Restaurant and retail owners have 2 options nowadays: stop treating their workers like garbage or stop having workers at all

Business owner with a sad emoji face for a head holding bags of money with a protesting supporting higher wages with an annoyed face emoji as a head on a green background.
“I made more money on unemployment than I did working at the bar because they only gave me lunch shifts and I was part time,” said Mark, a former bartender in New York.

  • Restaurant and retail staff have been underpaid and overworked for decades.
  • Government aid during the economic crisis has allowed workers in the industry to reassess going back to work.
  • Employer claims that people won’t come back out of laziness are increasingly laughable.
  • This is an opinion column. The thoughts expressed are those of the author.
  • Eoin Higgins is a journalist based in New England and Contributing Opinion Writer.
  • This is an opinion column. The thoughts expressed are those of the author.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Sean Earl is a 10-year veteran of the restaurant business who was out of a job when the coronavirus pandemic hit. He still doesn’t know if he’ll return to the industry – especially without the promise of worker protections and better conditions on the job.

“If I returned it would have to be somewhere with union representation or at least a co-op situation,” Earl said. “Some way of having better control over what happens in the workplace.”

I talked to Earl this week for a story highlighting the voices of service industry workers at my newsletter The Flashpoint. The piece pushed back against a number of recent articles featuring business owners blaming unemployment insurance and government aid for contributing to laziness on the part of staff to not return to their jobs.

Over and over again, the people I talked to told me that while the aid provided security and support at a crucial time, they weren’t passing up work just to sit around. Rather, they were looking at other options because of the service industry’s terrible working conditions and low pay.

“The pandemic kind of stripped away the illusion of fairness and equity in the industry,” said Sarah, a restaurant professional who is on her way out of the business and off to grad school.

Reassessing things

One of the first casualties of the pandemic last year was the service industry. With businesses forced to shut down due to health restrictions and few people willing to risk going out anyway, restaurants shuttered around the country and prepared to wait out the disease.

Stimulus and aid packages passed by the federal government under both former President Donald Trump and President Joe Biden delivered relief. In addition to aid for businesses, programs like the $600 weekly bonus COVID unemployment payments that came with the first stimulus were a huge help to workers forced out of their jobs by the shutdown.

It is true that for some service industry workers, what they made staying home was more than what they made at work. Indeed, that was part of the point of the pandemic aid; to keep people whole after losing their jobs to public health orders that were no fault of their own.

And now, as things begin to open back up, people are pushing for these benefits to be cut off – despite lingering health concerns and ongoing aid.

“There’s no reason for workers to come back to their old jobs earning the same poverty wages, especially since more than 100 million Americans remain unvaccinated, and there’s still a stable safety net in place until autumn,” writer and former restaurant worker Carl Gibson wrote for Insider on May 2. “It’s not that unemployed restaurant workers don’t want jobs – we just have more options now.”

The time off prompted a reevaluation of not only their role in the business but industry practices in general. The service industry is a notoriously harsh and unforgiving business that makes intense demands on staff for low pay and anarchic schedules.

“I made more money on unemployment than I did working at the bar because they only gave me lunch shifts and I was part time,” said Mark, a former bartender in New York. “They also over-staffed so there were fewer tips per person, I went from making $250-ish a week to a solid $600 a week from unemployment.”

But now that many of these workers have been able to step back from an industry where low pay and abusive practices were the norm these businesses face a challenge: improve working conditions or shut down.

Tall Tales

As the country has begun to reopen, some politicians and pundits are claiming that staff are uninterested in returning to work because they’re lazy. Signs on windows of shuttered businesses or temporarily closed outlets claim that people aren’t willing to come back because they’d rather sit back and do nothing.

The media has helped spread this narrative, too. Articles from NPR, Fox News, and others have portrayed business owners as hard on their luck victims of circumstance who just can’t catch a break. Workers – if they’re included in the stories at all – are presented as shiftless, careless louts who aren’t thinking of what’s best for the company’s bottom line.

The reality is different, Lucas, a former Uber Eats driver, told me.

“We’re sick of being called lazy bums because we’re sick of thankless, s—-paying jobs,” Lucas said.

Rather, Lucas and other workers I spoke to said they are finally asserting themselves after years of mistreatment and becoming more selective and holding out for incentives-or even considering leaving altogether if things don’t change. That’s what happened two weeks ago at a Dollar General store in Eliot, Maine. Three out of four of the store’s employees walked off the job and quit over the weekend due to their pay and the company’s disrespectful mistreatment. Two of them, Brendt Erikson and Hannah Barr, put signs up on the store’s door explaining why they quit, putting the blame squarely on Dollar General for the company’s disrespectful treatment of employees and low wages.

Erikson told me he wanted people to know that he and his comrades didn’t leave their jobs because they were lazy.

“You’ve probably seen on Twitter those signs on businesses that are closing due to understaffing because people don’t want to work,” Erikson said. “I have been thinking about those signs a lot lately. And I wanted to make a retort to those signs that actually told the truth of why people weren’t going to work there anymore.”

Best practices?

Despite claims that businesses are scrambling to attract workers, in many cases owners simply aren’t offering incentives for employees to return to customer-facing positions – as Ary Reich, a floor member at the National Museum of Mathematica in New York, told me.

“Less than a month after lockdown, after keeping us on to help them fix their broken website, they laid all eight of us off,” Reich said. “Since then we’ve received emails letting us know we all can have our jobs back if we want them, but they are not interested in raising our pay.”

That shows a misunderstanding of the power dynamic at play now – workers are able to decline offers to come back to their jobs without losing income for the first time in decades. Bosses who expected new workers to crawl back begging for jobs no longer indisputably have the upper hand in negotiations. So their attempts to strong arm staff back into the poor conditions and insufficient pay are falling flat.

Given this dynamic some restaurant owners are deciding to try and bring in newer, less experienced staff rather than rehire seasoned professionals – leading to more instability.

“A lot of folks I know in the fine dining world are struggling because many places closed during the pandemic and some are re-opening but instead of hiring back their old staff they are trying to hire new staff for less money or less front-of-house staff,” said Earl. “Which means more front-of-house will do more work for the same or less money.”

How well that’s working for the owners varies, but it seems clear from their complaints that staffing remains a concern.

Lessons learned…. maybe

But not everyone in the industry is willfully ignoring the new reality. Joseph Tiedmann, who works as an executive chef in New Orleans, told Eater’s Gaby del Valle this month that restaurants need to figure out how to change the business to pay people better and make the business a more desirable destination for workers.

“We need to make this an attractive business to work in,” said Tiedmann. “At the end of the day, it’s all about being able to do more for your employees.”

