Corporate sustainability must give way to corporate responsibility

Corporate sustainability must give way to corporate responsibility

Today we consume more than twice as much as our relatives did only 50 years ago. In the US, this means generating upwards of 500 billion pounds of garbage every year that’s trucked to one of our 10,000 landfills. This accelerated consumption is exhausting global ecosystems, depleting 30% of global resources and nearly 60% of animal populations since the 1970s.

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These sobering numbers are fueling a consumer revolution. People are shifting their consumption habits, with leaders like Lauren Singer helping others to live a lifestyle of zero waste – two years of Lauren’s trash fits inside a single mason jar.

As efforts like these gain steam, a growing segment of conscious consumers are successfully demanding a shift in the marketplace, with 88% of millennials believing businesses have the power to create positive social change. But 70% don’t think businesses are doing enough, and they’re right.

It’s tough to find a business without some form of sustainability messaging emblazoned on their platforms or packaging. And while that’s great to some degree, according to the EPA, more than 75% of greenhouse gas emissions from many US industry sectors still originates from our supply chains. So just how authentic is all of that sustainability messaging, and how much of it is simply pandering to the modern consumer?

Sustainability isn’t just marketing, it’s a responsibility for all businesses to emulate those like Ray Anderson by evaluating their supply chains with clear eyes, making the right choices for our planet and courageously acting on those choices with urgency.

This process has never been easier from a business perspective. According to the Carbon Disclosure Project, 40% of participating members report meaningful cost reductions after teaming with suppliers to decrease their environmental impact, while more than 1/3 have unlocked new revenue streams.

When Siemens announced a radical commitment of more than $100 million to lowering their carbon emissions, former CEO Eric Spiegel used a powerful word to describe the project – calling it an investment. Siemens would invest in the latest technologies, retrofitting factories, purchasing new efficient machinery and transitioning all operations to renewable power by 2020. This investment would not only make the world a better place, but would return more than $20 million each year – paying for itself in fewer than six years.

Patagonia is perhaps the most emblematic of all north star brands I personally follow in terms of their tireless commitment to making the world a better place. They deliberately use the word responsibility when discussing the incredible work they’re doing to ensure their suppliers embody their values.

When Patagonia – led by visionary CEO Rose Marcario, who believes “we live in an interconnected world” that our actions affect “profoundly” – identifies aspects of their supply chain that aren’t aligned with their organizational values, they do their best to fix the problem instead of simply moving on to another vendor. A practice all businesses should consider as it raises standards across the globe while driving value for customers. Patagonia is poised to break the $1b annual revenue mark this year.

Levi’s is another iconic brand pushing the boundaries of environmental stewardship by sharing learnings with competitors. When Levi’s discovered a method to reduce the water used in garment finishing processes by 96%, saving over 1 billion gallons of water since 2011, the company not only open sourced their innovation but provided their entire staff with water conservation training.

Levi’s has since announced their intention to use 100% sustainable cotton and achieve zero discharge of hazardous chemicals by 2020. I’m sure the open source reports following the successful realization of those two goals will not only be fascinating reads, but will help competitors transition to more responsible practices too.

As our population continues to grow, it’s incumbent on us all to make adjustments for a more balanced future. Businesses in particular can no longer be sustainable in name only, they must rise and meet the responsibility our times demand.

Corporate sustainability must give way to corporate responsibility

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20 Tech Innovators to Watch in 2018

20 Tech Innovators to Watch in 2018

In technology, huge changes happen every month. Here are 20 innovators that you’ll want to keep your eye on.

Machine learning, AI, predictive analytics, and other flourishing technologies are remaking the business landscape today. A brave new world is upon us, where every industry from agriculture to healthcare and commerce to advertising is innovating exponentially. The leaders and visionaries ushering in this exciting new era are the entrepreneurs behind the brilliant platforms being developed. Below are 20 innovative technology companies transforming their industries and moving the needle forward for all of us.

Argus Cybersecurity

A leader in a rapidly expanding market, Argus is a cybersecurity firm focused on cars. Just five years ago, the need for a company like Argus would have been marginal. But since the company’s founding in 2013, so many new cars have hit the road with “connected” features that car-hacking has become a pressing concern. When self-driving vehicles eventually make their way to consumers, car cybersecurity will take on even greater urgency. Based in Tel Aviv with offices in the U.S., Germany, and Japan, Argus works with car manufacturers and their suppliers. The company’s staff includes longtime cybersecurity experts as well as auto industry veterans who have helped to make Argus a go-to shop for cybersecurity on wheels.

BigCommerce

The dilemma for many e-tailers today is whether to focus on building their own online stores or dedicate themselves to selling through Amazon. BigCommerce allows them to do both with little incremental gain in cost and labor. BigCommerce builds and hosts online stores and provides the software to manage them. From the BigCommerce dashboard, retailers can manage listings, inventory, and payments in their own store as well as simultaneous listings with Amazon, Facebook, and eBay. The Austin-based company offers differentiated products–and pricing plans–for upstarts and high-volume brands, including Camelbak and Martha Stewart. Founded in 2009, the company has raised $155million from investors such as General Catalyst and American Express Ventures.

