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The UK’s first Bitcoin ATM

The UK’s first Bitcoin ATM

 

Buying coffee and scones with cryptocurrency: A coffee shop in London opened the country’s first Bitcoin ATM. 

The world’s most expensive stamp

The world’s most expensive stamp

 

Auctioned off at a record-breaking price of $9.48 million, the British Guiana remains the envy of stamp collectors around the world. 

The Importance of Picking the Right Investor with Carl Showalter

The Importance of Picking the Right Investor with Carl Showalter

 

A relatively recent phenomenon has complicated the investment landscape confronting the founder of the early stage company looking for funding. There used to be a time not too long ago when a founder had only two investor categories to choose from: angels or institutional VCs. Today, it is not that simple. The ecosystem of investors in the Bay Area includes angels, super angels, incubators and accelerators, corporate VCs, the institutional VC community (which itself has fragmented into side funds and specialties), crowdfunding, “demo” days, and the like. Even private equity firms and investment banking firms are coming “down market” to invest in startups, presenting the founder with a bewildering array of choices.

 

Our speaker, Carl Showalter, a partner at Opus Capital and an experienced investor with a long history in Silicon Valley, offers insights and wisdom on how a founder should think about the fundraising process. When is the right time to raise funding? How much money should the founder raise? What part of the investor ecosystem should a founder go to first? Is crowdfunding as good as it looks? What business models still require bootstrapping as a first step? When is the right time to bring in an institutional VC? 

Chris McKnett: The investment logic for sustainability

Chris McKnett: The investment logic for sustainability

 

Sustainability is pretty clearly one of the world’s most important goals; but what groups can really make environmental progress in leaps and bounds? Chris McKnett makes the case that it’s large institutional investors. He shows how strong financial data isn’t enough, and reveals why investors need to look at a company’s environmental, social and governance structures, too.

Chris McKnett helps institutional investors put money toward sustainable and socially-forward assets. 

 

WHY YOU SHOULD LISTEN TO HIM?

 

At State Street Global Advisors, Chris McKnett thinks deeply about how large investors, like banks, pension funds and endowments, can put their money in the right places — not just for better business, but for a better world. In his role as the head of State Street Global Advisors’ Environmental, Social and Governance Investing (ESG), McKnett develops sustainable-strategic products and integrates sustainability thinking directly into the investment process.

Luke Syson: How I learned to stop worrying and love “useless” art

Luke Syson: How I learned to stop worrying and love “useless” art

 

Luke Syson was a curator of Renaissance art, of transcendent paintings of saints and solemn Italian ladies – serious art. And then he changed jobs, and inherited the Met’s collection of ceramics — pretty, frilly, “useless” candlesticks and vases. He didn’t like it. He didn’t get it. Until one day….

As a curator at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Luke Syson accesses the richness of European history through sculpture.

 

WHY YOU SHOULD LISTEN TO HIM?

 

Luke Syson joined the Metropolitan Museum of Art in 2012 as the Iris and B. Gerald Cantor Curator in Charge of European Sculpture and Decorative Arts. This year, he co-curated the small but innovative exhibition “Plain or Fancy? Restraint and Exuberance in the Decorative Arts.” Before joining the Met Syson was Curator of Italian Painting before 1500 and Head of Research at the National Gallery, London. While at the National Gallery, he was curator of the exhibition “Renaissance Siena: Art for a City,” and in 2011 he organized the groundbreaking “Leonardo da Vinci: Painter at the Court of Milan.”

 

Syson was also one of the curators who organized the acclaimed Enlightenment Gallery at The British Museum and was part of the team that planned the new galleries for Medieval and Renaissance Art at the Victoria & Albert Museum.

 

Toby Eccles: Invest in social change

Toby Eccles: Invest in social change

toby eccles

 

Here’s a stat worth knowing: In the UK, 63% of men who finish short-term prison sentences are back inside within a year for another crime. Helping them stay outside involves job training, classes, therapy. And it would pay off handsomely — but the government can’t find the funds. Toby Eccles shares an imaginative idea for how to change that: the Social Impact Bond. It’s an unusual bond that helps fund initiatives with a social goal through private money — with the government paying back the investors (with interest) if the initiatives work.

Toby Eccles has created a radical financial instrument that helps private investors contribute to solving thorny public problems.

 

WHY YOU SHOULD LISTEN TO HIM?

 

All too often, an ex-inmate walks out of prison with the exact same problems he or she walked in with: lack of skills, lack of support, no job. And they end up re-offending and back in jail. It’s an expensive problem to fix, but it’s a much more expensive one to ignore. A director at Social Finance in London, Toby Eccles explores the arbitrage between those two options.

 

In 2010, his pioneering Social Impact Bond allowed private investors to support a UK program targeting ex-prisoners who served short sentences (the limited government funding only goes to ex-inmates who served long terms). The £5m scheme, funded by 17 investors, supports training and support for 1,000 ex-inmates; if they re-offend less than a control group, the government will pay investors back, plus interest, through the savings accrued by achieving the program’s targets.

 

More such bonds are now being tried across the world, including in New York City and Massachusetts (both addressing recidivism), and extended to new fields such as development. Eccles founded Social Finance in 2007, and he oversees all of the firm’s social impact bond work, where, he says: “We are incentivised to work with the complicated and with those willing to change.” “We are incentivised to work with the complicated and with those willing to change.”

 

Black Gold The Secrets of Oil

Black Gold The Secrets of Oil

 

Becoming Your Own Banker, The Infinite Banking Concept

Becoming Your Own Banker, The Infinite Banking Concept

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The more you own, the more you know you don’t own – Aristotle Onassis

 

The more you own, the more you know you don’t own – Aristotle Onassis

The next gold? Diamonds lure investors

The next gold? Diamonds lure investors

Gemstones and jewelry are fetching record prices at auctions, while gold falls and stocks remain volatile. The combination is boosting the appetite for diamonds as investments.