It still remains to be seen whether or not the owners of restaurants and other service industry businesses will end what’s effectively a capital strike and invest in their workforce.

But there is one simple trick to getting people to want to come and work for you, as Pittsburgh’s Klavon’s Ice Cream Parlor discovered: offer people more money. The outlet more than doubled its starting pay from $7.25 an hour to $15 an hour and saw immediate results.

“It was instant, overnight,” the parlor’s general manager Maya Johnson told the Pittsburgh Business Times. “We got thousands of applications that poured in.”

Restaurant owners have a choice to make. They can provide incentives for people to return to work in what’s still a dangerous, fraught time for staff to be in forward facing roles – or they can continue to try to shame workers into returning to their jobs. The former works, the latter doesn’t. Owners should take heed of that lesson and pay their staff more, not only because it’s the right thing to do but because it’s the path forward for the industry’s survival.

Read the original article on Business Insider

These 12 people started their dream businesses from scratch. Here are the biggest lessons they learned from self-publishing on Amazon, writing copy, and hand-dying their own yarn

Examples of how to start your business, including dog walking, a food truck, urban farming, hair care, and dyed yarn.
A record number of people started new businesses last year, including dog walking, urban farming, and food trucks.

  • The pandemic upended many lives, but it didn’t overturn the entrepreneurial dream.
  • Applications for an employer ID reached 1.1 million through September 2020, a 12% increase from the prior year.
  • Here are 12 guides on how to start any business, from a modest urban farm to a food truck.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

The pandemic upended many lives, but it didn’t overturn the entrepreneurial dream.

A record number of people started new businesses last year. New applications for an employer ID in the US reached 1.1 million through September 2020, a 12% increase from the same time period in 2019, according to an analysis of US Census data by The Wall Street Journal.

For those who want to chase their entrepreneurial passions, here are 12 guides on how to start a business, from a dog-walking empire, to a modest urban farm, and even a food truck.

1. Copywriting business

sarah turner
Sarah Turner Agency offers freelance copywriting for clients in the medical and health sectors, content marketing strategy, and training programs for future copywriters.

Sarah Turner launched her eponymous copywriting agency in 2013, after leaving her job as a research assistant.

Sarah Turner Agency offers freelance copywriting for clients in the medical and health sectors, content marketing strategy, and training programs for future copywriters. Last year, Turner booked $2.6 million in revenue, according to documents verified by Insider. 

Read more about how Turner launched her copywriting business. 

2. Website flipping

chelsea
Chelsea Clarke is the founder of Blogs for Sale.

Chelsea Clarke is the founder of Blogs For Sale, a company that flips little-known websites into desirable online businesses that can generate $16,800 in a year.

Clarke said her startup took off last year as more people sought online revenue streams during the pandemic. In 2020, she earned $127,000 from flipping 13 websites and brokering sales for 50 more sites, documents reviewed by Insider verified. 

Read more about how Clarke built her website-flipping business. 

 

3. Instagram side hustle

PK.JPG
Today, Plant Kween has 311,000 followers and collaborates with brands like Spotify on curated content.

Christopher Griffin’s Instagram account, which is under the moniker Plant Kween, is devoted to pictures of the 200 plants living in their Brooklyn apartment, tips on caring for the greenery, and useful botanical knowledge. 

They started the account in winter 2016 — as a means of learning about something new after graduate school — grew it steadily to 311,000 followers and collaborates with brands like Spotify on curated content.

Griffin couldn’t disclose what they earn with the music-streaming service but a partnership with the fashion line Tonle, that sold $42,000 of non-binary clothing last year, netted them around $8,400, according to Tonle. 

Read more about how Griffin built their Instagram side-hustle. 

4. Urban farm

Joanna Bassi
Here’s how Joanna Bassi built an urban farm from scratch and her advice for fellow farming entrepreneurs, including how to pivot during a pandemic.

Joanna Bassi turned her unused backyard — measuring 150 feet by 75 feet — into an urban farm that could grow fresh produce for local establishments.

Bassi started from the ground up in January 2018, and by the following year, she netted nearly $6,000 in revenue from selling at farmers markets and local restaurants, according to documents viewed by Insider. 

In 2020, the pandemic temporarily closed Bassi’s restaurant clients and hurt business. She still managed to book nearly $7,000 by creating new revenue streams. 

Read more about how Bassi built her urban farming business. 

5. Pet care and dog-walking business

dog tricks
You can teach your dog to shake your hand with a simple command.

Jill Nelson took over her friend’s 15-year-old dog walking and pet sitting startup Hot Diggity in 2015. Since then, she’s scaled the Seattle office, opened a Vancouver location, and purchased Hot Diggity’s Portland, Oregon, outpost. 

Revenue for Hot Diggity’s three locations sank between 2019 to 2020 — Portland had the most drastic decline, falling from $2.1 million to $986,000, according to documents verified by Insider — but Nelson said the company weathered the storm and is already seeing an increase in bookings. 

Read more about how Nelson built her dog-walking and pet care business. 

6. Hand-dyed yarn business

Jake 1
Kenyon shared his advice for launching a business around your passion, building community support, and how he stands out in a crowded market.

In January, Jake Kenyon left his full-time job as a speech pathologist to pursue his side hustle: A hand-dyed yarn business called Kenyarn. The pandemic drove many consumers to crafts, like knitting and crocheting, which helped boost Kenyon’s business.

Kenyarn’s gross sales jumped from $33,000 in 2019 to $125,000 last year, and he’s on track to surpass that figure this year, according to documents viewed by Insider. 

Read more about how Kenyon built his hand-dyed yarn business. 

7. Food truck

food truck
Alessio Lacco and Sofia Arango opened a pizza-focused food truck, tapping Lacco’s 15-year background making Neapolitan pies and the truck he already owned.

Alessio Lacco and Sofia Arango launched Atlanta Pizza Truck last August as way to make money during the pandemic.

In its first five months of business, the couple booked $82,000 in sales, according to documents reviewed by Insider. In the first three months of 2021, they netted $53,000 in sales and believe they are on track to at least double sales from 2020.

Read more about how Lacco and Arango built their food truck business. 

8. Hair care business

607494833e3fe7001882a2b7
Stormi Steele

Stormi Steele used to make hair care products in her kitchen while working in salon in 2012. She’d mix over-the-counter ingredients, such as flaxseed oil and vitamin E, in an effort to create a solution that would help her hair grow. 

Today, Steele is the founder of Canvas Beauty Brand, which booked nearly $20 million in revenue last year.

Read more about how Steele built her hair-care business. 

