 60% of our retail sales. Customers have connected more than 100 million smart home devices to Alexa. Amazon Web Services serves millions of customers and ended 2020 with a $50 billion annualized run rate. In 1997, we hadn’t invented Prime, Marketplace, Alexa, or AWS. They weren’t even ideas then, and none was preordained. We took great risk with each one and put sweat and ingenuity into each one.

Along the way, we’ve created $1.6 trillion of wealth for shareowners. Who are they? Your Chair is one, and my Amazon shares have made me wealthy. But more than 7/8ths of the shares, representing $1.4 trillion of wealth creation, are owned by others. Who are they? They’re pension funds, universities, and 401(k)s, and they’re Mary and Larry, who sent me this note out of the blue just as I was sitting down to write this shareholder letter:

Letter to Jeff Bezos, from shareholder (1)
Letter to Jeff Bezos, from shareholder (2)

I am approached with similar stories all the time. I know people who’ve used their Amazon money for college, for emergencies, for houses, for vacations, to start their own business, for charity – and the list goes on. I’m proud of the wealth we’ve created for shareowners. It’s significant, and it improves their lives. But I also know something else: it’s not the largest part of the value we’ve created.

Create More Than You Consume

If you want to be successful in business (in life, actually), you have to create more than you consume. Your goal should be to create value for everyone you interact with. Any business that doesn’t create value for those it touches, even if it appears successful on the surface, isn’t long for this world. It’s on the way out.

Remember that stock prices are not about the past. They are a prediction of future cash flows discounted back to the present. The stock market anticipates. I’m going to switch gears for a moment and talk about the past. How much value did we create for shareowners in 2020? This is a relatively easy question to answer because accounting systems are set up to answer it. Our net income in 2020 was $21.3 billion. If, instead of being a publicly traded company with thousands of owners, Amazon were a sole proprietorship with a single owner, that’s how much the owner would have earned in 2020.

How about employees? This is also a reasonably easy value creation question to answer because we can look at compensation expense. What is an expense for a company is income for employees. In 2020, employees earned $80 billion, plus another $11 billion to include benefits and various payroll taxes, for a total of $91 billion.

How about third-party sellers? We have an internal team (the Selling Partner Services team) that works to answer that question. They estimate that, in 2020, third-party seller profits from selling on Amazon were between $25 billion and $39 billion, and to be conservative here I’ll go with $25 billion.

For customers, we have to break it down into consumer customers and AWS customers.

We’ll do consumers first. We offer low prices, vast selection, and fast delivery, but imagine we ignore all of that for the purpose of this estimate and value only one thing: we save customers time.

Customers complete 28% of purchases on Amazon in three minutes or less, and half of all purchases are finished in less than 15 minutes. Compare that to the typical shopping trip to a physical store – driving, parking, searching store aisles, waiting in the checkout line, finding your car, and driving home. Research suggests the typical physical store trip takes about an hour. If you assume that a typical Amazon purchase takes 15 minutes and that it saves you a couple of trips to a physical store a week, that’s more than 75 hours a year saved. That’s important. We’re all busy in the early 21st century.

So that we can get a dollar figure, let’s value the time savings at $10 per hour, which is conservative. Seventy-five hours multiplied by $10 an hour and subtracting the cost of Prime gives you value creation for each Prime member of about $630. We have 200 million Prime members, for a total in 2020 of $126 billion of value creation.

AWS is challenging to estimate because each customer’s workload is so different, but we’ll do it anyway, acknowledging up front that the error bars are high. Direct cost improvements from operating in the cloud versus on premises vary, but a reasonable estimate is 30%. Across AWS’s entire 2020 revenue of $45 billion, that 30% would imply customer value creation of $19 billion (what would have cost them $64 billion on their own cost $45 billion from AWS). The difficult part of this estimation exercise is that the direct cost reduction is the smallest portion of the customer benefit of moving to the cloud. The bigger benefit is the increased speed of software development – something that can significantly improve the customer’s competitiveness and top line. We have no reasonable way of estimating that portion of customer value except to say that it’s almost certainly larger than the direct cost savings. To be conservative here (and remembering we’re really only trying to get ballpark estimates), I’ll say it’s the same and call AWS customer value creation $38 billion in 2020.

