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Weston family hires OMERS managing partner Jim Orlando to invest $100-million in tech ventures
June 19, 2019 | Globe & Mail | by SEAN SILCOFF

Canada’s billionaire Weston family is making a $100-million bet on the emerging-technology sector, hiring away one of Canada’s top early-stage investment professionals from Ontario Municipal Employees Retirement System to run its new venture fund.

Jim Orlando, a managing partner with OMERS Ventures, will join a new arm of the Westons’ holding company, Wittington Investments, to develop “a meaningful corporate venture capital program and strategy...... he will focus on areas of innovation germane to the family’s key corporate interests: baking company Weston Foods, supermarket operator Loblaw Cos. Ltd. and drugstore chain Shoppers Drug Mart Corp., controlled by the Westons’ publicly traded conglomerate, George Weston Ltd.....Wittington has just two disclosed investments in Toronto’s emerging-technology sector, backing digital-health benefits provider League Inc. and venture-capital fund Radical Ventures. George Weston made its first investment in venture capital in 2016, backing a $25-million consumer-products-focused fund managed by Dragons’ Den star Arlene Dickinson, while Loblaw this year partnered with Toronto startup Flashfood Inc. to sell perishable food items nearing the end of their shelf lives through a mobile app.....he Westons join a small but growing group of wealthy families and corporations – including Telus Corp., Power Corp. of Canada, Royal Bank of Canada and OpenText Corp. – to invest in early-stage technology ventures.

Several real estate firms including Michael Cooper’s Dream Unlimited and Dream Office REIT and Cadillac Fairview Corp. Ltd. have committed tens of millions of dollars each to fund innovation in the property-tech market. Other Canadian “old economy” entrepreneurs – including mining magnate Seymour Schulich, property developer Robert Mantella, Vega nutritional supplement maker Charles Chang and Mission Hill Winery founder Anthony von Mandl – have emerged as big financiers of early-stage ventures in recent years.

“No question, [the Westons'] various companies are confronting a good number of significant opportunities and challenges, so there is no shortage of things to focus on,” said Rich Osborn, managing partner of Telus Ventures. “My caution would be, it’s easy to source and structure deals. The hard part is really unlocking the strategic value. That takes a lot more work and time to build that muscle. It will be a learning exercise for them for some time.”
corporate_investors  early-stage  family_office  George_Weston  investors  moguls  OMERS_Ventures  seed-stage  vc  venture_capital 
june 2019 by jerryking
"Boss: The Black Experience in Business" Explores the History of African American Entrepreneurship Tuesday, April 23 on PBS
Apr 23, 2019 | WNET |

Tying together the past and the present, Boss: The Black Experience in Business explores the inspiring stories of trailblazing African American entrepreneurs and the significant contributions of contemporary business leaders. Stories featured in the film include those of entrepreneur Madam C.J. Walker, publisher John H. Johnson, Motown CEO Berry Gordy, and business pioneer and philanthropist Reginald F. Lewis, among others. The film features new interviews with Vernon Jordan, senior managing director of Lazard, Freres & Co. LLC.; Cathy Hughes, CEO and founder of Urban One; Ursula Burns, former CEO of Xerox and chairman of VEON; Ken Frazier, chairman, president and CEO of Merck & Co., Inc.; Richelieu Dennis, founder, CEO and executive chairman of Sundial Brands; Robert F. Smith, chairman and CEO of Vista Equity Managing Partners, LLC; Earl "Butch" Graves, Jr., CEO of Black Enterprise; and John Rogers, CEO and founder of Ariel Investments.

As a capitalist system emerged in the United States, African Americans found ways to establish profitable businesses in numerous industries, including financial services, retail, beauty, music and media.
African-Americans  Berry_Gordy  C.J.Walker  CEOs  documentaries  entrepreneur  entrepreneurship  filmmakers  founders  historians  history  inspiration  Kenneth_Frazier  Lazard  Merck  moguls  PBS  Reginald_Lewis  Robert_Smith  storytelling  trailblazers  Vernon_Jordan 
april 2019 by jerryking
University of Toronto announces largest donation in school’s history for construction of new centre, institute
MARCH 25, 2019 | The Globe and Mail | by JOE FRIESEN.
Billionaire investor Gerald Schwartz and Indigo chief executive Heather Reisman announced Monday that they will donate $100-million to the University of Toronto for the construction of a new centre for innovation and entrepreneurship as well as an institute that will study the impact of emerging technologies on society......We read an article together about this bold ambition the university had to create a new complex that would be devoted to the whole subject of technology and innovation,” Ms. Reisman said. “The things that they talked about housing there were things we were interested in – the Vector Institute [for Artificial Intelligence], the Creative Destruction Lab, the entrepreneurs. We looked at each other and said ‘We’d like to support that.’"