 

9. Pop-up bakery

abby love
On January 21, Abby Love opened her first bakery, Abby Jane Bakeshop, in Dripping Springs, Texas.

When the opening of Abby Love’s bakery was delayed due to the pandemic, she launched 10 pop-up bakeries around Dripping Springs, Texas to keep her brand alive, attract new customers, and boost revenue.

Love partnered with local businesses for her pop-ups, choosing establishments that didn’t sell baked goods and attracted the kind of customers who would appreciate her locally-sourced ingredients.

Read more about how Love built her pop-up bakery business.

10. Craft brewery business

Chris and Avery_HTB_LittlePondDigital
Christophe Gagne and Avery Schwenk are the cofounders of Hermit Thrush, a Brattleboro, Vermont-based brewery that exclusively makes sour beers.

Christophe Gagne and Avery Schwenk are the cofounders of Hermit Thrush, a 7-year-old Brattleboro, Vermont-based brewery that exclusively makes sour beers. 

Today the brewery has 21 taps and its canned varieties are sold in 9 states, plus DC. The brewery’s most popular concoction, Party Jam, is a collection of fruit-forward sours that typically sells for $19.99 on the company’s website. What’s more, Hermit Thrush booked $1.5 million in revenue last year, according to documents viewed by Insider. 

Read more about how Gagne and Schwenk built their craft brew business. 

11. Furniture maker

furniture
Matthew Nafranowicz, a master craftsman, started doing upholstery work more than two decades ago.

In 2002, Matthew Nafranowicz opened his furniture upholstery storefront, The Straight Thread, in Madison, Wisconsin. 

Furniture upholstery represents an estimated $1 billion market in the US, and government data shows it employs roughly 30,000 people.

Read more about how Nafranowicz built his furniture upholstery business. 

12. Self-published author

sally

Sally Miller is a self-published author who’s written and co-authored 15 books on Amazon. She made $9,000 in royalties in January, her highest amount to date, according to documents viewed by Insider. 

“It meets my two criteria, which is that I’m making money and doing something I really enjoy,” said Miller, who built a following through her subject matter, which focuses on how people can make money through various entrepreneurial ventures, like Airbnb and ghostwriting.

Read more about how Miller built her self-publishing business. 

Read the original article on Business Insider

The Master Your Money Bootcamp will help you put a price tag on your dreams – and figure out how to turn them into reality

Master Your Money decide what you want 2x1

The thing about dreams is that we often assume they’re completely out of reach. Sure, if $1 million came our way, we’d pay our student loan debt off in full. Or take a safari. Or buy a house. Or throw the wedding of our dreams. But without that windfall, who can afford it, right?

If you do the math, you might be surprised.

Over the next month, that’s what we’ll be focusing on: Putting a price tag on your dreams and creating a plan to help you afford them in the future. We’ll start with pinpointing what exactly it is you want to accomplish with your cash, identify the right first step to take, and identify any challenges standing in your way. Then, we’ll calculate exactly what this goal will cost, and lay out a timeline for how long it will take to achieve.

We’re not going into this blindly. We know that the ability to afford your dreams depends on a lot of things: your job, your living situation, your credit, and the flawed systems in the US that favor some people over others. We know that if you dream of a private island, you’ll probably need more than a month of strategizing. But if you dream of things like laying the groundwork to become debt-free, or a homeowner, or pay for your children’s college, we can get you started on that journey.

Welcome to the Master Your Money Bootcamp

Master Your Money Bootcamps are month-long challenges broken into simple one-week exercises to help you take control of your money.

Over the course of 2021, we’ll conduct four of these Bootcamps, each culminating in a free, live, virtual discussion among experts about how to make the most of the tasks you’ve already accomplished. You can take all four Bootcamps this year, or pick and choose the ones that give the guidance you need most.

For each exercise, you’ll get a detailed explanation of how to complete it and why it’s important. Use the hashtags #MasterYourMoney and #MasterYourMoneyBootcamp to share your thoughts, progress, and connect with others across our Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Instagram as you make your way through each exercise, then join us for the live events.

While you’re here, feel free to visit (or revisit) our first Master Your Money Bootcamp of the year, which broke down the major task of demystifying your finances into four achievable steps.

Our first Bootcamp exercise launches Monday, May 17, 2021. You don’t have to sign up – just dive in! Here’s what you’ll accomplish in just one month (we’ll link to each exercise as it goes live):

Read the original article on Business Insider

How to start 12 small businesses from scratch – whether you’re into copywriting, urban farming, or food trucks

Examples of how to start your business, including dog walking, a food truck, urban farming, hair care, and dyed yarn.
A record number of people started new businesses last year, including dog walking, urban farming, and food trucks.

  • The pandemic upended many lives, but it didn’t overturn the entrepreneurial dream.
  • Applications for an employer ID reached 1.1 million through September in 2020, a 12% increase from the prior year.
  • Here are 12 guides on how to start any business, from a modest urban farm to a food truck.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

The pandemic upended many lives, but it didn’t overturn the entrepreneurial dream.

A record number of people started new businesses last year. New applications for an employer ID in the US reached 1.1 million through September 2020, a 12% increase from the same time period in 2019, according to an analysis of US Census data by The Wall Street Journal.

For those who want to chase their entrepreneurial passions, here are 12 guides on how to start a business, from a dog-walking empire, to a modest urban farm, and even a food truck.

1. Copywriting business

sarah turner
Sarah Turner Agency offers freelance copywriting for clients in the medical and health sectors, content marketing strategy, and training programs for future copywriters.

Sarah Turner launched her eponymous copywriting agency in 2013, after leaving her job as a research assistant.

Sarah Turner Agency offers freelance copywriting for clients in the medical and health sectors, content marketing strategy, and training programs for future copywriters. Last year, Turner booked $2.6 million in revenue, according to documents verified by Insider. 

Read more about how Turner launched her copywriting business. 

2. Website flipping

chelsea
Chelsea Clarke is the founder of Blogs for Sale.

Chelsea Clarke is the founder of Blogs For Sale, a company that flips little-known websites into desirable online businesses that can generate $16,800 in a year.

Clarke said her startup took off last year as more people sought online revenue streams during the pandemic. In 2020, she earned $127,000 from flipping 13 websites and brokering sales for 50 more sites, documents reviewed by Insider verified. 

Read more about how Clarke built her website-flipping business. 

 

3. Instagram side hustle

PK.JPG
Today, Plant Kween has 311,000 followers and collaborates with brands like Spotify on curated content.

Christopher Griffin’s Instagram account, which is under the moniker Plant Kween, is devoted to pictures of the 200 plants living in their Brooklyn apartment, tips on caring for the greenery, and useful botanical knowledge. 