ControlUp

ControlUp allows a company to monitor, analyze, and troubleshoot its entire IT infrastructure from a single dashboard. In a sense, it is like having a whole IT staff carrying out maintenance, providing early warning signs, and sharing insights around the clock–which frees up actual personnel to do other work that produces value. With a base of 500 enterprise customers, ControlUp has collected valuable data of its own. It feeds all of the data it collects back into algorithms that help detect its customers’ IT problems early, identify where costs can be cut and share other insights. In many cases, ControlUp can even intervene automatically to fix bugs. When it can’t, it flags problems for a company’s staff. The company raised $10 million in March.

dLocal

dLocal is a platform that enables e-commerce companies and marketplaces to sell to consumers in emerging markets. The San Francisco-headquartered startup, founded last year, handles the merchant processing, backend and compliance for online payments from countries that Western companies find traditionally difficult to sell to, for a variety of reasons. These include fraud, regulation, tax complexity and others. By partnering with dLocal, a company can gain access to sell its products and services in dozens of markets – including Latin America, China and India – without assuming the country-by-country localization costs and fraud risks. With the ever-increasing trend towards globalization, dLocal seems to have picked the right niche at the right moment.

Exabeam

In the arms race between cybersecurity experts and hackers, the good guys often seem to be a step behind. The problem is that by the time they have developed tools to detect and repel the latest malware, hackers have developed something new. Exabeam, a cybersecurity firm in San Mateo, CA, has created an alternative approach. Rather than looking for hacking tools, Exabeam’s technology monitors human behavior on a company’s networks. Relying on big data analytics, it can identify suspicious activity and notify security teams. This user-behavior approach is particularly useful for protecting against insider threats–attempts at hacking or sabotage from employees or contractors who have regular access to a network. In a worst case scenario, Exabeam’s software can also be deployed as a forensics tool to analyze an attack that has already occurred.

Feelter

What if online shopping became an experience where peer reviews and ratings from across the web were curated and accessible next to any product on any retailer’s site? Feelter has made this a reality by creating a platform that enables an e-tailer to automatically aggregate consumer feedback from review sites and social networks and present the data in a simple screen layover next to every product on its site. The benefit? Bring wisdom and truth from the crowd right to each product on your site, in order to increase consumer confidence and conversions (or alert you to problematic products and what can be improved). The Tel Aviv startup has raised $4 million in funding and won GMIC’s global startup competition last year.

Floored

A standout in real estate technology, Floored created a new product category in a staid industry. Founded as a 3D modeling software firm in 2012, Floored “backed into real estate,” in the words of its founder David Eisenberg. While considering the process of leasing commercial real estate, he sensed an opportunity. Potential tenants would walk through empty spaces and compare metrics like square footage, while never getting a clear sense of how an office would look until they hired architects. He wondered how much more effective brokers could be in closing deals if they could show prospective tenants something more compelling. Today, Floored creates immersive, 3D models of offices that brokers can share during the leasing process. Tenants get the opportunity to digitally “walk through” a furnished, fully designed office before making a decision. In January, CBRE, one of the world’s biggest real estate companies, bought Floored–and hired its management team–for an undisclosed sum

Kaltura

Kaltura has become a leader in delivering video online. If you’ve ever watched a video on the web, you’ve probably used Kaltura’s technology without knowing it. Part of the reason Kaltura has become widespread–if, largely, invisible–is its relentless development of new video technologies. Today, the company’s products include everything from its bread-and-butter online video platform for organizations to a full OTT offering for media companies. Kaltura’s apps also support integration with almost any third-party software its customers might want to use, ranging from Moodle and Sakai to IBM Connections and Drupal. Rumored to be worth more than $1 billion, the New York-based, Israel-founded company has moved firmly out of startup territory even if it remains a nimble innovator.

Movable Ink

Movable Ink has created a platform for highly customizable marketing emails. Movable Ink refers to its emails as “containers” for content because they can be filled with just about anything–text, video, account information–at any time. In fact, the content of the email isn’t even determined until a recipient clicks to open it. At that moment, Movable Ink’s software accounts for where the recipient is, what time it is, and what device she is using, among other variables. Then it fills the “container” with the content it predicts is most likely to grab her attention. The company’s case studies boast impressive results, like the doubling of click-through rates. The New York-based startup’s client list currently boasts a diverse set of businesses including The New York Times, Delta, and McDonald’s.

Nextiva

Tomas Gorny has been on a mission to improve business communication for over a decade. After the turn-of-the-century, enterprise phone systems were still unaffordable, unreliable and hard to use. Gorny formed Nextiva to create a user-friendly and reliable phone system for SMBs and enterprises at an affordable price. A decade later, Arizona-based Nextiva has become a leading VoIP provider with 150,000 business customers, 800 employees and $125 million in annual revenue. But Gorny’s vision of improving how businesses communicate doesn’t stop there. The company is rolling out a brand-new platform, NextOS, which will combine every aspect of the business communication ecosystem – including phone, chat, CRM, surveys and others – into a cohesive customer sentiment analysis tool that helps businesses better understand and cater to each individual user. NextOS will be released at the company’s upcoming annual conference, NextCon, which is aptly focused on how businesses can improve their customer experience.

OptimalPlus

Imagine an autonomous car’s hardware systems freezing, malfunctioning or breaking down in the middle of a drive. Or picture your smartphone catching fire during a flight. Well, the latter doesn’t need to be conceptualized since it already happened with Samsung’s Galaxy Note 7. In our world of rapidly accelerating innovation and transition towards electronic systems, there are tremendous risks and liabilities if hardware quality isn’t maximized and defects minimized. Enter OptimalPlus, an Israel-based manufacturing analytics platform that uses big data to reduce the number of defective parts manufactured in electronics and semiconductors. The awesome thing about this platform is that it doesn’t just detect and alert problems, it also diagnoses what needs to be done to fix them, and impressively, actively implements the necessary solutions without human intervention. In a world where everything is connected and technological, ensuring the integrity of systems is more important than ever – which is why OptimalPlus seems to have struck gold.