Mr. Gertler said the gift is affirmation of the role the university plays in innovation in fields such as machine learning, gene editing and regenerative medicine.

“There are very few gifts across the country that have been this big,” Mr. Gertler said. “It draws on U of T’s world class strength, both in machine learning and the ethics and philosophy of technological change and its impact on society.”
CDL  Colleges_&_Universities  entrepreneurship  Gerald_Schwartz  Heather_Reisman  innovation  Joe_Friesen  Meric_Gertler  moguls  philanthropy  uToronto  Vector_Institute 
march 2019 by jerryking
Opinion | Abolish Billionaires - The New York Times
By Farhad Manjoo
Opinion Columnist

Feb. 6, 2019

A radical idea is gaining adherents on the left. It’s the perfect way to blunt tech-driven inequality.
Alexandria_Ocasio-Cortez  Anand_Giridharadas  artificial_intelligence  capital_accumulation  digital_economy  Farhad_Manjoo  income_distribution  income_inequality  moguls  network_effects  rhetoric  software  superstars  winner-take-all 
february 2019 by jerryking
China’s New Billionaires Are Young, Fast Workers With an Appetite for Risk
Oct. 29, 2018 | The New York Times |

Technology is helping to line the pockets of many new Chinese billionaires — including Zhang Yiming of the video-sharing app ByteDance and Wang Jian, the co-founder of the Shenzhen-based gene sequencing company BGI. China is now producing almost as many unicorns, or companies worth at least $1 billion, as the United States.

But China’s billionaires differ markedly from their global peers. With an average age of 55 years, they are almost a decade younger. They create wealth faster and take their companies public earlier; 17 percent of China’s new billionaires founded their businesses within the last ten years, more than twice as many as in the United States.
China  high_net_worth  moguls  wealth_creation 
october 2018 by jerryking
Engaging with the world’s ills beats hiding in a bunker
OCTOBER 18, 2018 | Financial Times | Stephen Foley.

those with real ambition are not planning for a life underground down under. They are building philanthropic ventures to tackle the world’s ills, or striving to effect change through the political process, or starting new mission-driven businesses.

The bunker mentality is the polar opposite of the optimism displayed by the likes of Jeff Bezos, who set out his philanthropic credo in September alongside his plan to build a network of Montessori-inspired preschools across the US. He talked of his “belief in the potential for hard work from anyone to serve others”, from “business innovators who invent products that empower, authors who write books that inspire, government officials who serve their communities, teachers, doctors, carpenters, entertainers who make us laugh and cry, parents who raise children who go on to live lives of courage and compassion”.

“It fills me with gratitude and optimism,” he said, “to be part of a species so bent on self-improvement.”

Bezos has decided to focus his charity on children, as many of his peers have done. From Mark Zuckerberg promising to fund a technological revolution in the way kids are taught, to the slew of east coast hedge fund managers promoting charter schools as a way to shake-up public education, philanthropists know instinctively that childhood is their point of maximum leverage.....engagement trumps disengagement. Public service matters, even if one is only stealing apocalyptic proclamations from a presidential desk. It beats burying one’s head in the New Zealand soil.

Many of the world’s richest individuals are working to avert the war, pestilence or revolution that would make a withdrawal from society seem attractive in the first place. Philanthropists who are funding human rights campaigns, or drug research, or novel approaches to tackling inequality — these are the real survivalists.
apocalypses  bolt-holes  catastrophes  charities  childhood  children  disasters  disaster_preparedness  engaged_citizenry  hard_work  high_net_worth  Jeff_Bezos  mission-driven  moguls  Montessori  New_Zealand  off-grid  optimism  Peter_Thiel  self-improvement  philanthropy  public_service  survivalists 
october 2018 by jerryking
Howard Marks, the ultimate bargain hunter
October 17, 2018 | Financial Times | Javier Espinoza.

Howard Marks : “I have a high degree of creativity,” he says. "In order to outdo others you have to think differently from others. If you don’t, how can you expect to have superior results?” His new book is Mastering the Market Cycle.

Mr Marks is the founder of Oaktree Capital Management. Based in Los Angeles, it is one of the world’s most prominent value investors. He makes money by finding situations where he can buy low, especially distressed assets, then sell high.

Today, market conditions mean Mr Marks faces as strong a challenge as ever: trying to sniff out bargains when valuations are steep, debt is cheap and competition fierce.

In 2015 Oaktree raised about $12bn for its distressed-debt fund. It was the second-largest amount in its history......The veteran financier regards delaying gratification as key to success. Like Warren Buffett, he believes waiting for the right investments is an important part of the process.

He often cites Hyman Minsky, the US economist famous for his work on bubbles and crashes....as Minsky would say, ‘there are always cycles’.”