They started the account in winter 2016 — as a means of learning about something new after graduate school — grew it steadily to 311,000 followers and collaborates with brands like Spotify on curated content.

Griffin couldn’t disclose what they earn with the music-streaming service but a partnership with the fashion line Tonle, that sold $42,000 of non-binary clothing last year, netted them around $8,400, according to Tonle. 

Read more about how Griffin built their Instagram side-hustle. 

4. Urban farm

Joanna Bassi
Here’s how Joanna Bassi built an urban farm from scratch and her advice for fellow farming entrepreneurs, including how to pivot during a pandemic.

Joanna Bassi turned her unused backyard — measuring 150 feet by 75 feet — into an urban farm that could grow fresh produce for local establishments.

Bassi started from the ground up in January 2018, and by the following year, she netted nearly $6,000 in revenue from selling at farmers markets and local restaurants, according to documents viewed by Insider. 

In 2020, the pandemic temporarily closed Bassi’s restaurant clients and hurt business. She still managed to book nearly $7,000 by creating new revenue streams. 

Read more about how Bassi built her urban farming business. 

5. Pet care and dog-walking business

dog tricks
You can teach your dog to shake your hand with a simple command.

Jill Nelson took over her friend’s 15-year-old dog walking and pet sitting startup Hot Diggity in 2015. Since then, she’s scaled the Seattle office, opened a Vancouver location, and purchased Hot Diggity’s Portland, Oregon, outpost. 

Revenue for Hot Diggity’s three locations sank between 2019 to 2020 — Portland had the most drastic decline, falling from $2.1 million to $986,000, according to documents verified by Insider — but Nelson said the company weathered the storm and is already seeing an increase in bookings. 

Read more about how Nelson built her dog-walking and pet care business. 

6. Hand-dyed yarn business

Jake 1
Kenyon shared his advice for launching a business around your passion, building community support, and how he stands out in a crowded market.

In January, Jake Kenyon left his full-time job as a speech pathologist to pursue his side hustle: A hand-dyed yarn business called Kenyarn. The pandemic drove many consumers to crafts, like knitting and crocheting, which helped boost Kenyon’s business.

Kenyarn’s gross sales jumped from $33,000 in 2019 to $125,000 last year, and he’s on track to surpass that figure this year, according to documents viewed by Insider. 

Read more about how Kenyon built his hand-dyed yarn business. 

7. Food truck

food truck
Alessio Lacco and Sofia Arango opened a pizza-focused food truck, tapping Lacco’s 15-year background making Neapolitan pies and the truck he already owned.

Alessio Lacco and Sofia Arango launched Atlanta Pizza Truck last August as way to make money during the pandemic.

In its first five months of business, the couple booked $82,000 in sales, according to documents reviewed by Insider. In the first three months of 2021, they netted $53,000 in sales and believe they are on track to at least double sales from 2020.

Read more about how Lacco and Arango built their food truck business. 

8. Hair care business

607494833e3fe7001882a2b7
Stormi Steele

Stormi Steele used to make hair care products in her kitchen while working in salon in 2012. She’d mix over-the-counter ingredients, such as flaxseed oil and vitamin E, in an effort to create a solution that would help her hair grow. 

Today, Steele is the founder of Canvas Beauty Brand, which booked nearly $20 million in revenue last year.

Read more about how Steele built her hair-care business. 

 

9. Pop-up bakery

abby love
On January 21, Abby Love opened her first bakery, Abby Jane Bakeshop, in Dripping Springs, Texas.

When the opening of Abby Love’s bakery was delayed due to the pandemic, she launched 10 pop-up bakeries around Dripping Springs, Texas to keep her brand alive, attract new customers, and boost revenue.

Love partnered with local businesses for her pop-ups, choosing establishments that didn’t sell baked goods and attracted the kind of customers who would appreciate her locally-sourced ingredients.

Read more about how Love built her pop-up bakery business.

10. Craft brewery business

Chris and Avery_HTB_LittlePondDigital
Christophe Gagne and Avery Schwenk are the cofounders of Hermit Thrush, a Brattleboro, Vermont-based brewery that exclusively makes sour beers.

Christophe Gagne and Avery Schwenk are the cofounders of Hermit Thrush, a 7-year-old Brattleboro, Vermont-based brewery that exclusively makes sour beers. 

Today the brewery has 21 taps and its canned varieties are sold in 9 states, plus DC. The brewery’s most popular concoction, Party Jam, is a collection of fruit-forward sours that typically sells for $19.99 on the company’s website. What’s more, Hermit Thrush booked $1.5 million in revenue last year, according to documents viewed by Insider. 

Read more about how Gagne and Schwenk built their craft brew business. 

11. Furniture maker

furniture
Matthew Nafranowicz, a master craftsman, started doing upholstery work more than two decades ago.

In 2002, Matthew Nafranowicz opened his furniture upholstery storefront, The Straight Thread, in Madison, Wisconsin. 

Furniture upholstery represents an estimated $1 billion market in the US, and government data shows it employs roughly 30,000 people.

Read more about how Nafranowicz built his furniture upholstery business. 

12. Self-published author

sally

Sally Miller is a self-published author who’s written and co-authored 15 books on Amazon. She made $9,000 in royalties in January, her highest amount to date, according to documents viewed by Insider. 

“It meets my two criteria, which is that I’m making money and doing something I really enjoy,” said Miller, who built a following through her subject matter, which focuses on how people can make money through various entrepreneurial ventures, like Airbnb and ghostwriting.

Read more about how Miller built her self-publishing business. 

Read the original article on Business Insider

The most transformative CEOs of 2021

Most impressive CEOs collage including Shantanu Narayen of Adobe, Albert Bourla of Pfizer, Mary Barra of GM, Jensen Huang of NVIDIA
From left: Shantanu Narayen, the CEO of Adobe; Albert Bourla, the CEO of Pfizer; Mary Barra, the CEO of GM; Jensen Huang, the CEO of Nvidia.

Leadership in 2021 is marked by transformation.

Of business models, of workforces, of organizations themselves. Insider’s inaugural list of the Most Transformative CEOs celebrates the four executives who are best meeting the needs of their many stakeholders. They do not merely protect the bottom line. They also devise strategies to respond to changing markets, tackle the climate crisis, and serve as stewards for the well-being of their employees – and the world.

Insider is proud to announce this first class:

Mary Barra, the CEO of General Motors

Albert Bourla, the CEO of Pfizer

Jensen Huang, the CEO of Nvidia

Shantanu Narayen, the CEO of Adobe

Insider arrived at this list by way of both quantitative and qualitative analysis. We considered the 100 CEOs of the largest publicly traded US companies by market capitalization on the S&P 500 who have been in their positions since at least January 2019. We ruled out executives who are on their way to stepping down, including Ken Frazier, the CEO of Merck.