Adding AWS and consumer together gives us total customer value creation in 2020 of $164 billion.

Summarizing:
Shareholders $21B
Employees $91B
3P Sellers $25B
Customers $164B
Total $301B

If each group had an income statement representing their interactions with Amazon, the numbers above would be the “bottom lines” from those income statements. These numbers are part of the reason why people work for us, why sellers sell through us, and why customers buy from us. We create value for them. And this value creation is not a zero-sum game. It is not just moving money from one pocket to another. Draw the box big around all of society, and you’ll find that invention is the root of all real value creation. And value created is best thought of as a metric for innovation.

Of course, our relationship with these constituencies and the value we create isn’t exclusively dollars and cents. Money doesn’t tell the whole story. Our relationship with shareholders, for example, is relatively simple. They invest and hold shares for a duration of their choosing. We provide direction to shareowners infrequently on matters such as annual meetings and the right process to vote their shares. And even then they can ignore those directions and just skip voting.

Our relationship with employees is a very different example. We have processes they follow and standards they meet. We require training and various certifications. Employees have to show up at appointed times. Our interactions with employees are many, and they’re fine-grained. It’s not just about the pay and the benefits. It’s about all the other detailed aspects of the relationship too.

Does your Chair take comfort in the outcome of the recent union vote in Bessemer? No, he doesn’t. I think we need to do a better job for our employees. While the voting results were lopsided and our direct relationship with employees is strong, it’s clear to me that we need a better vision for how we create value for employees – a vision for their success.

If you read some of the news reports, you might think we have no care for employees. In those reports, our employees are sometimes accused of being desperate souls and treated as robots. That’s not accurate. They’re sophisticated and thoughtful people who have options for where to work. When we survey fulfillment center employees, 94% say they would recommend Amazon to a friend as a place to work.

Employees are able to take informal breaks throughout their shifts to stretch, get water, use the rest room, or talk to a manager, all without impacting their performance. These informal work breaks are in addition to the 30-minute lunch and 30-minute break built into their normal schedule.

We don’t set unreasonable performance goals. We set achievable performance goals that take into account tenure and actual employee performance data. Performance is evaluated over a long period of time as we know that a variety of things can impact performance in any given week, day, or hour. If employees are on track to miss a performance target over a period of time, their manager talks with them and provides coaching.

Coaching is also extended to employees who are excelling and in line for increased responsibilities. In fact, 82% of coaching is positive, provided to employees who are meeting or exceeding expectations. We terminate the employment of less than 2.6% of employees due to their inability to perform their jobs (and that number was even lower in 2020 because of operational impacts of COVID-19).

Earth’s Best Employer and Earth’s Safest Place to Work

The fact is, the large team of thousands of people who lead operations at Amazon have always cared deeply for our hourly employees, and we’re proud of the work environment we’ve created. We’re also proud of the fact that Amazon is a company that does more than just create jobs for computer scientists and people with advanced degrees. We create jobs for people who never got that advantage.

Despite what we’ve accomplished, it’s clear to me that we need a better vision for our employees’ success. We have always wanted to be Earth’s Most Customer-Centric Company. We won’t change that. It’s what got us here. But I am committing us to an addition. We are going to be Earth’s Best Employer and Earth’s Safest Place to Work.

In my upcoming role as Executive Chair, I’m going to focus on new initiatives. I’m an inventor. It’s what I enjoy the most and what I do best. It’s where I create the most value. I’m excited to work alongside the large team of passionate people we have in Ops and help invent in this arena of Earth’s Best Employer and Earth’s Safest Place to Work. On the details, we at Amazon are always flexible, but on matters of vision we are stubborn and relentless. We have never failed when we set our minds to something, and we’re not going to fail at this either.

We dive deep into safety issues. For example, about 40% of work-related injuries at Amazon are related to musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs), things like sprains or strains that can be caused by repetitive motions. MSDs are common in the type of work that we do and are more likely to occur during an employee’s first six months. We need to invent solutions to reduce MSDs for new employees, many of whom might be working in a physical role for the first time.

