Changing the Game: Fangage Digitizes Sports Photo Signings

By CultureBanx Team

  CBx Vibe:Let it Fly” Lil Wayne Feat. Travis Scott

As a former college athlete Josh Bryant along with co-founder Emmanuel Sanders of the Denver Broncos, had a clear understanding of the way fans best connected with athletes through digital engagement, so they launched Fangage. It’s a platform that allows fans to upload personal photos to their favorite celebrities and receive a signed digital copy back. “People are taking more pictures at sporting events and are more interested in getting their personal pics signed rather than a stock photo,” said Bryant. The intrinsic value lies with celebrities signing the photos live on Fangage’s social media platforms. “People purchase our product because of the sentimental value it provides not the resale value.” They have 35,000 registered users for their B2C model where consumers are charged per picture upload.

Adidas Races To Beyonce In New Sales Revival Sneaker Deal

By CultureBanx Team

  • Beyoncé is set to relaunch Ivy Park and footwear with Adidas

  • Adidas shares were up nearly 1.5% after the partnership announcement

CBx Vibe:Diva” Beyoncé

Beyoncé has taken her talents to Adidas (ADDYY +1.23%) to create sneakers and (ADDYY +1.23%) for the relaunch of her Ivy Park athleisure line. Adidas has been relying heavily on fashion and not  so much on actual sports, during a time when urban culture continues to be sewn into corporate strategy. So there’s a lot at stake for Adidas in the sneaker race, as the culture around sports becomes almost more meaningful and profitable.

Why This Matters: Sneakers and fashion are industries that often rely on exclusivity and hype. Since Adidas has experienced a decline in sales and some people see their biggest problem isn’t about focusing on fashion over sports, but more so the marketing push behind them. This partnership with Beyoncé who wields 126 million Instagram followers, comes across as a strong influencer marketing move for Adidas. Valued at $1.07 billion, the influencer market is expected to more than double to $2.38 billion in 2019.

Angola’s Unitel Board Wants to Oust Africa’s Richest Woman

By CultureBanx Team

  • Isabel dos Santos owns a 25% stake in Unitel

  • Other shareholders want to cut down on the influence of dos Santos

CBx Vibe:We Ain’t Homies” Arin Ray Feat. YG

Africa’s richest woman Isabel dos Santos has been re-elected to the board of Unitel, Angola's biggest telecommunications company but not without controversy. The decision comes after speculation that dos Santos could have been ousted due to a shareholder dispute.

Why This Matters: Ownership of Unitel is split equally between Isabel dos Santos, Oi, Sonangol and Leopoldino do Nascimento, each has a 25% stake in the company. Sonangol recently started making waves on the board by hinting at possibly selling its stake, and wanted to cut down the influence dos Santos had at the company.

Papa John’s Takes A Cultural Shot With Shaquille O’Neal

By CultureBanx Team

  • Shaquille O’Neal becomes 1st African American to join Papa John’s Board

  • Papa John’s Q4 same-store sales in North America decreased by 8.1%

CBx Vibe:Notice Me” Migos

Papa John’s (PZZA +1.91%) is going through a major identity crisis and has tapped NBA Hall of Famer Shaquille O’Neal to repair its image. In addition to becoming the pizza chains new frontman, set to appear in TV ads, he also joined the company’s board of directors and will invest in nine of its Atlanta restaurants. Will O’Neal be able to make the public forget about Papa John’s diversity issues and help revive sales?

Why This Matters: The fourth largest pizza chain’s problems all started when its founder John Schnatter got involved in the NFL’s protests against police brutality in November 2017, and then he used a racial slur during a conference call. Schnatter claimed the protests were affecting pizza sales and the company’s shares have been struggling ever since, down nearly 10% in the last year. Bringing on O’Neal, who is a likeable personality and the first African American to join Papa John's board into the fold, may redirect customers attention away from its shortcomings and help sell more pizza.

Splice Turns Up the Music Sampling Business Model

By Taylor Durham

  • Music sampling company Splice raised $57.5M

  • The Winstons are credited with producing the most sampled piece of music in history

CBx Vibe:Hip-Hop Saved My Life” Lupe Fiasco

The art of music sampling as we know today has been around for decades, made famous by the early DJ and producers of hip-hop. Now, music creation and collaboration company Splice has raised $57.5 million in a Series C funding round. It joins the ranks of other subscription-based platforms that offer aspiring musicians access to a vast database of sampled loops, beats, hits and tracks.

Why This Matters: The most notable riffs, kicks, and hits have come from Black music and have been sampled countless times without acknowledgment or proper credit. Splice can change the game by creating new revenue streams outside of the industry standards. The twist? Splice lets musicians sell their music royalty-free and charges users $7.99 per month. This model has allowed Splice to pay out more than $15 million since 2013. The catch, are the right people getting paid?

Lyft’s Stock for Minority Drivers Could Help Close Wealth Gap

By CultureBanx Team

  • 56% of Lyft drivers are minorities

  • Lyft gave long-standing drivers one time bonuses up to $10K to buy stock

CBx Vibe:Gassed Up!” XXXTentacion

Some of Lyft's (LYFT +8.74%) drivers are likely still turning up after the company’s successful $26 billion public market debut. The ride sharing platform offered a rare opportunity for some of its drivers to become stockholders and join other stakeholders in the quest for profitability and returns. Since minority drivers are the majority at Lyft, could we start to see more of these underrepresented groups investing in stocks and start to close the wealth gap?

Why This Matters: Minority drivers literally put the ride sharing service on the map and 56% of them identify with this group, according to the 2019 Economic Impact report sent by Lyft spokesperson Daniel Roberts. Also, 44% of rides start or end in low income areas. In some of Lyft’s most popular markets like New York City and San Francisco, 82% and 66% of drivers identify with a minority group respectively.  