Pulsate

Dublin-based Pulsate was founded in 2013 to help brick-and-mortar businesses manage iBeacons. iBeacons were then a newly introduced technology, developed by Apple, that allowed businesses to transmit information to nearby consumers using Bluetooth. For example, iBeacons allow retailers to share deals or pull up loyalty programs in proprietary apps. Since its founding, Pulsate has evolved into a more comprehensive mobile retail platform. In addition to iBeacon support, it now embeds chat features and e-commerce functions in its customers’ mobile apps. Current customers include Paypal, Telepizza, and Coors Light. The venture-backed startup has raised a bit less than $3 million in two funding rounds.

Rain

Rain, a small L.A.-based startup, seems to have cracked the code for hyperlocal mobile advertising. The key is serving ads to users in apps they use frequently and while on the move–like Waze and Instagram. Rain’s clients–including chains like McDonald’s and CVS–use Rain to offer potential customers deals when they are just a few blocks away from a retail location. (In Waze, users can simply tap a button that says “Drive There” to take advantage of a deal.) If a user interacts with an ad, but doesn’t act on it, Rain can “re-market” to the same user by following him through other apps and the mobile web. On the backend, Rain offers detailed analytics so advertisers can track engagement and conversion rates–leaving no question about ROI.

Socrata

Seattle-based Socrata is a leader in creating technology platforms for government. In partnership with local, state, and federal government agencies, Socrata turns public government records into tools. In Dallas and Baltimore, police departments have partnered with Socrata to monitor and report data on violent encounters between officers and the public. In Douglas County, Kansas, Socrata has digitized the annual budget. In Massachusetts, it has analyzed and published state financial information so that agencies and the public can more easily draw insights from it. At agencies throughout the country, Socrata has provided or created tools to help governments track performance of public initiatives. Founded in 2007 with venture capital backing, Socrata has raised $55 million of equity investments to date.

StartApp

In our ever-increasing mobile driven world, applications and companies at large have opportunities to reach, penetrate and monetize markets like never before. But with the endless amount of users, interactions and data available, who can make sense of it all? New York-based StartApp is an insights driven mobile company that empowers app developers, social companies and other types of businesses to understand their users, better connect and engage with them, as well as improve monetization. The company started as a mobile ad network and collected so much data across so many devices that it began to leverage the insights it had gained by selling them to businesses. StartApp is now a one-stop mobile powerhouse, offering its legacy ad network to monetize and reach users, an ad unit creation service, data that helps businesses better understand their users, and a content creation offering.

Turbonomic

Boston-based Turbonomic provides a platform that predicts demand on network resources and distributes cloud computing power to meet it. It does this with what it calls an “autonomic platform” that constantly runs supply and demand simulations and has the power to auto-regulate complex cloud environments. The result is much more efficient and stable networks, which ultimately allows companies to move even more of their computing to the cloud. The company’s technology appears to be unique, which has attracted a flood of investment. Turbonomic has raised over $100 million and reportedly has been in recent talks with Cisco about a potential acquisition.

Vestmark

Vestmark provides a wealth management platform to professional financial advisors. Major customers include Fidelity Investment and Edward Jones. Overall, Vestmark’s software handles 1.5 million accounts with a total of $500 billion in assets. The software can handle the digital side of almost every aspect of account management, from monitoring stock trading to reporting account balances to clients. But perhaps the most valuable function is compliance. Vestmark helps its customers remain compliant with the thicket of ever-changing rules and regulations that govern their business. In an age when the political pendulum can swing quickly from regulation to deregulation and when federal rules are frequently reinterpreted, automated help with compliance is more than a convenience–it’s a business necessity. In the past year and a half alone Vestmark has raised $37 million in equity investments as it has continued to update and expand its software.

VisiSonics

After ten years of academic investigation at the University of Maryland, the researchers behind VisiSonics brought their “3D audio” technology to market in 2012. Now it will serve as the audio that pairs with virtual reality experiences delivered through Oculus headsets. VisiSonic’s technology allows virtual reality developers to include location-specific sound in their VR games and films. The sound of footsteps, for example, can “come from” behind you; when you turn you will hear the footsteps approaching you. Remarkably, this 3D audio experience is delivered through normal stereo headphones. Recording in 3D, on the other hand, requires special hardware: a spherical microphone developed by VisiSonics that records sound and location data with “pinpoint accuracy,” the company claims. Ultimately, this kind of immersive audio will be necessary to create fully immersive VR experiences.

Zebra Medical Vision

One of the most valuable sources of health science data has usually been off-limits to researchers: clinical medical records. Zebra is aiming to change that by compiling and analyzing vast troves of records. Its objective is two-fold. First, founders Elad Benjamin, Eyal Toledano and Eyal Gura want to make their anonymized, indexed database of clinical records available to scientists as an open research tool. Second, they are using machine learning analysis of the records to develop new diagnostic tools. So far Zebra has released one algorithm that can detect breast cancer at an early stage and others that detect diseases of the liver and arteries. The founders say more algorithms are coming in the second half of 2017. In the long run, Zebra’s big data approach to disease detection could help doctors make earlier and more accurate diagnoses. Beyond the health benefits, early diagnosis can be financially valuable–by preventing more costly treatment of advanced diseases.

Zive

Founded by two veterans of the consumer electronics industry, Zive brings what it calls a “humanistic” and “friendly” design philosophy to software. The company’s first product, Kiwi for Gmail, converts the entire G Suite of cloud software–including Gmail, Google Calendar, Google Drive, and Google Docs–into native desktop apps. It enables users to access all of the functionality of the Google programs from well-designed desktop apps without ever opening a web browser. “The browser is great for content consumption,” says Eric Shashoua, Zive’s CEO, “but very limiting when it comes to content creation.”