We evaluated companies and CEOs across measures of recent financial performance, ratings on employee review sites Comparably and Glassdoor, typical employee compensation and the CEO-to-median-pay ratio, and the 2021 Just Capital ranking of companies’ commitment to social responsibility.

To choose the CEOs we wanted to feature, we considered the above metrics, as well as a qualitative sense of leaders guiding their firms through a historically difficult year. We believe these CEOs exemplify the traits and achievements needed to survive and thrive in that challenging environment.

Keep scrolling to learn more about what makes each CEO on Insider’s list deserving of the title of Most Transformative CEO.

MARY BARRA, the CEO of General Motors

Mary Barra, CEO of General Motors Company
Mary Barra, the CEO of General Motors.

Without doubt, the most successful CEO in GM’s recent four or five decades. Bob Lutz, a former GM vice chairman

READ FULL PROFILE


ALBERT BOURLA, the CEO of Pfizer

Albert Bourla, CEO of Pfizer
Albert Bourla, the CEO of Pfizer.

What they’ve done on the vaccine is remarkable. How quickly they’ve developed it, and now getting it out, especially in the US, is incredible. Vamil Divan, a senior biopharmaceuticals research analyst at Mizuho

READ FULL PROFILE


JENSEN HUANG, the CEO of Nvidia

Jensen Huang, CEO of Nvidia
Jensen Huang, the CEO of Nvidia.

One of these extremely rare individuals who has taken a zero-revenue company to $20 billion Rene Haas, Nvidia’s executive vice president

READ FULL PROFILE


SHANTANU NARAYEN, the CEO of Adobe

Shantanu Narayen, CEO of Adobe
Shantanu Narayen, the CEO of Adobe.

His ability to connect dots across different parts of the business, across different market trends, and then very succinctly distill the key decisions that need to be made is something I marvel at. Amit Ahuja, Adobe’s VP of Experience Cloud

READ FULL PROFILE

Read the original article on Business Insider

Marijuana legalization is sweeping the US. See every state where cannabis is legal.

medical marijuana cbd hemp weed smoking joint leafly flowers cannabis cox 82
  • Marijuana is legal for adults in 15 states and Washington, D.C. Medical marijuana is legal in 36.
  • New Jersey, Arizona, Montana, and South Dakota voted to legalize recreational marijuana in November’s elections.
  • New York legalized recreational cannabis on March 31.
  • Visit the Business section of Insider for more stories.

Marijuana legalization is spreading around the US.

Since 2012, 15 states and Washington, DC, have legalized marijuana for adults over the age of 21. And 36 states have legalized medical marijuana – meaning that a majority of Americans have access to marijuana, whether medically or recreationally.

New York became the latest state to embrace cannabis when Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed a bill legalizing marijuana on March 31. His move came shortly after New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy signed legislation officially legalizing marijuana in his state.

New Jersey was one of four states, along with Arizona, Montana, and South Dakota, where voters backed legalizing recreational cannabis in November. Voters in Mississippi approved the creation of a medical cannabis program.

Virginia and New Mexico are also close to legalizing recreational cannabis.

Some states that passed medical or recreational legislation through ballot measures have yet to iron out the details. For that reason Insider does not include South Dakota or Mississippi in our tally of markets where the substance is legal. Both states have faced legislative opposition to rolling out their programs.

Though Canada legalized marijuana federally in 2018, the US has not followed suit, forcing states to chart their own courses. As it stands, marijuana is still considered an illegal Schedule I drug by the US federal government.

Joe Biden’s victory in the presidential election and the Democratic party’s control of Congress could give marijuana a bigger boost in the US. In March, the SAFE Banking Act – a bill that would help cannabis businesses access banks – was reintroduced in both chambers of Congress.

Biden has said he would support federal decriminalization of the drug, and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer has said that marijuana reform will be a priority for the Senate this year.

All the states where marijuana is legal:

This article was first published in January 2018 and has been updated with new information about where cannabis is legal. It was updated on April 1 with New York’s legalization. Melia Russell contributed to an earlier version of this story.

Alaska

cannabis
A cannabis-testing laboratory in Santa Ana, California.

Adults 21 and over can light up in Alaska. In 2015, the northernmost US state made it legal for residents to use, possess, and transport up to an ounce of marijuana — roughly a sandwich bag full — for recreational use. The first pot shop opened for business in 2016.

Alaska has pounced on the opportunity to make its recreational-pot shops a destination for tourists. More than 2 million people visit Alaska annually and spend $2 billion.

Arizona

Curaleaf
Nate McDonald, General Manager of Curaleaf NY operations, talks about medical marijuana plants.

Arizona in 2020 voted to legalize cannabis for all adults over the age of 21

The measure had support from almost 60% of Arizona voters, according to Decision Desk HQ. 

The ballot measure was backed by a number of cannabis giants, including Curaleaf, Cresco, and Harvest Enterprises. 

The Arizona Department of Health Services began accepting applications for adult-use licenses on January 19. Approvals were issued just three days later on January 22. Sales began immediately.

Arizona rolled out adult-use sales faster than any other state that voted to pass recreational cannabis in the November elections. Companies already operating in the state’s medical market had a first crack at recreational customers.

 

 

California

cannabis
A MedMen store in West Hollywood, California, on January 2, 2018.

In 1996, California became the first state to legalize medical marijuana. California became even more pot-friendly in 2016 when it made it legal to use and carry up to 1 ounce of marijuana.

The law also permits adults 21 and over to buy up to 8 grams of marijuana concentrates, which are found in edibles, and grow no more than six marijuana plants per household.

Colorado

marijuana
A marijuana leaf.

In Colorado, there are more marijuana dispensaries than Starbucks and McDonald’s combined. The state joined Washington in becoming the first two states to fully legalize the drug in 2012.

Residents and tourists over the age of 21 can buy up to 1 ounce of marijuana or 8 grams of concentrates. Some Colorado counties and cities have passed more restrictive laws.

Illinois

JB Pritzker
Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker.

Illinois lawmakers in June 2019 passed a bill that legalized the possession and commercial sale of marijuana in the state starting on January 1, 2020.

Gov. J.B. Pritzker, who made marijuana legalization a core component of his campaign for the governor’s office, signed the bill into law.

Illinois is the one of the few states to legalize marijuana sales through a state legislature, rather than a ballot initiative.

Maine

marijuana
Harvested cannabis plants at Hexo Corp.’s facilities in Gatineau, Quebec, on September 26, 2018.

