Microsoft’s $500 Million Affordable Housing Approach

By CultureBanx Team

  • Microsoft pledges $500M to Seattle’s affordable housing crisis

  • The black homeless rate in Seattle’s King County is 29.2%

CBx Vibe:Welcome to Seattle” Boom Bap Project

Microsoft (MSFT +0.91%) is trying to build a more inclusive Seattle with a $500 million cash injection into the city’s affordable housing projects. The tech giant created a $475 million trust fund to support the creation of middle-income housing, along with a $25 million donation to address homelessness. In a city that’s home to two of the largest tech companies, Amazon (AMZN +0.95%) and Microsoft, can a society that values private profits more than public welfare, ever truly address the problems of its own making?

Why This Matters: Since Microsoft has committed such a small portion of the money to addressing homelessness it will be hard to move the needle. A point-in-time count last year tallied more than 11,600 homeless people in King County which is the area of Seattle where Microsoft is located. Black people represent 6.2% of King County’s population and have the highest homeless rate at 29.2%. These figures are a 23% over representation for African Americans in Seattle’s homeless sector, according to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s American Community Survey.

Changing the Game: DarcMatter Sheds Light on Alternative Investments

By CultureBanx Team

CBx Vibe:Mo Money Mo Problems” The Notorious B.I.G.

A lot of the alternative investment industry lacks transparency and many tasks still require manual attention, so Natasha Bansgopaul co-founder of DarcMatter created a platform to change that. The company’s alternative investment marketplace is used to connect fund managers actively raising capital to investors globally, all while allowing them to access, execute documents and invest in alternative fund products. Typically, many of these tasks require the participation of numerous intermediaries that provide compliance, security, and transparency. “We are using fintech solutions to reclaim a lot of the traditional backend processes,” Bansgopaul said. They work within the accredited investor universe that tends to look for more structured opportunities, “specifically private illiquid funds that have at least 2-3 years of performance history.” With one of the most diverse fintech management teams, DarcMatter had $240 million in investment interest indicated on the platform for 2017 and they are on track to double that for 2018.

Airbnb Becoming a Mainstay in Africa

By CultureBanx Team

  • Nigeria, Ghana and Mozambique are among Airbnb’s 8 fastest growing markets globally

  • African Airbnb hosts have earned over $400 million in income since 2008

CBx Vibe:Destiination” Desiigner

Airbnb is booming in several African countries as the company makes the shift from novelty accommodation to a mainstream tourist option. Since launching on the continent, the travel startup has garnered more than 130,000 listings which have seen over 3.5 million guest arrivals. Nigeria, Ghana and Mozambique are all among Airbnb’s eight fastest growing markets globally.

Why This Matters: Airbnb’s growth on the continent is also depicted through the seven countries that all recorded more than a 100% increase in guest arrivals over the past year. South Africa’s Cape Town is Airbnb’s top market but Nigeria, Ghana and Mozambique have seen the most increase in guests arrivals of 213%, 141% and 136% respectively.

Which Emotional Stage of Crypto Trading Are You in Now?

By ICO Alert

  • The crypto market can swing up or down by 10% to 20% in a day’s time

  • Keep your emotions in check when trading crypto

CBx Vibe:Sicko Mode” Travis Scott

When you punch your ticket for the rollercoaster ride known as the crypto market, it’s important to keep your emotions in check. What goes up must come down, and what goes low typically finds a higher low. This at least rings true for the stock market, and much of Bitcoin’s young trading life has followed suit.

Why This Matters: Let’s take a closer look at a few of the 14 emotions one might encounter while in the cryptocurrency market. First up, “optimism”: Congratulations, you’ve just purchased your first cryptocurrency. Someone at the water cooler must have been pretty convincing because you almost skipped straight to the “Panic” step when you were presented with two 34-character, alphanumeric hashes representing a public and private key that look like the most ridiculous WiFi passwords ever.