20 Tech Innovators to Watch in 2018

Top 10 Most Expensive Cars in the World in 2017

Top 10 Most Expensive Cars in the World in 2017

The number of supercars and hypercars is growing at a fast clip. That means competition for the most expensive car in the world title is also growing. From the Lamborghini Veneno Roadster to the McLaren P1 to the Aston Martin Valkyrie, expensive, high-ticket rarities are crowding the top of the market. Surprisingly, a most expensive car list is not as easy to make as you might think. The prices for the most expensive cars fluctuate depending on customer build requests, which—among the buyers of the world’s most expensive cars—can get rather baroque.

10. Koenigsegg Regera – $1.9 million

Koenigsegg.com

Christian von Koenigsegg may be the most visionary privateer builder in the world today. His creations are deeply personal and undeniably ground-breaking innovations. The many of the most expensive cars in the world, the price of the changes to match the complexity each customer’s demands. The Regera is built around a 5.0-liter twin-turbo V8 that pumps out 1,100 horsepower. The rest of the drivetrain is a brilliant departure from the norm: the Regera uses something called the Koenigsegg Direct Drive system, wherein a small, crank-mounted electric motor is connected to the engine with a hydraulic coupling and acts as a launch motor.

Then, each of the rear wheels is assigned its own electric motor the push out around 700 horsepower. Off the line, with the coupling open, the Regera is a purely electric drive. When the hydraulic coupling closes, the smaller electric motor fills out the bottom of the torque curve. Few innovations in the automobile have inspired as much envy as Koenigsegg’s drive system, and that accounts for just a part of the exorbitant cost.

9. Ferrari LaFerrari Aperta — $2.2 million

Getty Images

The Ferrari LaFerrari stood out when it was first introduced at the 2013 Geneva Auto Show, despite the fact that it had to share the floor with a new Lamborghini Veneno and McLaren P1. It has a top speed of 217 mph, crushed the track record at Maranello, and goes from 0 to 60 in under two seconds.

Unveiled at last year’s Paris Auto Show, the Ferrari LaFerrari Aperta is the open-topped version of the fastest production Ferrari ever made. Literally meaning “open,” the Aperta differs from the hard-top—which was already expensive when it was first sold in 2013 or $1 million apiece—in a few crucial ways.

The Aperta uses the same revolutionary drivetrain to create around 1,000 horsepower: the mid-rear mounted 6.3-liter Ferrari F140 V12 coupled with its HY-KERS kinetic energy recapture system cribbed from its Formula 1 car. But the absence of a roof—and a slight increase in weight—has demanded some critical changes to the car: the Aperta’s has a more prominent front air-dam to boost downforce, its radiators have been angled down to direct air flow out along the underbody instead of over the hood, and an L-shaped wedge has been integrated to the upper corner of each windshield a-pillar to reduce compression on the rear of the cabin. What Ferrari calls “Butterfly” doors open at a slightly different angle. Also, look for revised wheel arches.

8. McLaren P1 GTR — $2.59 million

Getty Images

Ok, so the McLaren P1 GTR isn’t on the market any more, and it never really was to begin with, since McLaren sold it out of the works, and only 35 were made. It’s also a track-only car. You’d think these factors would take the GTR out of contention. Not so! A track car is still a car, and this one is a beauty. Built by McLaren works as a 20th anniversary celebration of McLaren’s win at Le Mans and maintained by McLaren Special Operations department, the P1 GTR was sold only in pounds for £1.9 million.

The 1,000-horsepower P1 GTR is one of the most expensive cars in the world because it is a McLaren, and a very special one at that. It features a hybrid drive plucked from the audacious P1 road car, and but it differs in a variety of ways. Where the P1 has a variety of driving programs (e-mode, normal, sport, track, and race, as well as an all-out “boost” and Instant Power Assist System button), the GTR has a stripped down set of options. It has a fixed ride height on race-ready suspension, a fixed rear wing capable that can deploy a drag reduction system, and specially-designed exhaust system. It travels 225 mph at the high end and goes from 0-60 in 2.4 seconds.

7. Bugatti Chiron — $2.6 million

 Bugatti.com

When, as legend has it, former VW czar Ferdinand Piech demanded that Bugatti make the fastest car in the world, the masterminds in Mulsanne conjured the Veyron, an insectile example of aerospace colliding with automotive engineering that traveled a laughable 268 mph. Its W-16, 1,001-horsepower engine jacked up the cost to $1.5 million, and the four turbo wastegates were louder than most modern engines.

Now, the Veyron—once among the most expensive cars in the world—is gone. In its place, the Bugatti Chiron, an even more expensive Bugatti. Also faster, more advanced, and more powerful than the Veyron, the Chiron boasts a similar quad-turbocharged W-16 8.0-liter engine, but it has tinkered and futzed until the output is now 1,500 horsepower—300 more than even the Super Sport, the fastest model of the Veyron. The Chiron’s top speed has been limited to just 261 mph on the road; its actual top speed has reportedly not yet been tested. But the wealthy and wiling are lining up to set the mark.

What makes the Chiron one of the most expensive cars in the world? It’s a Bugatti, it’s handmade in an atelier, and no one can agree how to pronounce its name.

6. Pagani Huayra BC — $2.8 million

Pagani.com

For those among you who didn’t think it could get more extreme that the Pagani Huayra, we give you the Huayra BC, the most expensive Pagani ever made. The BC stands for Benny Caiola, an Italian investor who may have owned one of the best collections of Ferraris in the world. Caiola was one of Horacio Pagani’s oldest friends and mentors, and this car takes Pagani’s obsessive approach to detail to even more mental levels.