A ballot initiative in 2016 gave Maine residents the right to possess up to 2.5 ounces of marijuana, more than double the limit in most other states.

Massachusetts

cannabis
Medicinal cannabis cigarettes on July 12, 2018, at a cultivation facility in Milford, Massachusetts.

Massachusetts was the first state on the East Coast to legalize marijuana after voters approved the measure in 2016. 

Marijuana dispensaries opened their doors to consumers in November 2018. Adults over the age of 21 can purchase up to 1 ounce of marijuana but cannot consume it in public.

Michigan

marijuana
The Far West Holistic Center dispensary on November 7, 2018, in Detroit.

Voters in Michigan passed Proposition 1 in 2018, making it the first state in the Midwest to legalize the possession and sale of marijuana for adults over the age of 21. Adults can possess up to 2.5 ounces of marijuana, and residents can grow up to 12 plants at home.

The law is more permissive than other states with legal marijuana: Most allow residents to possess only up to 1 ounce at a time.

Montana

Cannabis
A CPlant employee organizes a box of hemp for export at the company’s farm on the outskirts of Tala, Uruguay, Thursday, Aug. 13, 2020.

Montana in 2020 voted to legalize recreational marijuana for adults 21 and over

Montana residents are officially allowed to use marijuana as of January 1, 2021. A year later, the state will begin to open up applications for dispensaries. 

New Jersey

cannabis
A CPlant employee trims a hemp flower for export at the company’s farm on the outskirts of Tala, Uruguay, Thursday, Aug. 13, 2020.

New Jersey in 2020 voted to legalize recreational marijuana for adults 21 and older, opening a market that could near $1 billion.

In February, Gov. Phil Murphy signed the legalization legislation, after months of back-and-forth arguments about criminal penalties for minors possessing marijuana and the proper way to set up a licensing framework for cannabis sales in the state, among other details. Sales of cannabis for adult use could start in the second half of this year, analysts at Cowen said.

New York

new york when is weed legal timeline
A man holds a sign at a pro-legalization rally outside of New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s office in Manhattan

After two failed attempts to legalize adult-use cannabis in New York, the state finally passed recreational marijuana on March 31, 2021.

Though New Yorkers are now able to possess and smoke cannabis legally in the state, sales aren’t expected to begin for at least a year.

Andrew Carter, an analyst at Stifel, said he expects recreational cannabis sales to begin in late 2022. Analysts from Cantor Fitzgerald and Stifel estimated that New York could become a $5 billion cannabis market by 2025.

Nevada

marijuana recreational dispensary las vegas nevada
The Essence cannabis dispensary on July 1, 2017, in Las Vegas.

Residents and tourists who are 21 and over can buy 1 ounce of marijuana or one-eighth of an ounce of edibles or concentrates in Nevada.

There’s bad news if you want to grow your own bud, though. Nevada residents must live 25 miles outside the nearest dispensary to be eligible for a grower’s license.

Oregon

marijuana cannabis cost Canada United States
Oregon’s Finest medical-marijuana dispensary in Portland, Oregon, on April 8, 2014.

Oregon legalized marijuana in 2015, and sales in the state started October 1 of that year. 

South Dakota

Aurora Cannabis
A team member of Aurora Cannabis works in the grow room at Aurora Sky cannabis growing greenhouse in Alberta, Canada, in this 2018 handout image.

South Dakota in 2020 voted to legalize both medical and recreational cannabis, the first time a state has voted in favor of both at the same time.

State lawmakers have until April 2022 to create rules around cannabis, including regulations around dispensaries.  

Vermont

cannabis
Cannabis plants in a laboratory.

Vermont became the first state to legalize marijuana through the legislature, rather than a ballot initiative, when Republic Gov. Phil Scott signed a bill into law in January 2018.

Adults in the Green Mountain State can carry up to 1 ounce of marijuana and grow no more than two plants for recreational use. The law went into effect in July 2018. But it was limited in scope. It didn’t establish a legal market for the production and sale of the drug.

In 2020, the state legislature passed a bill that would allow for adult-use sales in the state. All localities must opt-in to allow for dispensaries, however. Sales are expected in 2022.

Washington

medical marijuana
A medical-marijuana plantation on March 21, 2017.

Marijuana was legalized for recreational use in Washington in 2012.

The state allows people to carry up to 1 ounce of marijuana, but they must use the drug for medicinal purposes to be eligible for a grower’s license.

Washington, DC

Capitol Hill sunset

Residents in the nation’s capital voted overwhelmingly to legalize marijuana for adult use in November 2014.

The bill took effect in 2015, allowing people to possess 2 ounces or less of marijuana and “gift” up to an ounce, if neither money nor goods or services are exchanged.

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Charts show the US on the brink of a 4th coronavirus surge as variants spread and states relax restrictions

2021 florida spring break
Revelers flock to the beach to celebrate spring break in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, on March 5, 2021.

  • US coronavirus cases have increased 12% in the last week. About 30 states are reporting upticks.
  • Experts think the spread of a more infectious, deadlier variant is partially to blame.
  • Charts show how cases are spiking in the six states seeing some of the most dramatic increases.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Although 23% of the US population is now vaccinated against the coronavirus, the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has warned of “impending doom.”

In a press briefing on Wednesday, Rochelle Walensky said the US is in “a critical moment in our fight against the pandemic.”

In the last seven days, average daily case numbers have trended up in more than 30 US states. The country’s daily number of new cases has risen 12% during that time, according to Walensky. Hospitalizations nationally increased 5%, on average, over the last two weeks.

“For the health of our country, we must work together now to prevent a fourth surge,” Walensky said earlier this week.

US deaths are still trending down overall, but spikes in mortality typically appear at least three weeks after cases go up. And 900 Americans dying of COVID-19 per day is still far too many, Walensky said.

Not all states are seeing equal surges – the rise in new COVID-19 cases is more pronounced in the Northeast, Michigan, and Florida.

Anthony Fauci, President Joe Biden’s chief medical advisor, said states with new case spikes share commonalities: They are either loosening restrictions on indoor activities and gatherings too quickly, or they’re being disproportionately affected by infectious coronavirus variants, like the B.1.1.7 variant first found in the UK. Or both.

“This tension between the desire to start opening up and the risk associated with B.1.1.7 is placing us in a precarious position,” Yonatan Grad, an infectious-disease researcher at Harvard’s T.H. Chan School of Public Health, told STAT. “It would be great if people could wait a little bit longer until we get higher levels of vaccine coverage.”

