June 7, 2021
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The Lead
Bezos, brother are among Blue Origin's first passengers
Bezos (Win Mcnamee/Getty Images)
Blue Origin's inaugural human flight of its New Shepard spacecraft will take place July 20, and passengers will include founder Jeff Bezos; his brother, Mark Bezos; and the winner of an auction. Bidding has reached $2.8 million for the open seat, and the winning bid will be directed to the startup's foundation, Club for the Future.
Full Story: ABC News (6/7),  USA Today (6/7) 
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Today In Startups
The $100 million SoftBank Opportunity Fund has invested about $50 million so far in startups led by Black and Latinx entrepreneurs. "Seed and A, that's where you can make the most difference," said SoftBank's Shu Nyatta, who leads the fund.
Full Story: Bloomberg (6/6) 
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The average pay for CEOs increased by almost 16% in 2020, compared with a 1.8% rise for the average employee, according to a preliminary study by the Economic Policy Institute. The study's author, Lawrence Mishel, says the full report will likely reveal "CEO compensation will hit, by far, its historic peak in 2020," adding that the "results indicate a continued sharp rise of inequality during a pandemic."
Full Story: Fast Company (tiered subscription model) (6/3) 
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SmartBrief Originals
Plant-based food makers won $4.4 billion in funding over the past decade, according to the Good Food Institute, nearly half of it last year alone, as growing consumer interest in flexitarian diets drove demand and innovative startups and later-stage companies improved existing products and developed new ones. "Part of the reason so much money has flooded in was that the Beyond Meat IPO has drawn a lot of people to the space," veteran investor Peter Bodenheimer said.
Full Story: SmartBrief/Food & Travel (6/7) 
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Consumers have gravitated toward convenience and value during the coronavirus pandemic, along with virtual trials and brand purpose, writes Mark Jeffreys, CEO of 4Sight. Jeffreys offers marketers signs to look for with each trend to determine if and how consumers are shifting their behaviors as COVID-19 vaccination rates rise and economic activity increases.
Full Story: MediaPost Communications (free registration) (6/3) 
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Entrepreneurs only have a few seconds to make an impression in a pitch, so it's important to ensure the message is targeted for the audience and clearly communicated without jargon, writes consultant Tom Gil. "Not everything grabs our attention anymore -- what really hooks us are only those things that speak to our interest and appeal to our style/tone," Gil writes.
Full Story: Inc. (tiered subscription model) (6/4) 
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Funding, IPOs and Acquisitions
When Entrepreneurs Fail
Katerra, a construction startup that raised $2 billion from SoftBank and other investors, filed for Chapter 11 protection in the Southern District of Texas court. SoftBank has given the startup $35 million of debtor-in-possession financing, and SoftBank CEO Masayoshi Son says the company made mistakes in its investments in Katerra.
Full Story: Bloomberg (6/7) 
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Attention is a scarce, expensive currency nowadays.
Consultant Tom Gil, writing for Inc.
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