The BC looks and sounds like the “base” Huayra: The engine is still sourced from AMG, and remains a 6.0-liter V-12 bi-turbo that’s been tuned by Pagani’s demonic shop gnomes to bring you 790 horsepower and 811 lb-ft of torque. All of this sorcery is run through tripod drive shafts developed through Le Mans prototype program to the rear wheels by way of a seven-speed Xtrac transmission. Got that? The transmission itself is controlled by electro-hydraulic actuation and carbon-fiber synchronizers. Pagani, ever hungry for carbon fiber.

Here’s just one of many ways in which the BC takes flight from the planet Huarya: Each shift in this dynamic transmission has been tuned from the standard Huayra 150 milliseconds to the BC’s 75. That’s taking a fast shift time and slashing it in half.

5. Ferrari Pininfarina Sergio — $3 million

Goodwood

Only six of these preposterous Ferraris were ever made. The very expensive Ferrari Pininfarina Sergio was created in homage to the famed son of the founder of Pininfarina the year that he died. It was originally presented as a concept car in 2013, the Sergio grew on Ferrari just enough to for them to green-light a six-car production run based on the Ferrari 458 Spider.

Thanks to an all-carbon-fiber frame, the hand-made Sergio is a full 330 pounds lighter than the already waif-like 458. Arranged in a two-seat configuration, it takes the open-air concept even further. Where the Ferrari 458 Spider has no roof, the Sergio has no roof, no side windows, and windshield. That makes the force of this naturally-aspirated 4.5-liter F136F  V-8 engine—the same one used the 458 Spider—all the more forceful.

4. Aston Martin Valkyrie — $3 million

Aston Martin

There is no announced price for the Aston Martin Valkyrie yet. But a reliable source said that if we put $3 million, we’d be about right. This car, until recently known as the Aston Martin-Red Bull AM-RB 001, is a culmination of sorts of Aston Martin’s visionary new president, Andy Palmer, who has ushered Aston Martin into a new age of solvency and relevance with a series of killer cars. The Valkrie is the most killer car of all.

Palmer and Red Bull RAcing’s Adrian Newey and Christian Horner agreed to build the car over a pint at a pub (true story). Thus the partnership was born between Aston and Red Bull Racing’s Newey, the aerodynamicist whose work is largely responsible for Red Bull’s multi-year dominance in Formula One. Newey and Aston Martin invented an aerodynamic scheme for the Valkyrie that channels air through the chassis and creates downforce without the help of a wings.

The engine will be a 6.5-liter, naturally-aspirated V-12 tailored to the frame by Cosworth, and was made to achieve the magical 1:1 power-to-weight ratio.

The Valkyrie is not a car for casual buyers of supercars. Marek Reichman, Aston Martin’s designer, said the car—which has a Rimac-built hybrid battery system installed along with the engine—will make about 1,000 horsepower.

3. Lamborghini Veneno Roadster — $3.3 million

Lamborghini

The Veneno Roadster is the most expensive production Lamborghini on the road today. It’s actually $500,000 more expensive than the coupe version of the Veneno. That’s a lot of cash for a little less roof above your head.

How can you explain a cost well north of $3 million? Look at the build of this open-top two-seater. The monoque is lifted from the LP700-4 Aventador, except this one is made from carbon-fiber. Atop this is bolted a 740-hp, 6.5-liter V-12 with a seven-speed single-clutch ISR automated manual transmission—the same one found in the Veneno coupe. It’s a tricky transmission, and one that gets a lot of heat among aficionados. If there’s room for improvement in a car that costs more than a private jet share, the transmission would be the place. The sprung portion of the Veneno is placed atop a pushrod-actuated suspension, and even though it’s driven by a a full all-wheel-drive system, the total dry weight of this carbon-fiber gem is just 3,285 pounds.

2. Lykan HyperSport — $3.4 million

Karim Jaafar / Getty Images

Built by W Motors, the Lykan HyperPport is legitimately the first Arab supercar. We know this because W Motors is based in Lebanon, but also because the HyperSport is reckoned to be the first car to have headlights with embedded jewels. There are titanium LED blades that have a total of 420 15-karat diamonds. However, according to Lykan, buyers have also selected rubies, diamonds, yellow diamonds, and sapphires.

The rest of the car? Fine. It’s powered by a mid-rear mounted, twin-turbo 3.8-liter flat-six boxer that fires about 780 horsepower through the rear wheels. It 0-62 in 2.8 seconds and has a blistering top speed of 240 mph.

But really: The headlights are made with 240 15-karat diamonds. And that’s what makes this one of the most expensive cars in the world.

1. McLaren P1 LM — $3.7 million

Goodwood

The McLaren P1 LM is the most expensive car in the world in 2017. Go ahead and dispute it, because you can. But first, consider the caveats: McLaren didn’t actually build this car. They built the original P1, which was then acquired by Lanzante Motorsports, which painstakingly rebuilt the P1, transforming a near-perfect supercar into a definitive work of art that will one day be remembered as a crowning achievement of all humanity.

It takes cues from the McLaren P1 GTR [see above] and the storied McLaren F1 road car. Like the F1, the LM has gold plating in the engine bay. And the engine which the gold surrounds is a 3.8-liter twin-turbo V-8. Combined with the three electric motors dispersed between the engine and the rear wheels, the P1 LM produces a heroic 1000 horsepower.

These details may not distinguish a car on this list, which has high power standards. The Lanzante distinguishes itself is in how smart it is. The aerodynamics come to life on track. A modified rear wing and enlarged front splitter join together with dive planes that generate an astounding 40 percent increase in downforce over the P1 GTR.