States with more variant cases are seeing surges

Florida’s cases have increased 8% in the last two weeks, as hordes of college students and spring breakers flocked to beaches near Miami for vacation.

CDC data shows Florida has both the highest total number of B.1.1.7 cases – 2,351 – and a higher proportion of total cases linked to the variant than any other state: 13.2%. Studies have found that this mutated strain is 50% to 70% more contagious than its predecessors.

“More infections will result because of B.1.1.7,” Walensky said Wednesday. B.1.1.7 is responsible for about 26% of US cases to date.

Michigan is also struggling with B.1.1.7’s spread. It has 15% of the US’s total cases linked to that variant: more than 1,230. Studies suggest people who get infected with B.1.1.7 are up to 64% more likely to die than those who get other coronavirus strains.

Michigan’s weekly average of new daily cases have increased almost fourfold in the last five weeks, despite a statewide mask mandate. Jackson and Flint have some of the highest case rates in the US.

Daily hospitalizations in Michigan have more than doubled in the last month.

New York, too, is seeing a new spike that could be due to infectious variants – both B.1.1.7 and another variant called B.1.526, which was first detected in New York City in the fall.

Epidemiologist Dr. Jay Varma, New York City’s senior advisor for public health, told Gothamist that together, B.1.1.7 and B.1.526 accounted for more than half of New York City’s coronavirus cases in mid-March.

The state’s weekly average of new daily cases rose 42% over two weeks. Together with New Jersey, it has one of the highest per-capita case rates in the US.

Large gatherings and a lack of masks lead to more transmission

Many states experiencing surges have also loosened coronavirus-related restrictions on masks and gathering sizes in the last month, contrary to recommendations from the CDC.

“Consistently, three times a week for 10 weeks, Dr. Walensky has said, ‘Wear a mask, avoid crowds, socially distance, and don’t travel unless it’s absolutely essential,'” Andy Slavitt, an administrator on Biden’s COVID-19 advisory team, said during the Wednesday briefing. “We repeat that in all our conversations with governors. We repeat that in all our conversations with local officials.”

However, Florida, along with 17 other states, no longer have mask mandates. Texas Gov. Greg Abbott lifted the state’s mask mandate on March 10, and also eliminated capacity restrictions for all Texas businesses, including restaurants and bars.

Texas’s weekly average of new daily cases has remained above 3,200 for the last six months.

New Jersey, another new hot spot, has seen its average number of new daily cases increase by more than 50% since March 1.

New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy allowed restaurants and businesses, including gyms and salons, to increase their capacity to 50% starting March 19. Murphy also said earlier this month that indoor events can include up to 150 people.

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, meanwhile, recently announced that arts and entertainment venues can reopen starting April 2, holding up to 100 people indoors and 200 people outdoors. He eased restrictions on weddings, sporting events, and concerts earlier this month.

Pennsylvania, too, is seeing a surge that coincides with its recent reopening.

The state will allow restaurants to increase indoor seating capacity to 75% starting this Sunday. Since March 1, Pennsylvania guidelines have allowed indoor concert venues and arenas to operate at 15% capacity.

The state recorded roughly 28,300 new cases in the week ending March 30: a 33% increase from the week prior.

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Scientists are reaching a new understanding about Alzheimer’s disease

Hello,

Welcome to Insider Healthcare. I’m Lydia Ramsey Pflanzer, back after a week away to ski and feeling refreshed. Today in healthcare news:

If you’re new to this newsletter, sign up here. Comments, tips, tricks for successfully scheduling vaccine appointments in the state of Colorado? Email me at lramsey@insider.com or tweet @lydiaramsey125. Now, let’s get to it…


alzheimers research 4x3

Scientists are coming around to a surprising new understanding of Alzheimer’s disease, and it could supercharge drug development for the $1.1 trillion problem

Find out more here>>


Vaccine distribution

CDC: Real-world data shows Pfizer’s and Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccines are 90% effective at preventing infection

Get the full story here>>


One of Crossover Health's exam rooms at its Midtown, Manhattan location.
One of Crossover Health’s exam rooms at its Midtown, Manhattan location.

An investor presentation lays out how a key healthcare partner for Amazon is thinking about the future of its business

See the presentation here>>


More stories we’re reading today:


Lydia

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AT&T and Cigna are funding Republican groups led by election objectors they had promised to stop supporting

Republican Sens. Ted Cruz (center) and Josh Hawley (top) led the GOP effort to challenge Electoral College votes on January 6, which was interrupted as Trump supporters attempted to violently overturn Biden's victory.
  • AT&T and Cigna gave money to groups run by the GOP election objectors they pledged to stop supporting, Popular Information reported.
  • Some companies paused certain PAC contributions after GOP efforts to overturn Biden’s victory led to violence.
  • Here’s how much each S&P 500 corporate PAC had given – and if they’ve paused or resumed contributions.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

AT&T and Cigna both gave money last month to groups overseen by Republican lawmakers who sought to overturn the US presidential election results in January, despite earlier promises to pause support for those lawmakers, Popular Information’s Jedd Legum reported Friday.

After violent pro-Trump rioters stormed the Capitol, interrupting the GOP’s last-ditch effort to invalidate states’ Electoral College results, companies faced intense public criticism over their financial support of the 147 Republican members of Congress who backed the effort.

Amid the backlash, dozens of major corporations said they would pause contributions and reevaluate how they determine which lawmakers to support.

Yet barely a month later, AT&T and Cigna gave contributions to Republican groups led by – and benefitting – those same lawmakers.

AT&T’s Political Action Committee (PAC), just 35 days after pausing contributions to the 147 election objectors, gave $5,000 to the House Conservative Fund in February, according to Legum. Rep. Mike Johnson, a Republican from Louisiana who voted against certifying Electoral College results, sits on the fund’s executive committee – while other objectors are among its membership.

“Our employee PACs continue to adhere to their policy adopted on January 11 of suspending contributions to campaign committees of members of Congress who voted to object to the certification of Electoral College votes. Our employee PACs did not adopt a policy to halt contributions to Democratic and Republican multi-candidate PACs, however,” an AT&T spokesperson told Insider in a statement.

They added that while the contribution “was not intended to circumvent the current suspension policy regarding individual campaigns,” the PAC “is requesting that none of its contribution to the House Conservative Fund or to any other multi-candidate PAC go to any member of congress who objected to the Electoral College votes.”

“Going forward, our employee PACs will begin reviewing all multi-candidate PAC contributions for consistency with the policy on individual campaign contributions,” the spokesperson said.

Insider could not immediately confirm whether AT&T’s PAC was aware of Rep. Johnson’s connection to the House Conservative Fund when it made the contribution or when the PAC requested that the funds not benefit him or other objectors.

