July 15, 2021

Those who have concerns about privacy on smartphones often focus on apps that track users’ internet browsing history or even their movements through GPS. But while such violations of privacy are becoming more well-known to users, many others appear to be unaware that some apps have open access to their contact lists. For instance, therapist Gabriela Buendia was shocked to discover that the payment app Venmo had shared a list of her phone contacts as well as data about everyone Continue reading

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June 10, 2021

In 2017, the startup Moviepass offered film buffs a deal that seemed too good to be true. For $9.95 per month, subscribers could see up to one movie per day at all major theaters located throughout the country. Moviepass hoped to offset the costs of purchasing so many tickets by brokering bulk deals with theater chains and by monetizing users’ data. None of these plans ever came to fruition, however, which left the company with more than three million subscribers Continue reading

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August 24, 2020

In 2018, California’s Supreme Court ruled against a delivery company that classified its employees as independent contractors. This landmark decision was followed two years later by official legislation that required businesses throughout the state to turn contracted staff into full-time workers or else face legal action. The most prominent targets of this new law were Uber and Lyft, the rideshare giants that employ tens of thousands of people as independent contractors. 

According to consumer advocates, drivers for Uber and Continue reading

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A couple of weeks ago, we looked at how Airbnb hosts are struggling after the travel industry came to a standstill due to widespread stay-at-home orders. This video explains in greater detail why the once successful startup was so vulnerable to an economic downturn and what that means for both Airbnb and its hosts in the long term.

Questions:

  1. What factors made Airbnb so successful for nearly a decade?
  2. Do you think Airbnb will be able to recover from this Continue reading
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Before the coronavirus pandemic, takeout and delivery orders made up just a small portion of total sales for most restaurants. With countless customers now homebound, though, to-go business has never been more important for eateries across the country. Many restaurants use apps like Grubhub, Seamless, or DoorDash to handle delivery orders, but these services come with quite a few problems for all their convenience. Besides signing up companies that don’t offer delivery, food startups have also deceived restaurants and Continue reading

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April 3, 2020

Earlier this year, we looked at how the fitness startup ClassPass grew into a $1 billion company thanks to an innovative business model that allows members to easily find exercise classes in their area. Flash forward just a few months later, however, and ClassPass finds itself in a completely different position due to widespread shutdowns caused by coronavirus containment. As gyms and fitness centers closed across the world in March, ClassPass watched as 95 percent of its revenue disappeared within Continue reading

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January 28, 2020

In 2013 the fitness startup ClassPass launched as a way to help gyms and workout studios fill open spaces in exercise classes. Through the ClassPass app, users can browse a list of available classes in their area and book times that fit within their schedule. They also don’t need to sign up for a variety of different gym memberships since ClassPass now partners with more than 30,000 fitness centers in 28 countries. The company’s growing global reach has attracted interest Continue reading

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October 3, 2019

This past summer, the startup WeWork heavily promoted what it promised would be a historic initial public offering (IPO). Analysts seemed to agree: Goldman Sachs estimated the office space leasing company could reach a valuation of $96 billion upon its stock market debut. When WeWork submitted the first documents for its IPO, though, the company settled on a potential valuation of $47 billion as it promised to change the world as well as the office leasing industry. Co-founder and CEO Continue reading

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July 25, 2019

Since 2009 the website Genius has provided music lovers with a reliable source for lyrics to countless songs. A few years ago, though, the company noticed that someone else was exploring the site along with its usual batch of curious fans. The situation started when Genius published the lyrics to the hit song “Panda” by Desiigner with help from the artist himself. Since the company received assistance directly from the source, their lyrics served as the only accurate transcription of Continue reading

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December 19, 2017

In recent years, a number of startups have quickly grown into powerhouse operations by selling certain products directly to customers. From the eyewear seller Warby Parker to the razor maker Harry’s, these companies have disrupted traditional industries by cutting out unnecessary middlemen from their supply chains. They’ve also inspired startups like Hubble, a subscription-based service that sells contact lenses. For just $1 per day or $30 per month, customers receive a supply of Acuvue Moist daily disposable contacts, one of Continue reading

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