“There are up-cycles with too much enthusiasm, too little discipline and too little risk aversion," he says. "And there are down-cycles when the economy does less well, corporations do less well, security prices fall and there is too much risk aversion, too much fear.”

“A quote said to have been uttered by Mark Twain is: ‘History does not repeat but it does rhyme’. The point is that the patterns of cycles do repeat and the details – the amplitude, the timing, the duration, the speed and the reasons – are different from cycle to cycle but the themes that underlie the causes of cycles are similar from one to the next.”

 
books  distressed_debt  economic_cycles  financiers  Howard_Marks  investors  Mark_Twain  moguls  money_management  investment_research  value_investing/investors  Oaktree  founders 
october 2018 by jerryking
Why Jeff Bezos Should Push for Nobody to Get as Rich as Jeff Bezos
Sept. 19, 2018 | The New York Times | By Farhad Manjoo.

Why does Jeff Bezos have so much money in the first place? What does his fortune tell us about the economic structure and impact of the tech industry, the engine behind his billions? And, most important, what responsibility comes with his wealth — and is it any business of ours what he does with it?.........Bezos’ extreme wealth is not only a product of his own ingenuity. It is also a function of several grand forces shaping the global economy...the unequal impact of digital technology..... direct economic benefits have accrued to a small number of superstar companies and their largest shareholders.....the most important thing Bezos can do with his money is to become a traitor to his class,” said Anand Giridharadas, author of a new book, “Winners Take All.”.....Giridharadas argues that the efforts of the super-wealthy to change the world through philanthropy are often a distraction from the planet’s actual problems. To truly fix the world, Mr. Bezos ought to push for policy changes that would create a more equal distribution of the winnings ......there are fans of Amazon who will dispute the notion that Bezos’ wealth represents a problem or a responsibility....He acquired his wealth legally and in the most quintessentially American way: He had a wacky idea, took a stab at it, stuck with it through thick and thin, and, through patient, deliberate, farsighted risk-taking,.......Tech-powered businesses are often driven by an economic concept known as network effects, in which the very popularity of a service sparks even greater popularity. Amazon, for instance, keeps attracting more third-party businesses to sell goods in its store — which in turn makes it a better store for customers, which attracts more suppliers, improving the customer experience, and so on in an endless virtuous cycle........Mr. Bezos’ most attractive quality, as a businessman, is his capacity for patience and surprise. “This is guy who was willing to buck what everyone else thought for so long,” Mr. Giridharadas said. “If he brings that same irreverence to the question of how to give, he has the potential to interrogate himself about why it is that we need so many billionaires to save us in the first place
Amazon  Anand_Giridharadas  books  economic_policy  economies_of_scale  Erik_Brynjolfsson  Farhad_Manjoo  Jeff_Bezos  third-party  high_net_worth  human_ingenuity  ingenuity  moguls  network_effects  philanthropy  superstars  virtuous_cycles  winner-take-all 
september 2018 by jerryking
Boom amid the bust: 10 years in a turbulent art market | Financial Times
July 27, 2018 | FT| by Georgina Adam.
September 15 2008, the date of Lehman Brothers' bankruptcy filing, was also the first day of a spectacular gamble by artist Damien Hirst, who consigned 223 new works to Sotheby’s, bypassing his powerful dealers and saving millions by cutting out their commissions........The two-day London auction raised a (stunning) total of £111m.......o the outside world, though, the Hirst auction seemed to indicate that despite the global financial turmoil, the market for high-end art was bulletproof....in the wake of the Hirst sale, the art market took a severe dive.... sales plunging about 41% by 2009, compared with a market peak of almost $66bn in 2007. Contemporary art was particularly badly hit, with sales in that category plunging almost 60 % over 2008-09. Yet to the surprise, even astonishment, of some observers, the art market soon started a rapid return to rude health...the make-up of the market has changed. The mid-level — works selling between $50,000 and $1m — has been sluggish, and a large number of medium-sized and smaller galleries have been shuttered in the past two years. However, the high-performing top end has exploded, fuelled by billionaires duelling to acquire trophy works by a few “brand name” artists....A major influence on the market has been Asia....What has changed in the past 10 yrs. is what Chinese collectors are buying. Initially Chinese works of art — scroll paintings, furniture, ceramics — represented the bulk of the market. However, there has been a rapid and sudden shift to international modern and contemporary art, as shown by Liu and other buyers, who have snapped up works by Van Gogh, Monet and Picasso — recognisable “brand names” that auction houses have been assiduously promoting......Further fuelling the high end has been the phenomenon of private museums, the playthings of billionaires....In the past decade and even more so in the past five years, a major stimulus, mainly for the high end, has been the financialization of the market. Investment in art and art-secured lending are now big business....In addition, a new layer of complexity is added with “fractional ownership” — currently touted by a multitude of online start-ups. Often using their own cryptocurrencies, companies such as Maecenas, Feral Horses, Fimart or Tend Swiss offer the small investor the chance to buy a small part of an expensive work of art, and trade in it.....A final aspect of the changes in the market in the past decade, and in my opinion a very significant one, is the blurring of the art, luxury goods and entertainment sectors — and this brings us right back to Damien Hirst....Commissions are probably also lucrative. E.g. a Hirst-designed bar called Unknown was unveiled recently in Las Vegas’s Palms Casino Resort. It is dominated by a shark chopped into three and displayed in formaldehyde tanks, and surrounded by Hirst’s signature spot paintings. Elsewhere, Hirst’s huge Sun Disc sculpture, bought from the Venice show, is displayed in the High Limit Gaming Lounge. ...So Hirst neatly bookends the decade, whether you consider him an artist — or a purveyor of entertainment and luxury goods.
art  artists  art_finance  art_market  auctions  boom-to-bust  bubbles  contemporary_art  crypto-currencies  Christie's  Damien_Hirst  dealerships  entertainment  fees_&_commissions  fractional_ownership  high-end  luxury  moguls  museums  paintings  Sotheby's  tokenization  top-tier  trophy_assets  turbulence 
july 2018 by jerryking
Aliko Dangote, Africa’s richest man, on his ‘crazy’ $12bn project
July 10, 2018 | Financial Times | David Pilling 11 HOURS AGO.