Changing the Game: Barley Sober Serves Up the Starbucks of Nightlife

By CultureBanx Team

CBx Vibe:All Night” Chance the Rapper

When founder Rohan Brown realized the hassle bar patrons went through trying to get the bartender's attention, he created Barley Sober. It’s a mobile app that allows you to pre-order drinks at the bar and has changed the future of going out. He quickly saw how nightlife had become very inconvenient and non-active. It’s not just customers that benefit from the app, “bar owners were losing out on money because they’re unable to streamline their operations,” Brown said. Thanks to his platform bar owners aren’t missing out on sales and customers have a central location to easily pick up drinks. According to Brown, there are more than 400,000 bars, taverns and nightclubs in the U.S., that could create better customer experiences.  Among the busy bars currently using Barley Sober they have seen an increased process workflow from 12-15 minutes down to 4-5 minutes. Next up they plan to expand internationally.

Zimbabwe’s New Currency Exacerbates Poverty

By CultureBanx Team

  • Zimbabwe's central bank introduced a new currency called RTGS dollars

  • In 2009, the Zimbabwean dollar was destroyed due to hyperinflation

CBx Vibe:Left Da Bank” Zaytoven

Zimbabwe's central bank decided to introduce yet another currency into its already crippled financial system. The country recently started trading a sharply discounted replacement currency called RTGS, as they attempt to ease a cash shortage that has paralyzed the economy and forced millions deeper into poverty.  

Why This Matters: John Mangudya, Zimbabwe’s central bank chief perhaps views this as a safer and less risky bet after the Zimbabwean dollar was destroyed in 2009 due to hyperinflation. The BBC reported at its height prices were almost doubling every day and the central bank printed notes worth 100 trillion Zimbabwe dollars to try and keep up. The RTGS dollar is supposed to bring together bond notes, debit cards and mobile payments to make sure that they are all worth the same.

Are Chief Diversity Officers Losing the Good Fight?

By Fredrick Lee

  • Only 20% of Fortune 500 companies have diversity officers

  • More-diverse corporations outperform less-diverse competitors by 35%

CBx Vibe:Fragile” Tech N9ne Feat. Kendrick Lamar

Diversity and inclusion is a profitable avenue for corporations not to ignore.  However, recent bad press from corporations like Gucci and Prada raise questions about their commitment to diversity. Many chief diversity officers lack leadership support, resources and training. Perhaps this makes promoting diversity a harder commitment and sets these executives up for failure.

Why This Matters:  Only 20% of Fortune 500 companies employ chief diversity officers. In many cases corporate leaders listed diversity at the bottom of the top eight business strategies for their corporations. It’s easy to see why more than half of surveyed chief diversity officers in a 2018 McKinsey study, feels there is little or no support from corporate leaders for their work.

Facebook’s Multimillion Dollar Settlement Finally Stops Ad Discrimination

By CultureBanx Team

  • Facebook settles a $5M lawsuit over unfair advertising practices

  • In Q4 of 2018, Facebook’s ad revenues were $16.6B

CBx Vibe:Domino Effect” Kevin George

Facebook (FB +0.39%) is trying to get back right with its largest user group African Americans, by settling a $5 million lawsuit over unfair advertising practices. Protected groups who already face discrimination will no longer be excluded from viewing ads that can help them find jobs, a place to live, or even getting a loan. The real question is how will these changes impact Facebook’s aggressive advertising revenue?

Why This Matters: On the surface the monetary value of the settlement may not seem like much, considering Facebook made $16.8 billion in Q4 last year. It’s actually much deeper than money, because the social media giant is bringing a plethora of changes to how people can be targeted on the platform, based on the vast amounts of data it collects on more than 2 billion users. Prior to this settlement, Facebook's targeting algorithm allowed advertisers to exclude protected groups such as racial minorities, women and older workers from seeing housing, employment and credit offers.

Amazon’s Play for Black Beauty Dollars

By Christopher Pitts

  • Amazon launched Belei a private skin care product line

  • African Americans spent $465M on skin care preparations product

CBx Vibe:Brown Skin” India Arie

E-commerce giant Amazon (AMZN +0.54%) charted new territory by entering into the billion dollar beauty industry with the launch of Belei, a new skin care product line. This move can give them a bigger stake with African Americans, as market research has shown they contribute millions of dollars to the overall spending in the beauty and skincare sector.

Why This Matters: Data from The NPD Group shows this could be a well calculated move for Amazon, as the U.S. beauty market brought in $5.6 billion for skin care products alone in 2018. When it comes to personal appearance products, Black shoppers made significant investments in grooming aids to the tune of $127 million and spent $465 million on skin care preparations products, according to Nielsen.

Twitter Actively Pursuing Black & Latinx Employees

By CultureBanx Team

  • Dalana Brand is Twitter’s new head of diversity and inclusion

  • Twitter posted its black U.S. workforce jumped from 3.4% to 4.5% in 2018

CBx Vibe:Get Back Right” Lecrae & Zaytoven

Social media giant Twitter (TWTR +0.12%) is reshaping its workforce to better reflect the community it serves, through increasing the number of minorities and women by the end of 2019. With the guidance of its new head of diversity and inclusion Dalana Brand, the company plans to grow its stable of black and Latinx employees to at least 5%.

Why This Matters: While Twitter tries to mimic their user base internally it needs to focus on recruiting black professionals. Pew research found black adults  are the micro-blogging platforms largest user group at 26%. From December 2017 through December 2018, Twitter posted its black U.S. workforce jumped from 3.4% to 4.5% and the Latinx workforce grew from 3.4% to 3.9%.