Cigna, which had said it would “discontinue support of any elected official who encouraged or supported violence, or otherwise hindered a peaceful transition of power,” continued that support just 22 days later by giving $15,000 to the National Republican Senatorial Committee, Legum reported. The NRSC is chaired by GOP Sen. Rick Scott of Florida, another election objector.

Cigna did not respond to requests for comment on this story.

Political Action Committees backed by S&P 500 companies gave more than $23 million to the 147 GOP election objectors during the most recent campaign cycles (2020 for House members; 2016 and 2018 for senators), according to an Insider analysis of Federal Election Commission data provided by the Center for Responsive Politics.

Critics, from activists to shareholders to other executives, have argued the contributions helped those lawmakers get elected and stay in power, giving them the platform they used to undermine voters’ faith in the election (which Trump’s former top cybersecurity official called “the most secure in American history“).

Read more: Democrats are plotting the death – and rebirth – of a hamstrung Federal Election Commission now that they’ll control the White House and both chambers of Congress

Following reporting from Popular Information and other media outlets, many companies began rethinking their political contributions.

Companies’ commitments varied widely, however.

Few have permanently blacklisted election objectors, and as Democratic Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez pointed out, the largest contributions typically happen right before, not after elections, leaving the door open for companies to resume their support once the public’s attention has turned elsewhere – an argument bolstered by AT&T and Cigna’s recent contributions.

Other companies paused all PAC contributions, potentially allowing them to benefit from the positive PR without having to explicitly condemn – or risk alienating – more than half of the Republicans in Congress.

Still, dozens issued public statements or internal memos announcing they would pause contributions while reevaluating how they use their money to influence politics.

Here’s a list of the S&P 500 companies – some of the largest and most influential businesses in the US – how much they gave to the 147 election objectors in the latest election cycles through their corporate PACs, and whether they’ve pulled (or resumed) their support.

Correction: An earlier version of this article stated that AT&T’s employee PAC had violated its policy, announced January 11, that it would “suspend contributions to members of Congress who voted to object to the certification of Electoral College votes,” by giving to a multi-candidate fund that includes such members. AT&T’s PAC did not adopt a policy to suspend contributions to multi-candidate groups, a spokesperson said.

Do you work for one of these companies and have information about how they’re responding to recent events? We’d love to hear how they’re navigating the current political landscape. Contact this reporter using a non-work device via encrypted messaging app Signal ( +1 503-319-3213 ), email (tsonnemaker@insider.com), or Twitter (@TylerSonnemaker ). We can keep sources anonymous. PR pitches by email only, please.

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These 31 startups are revolutionizing the way Americans buy homes and use offices

tech real estate vcs 4x3
The founders of “proptech” startups – firms that make various real-estate transactions or processes cheaper or more efficient using technology – are propelling a historically staid industry into the 21st century.

Real estate was long overdue for an overhaul.

Until recently, many processes that governed how physical spaces traded hands or were managed – not just buying, selling, and renting homes but also overseeing office towers and organizing warehouses – were only conducted via in-person deals or negotiations.

But a crop of companies focusing on real-estate technology, colloquially known as known as proptech, has emerged to modernize segments of the industry.

Take Beyond HQ, a San Francisco-based firm that harnesses proprietary technology to advise Bay Area companies when and where they should open new office locations. Then there’s MeetElise, an artificial-intelligence assistant (also known as a chatbot) that fields inquiries and requests from potential renters for landlords who own and operate multiple units.

Even before the pandemic, startups like these raised impressive sums. Then the coronavirus crisis hit. Social distancing made it even more essential to embrace new, virtual solutions for conducting the day-to-day essential tasks of the real-estate business. As a result, proptech startups – which made pockets of the sector faster, cheaper, and smarter – blossomed further. Beyond HQ raised $1.75 million, for example, while MeetElise pulled off a $6.5 million round in 2020.

To determine which startups are truly gamechangers, Insider reached out to venture capitalists to ask which proptech firms will continue to thrive in a post-pandemic world. We evaluated dozens of nominations for companies that are proving their relevance amid major cultural shifts in where employees live and what offices are even for. Also notable is increased digital adoption by everyday people buying or renting homes as well as industry professionals including realtors, landlords, office managers, contractors, and warehouse workers.

Weeks of careful vetting resulted in this list of the 31 hottest proptech startups right now.

Below, find two of the companies that VCs said have bright futures. Please see the full list for all 31 firms.

You can read the full story here if you’re an Insider subscriber.

Beyond HQ

Madhu Chamarty BeyondHQ
Madhu Chamarty, Beyond HQ founder & CEO.

City: San Francisco

Year founded: 2019

Total funding: $1.75 million 

What it does: Develops software to help companies figure out where and when they should open new offices. 

Why it’s hot: Two years ago, Madhu Charmaty noticed that tech companies in the Bay Area had tapped out the area’s workforce. He figured they could use a tool to explore other locations to set up operations and recruit talent, and Beyond HQ was born.

Then the coronavirus crisis prompted a mass nationwide migration of employees freed to relocate by the widespread adoption of flexible and remote work schedules. Now a year of pandemic work-from-home trends could further accelerate adoption of the company’s software, which pools data from myriad sources to calculate how firms can create a footprint that best caters to a resettled employee pool and evaluate the costs and opportunities of entering new markets.

Beyond HQ’s 2020 revenue was $200,000, Charmaty told Insider, adding that he expects to o more than double — to $500,000 — this year. The company is also close to raising another round of funding in range of $2.5 million to $3 million from venture capital backers, a sum that would bring its total fundraising to nearly $5 million. 

You can read the full story here if you’re an Insider subscriber.

MeetElise

MeetElise CEO Minna Song
MeetElise CEO Minna Song.

City: New York City

Year founded: 2017

Total funding: $8.4 million

What it does: Artificial-intelligence assistant helps owners of multifamily properties lease units faster and more efficiently by communicating with prospective renters.

Why it’s hot: Created by two MIT and Cambridge grads, “Elise” is an AI chatbot that can almost instantly answer prospective renters’ questions about apartment availability, floor plans, special rates, and more.

This digital communication frees up leasing agents’ time and can easily convert house hunters to applicants to residents. The technology — which modernizes a once tedious paper-and-people-based leasing process — is already in use at two giant property-management companies, Equity Residential and AvalonBay. The two rental juggernauts manage a combined 160,000 apartments.

MeetElise, led by CEO Minna Song, raised $6.5 million in Series A funding during the pandemic.

You can read the full story here if you’re an Insider subscriber.

Want to see the rest of the hottest real estate tech startups? Click here to read the full list.

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