On his yacht in Lagos, he talks about his ambitious oil refinery — and his dream of buying Arsenal
Africa  Arsenal  moguls  Nigerians  Nigeria  entrepreneur  Aliko_Dangote  Lagos  oil_industry  oil_refiners  cement  big_bets 
july 2018 by jerryking
SoftBank: inside the ‘Wild West’ $100bn fund shaking up the tech world | Financial Times
Arash Massoudi in London and Kana Inagaki and Leo Lewis in Tokyo YESTERDAY Print this page67
In the summer of 2014, SoftBank founder Masayoshi Son
Masayoshi_Son  moguls  Softbank  venture_capital  vc 
june 2018 by jerryking
Les Wexner, the man behind Victoria’s Secret
Barney Jopson MARCH 30, 2018

Propped against the wall are boards from recent presentations about customer loyalty schemes and the nearby Easton open-air shopping complex, which was conceived by Wexner, a staunch and often lonely defender of bricks-and-mortar retail....Since his existential crisis, Wexner has devoted part of his time and fortune to philanthropy, funding leadership training and the Wexner Center for the Arts and Wexner Medical Center at Ohio State University, his alma mater.....The typical lifespan of a fashion business, Wexner says, is 15 years. Most retail chains, whatever they sell, don’t survive beyond 20 or 30 years. Yet Wexner has been in charge for 55 years. Behind him in the Fortune 500 longevity stakes is Warren Buffett, the billionaire investor who has run Berkshire Hathaway for a mere 53. The key to survival, Wexner says, is to reinvent yourself as your shoppers evolve. “When the customer zigs, you zig.”

But he is facing his stiffest trial yet. Amazon, which has conquered a series of retail categories, is now getting into underwear. Online-only lingerie specialists are trying to steal Victoria’s Secret customers....His eventual point is that most people want to express their individuality, which has a lot to do with sexuality, which means lingerie is loaded with powerful “emotional content” for women.......I talk about the predictive power of data and algorithms (one of Amazon’s great assets) but he pooh-poohs their relevance. The response is similarly dismissive when I ask Wexner — who did not marry his lawyer wife Abigail until he was 55 — whether he sourced lingerie ideas from the women he dated. “N-n-nooo,” he says. “You can’t ask. Fashion is about latent demand. You can’t research it. If I say, ‘what colour are you going to buy next fall?’, no one is going to say, ‘I think purple’s going to be a great colour’.”
........He says the death of shops has been greatly exaggerated. Sure, 9,000 US stores closed last year by some estimates. Sure, habits are changing. People used to wile away four hours at the mall and visit 20 stores. Now they skip the mediocre shops and make a beeline for just one or two, Wexner says. But humans are still “pack animals” who like to mingle. And where they go, they spend more. Amazon is great for buying commodity products when you know exactly what you want. But fashion stores are about stumbling upon “things you haven’t seen before”, Wexner says. The doom-mongers are looking at average sales across all shops. “I think they’re missing the wheat from the chaff,” he says.
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Leslie_Wexner  Victoria's_Secret  moguls  CEOs  entrepreneur  retailers  L_Brands  intimate_apparel  personal_care_products  lingerie  bricks-and-mortar 
april 2018 by jerryking

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