Tesla Recharges Board Diversity With New Director

By CultureBanx Team

  • Tesla named Kathleen Wilson-Thompson to its board of directors

  • Only 3 black CEOs are leading Fortune 500 companies

CBx Vibe:Black Beatles” Rae Sremmurd

Electric car maker Tesla (TSLA -12.97%) recently announced it added two new board members, Walgreens (WBA +0.61%) human resources executive Kathleen Wilson-Thompson and tech icon Larry Ellison. This is all part of the company’s plan to complete its obligations from the $20 million SEC settlement last fall. Can Wilson address what many Tesla employees have described as a harsh working culture?

Why This Matters: As production of Tesla’s Model 3 ramped up so did allegations of unfair and unsafe working conditions. Kathleen will need to tap into her decades worth of leadership experience in HR to help Tesla with their internal strife. She can also use her “passion for sustainable energy,” along with the wealth of knowledge that comes from serving on two other public U.S.-based manufacturing companies boards to help mend the electric car maker.

Fast Food Companies Race Towards the African American Dollar

By Fredrick Lee

  • TV marketing increased more than 50% targeting African Americans

  • Black adults have the second highest obesity rate at 46.8%

CBx Vibe:Hooked” Siimba Liives Long

Food companies are hungry to get in front of African American consumers and have ramped up their TV marketing more than 50%. This community has a reported spending power of  $1.3 trillion, and part of that is tied to their daily purchases and consumption of food. While black people may be on food companies radars, are they only pushing the non-healthy options to this demographic?   

Why This Matters: Unfortunately, this increased marketing has been tied to fast-food chains and packaged or processed food products, according to a report from University of Connecticut’s Rudd Center for Food Policy & Obesity. From 2013 to 2017, the study found Pepsi’s (PEP -1.11%) spending on TV commercials targeting black shoppers increased by 37%, and Taco Bell’s parent company Yum! Brands (YUM -0.73%) rose 31%. It’s a clever strategy when you consider meals that are easy or have no prep time, large availability and effective marketing can make these foods the first choice.  

Vista’s $1 Billion Level Up With Quick Base Coding

By CultureBanx Team

  • Robert Smith’s Vista Equity acquired a $1 billion majority stake in Quick Base

  • Vista was among the early private equity firms to focus on SaaS

CBx Vibe:Untouchable” Pusha T

Private equity firm Vista Equity Partners, helmed by Robert Smith is going big into the coding for non-techies space. They just acquired a $1 billion majority stake in Quick Base, a software company that provides people with no coding experience the tools to build internal software platforms.

Why This Matters: Vista will buy the majority stake from Welsh Carson Anderson & Stowe, with the latter keeping a minority stake, according to the Wall Street Journal. Smith’s business was among the early private equity firms to focus on software-as-a-service (SaaS) companies and has since become one of the largest owners of enterprise software products in the world.

Changing the Game: Color Farm Media Brings Blockchain to Diverse Content

By CultureBanx Team

CBx Vibe:Another Star” Stevie Wonder

Erika Alexander and Ben Arnon are pushing the boundaries of content with their media and venture company Color Farm. They’re bringing diversity to the screen as the new Motown of film, TV, media and tech. In addition to what you see on screen they are also tapping into news with The Blackness, which is built on Civil’s blockchain platform. The two media mavens will be publishing long-form multimedia stories that focus on underrepresented communities of color and marginalized groups. “We’re both creators and if you’re of a certain age a lot of media has been carried through the white male perspective, this is a dismantling of that infrastructure,” said Alexander a well known actress for her role on Living Single and movies like Get Out. Using a decentralized platform like Civil for The Blackness will help protect their stories from any outside interference. “We’re building out an ecosystem to bring various opportunities to underrepresented groups of people...technology has to be a part of the media system,” said Arnon. Color Farm is cultivating and nurturing talent of diverse backgrounds, next up they will produce a documentary about John Lewis and the Boys Choir of Harlem.