Top 10 Most Expensive Cars in the World in 2017

Apple Disrupts Silicon Valley With Another Eye-Catcher: Its New Home

Apple Disrupts Silicon Valley With Another Eye-Catcher: Its New Home

Things change when a spaceship comes to town.

Tourists stroll by, whipping out their iPhones to get a photo. New businesses move in. And real estate prices go up even more.

Apple’s new home in Cupertino — the centerpiece being a $5 billion, four-story, 2.8 million-square-foot ring that can be seen from space and that locals call the spaceship — is still getting some final touches, and employees have just started to trickle in. The full squadron, about 12,000 people, will arrive in several months.

But the development of the headquarters, a 175-acre area officially called Apple Park, has already helped transform the surrounding area.

In Sunnyvale, a town just across the street, 95 development projects are in the planning stages. The city manager, Deanna J. Santana, said she had never seen such action before. In Cupertino, a Main Street Cupertino living and dining complex opened in early 2016. This downtown enclave includes the Lofts, a 120-unit apartment community opening this fall; small shops; and numerous restaurants and cafes.

Other local businesses are also gearing up in anticipation. A Residence Inn at Main Street Cupertino, expected to open in September, has been slightly customized to meet the needs of Apple employees. Guests will have access to Macs and high-speed internet connections, said Mark Lynn, a partner with Sand Hill Hotel Management, which operates the hotel and consulted with Apple about what its employees need at a hotel.

“All the things we have, lined up with what they needed,” Mr. Lynn said. “They will represent a large part of our business.”

The Birdland neighborhood in Sunnyvale, Calif., on the other side of the road from Apple Park. Credit Laura Morton for The New York Times

Tech companies are nothing new for Cupertino. Apple has called the city home for decades, and Hewlett-Packard had a campus in Apple’s new spot, employing 9,000 people. The surrounding towns have been remade as well in the last decade, as giant tech companies have transformed Silicon Valley’s real estate into some of the most expensive in the country.

But city officials and residents say this project is like nothing they’ve seen before. It is even bringing tourists.

Onlookers snap pictures of the spaceship from the streets. TV helicopters circle above. Amateur photographers ask residents if they can stand on driveways to operate their drones, hoping to get a closer look at Apple Park.

“I just say, ‘Hey, go ahead,’” said Ron Nielsen, who lives in Birdland, a Sunnyvale neighborhood across the street from the spaceship. “Why not?”

Drone operators want that coveted aerial shot while pedestrians want to get an eyeful of the curved glass building before the headquarters become hidden by a man-made forest.

Steve Jobs Presents to the Cupertino City Council (6/7/11)
Video by Cupertino City Channel

The campus is one of the last major projects started by Steven P. Jobs, the visionary co-founder of Apple, who died six years ago. Just a few months before his death, he went before the Cupertino City Council and laid out his vision for a futuristic circular house of glass that would foster creativity and collaboration. Two years later, the Council unanimously approved the plans for the campus.

The main center features the spaceship ring, the Steve Jobs Theater, a 100,000-square-foot gym and a visitors center in a woodland setting with two miles of running and walking paths. An orchard, a meadow and a pond are inside the ring.

Sheri and Ron Nielsen outside their home in Sunnyvale. The front of their house faces Apple Park. Credit Laura Morton for The New York Times

The entire project shows off Apple’s obsession with details. The custom windows were made in Germany and are considered the world’s largest panels of curved glass. One pair of glass doors is 92 feet high. The finish on the underground concrete garage, said David Brandt, Cupertino’s city manager, is so shiny it is almost like glass.

“Mind-blowing, mind-blowing, mind-blowing,” the mayor, Savita Vaidhyanathan, said about her visit to the site. “I saw the underground 1,000-seat theater and the carbon-fiber roof. The roof was made in Dubai, and it was transported and assembled here. I love that it’s here and that I can brag about it.”

Many of the public views will soon be going away. Apple Park will eventually have 9,000 trees, filling in much of the big open spaces. The public will instead have access to a visitors center with a cafe, a store and rooftop observation views. 

“It will be a separate glass structure and be set in an old-growth olive tree grove,” said Dan Whisenhunt, Apple’s vice president of real estate and development.

Not all of these changes have thrilled everyone. Residents of Birdland, an 877-home neighborhood, have been particularly vocal. They have complained about early-morning construction rigs that beep and rumble along major streets, unpredictable road closings, unsightly green sheeted barriers and construction potholes that result in punctured tires.

When her car was covered with construction dust, Sheri Nielsen, Mr. Nielsen’s wife, contacted Apple. The company sent carwash certificates.

Mr. Whisenhunt said the company strove to answer every complaint it received, “and if the issue is serious enough, I will personally visit to see what is going on.”

 

Art Maryon, a real estate agent, in the Birdland neighborhood. He said the neighborhood’s one-story ranch-style homes had been selling for $1.6 million to $1.8 million. Credit Laura Morton for The New York Times 

In the design phase, he said, Apple hosted more than 110 community gatherings for feedback. Birdland was addressed in late 2012 and early 2013 and was given information about what would be happening over the next three years of construction. Apple published community mailers five times and sent them to 26,000 households.

Homestead Road, the thoroughfare that separates Apple Park from Birdland, became its own subject of debate. Cupertino officials wanted to construct a tree-lined median to calm traffic. Apple offered to cover the costs.

But homeowners objected. Residents complained that the island would eliminate one lane, backing up the heavy traffic even more. When 20 or so neighbors approached a Sunnyvale town meeting in solidarity, the city ended up siding with the residents.

The price of property in the neighborhood has also become a source of some worry. Sunnyvale and Cupertino, like many other Silicon Valley towns, have had an extended real estate boom, as the tech industry has expanded. Prices in the area really started to rise, real estate agents and residents said, after Apple released its plans.