One such program is WorkingWell – which we launched to 859,000 employees at 350 sites across North America and Europe in 2020 – where we coach small groups of employees on body mechanics, proactive wellness, and safety. In addition to reducing workplace injuries, these concepts have a positive impact on regular day-to-day activities outside work.

We’re developing new automated staffing schedules that use sophisticated algorithms to rotate employees among jobs that use different muscle-tendon groups to decrease repetitive motion and help protect employees from MSD risks. This new technology is central to a job rotation program that we’re rolling out throughout 2021.

Our increased attention to early MSD prevention is already achieving results. From 2019 to 2020, overall MSDs decreased by 32%, and MSDs resulting in time away from work decreased by more than half.

We employ 6,200 safety professionals at Amazon. They use the science of safety to solve complex problems and establish new industry best practices. In 2021, we’ll invest more than $300 million into safety projects, including an initial $66 million to create technology that will help prevent collisions of forklifts and other types of industrial vehicles.

When we lead, others follow. Two and a half years ago, when we set a $15 minimum wage for our hourly employees, we did so because we wanted to lead on wages – not just run with the pack – and because we believed it was the right thing to do. A recent paper by economists at the University of California-Berkeley and Brandeis University analyzed the impact of our decision to raise our minimum starting pay to $15 per hour. Their assessment reflects what we’ve heard from employees, their families, and the communities they live in.

Our increase in starting wage boosted local economies across the country by benefiting not only our own employees but also other workers in the same community. The study showed that our pay raise resulted in a 4.7% increase in the average hourly wage among other employers in the same labor market.

And we’re not done leading. If we want to be Earth’s Best Employer, we shouldn’t settle for 94% of employees saying they would recommend Amazon to a friend as a place to work. We have to aim for 100%. And we’ll do that by continuing to lead on wages, on benefits, on upskilling opportunities, and in other ways that we will figure out over time.

If any shareowners are concerned that Earth’s Best Employer and Earth’s Safest Place to Work might dilute our focus on Earth’s Most Customer-Centric Company, let me set your mind at ease. Think of it this way. If we can operate two businesses as different as consumer ecommerce and AWS, and do both at the highest level, we can certainly do the same with these two vision statements. In fact, I’m confident they will reinforce each other.

The Climate Pledge

In an earlier draft of this letter, I started this section with arguments and examples designed to demonstrate that human-induced climate change is real. But, bluntly, I think we can stop saying that now. You don’t have to say that photosynthesis is real, or make the case that gravity is real, or that water boils at 100 degrees Celsius at sea level. These things are simply true, as is the reality of climate change.

Not long ago, most people believed that it would be good to address climate change, but they also thought it would cost a lot and would threaten jobs, competitiveness, and economic growth. We now know better. Smart action on climate change will not only stop bad things from happening, it will also make our economy more efficient, help drive technological change, and reduce risks. Combined, these can lead to more and better jobs, healthier and happier children, more productive workers, and a more prosperous future. This doesn’t mean it will be easy. It won’t be. The coming decade will be decisive. The economy in 2030 will need to be vastly different from what it is today, and Amazon plans to be at the heart of the change. We launched The Climate Pledge together with Global Optimism in September 2019 because we wanted to help drive this positive revolution. We need to be part of a growing team of corporations that understand the imperatives and the opportunities of the 21st century.

Now, less than two years later, 53 companies representing almost every sector of the economy have signed The Climate Pledge. Signatories such as Best Buy, IBM, Infosys, Mercedes-Benz, Microsoft, Siemens, and Verizon have committed to achieve net-zero carbon in their worldwide businesses by 2040, 10 years ahead of the Paris Agreement. The Pledge also requires them to measure and report greenhouse gas emissions on a regular basis; implement decarbonization strategies through real business changes and innovations; and neutralize any remaining emissions with additional, quantifiable, real, permanent, and socially beneficial offsets. Credible, quality offsets are precious, and we should reserve them to compensate for economic activities where low-carbon alternatives don’t exist.