Cloudy Skies Hovering Over the Weather Channel in New Lawsuit

By Taylor Durham

  • Byron Allen’s Weather Channel is being sued for deceptive data mining practices

  • The Weather Channel app has over 100 million users

CBx Vibe:Somebody’s Watching Me” Rockwell

The ongoing debate about digital privacy has blown the doors wide open at Byron Allen’s Weather Channel, less than a year after he purchased it for $300 million. Just last week the city of Los Angeles filed suit against the Weather Company for deceptive data mining practices. It’s an industry that rakes in millions of dollars a year, but the Weather Channel may get washed out of any profits.

Why This Matters: The Weather Channel app has over 100 million users, 45 million of those who use it monthly. In order to get localized weather reporting, the suit claims users were prompted to turn on their location settings, but the data was collected for undisclosed commercial purposes. Primarily the data was used to deliver specific advertisements to its users based on their geographic location. IBM (IBM +1.11%) and The Weather Channel have updated their privacy policy to reflect the changes.

Amazon’s IMDb Freebie Content Approach For Black Viewers

By CultureBanx Team

  • IMDb Freedive streaming platform will now be free and ad supported

  • African Americans stream videos more frequently than the total U.S. population

CBx Vibe:Go Get the Money” Zaytoven

Film and TV website IMDb is gearing up to take a larger share of the ad market with its free streaming video channel. The Amazon (AMZN -0.95%) owned platform wants to grab a larger share of the digital ad market with “IMDb Freedive” and attract more viewers. With African Americans streaming videos more frequently on all devices than the total U.S. population, it will be important for Amazon’s IMDb to connect with these viewers to get advertisers who want to be in front of this audience.

Why This Matters: Even though IMDb’s streaming service will be free, competition is getting intense in this space. IMDb needs to create authentic content connections with African Americans, as Nielsen found they are the top consumers of streaming video.

Does LeBron James Own His Tattoos?

By Justin Moore

  • Tattoos in sports video games are facing legal challenges

  • Video game market estimated to generate $138 billion in 2018

CBx Vibe:Tattoo” The Alliance Feat. Fabo

A company that acquires and licenses tattoo designs has filed suit against the makers of the popular video game series by Take-Two Interactive (TTWO +1.44%) NBA 2K, for including a digital re-creation of one of LeBron James’ tattoos in the game. Solid Oak Sketches claims it acquired the rights to the design from the tattoo artist who penned it on James, and they allege the NBA 2K producers owe them big for featuring the ink in the game without paying them a licensing agreement.

Why This Matters: Video games are becoming more and more life-like and tattoos are a part of that authenticity. Imagine a virtual LeBron with no tattoos. Player’s associations, in this case the NBA PA, often license the likenesses of its players to video game makers but it’s not clear whether that includes tattoos.

Slack’s Diverse Workforce Powers Unique IPO Strategy

By CultureBanx Team

  • Slack is planning a direct share listing on the NYSE instead of a traditional IPO

  • The company’s tech workforce is 5.5% black

CBx Vibe:Money” Cardi B

One of Silicon Valley’s most diverse tech companies is taking its talent to the NYSE through a direct share listing. Slack, the messaging software giant is following the path set out by a few other businesses that have decided to side step the traditional IPO process. Armed with a tech workforce combination that’s 5.5% black, 7% Latino and 4% mixed-race, along with a $7 billion valuation the company could be one of the biggest to enter the public markets this year.

Why This Matters: Slack doesn’t need the publicity or the capital that comes with a regular IPO, a person familiar with the matter said. Even though they don’t need those things to go public, perception is still very important to the company. As the messaging platform continues to strive to better represent its customers internally, they’ve ramped up diversity efforts ahead of their anticipated IPO. Overall, diversity in tech is way below all private industries in the U.S., with blacks making up 7.4% of its workforce compared to 14.4% across all private industries.