A three-bedroom, two-bathroom, 1,400-square-foot ranch-style house that cost $750,000 in 2011 has doubled in price. Since Apple said it was moving into the former Hewlett-Packard site, prices have moved up 15 to 20 percent year after year, said Art Maryon, a local real estate agent. Today, bidders usually offer 20 to 25 percent over the asking price.

Birdland is already drawing Apple employees, replacing homeowners who have cashed out to move to quieter regions. Those who remain are realizing that life will not be the same when all 12,000 of the Apple workers go in and come out on a daily basis. People in the neighborhood dread the increased traffic and expect workers to park in front of their homes since there will be fewer available spaces in the company garage.

Apple’s answers to concerned residents will continue, Mr. Whisenhunt said.

“When you tell people what is upcoming, some of the anxiety they have calms down a lot,” he said.

And yet, he acknowledged, “you don’t make everyone happy.”

Apple Disrupts Silicon Valley With Another Eye-Catcher: Its New Home

The Most Brilliant Business Ideas

The Most Brilliant Business Ideas

Check out some of the most exciting from Entrepreneur’s ‘Brilliant Ideas’ series

 

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Entrepreneurship is about ideas. It is the foundation of everything — an insight into how to improve something, or what consumers want, or what they don’t even know they want. Consider it: A business is an idea come to life; an entrepreneur is an ideas-driven person. And if you want to truly learn from the smartest people around you, and calibrate to their way of thinking, you have to ask, What’s their core idea?

Below are some of the most insightful ideas from Entrepreneur’s “Brilliant Ideas” series in the June issue of the magazine.

Why MailChimp’s Insane Fake Ad Campaign Paid Off

For Entrepreneurs, VC Capital Is Not Always the Best Option

What Gary Vaynerchuk Learned by Experimenting on Himself

Ellevest’s Investing Platform Knows How to Speak to Women

The Website That Is Helping Companies Find Diverse Talent

Why Women-Only Coworking Spaces Are on the Rise

Don’t Be Afraid to Embrace Boring Ideas

How the Rules of Tech Branding Helped Raden Create a Smart Suitcase

9 Science-Backed Insights on Finding Success in Your Business and Personal Life

14 Leaders Share Their Inspirational Advice on Starting a Business

Businesses Disrupting Industries With Their Brilliant Ideas — And What You Can Learn From Them

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The Most Brilliant Business Ideas

World’s Largest Automakers

World’s Largest Automakers

Renault-Nissan Outranks Volkswagen, Could Pass #1 Toyota

World's Largest Automakers

The times, they are a changing: Last year, Volkswagen Group kicked perennial front-runner Toyota from the top spot. A few months later, world domination has fizzled, and Volkswagen finds itself in the number three position. Even more embarrassing for Volkswagen, come-from-behind Renault-Nissan Alliance is the second-largest global automaker, with Toyota firmly back on top.

Four months into the year, Toyota Group is up 7.8% with 3.53 million units produced so far. The Renault-Nissan Alliance is not much behind with 3.47 million units, up 7.4%. 3rd-ranking Volkswagen Group delivered 3.4 million units from January through April, and its sales are down 0.7% compared to the first four months in 2016. All of this according to data released by the respective automakers.

Nearly 200,000 units behind Toyota, for Volkswagen to regain the lead once this year is over would need a miracle — or a catastrophe for the OEMs in front. Surprisingly, Toyota is not so safe at all from being surpassed by the Renault-Nissan Alliance. As the table shows, the two groups are separated only by a slim rounding error, and both are good for some 10.5 million by the end of the year.

World’s Largest Automakers

The 6 Most Profitable Industries of 2017

The 6 Most Profitable Industries of 2017

Most Profitable Industries

If you’re looking to start a new company, you might as well go where the money is! Here are six sectors that research firm IBISWorld says will keep savvy entrepreneurs firmly in the black.

1. Commercial Leasing

Modern business hall lifts

If you haven’t quite grown into your new office space, consider leasing out some of it. More than three-quarters of companies in the commercial leasing space have five or fewer employees. IBISWorld says as of 2016, industry profits averaged 52.7 percent.

2. Emergency Vet Services

Veterinary doctor using stethoscope for kitten

Regulatory changes allowing veterinarians to practice across state lines, as well as the increasing popularity of pet insurance, have combined to make emergency veterinary services an attractive field. Average profitability: 29 percent.

3. Translation Services

Traslation services

Globalization has increased demand for business translation services. At the low end, there are few barriers to entry, though the industry is starting to require postgraduate certifications in multiple languages for advanced translations. Average profit margin: 26.2 percent.

 4. Snowplowing Services

Plowing Snow with Blade Mounted on an ATV

Economic growth has been good for snowplowing– new businesses and storefronts mean more parking lots and walkways that need to be cleared. IBISWorld says snowplowing companies have average profit margins of just over 25 percent.

5. Solar Power

iStock-510867541.jpg

Decreasing equipment costs and state mandates for renewable energy have made the outlook for solar energy quite positive, at least for the next five years. IBISWorld estimates average profits of 30 percent in this industry.

6. Tugboat and Shipping Navigation

Tugboat towing container ship

Increased globalization means more work ensuring the safe passage of ships in and out of harbors. This industry includes docking and piloting of marine vessels, as well as marine salvage. Average profits ring in at 23.3 percent.

 

The 6 Most Profitable Industries of 2017

Causes of the global water crisis and 12 companies trying to solve it

Causes of the global water crisis and 12 companies trying to solve it

It’s World Water Day. Time to wake up and take shorter showers. That is, if we’re fortunate enough to have them. Water scarcity and pollution are persistent global problems. According to End Water Poverty, some 663 million people around the world have absolutely no reliable access to clean, safe water year-round. And two-thirds of the world population faces water scarcity for at least one month every year.