The Climate Pledge signatories are making meaningful, tangible, and ambitious commitments. Uber has a goal of operating as a zero-emission platform in Canada, Europe, and the U.S. by 2030, and Henkel plans to source 100% of the electricity it uses for production from renewable sources. Amazon is making progress toward our own goal of 100% renewable energy by 2025, five years ahead of our initial 2030 target. Amazon is the largest corporate buyer of renewable energy in the world. We have 62 utility-scale wind and solar projects and 125 solar rooftops on fulfillment and sort centers around the globe. These projects have the capacity to generate over 6.9 gigawatts and deliver more than 20 million megawatt-hours of energy annually.

Transportation is a major component of Amazon’s business operations and the toughest part of our plan to meet net-zero carbon by 2040. To help rapidly accelerate the market for electric vehicle technology, and to help all companies transition to greener technologies, we invested more than $1 billion in Rivian – and ordered 100,000 electric delivery vans from the company. We’ve also partnered with Mahindra in India and Mercedes-Benz in Europe. These custom electric delivery vehicles from Rivian are already operational, and they first hit the road in Los Angeles this past February. Ten thousand new vehicles will be on the road as early as next year, and all 100,000 vehicles will be on the road by 2030 – saving millions of metric tons of carbon. A big reason we want companies to join The Climate Pledge is to signal to the marketplace that businesses should start inventing and developing new technologies that signatories need to make good on the Pledge. Our purchase of 100,000 Rivian electric vans is a perfect example.

To further accelerate investment in new technologies needed to build a zero-carbon economy, we introduced the Climate Pledge Fund last June. The investment program started with $2 billion to invest in visionary companies that aim to facilitate the transition to a low-carbon economy. Amazon has already announced investments in CarbonCure Technologies, Pachama, Redwood Materials, Rivian, Turntide Technologies, ZeroAvia, and Infinium – and these are just some of the innovative companies we hope will build the zero-carbon economy of the future.

I have also personally allocated $10 billion to provide grants to help catalyze the systemic change we will need in the coming decade. We’ll be supporting leading scientists, activists, NGOs, environmental justice organizations, and others working to fight climate change and protect the natural world. Late last year, I made my first round of grants to 16 organizations working on innovative and needle-moving solutions. It’s going to take collective action from big companies, small companies, nation states, global organizations, and individuals, and I’m excited to be part of this journey and optimistic that humanity can come together to solve this challenge.

Differentiation is Survival and the Universe Wants You to be Typical
This is my last annual shareholder letter as the CEO of Amazon, and I have one last thing of utmost importance I feel compelled to teach. I hope all Amazonians take it to heart.

Here is a passage from Richard Dawkins’ (extraordinary) book The Blind Watchmaker. It’s about a basic fact of biology.

“Staving off death is a thing that you have to work at. Left to itself – and that is what it is when it dies – the body tends to revert to a state of equilibrium with its environment. If you measure some quantity such as the temperature, the acidity, the water content or the electrical potential in a living body, you will typically find that it is markedly different from the corresponding measure in the surroundings. Our bodies, for instance, are usually hotter than our surroundings, and in cold climates they have to work hard to maintain the differential. When we die the work stops, the temperature differential starts to disappear, and we end up the same temperature as our surroundings. Not all animals work so hard to avoid coming into equilibrium with their surrounding temperature, but all animals do some comparable work. For instance, in a dry country, animals and plants work to maintain the fluid content of their cells, work against a natural tendency for water to flow from them into the dry outside world. If they fail they die. More generally, if living things didn’t work actively to prevent it, they would eventually merge into their surroundings, and cease to exist as autonomous beings. That is what happens when they die.”

While the passage is not intended as a metaphor, it’s nevertheless a fantastic one, and very relevant to Amazon. I would argue that it’s relevant to all companies and all institutions and to each of our individual lives too. In what ways does the world pull at you in an attempt to make you normal? How much work does it take to maintain your distinctiveness? To keep alive the thing or things that make you special?

I know a happily married couple who have a running joke in their relationship. Not infrequently, the husband looks at the wife with faux distress and says to her, “Can’t you just be normal?” They both smile and laugh, and of course the deep truth is that her distinctiveness is something he loves about her. But, at the same time, it’s also true that things would often be easier – take less energy – if we were a little more normal.