In the wealthy US, we’re facing a different kind of water crisis largely of our own making. In 2016 only 9 states reported safe lead levels in their schools’ water supply. Lead and copper contamination can come from irresponsible industry, aging pipes, ineffectual water treatment plants and too little investment in our public water infrastructure.

Droughts and natural disasters can cut off access to potable and sanitary water anywhere in the world, too. Haiti is known as a “pipeless nation,” still recovering from 2010’s catastrophic earthquake and consequent natural disasters. In Haiti, only one-quarter of residents have access to toilets, according to the World Bank. And it’s hard to believe it, but giant freshwater sources in North America like Lake Mead in Arizona or the Colorado River may not be able to keep pumping to residents’ homes and businesses much longer thanks to drought and pollution.

Our daily consumption of water affects future supply, of course. Right now, according to research by WWF, wasteful irrigation systems on farms consume about 70% of the world’s freshwater, over double that of any other industry. By contrast, municipal water represents a mere 8% of global use. Bad irrigation practices in farming can hurt our water in other ways, washing pollutants into rivers, streams or other freshwater ecosystems.

At TechCrunch, we’re lucky to see the hopeful ways that startups, investors and other organizations are working to solve huge problems plaguing humanity with tech, including the global water crisis. Here are 12 to watch:

1. Water Is Life

The nonprofit Water is Life makes and distributes portable water filters that look like big straws. The components inside the straws are “membranes, iodized crystals and active carbon,” which eliminate harmful bacteria and viruses including typhoid, cholera, E. coli, and reduce other harmful particles so people can drink safely wherever they go. Water is Life also creates educational campaigns, and even a VR game, to teach kids why and how they should clean or filter water before they drink from a potentially unsafe source.

2. charity: water

Charity: water is focused on helping people get access to clean water. Founder Scott Harrison has gotten support from the tech community throughout the years, with entrepreneurs like Sean Parker and Michael Birch involved with the organization.

3. The Human Utility: Detroit Water Project 

Backed by Y Combinator, TeeSpring and the Shuttleworth Foundation, The Human Utility is helping low-income families get help paying for their water bills so their taps won’t be turned off by utilities leaving them thirsty in their own homes.

4. WaterSmart

WaterSmart’s software helps the water industry understand what’s happening to every last drop of H2O. It aggregates and analyzes information from millions of water meters, predicts demand, and helps utilities communicate with customers about everything from leaks at home to service or rate changes. WaterSmart is making moves with a recent $7 million raise at a $21 million pre-money valuation.

5. Valor Water

Backed by Y Combinator, Valor Water helps utilities understand who is wasting and who is conserving water among their customers. With that data, they can target rate hikes at water pigs, and cut conservationists a good deal to incentivize responsible water use. The company previously competed in TechCrunch’s Startup Battlefield in San Francisco.

6. TOTO

TOTO manufactures high-efficiency toilets and has been named a Water Efficiency Leader by the US Environmental Protection Agency, which lauded its sustainable manufacturing and advocacy efforts. The company’s toilets clean themselves with electrolyzed water after every use. TOTO invited TechCrunch to test-drive their latest bidet-and-toilet model at CES this year, but our reporter declined since he was doing the story on camera.

7. Pluto AI

This company, which was one of our favorites from 500 Startups’ 19th class, is developing an application of deep learning for water management. Pluto.ai uses data and machine learning to predict infrastructure failures and to monitor water usage. The company is striving to reduce operating costs at two of the 10 largest water companies in the world who it counts among its partners today.

8. ImagineH20

Imagine H2O is a water-focused accelerator and fund providing water entrepreneurs with “the resources, insight and visibility to launch and scale successful businesses.” The company’s annual water innovation prize rallies entrepreneurs to focus on solving different water-related problems with their technology. This year’s winner, Utilis, uses satellite imagery and big data analytics to find leaks in underground water supplies to large, urban markets so that cities can stop them and save that water for residential use.

9. XPV Water Partners

A Toronto-based venture firm called XPV Water Partners has developed a specialization around startups in the water industry, one of the most regulated sectors in every nation. Its portfolio includes microbial monitoring tech startup LuminUltra, water reclamation and reuse venture Natural Systems Utilities, and Shenandoah Growers, a grower of organic herbs that uses 90% less water than required with traditional farming methods, but no photo-sharing or dating apps.

10Planet Water Foundation

This nonprofit installs water filtration systems in rural communities and at schools around the world so they can have clean, safe drinking water. The systems, called Aqua Towers, trap harmful particles, and kill bacteria and viruses, providing 1,000 people with 10,000 liters of clean water per unit daily.

11. RWL Water 

New York-based RWL Water builds desalination plants and wastewater treatment systems around the world.  The company works to provide a power supply to customers who are in geographically remote areas but need water to power their communities and businesses. Most recently, RWL acquired a water plant in São Paulo, Brazil, a market that has been struggling to keep its residents and businesses in clean water after a two year, El Niño drought.

12. Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation is a tour de force supporting tech to solve problems that plague humanity. The foundation’s Water & Sanitation Hygiene Challenge, and Reinvent the Toilet fair award grants to organizations that improve sanitation in the developing world. According to the foundation’s own research, “Better sanitation contributes to economic development, delivering up to $5 in social and economic benefits for every $1 invested through increased productivity, reduced healthcare costs, and prevention of illness, disability, and early death.”

Causes of the global water crisis and 12 companies trying to solve it