This phenomenon happens at all scale levels. Democracies are not normal. Tyranny is the historical norm. If we stopped doing all of the continuous hard work that is needed to maintain our distinctiveness in that regard, we would quickly come into equilibrium with tyranny.

We all know that distinctiveness – originality – is valuable. We are all taught to “be yourself.” What I’m really asking you to do is to embrace and be realistic about how much energy it takes to maintain that distinctiveness. The world wants you to be typical – in a thousand ways, it pulls at you. Don’t let it happen.

You have to pay a price for your distinctiveness, and it’s worth it. The fairy tale version of “be yourself” is that all the pain stops as soon as you allow your distinctiveness to shine. That version is misleading. Being yourself is worth it, but don’t expect it to be easy or free. You’ll have to put energy into it continuously.

The world will always try to make Amazon more typical – to bring us into equilibrium with our environment. It will take continuous effort, but we can and must be better than that.

* * *

As always, I attach our 1997 shareholder letter. It concluded with this: “We at Amazon.com are grateful to our customers for their business and trust, to each other for our hard work, and to our shareholders for their support and encouragement.” That hasn’t changed a bit. I want to especially thank Andy Jassy for agreeing to take on the CEO role. It’s a hard job with a lot of responsibility. Andy is brilliant and has the highest of high standards. I guarantee you that Andy won’t let the universe make us typical. He will muster the energy needed to keep alive in us what makes us special. That won’t be easy, but it is critical. I also predict it will be satisfying and oftentimes fun. Thank you, Andy.

To all of you: be kind, be original, create more than you consume, and never, never, never let the universe smooth you into your surroundings. It remains Day 1.

Sincerely,

Jeffrey P. Bezos
Founder and Chief Executive Officer
Amazon.com, Inc.

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Jessica Alba’s Honest Company is filing for an IPO after selling $189 million worth of diapers and wipes in 2020

jessica alba
Jessica Alba in September 2019.

  • Honest Company, Jessica Alba’s consumer goods startup, filed for an IPO on Friday.
  • It generated $300.5 million in revenue last year, with diapers and wipes driving 63% of sales.
  • The company, which has never been profitable, plans to trade on the Nasdaq under the symbol “HNST.”
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Jessica Alba’s consumer goods startup Honest Company is going public.

The company filed for an IPO on Friday with plans to sell shares on the Nasdaq under the symbol “HNST.” It listed a placeholder IPO value of $100 million.

Diapers and wipes accounted for 63% of the company’s $300.5 million in revenue last year. Skin, personal care, household, and wellness items made up the rest of its sales.

While the company’s 2020 revenue grew about 28% from the previous year, it reported a net loss of $14.5 million. It has never been profitable on an annual basis since its founding in 2012.

“We have incurred net losses each year since our inception and we may not be able to achieve or maintain profitability in the future,” the company wrote in the risk factors section of its S-1.

Honest Company’s 2020 growth was driven in part by a bump in digital sales, which represented 55% of its revenue last year. Digitally-native brands like Honest, which sells products on Honest.com and digital retailers like Amazon, benefited from a overall shift to ecommerce last year as brick-and-mortar stores shut down during the coronavirus pandemic. US e-commerce sales rose 32.4% in 2020 to $791.7 billion, according to the US Census Bureau.

“We see consumers increasingly self-educating on the benefits of clean and natural products through social media, influencers and other online content, driving digital engagement and purchasing that supports continued outsized growth of the ecommerce channel,” the company wrote in its prospectus.

Alba started Honest Company with a mission to make consumer products that the actress deemed “clean,” excluding chemicals and materials like parabens and sulfates. The brand’s approach to labeling its products has led to trouble in the past. In 2017, the company settled a lawsuit that claimed it fraudulently labeled some of its products as “natural,” “plant-based,” or “no harsh chemicals (ever!).”

“Health and safety incidents or advertising inaccuracies or product mislabeling may have an adverse effect on our business by exposing us to lawsuits, product recalls or regulatory enforcement actions,” the company wrote in its risk factors section.

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